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Thread: New to Hunting

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    Default New to Hunting

    I'm new to hunting. I've never gone hunting before, but when I move to Alaska (April 2012) I want to start hunting and fishing. I need some tips and advice on what kind of gear to get when I move. I am interested in hunting deer and moose. I also read that you can donate the meat that you won't use. Is that true? If so, how does that work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by calagon75 View Post
    I'm new to hunting. I've never gone hunting before, but when I move to Alaska (April 2012) I want to start hunting and fishing. I need some tips and advice on what kind of gear to get when I move. I am interested in hunting deer and moose. I also read that you can donate the meat that you won't use. Is that true? If so, how does that work?
    Congratulations on your upcoming move. It's great to hear someone wants to take up hunting and fishing. Both are great hobbies and they have much to offer to you in the ways of fun, relaxation, education, etc.

    Where are you moving in AK? The state is too big to provide one list of necessary items. There are minimal equipment needs, but I'd not get too wrapped up in buying a bunch of gadgets in the beginning. Normal hiking items (first aid kit, compass, boots, etc.) will be helpful as you begin the process. I'd recommend that you find someone (perhaps several someones) that will mentor you for the first couple of years. Others have and certainly you could learn to hunt without hands on instruction, but it is quicker and in AK it's much safer to have a proficient partner with you while afield.

    The two items that you could buy now that will always be useful are a good point and shoot digital camera and a binocular. Water resistant/proof is preferable for the camera and necessary for the binocular. The camera should be of an appropriate size so that you'll never go afield without it. Capturing the hunt and the events surrounding it are worth the effort and a digital camera is a godsend in this regard. As to the binocular, you simply can't hunt better than you can see and a good binocular is a great help. There are lots of brands to choose from, but stay away from the most inexpensive models at super stores and outdoor retailers. You can find a workable/serviceable binocular for around $300 (Doug at Camera Land can be a great help with both of these items) and that will be money well spent. The camera and binocular will improve your hunting and fishing experience.

    Glad you're moving to the "Last Frontier." Enjoy the transition.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calagon75 View Post
    I am interested in hunting deer and moose. I also read that you can donate the meat that you won't use. Is that true? If so, how does that work?
    There are food banks and shelters that will take donations of clean, well cared for meat. Additionally, I'm sure that a number of folks on here will take meat off your hands if you find that you don't want it. Moose and other wild game meat is delicious and far healthier than beef or pork, though, so you may want to reconsider that when you successfully harvest your first animal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Congratulations on your upcoming move. It's great to hear someone wants to take up hunting and fishing. Both are great hobbies and they have much to offer to you in the ways of fun, relaxation, education, etc.

    Where are you moving in AK? The state is too big to provide one list of necessary items. There are minimal equipment needs, but I'd not get too wrapped up in buying a bunch of gadgets in the beginning. Normal hiking items (first aid kit, compass, boots, etc.) will be helpful as you begin the process. I'd recommend that you find someone (perhaps several someones) that will mentor you for the first couple of years. Others have and certainly you could learn to hunt without hands on instruction, but it is quicker and in AK it's much safer to have a proficient partner with you while afield.

    The two items that you could buy now that will always be useful are a good point and shoot digital camera and a binocular. Water resistant/proof is preferable for the camera and necessary for the binocular. The camera should be of an appropriate size so that you'll never go afield without it. Capturing the hunt and the events surrounding it are worth the effort and a digital camera is a godsend in this regard. As to the binocular, you simply can't hunt better than you can see and a good binocular is a great help. There are lots of brands to choose from, but stay away from the most inexpensive models at super stores and outdoor retailers. You can find a workable/serviceable binocular for around $300 (Doug at Camera Land can be a great help with both of these items) and that will be money well spent. The camera and binocular will improve your hunting and fishing experience.

    Glad you're moving to the "Last Frontier." Enjoy the transition.
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to 1Cor15:19 again

    Great post. I will ad that you should get a .22LR rifle and start out with small game. Great/fun way to learn about big game behavior and area access.
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    There are food banks and shelters that will take donations of clean, well cared for meat. Additionally, I'm sure that a number of folks on here will take meat off your hands if you find that you don't want it. Moose and other wild game meat is delicious and far healthier than beef or pork, though, so you may want to reconsider that when you successfully harvest your first animal.
    How would I go about getting it cleaned and well cared for? Would it be a processor or me? Sorry, just very new to this. Also, I read that some places will actually pick it up/fly it to Anchorage? I'm assuming that would be for far away such as Nome, Barrow, or Juneau.

    And as for the move. I'm completely stoked about moving and getting away from Texas! I'm moving to Wasilla. I think its area/region 16? I know that I will need some shooting lessons. I'm betting there are some places that could help with that. Either in the field or at a shooting range.

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    Check out the "____ hunt gear list" forums for specific items. LOTS of info on here.

    My best advice is to read this forum religiously. Search the archives and abosorb everything you read. There is a lot to learn and lot available to learn. I myself have learned a tremendous amount from this site alone.

    Many things are cheaper in the states than they are up here simply because of our location. Not to deter from our economy, but find out a majority of what you need/want and then purchase them before you move to save money (if the number of moving items is not a big deal). Of course, there are a handful of items that you really can't find in the states and are specific to here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iusckeeper View Post
    Check out the "____ hunt gear list" forums for specific items. LOTS of info on here.

