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New to Hunting-- Where to Start?

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  • #16
    My first two years in Alaska I tagged along with students out in 21e. I helped pack out probably 15 moose in those two years. Was in on multiple kills. One thing I learned is how massive a bull moose is. It was a different style of hunting. More like a boat ride, but with the moose population and the lack of hunting pressure it didnít take much hunting to punch a tag.

    I then moved to unit 17 and it required much more effort. It also required more gear. I became friends with many people that hunted, but our schedules didnít match up for trips. Also, they were established groups already.

    i ended up hunting with a new resident two years in a row to show the ropes and when I finally found a partner that was skilled and knowledgeable, I ended up moving to unit 13, which was another learning curve.

    This year my hunting party contains my partner from last year and three new guys. We are learning together and have already made some plans and will start scouting the area soon. Issues will be getting to our spot since Iím the only boat owner and it is a wonderful boat, but space is limited. Iím also doing a 9 day hunt instead of weekend warrior thing. I saved my personal data specifically for hunting.

    Small game hunting is a great way to get out, and I say get HT for moose. You never know. Just realize the work that is required to process a moose. It ainít easy and the further you ate from your vehicle, the further you got to pack.

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    • #17
      I can try n take ya for black bear this fall. Looks like my Kodiak goat tag will go to waste n therefore wonít deer hunt there also.

      Have a mtn bike?


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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      • #18
        I'd get a copy of the regs and read cover to cover a few times.
        Start exploring now. Road trips, mountain hikes, time in your tent and bags.
        Start hunting small game as soon as seasons open to get used to time in the woods.
        Read books starting with Hunting in Alaska by Christopher Batin
        Watch the TV series Meat Eater on Netflix. Half his hunts are in Alaska it seems.

        I'm in Anchorage and would be happy to get together to discuss.

        Comment


        • #19
          Lots of good advice here. Spending time in the alpine in September and October chasing ptarmigan while carrying a black bear tag and picking blueberries is an excellent way to get started.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by mtb_tom View Post
            Ö.I've got both a 12ga and a 22LR, but neither have made the trip up from the lower 48 so that puts them out of reach....
            You need to start shooting. You can "hunt" all you want but if you can't hit what you're aiming at it's all for not. Find the firearm of choice and practice with it....a lot! You need to feel comfortable with it so you're confident in your "killing" abilities at different angles and distances. All animals deserve a clean kill. Please respect that.

            Also, you may want to hone your stalking abilities on the off season. There's usually a cow moose to be found somewhere. See how close you can get before, or if ever, she sees you or picks up your scent. It's actually quite a fun and exhilarating thing to do. You may not want to try this on a cow with calves though for obvious reasons....

            Good luck!
            Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

            Comment


            • #21
              @akrstabout, tyrex13- PMing you, thanks much for the offers!

              @Brian M- what would gun you recommend in a situation like that? 20ga/.22 coupled with an extra rifle packed in?

              Thanks again for everyone offering up advice. Lots to learn ahead of me, and I feel like I have a much better idea of what I should be doing to learn it.

              Comment


              • #22
                [QUOTE=mtb_tom;1666207]

                @Brian M- what would gun you recommend in a situation like that? 20ga/.22 coupled with an extra rifle packed in?

                [\QUOTE]

                Yep, those would work. I usually use a .410 or 20ga for ptarmigan, but a .22 is perfect as well if taking them on the ground. Take a look at the trails in the Kenai Mountains that get you into the alpine. Good ptarmigan and black bear hunting in September.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Excellent! Sounds like a 20ga and a .30-06 are in my near future.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by mtb_tom View Post
                    Excellent! Sounds like a 20ga and a .30-06 are in my near future.
                    Iíve got a nice 30-06 Iím getting ready to sell. Shameless plug there.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by mtb_tom View Post
                      Excellent! Sounds like a 20ga and a .30-06 are in my near future.
                      If I could only own two guns in Alaska, those would probably be the two. Maaaybe a 12 gauge instead, but I don't do much duck hunting, so a 20 gauge fits my pursuits better.