    My best advice is to read this forum religiously. Search the archives and abosorb everything you read. There is a lot to learn and lot available to learn. I myself have learned a tremendous amount from this site alone.

    Many things are cheaper in the states than they are up here simply because of our location. Not to deter from our economy, but find out a majority of what you need/want and then purchase them before you move to save money (if the number of moving items is not a big deal). Of course, there are a handful of items that you really can't find in the states and are specific to here.
    Thanks! And I will check that out! Also, I went to Academy today and they told me to wait until I get there. His reasoning was that they would seize my guns, etc. when going through Canada. Is that true? Any suggestions? I guess I could have it shipped there.

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    I'm trying to understand you without overstepping what your saying, so please do not be offended. You can donate your meat if you like and you can have it processed commercially if that is preferable to you, but in either case you are responsible for caring for the animal once it is down and that is a hands on job for the hunter or the hunter's guide. In only the most unusual hunting circumstance would you be able to load a whole moose into a vehicle and then transport it to a processor. While there are probably places that you could do this with deer, it is not what I would consider a practical option. Upon collecting a moose or a deer you are going to dress the animal in the field as quickly and cleanly as possible and then secure the meat in game bags (probably 10-12 bags in the case of a moose/2-4 in the case of a deer) and pack it to camp where you will store it out of direct sunlight and the weather until you can make your way out of the field. In the L48 you can harvest a deer, drive your truck next to the animal and then load it into the bed of the truck and take it to a processor--that's not going to happen in AK.

    As for traveling through Canada with firearms, you can read about traveling with firearms through Canada for yourself and make your own decisions. Here are a couple of links:

    link and link

    Another option is shipping them through the USPS. A long gun ships with insurance for about 20-30$ using USPS; I use their services regularly.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    I'm trying to understand you without overstepping what your saying, so please do not be offended. You can donate your meat if you like and you can have it processed commercially if that is preferable to you, but in either case you are responsible for caring for the animal once it is down and that is a hands on job for the hunter or the hunter's guide. In only the most unusual hunting circumstance would you be able to load a whole moose into a vehicle and then transport it to a processor. While there are probably places that you could do this with deer, it is not what I would consider a practical option. Upon collecting a moose or a deer you are going to dress the animal in the field as quickly and cleanly as possible and then secure the meat in game bags (probably 10-12 bags in the case of a moose/2-4 in the case of a deer) and pack it to camp where you will store it out of direct sunlight and the weather until you can make your way out of the field. In the L48 you can harvest a deer, drive your truck next to the animal and then load it into the bed of the truck and take it to a processor--that's not going to happen in AK.
    You aren't overstepping. Not offended at all. I'm just trying to figure out what all would happen and that was helpful. I'm still going to look into going with a group or "guide" for at least a few trips. I figured it would be hands on in that sense. Not a major problem, just gotta learn how to and get used to it. I'm still debating on the gun transport. Haha.

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    One thing that you can do, right now, before you move to Alaska - is take the Hunter Education (safety) Course. It is required in all fifty states (plus Canada & Mexico) and will make you a better and safer hunter. The course should cost you nothing ($0.00). Have fun my friend... you are about to embark upon a life long journey that has many, many rewards!

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    I like tailwind's advice, the best way to get started without spending a fortune is to get your hands on a .22lr and get into the woods. Small game hunting areas are plentiful and length of season is long.
    But hunting big game in Alaska more challenging, the animals are harder to get to than they are in Texas. I think your best bet for moose or deer is to try to make friends when you get here who are experienced and have already had success hunting those species. If you don't really know anybody up here, hang out on the forum - volunteer to help someone. Offer to help pack meat and gear on a moose hunt in exchange for the experience or something similar.

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    Although hunteer education is something you should take and is very advantageous, for the most part it is NOT required in alaska. It is in some areas such as militray bases, and some of the areas in GMU 14C, Palmer Wasilla Management Area. I've done it twice and my daughters have both done it. Wasilla is in GMU 14. You are totally responsible for getting the game out of the field in good shape but then you can donate it to the foodbank of Alaska. The first time you see a moose down you'll ask yourself what you got yourself into. I'm sure you can find someone to show uoy the ropes and ghety you started.

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    The single most important thing you need is to meet an established, succesful local who is willing to let you tag along. I never had success until I did that. Also, the biggest caliber rifle you can shoot accurately.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    As opposed to donating meat to anyone else, i would suggest eating it yourself. Part of becoming a complete outdoorsman is learning to process and butcher your game animals yourself.
    Are you coming to the great land as a civilian? Or as a military transplant? Either way, finding an established mentor will reduce wasting time, and will enhance your learning curve. This forum is a fine resource, especially the past archives, along with a hundred books. But, in my opinion, nothing beats personal experience. Hunting in Texas could not be more different than hunting in Alaska. So come up north and start beating your feet on the ground. Be bold, but use common sence and caution. Most of us have survived, and I'll bet you will also.
    To be "most successful early", have money for fly-out trips. Fly-out success rates far exceed walk-in success rates. But, if you are hungry for adventure, you will have a blast and find game either way.
    dennis

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    Thanks everyone! I probably will get a .22 once i get up there. I am going up there as a civilian. And I'm sure as time goes on, I'll get to know some people (either on here or once I get there) that can show me the ropes. I also think the Hunter's Education Course is something I'd be happy to do. It would teach me about it while teaching safety. Two great things at once.

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