                      As fall approaches, if you want to chat hunting plans and/or drawing permits over a beer or a coffee, I'm always game.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by mtb_tom View Post
                        I'm fairly new to Alaska, and have decided since the move to pursue something that's been interesting me for several years, learning to hunt. I'm interested in a variety of game, but what catches my attention most has been sheep, goats, and brown bear. Growing up in southern California, I haven't had much exposure to hunting directly, but have started to learn a little. I'm retaking a hunters ed course (after having completed it as a kid and doing nothing beyond that), and starting to read through the regs and information about various species, but beyond that I'm a bit lost on where to go next.

                        I'd like to be preparing for a hunt in the 2020 season (assuming this September is too close to hunt effectively), and so far the items I have on my list are:

                        1. Choose where and what to hunt, and apply for any draw tags in November (if applicable).
                        2. Find a partner willing to join if possible.
                        3. Start to plan my access (limited to the road network, canoes, and my own feet).
                        4. Get out to the areas I'm interested in, hopefully before the end of this summer, to scout them out and find where game are located.
                        5. Start to get my gear ready and tested well in advance.

                        What am I missing? I feel like I'm at the stage where I don't know what I don't know, and my network of other hunters is fairly small. If anyone can help point me in the right direction I'd definitely appreciate it! I'm also willing to throw in for gas if anyone wants a hand scouting or carrying meat out this fall and is willing to let me tag along.

                        Interesting. I am mentoring a Californian neophyte also. Where do we start? Here are some thoughts:
                        1. Finding synchronicity with a hunting partner is as hard as finding a "good wife." You will date many before you find the right one. Sometimes never.
                        2. You have to self-asses. Are you a maniacal go for broke type of hunter or more of a laid back guy who enjoys the social aspects more than the actual hunting? Many so-called hunters view hunting as an opportunity to get away from the wife and drink beer and play cards with their buddies by the RV. Some are afraid of the dark and only venture out with strong daylight. Some are scary stupid and careless with firearms. Some have no sense of direction. Some are lazy and just road hunt....etc. Make sure you start out with someone who will not make your first outings a negative experience. Choose carefully!
                        3. Spend time with an Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologist! Most are helpful and provide good current information regarding game density and harvest numbers.
                        4. Get a good GPS. Learn to read MAPS. Have back up compass skills. (Later, you will be renting satellite phones).
                        5. Drive around the OBVIOUS places where the MOBS go during hunting season and STAY AWAY from them!
                        6. In Alaska, unless you bowhunt or your friend/partner owns a SuperCub on floats/wheels, you will likely need a 4 wheeler or some type of boat. Alaska is HUGE and game density is very, very low. Meaning, you usually have to cover a LOT of ground to get into good game country.
                        7. If you want to really HUNT, get a BOW! Bow permits are easier to draw and access to good game areas is a lot cheaper/easier.
                        8. Hunt spruce grouse, rabbits and ptarmigan to start. Later, move on to the easier caribou hunts (the mobs show up!). Hunt moose with a bow but be aware moose calls can and do bring in bears.
                        9. If you are a firearms hunter. Buy a "transition" gun that will be easy to re-sell once you outgrow it. Stay away from antique/quaint rifles and calibers, they are hard to re-sell and ammo is very hard to get.
                        10. Skip the brown bear hunting until you know what you are doing.
                        11. Get in TERRIFIC shape for sheep and goat hunting.
                        12. Buy VALUE glass. Don't believe "you get what you pay for." A lot of the premium brand name optics are OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced.
                        13. Check auctions, moving sales, etc. when looking for hunting equipment. You'd be amazed what one can find. You don't have to buy retail for all.
                        14. There are many other things involved. Keep reading this site. There are some here who actually "walk the walk".....

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
                          Iíve got a nice 30-06 Iím getting ready to sell. Shameless plug there.
                          Finding a left handed rifle will be the key for me...I've shot right handers most my life, but if I'm going to get a nice setup I want it to match my handedness. If that's the case with yours though, shoot me a PM.

                          Originally posted by Coldfoot View Post
                          Interesting. I am mentoring a Californian neophyte also. Where do we start? Here are some thoughts:
                          1. Finding synchronicity with a hunting partner is as hard as finding a "good wife." You will date many before you find the right one. Sometimes never.
                          2. You have to self-asses. Are you a maniacal go for broke type of hunter or more of a laid back guy who enjoys the social aspects more than the actual hunting? Many so-called hunters view hunting as an opportunity to get away from the wife and drink beer and play cards with their buddies by the RV. Some are afraid of the dark and only venture out with strong daylight. Some are scary stupid and careless with firearms. Some have no sense of direction. Some are lazy and just road hunt....etc. Make sure you start out with someone who will not make your first outings a negative experience. Choose carefully!
                          3. Spend time with an Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologist! Most are helpful and provide good current information regarding game density and harvest numbers.
                          4. Get a good GPS. Learn to read MAPS. Have back up compass skills. (Later, you will be renting satellite phones).
                          5. Drive around the OBVIOUS places where the MOBS go during hunting season and STAY AWAY from them!
                          6. In Alaska, unless you bowhunt or your friend/partner owns a SuperCub on floats/wheels, you will likely need a 4 wheeler or some type of boat. Alaska is HUGE and game density is very, very low. Meaning, you usually have to cover a LOT of ground to get into good game country.
                          7. If you want to really HUNT, get a BOW! Bow permits are easier to draw and access to good game areas is a lot cheaper/easier.
                          8. Hunt spruce grouse, rabbits and ptarmigan to start. Later, move on to the easier caribou hunts (the mobs show up!). Hunt moose with a bow but be aware moose calls can and do bring in bears.
                          9. If you are a firearms hunter. Buy a "transition" gun that will be easy to re-sell once you outgrow it. Stay away from antique/quaint rifles and calibers, they are hard to re-sell and ammo is very hard to get.
                          10. Skip the brown bear hunting until you know what you are doing.
                          11. Get in TERRIFIC shape for sheep and goat hunting.
                          12. Buy VALUE glass. Don't believe "you get what you pay for." A lot of the premium brand name optics are OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced.
                          13. Check auctions, moving sales, etc. when looking for hunting equipment. You'd be amazed what one can find. You don't have to buy retail for all.
                          14. There are many other things involved. Keep reading this site. There are some here who actually "walk the walk".....
                          Lots to take in there, thanks for posting.

                          1/2: I think I have an idea of what my style will be, but feel like I will start to get a better idea for what I like/dislike as I get into things. I see myself as around a 6-8 out of 10 on a scale of drinking at the RV (1) to hardcore trophy chaser (10). One of the things I'm hoping to do is incorporate other interests of mine into hunts, like canoeing, sailing, and eventually flying.
                          3. What is the best way to do this? I found the list of biologists assigned to each region and subregion, aside from calling them up with questions are there publications, reports, etc that I should be looking for?
                          4. I prefer my paper maps to GPS. I've been looking into a watch style GPS (for both outdoor activities and athletic training), would this be sufficient paired with a good map/compass background?
                          5. Noted.
                          6. Getting my pilot's license and moving towards having a Supercub/180 is high on my list within the next year or two, though I recognize that it will be a long time before I'm capable of flying the tight gravel bars and ridgelines. Are off road, but still improved airstrips typically out of the way enough to have good hunting nearby? Or should I be expecting to need other means of transport until I can really fly into tight spaces?
                          7. Had a bow as a kid and loved it. It's on my list for sure, especially as we have a range here at the mining camp, but I know it will be next season at the earliest before I have relearned the skills to take an ethical shot.
                          8. Expect to be chasing grouse and ptarmigan within a week or two!
                          9. As noted above, left handedness tends to limit my options. My favorites so far as the Tikka T3x Lite Stainless and Savage 110 Storm, in .30-06, both available in southpaw form with stainless barrels and actions. Would these fit the bill as to what you're describing?
                          10. Noted.
                          11. Already very active in terms of running, cycling, and lifting weights, I'll be adding some weighted pack carrys soon to improve my pack carrying capabilities up mountainsides.
                          12. So far I've heard Vortex and Redfield listed as good value glass options. I love my Virtex binos, any others you would suggest I check out?
                          13. Always looking at craigslist and Alaskas list. Found some promising leads, but nothing to follow through on- yet.
                          14. I'll be here plenty over the coming months and years, I have no doubt! Thanks again for the advice.

                          If I could only own two guns in Alaska, those would probably be the two. Maaaybe a 12 gauge instead, but I don't do much duck hunting, so a 20 gauge fits my pursuits better.

                          As fall approaches, if you want to chat hunting plans and/or drawing permits over a beer or a coffee, I'm always game.


                          I'll have to take you up on that! I'll PM you and we can connect.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I don't think any grouse or ptarmigan seasons open until after Aug 10th, except in SE. Better add a copy of the regulations to your list!

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by mtb_tom View Post
                              Finding a left handed rifle will be the key for me...I've shot right handers most my life, but if I'm going to get a nice setup I want it to match my handedness. If that's the case with yours though, shoot me a PM.



                              Lots to take in there, thanks for posting.

                              1/2: I think I have an idea of what my style will be, but feel like I will start to get a better idea for what I like/dislike as I get into things. I see myself as around a 6-8 out of 10 on a scale of drinking at the RV (1) to hardcore trophy chaser (10). One of the things I'm hoping to do is incorporate other interests of mine into hunts, like canoeing, sailing, and eventually flying.
                              3. What is the best way to do this? I found the list of biologists assigned to each region and subregion, aside from calling them up with questions are there publications, reports, etc that I should be looking for?
                              4. I prefer my paper maps to GPS. I've been looking into a watch style GPS (for both outdoor activities and athletic training), would this be sufficient paired with a good map/compass background?
                              5. Noted.
                              6. Getting my pilot's license and moving towards having a Supercub/180 is high on my list within the next year or two, though I recognize that it will be a long time before I'm capable of flying the tight gravel bars and ridgelines. Are off road, but still improved airstrips typically out of the way enough to have good hunting nearby? Or should I be expecting to need other means of transport until I can really fly into tight spaces?
                              7. Had a bow as a kid and loved it. It's on my list for sure, especially as we have a range here at the mining camp, but I know it will be next season at the earliest before I have relearned the skills to take an ethical shot.
                              8. Expect to be chasing grouse and ptarmigan within a week or two!
                              9. As noted above, left handedness tends to limit my options. My favorites so far as the Tikka T3x Lite Stainless and Savage 110 Storm, in .30-06, both available in southpaw form with stainless barrels and actions. Would these fit the bill as to what you're describing?
                              10. Noted.
                              11. Already very active in terms of running, cycling, and lifting weights, I'll be adding some weighted pack carrys soon to improve my pack carrying capabilities up mountainsides.
                              12. So far I've heard Vortex and Redfield listed as good value glass options. I love my Virtex binos, any others you would suggest I check out?
                              13. Always looking at craigslist and Alaskas list. Found some promising leads, but nothing to follow through on- yet.
                              14. I'll be here plenty over the coming months and years, I have no doubt! Thanks again for the advice.



                              [/COLOR]I'll have to take you up on that! I'll PM you and we can connect.


                              In response to your response:
                              1. Canoeing/Kayaking is fine but rafting is better for heavier loads and long trips.
                              3. Never call a biologist. Show up to the office and ask if he/she is available. Many will make time to meet with you. And, they will know you are not the average guy.
                              4. I am old school. I use topo maps and compass. But, GPS readings are essential for determining boundaries.
                              6. If you have a Supercub/180. Hunting in Alaska becomes much, much, much, much easier!
                              7. Bowhunting is a lot of fun and is mostly spot and stalk in Alaska. Of course, moose and black bear bowhunting is often stand hunting.
                              9. Most guys like Tikka. I like Bergara. But, Bergara has only one left handed model this year.
                              11. Sheep hunting is BRUTAL if one is walking from main roads. Crossing streams/rivers is obligatory and VERY DANGEROUS.
                              12. Vortex is "smoke and mirrors." Only their Japanese Razor products are decent.
                              13. Check Facebook more than craiglist for hunting equipment. No guns or ammo of course.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by CapnMike View Post
                                I don't think any grouse or ptarmigan seasons open until after Aug 10th, except in SE. Better add a copy of the regulations to your list!
                                Oops, meant to type month, not week- tentatively scheduled to be off the last two weeks in August, and again in Sept. Good catch.

                                Comment

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