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  • A Hunt Planning Primer

    I thought a thread on hunt planning might be helpful; we're getting some more folks here who are just trying to get pointed in the right direction. Some of them are new and don't even know about the archives here, or other resources that might be academic to many of us. So here goes... feel free to chime in on anything you feel might be helpful to someone trying to put an Alaska hunt together for the first time.

    Here are a few ideas to get us started:

    RESOURCES YOU MUST HAVE

    1. Chris Batin's "Hunting in Alaska" book
    2. Delorme Mapping's "Alaska Atlas and Gazeteer"
    3. ADFG DVD "Field Care of Game Meat"
    4. ADFG DVD "Is This Moose Legal?" (moose hunts)
    5. Current copy of the ADFG Hunting Regulations
    6. Wayne Kubat's DVD "Love, Thunder and Bull" (moose calling)
    7. ADFG DVD "Bear ID; Take a Closer Look" (bear hunts)
    8. Good maps of the hunt area.
    9. Hunt Planning Timeline
    10. ADF&G Management Reports
    11. Hunt Planning Resources (who to talk to and what questions to ask)

    OPTIONAL RESOURCES (good to have, but not essential)

    1. "Wild Mammals of North America" (biological and behavioral data)
    2. "Medicine for Mountaineering" (mountain first aid)
    3. Dennis Confer's "Hunt Alaska Now"
    4. Boone and Crockett's "Records of North American Big Game"
    5. Bartlett's DVD "Wilderness Taxidermy"
    6. "Mountaineering; Freedom of the Hills" (hunts for mountain game)

    FOR FLOAT HUNTS

    1. Karen Jettmar's "Alaska River Guide"
    2. Strahan's "Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers" by far the most comprehensive manual ever written on float hunting.
    3. McGinnis "Whitewater Rafting"
    4. DVD "Let's Get Wet" (basic rafting and hazard avoidance)
    5. "Whitewater Rescue Manual"
    6. Our Rivers Page. The list on the bottom of the page contains references on over 400 rivers in Alaska.
    7. Our Float Hunting Page. Click the links on the left of the page to navigate this section.
    8. Pages on Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers. These are taken from my seminars on float hunting in Alaska. Click the links on the left to navigate.

    FINDING A PLACE TO HUNT

    Visit our page on Location Selection. Lots of details there to help you find a place to hunt.

    1. Decide on a primary species
    2. Decide on trophy expectations
    3. Determine what area of the state to focus on
    4. Locate a primary and secondary river (float hunts)
    5. Determine dates of hunt (generally)
    6. Check hunting regulations to determine season dates, bag limits, etc.
    7. Contact ADFG area biologist for preliminaries (pressure, bull / cow ratios, herd strength & trends, etc.)
    8. Post a few questions on Outdoors Directory to confirm and refine plans
    9. Purchase 1:63,360 series topo maps (or similar)
    10. View BLM high altitude CIR images, if available
    11. Locate specific hunting areas and make plan
    12. Second call to ADFG biologist (confirm hunt plan, etc)

    PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

    1. Gear selection
    2. Transportation arrangements
    3. Menu and food planning
    4. Gear expediting / shipping arrangements
    5. Lodging arrangements

    HUNT PLANNING RESOURCES ON OUTDOORS DIRECTORY

    We have a special section on hunt planning on this site, that is of immense help to people of all experience levels. Check it out, and be sure to click on the links on the left-hand side of the page; they take you to entire new areas of the site that contain vital information!

    1. Hunting in Alaska
    2. Alaska Hunt Planning
    3. Float Hunting
    4. Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers
    5. River Selection
    6. Boat Selection
    7. Hunting Gear
    8. Hunt Planning Library
    9. Species Pages (this lands on our main hunting page, but contains links to our species on the left side)

    HUNT PLANNING SERVICE

    If you need assistance in planning your hunt, we offer a hunt planning service. We work personally with you to construct a hunt that meets your needs and requirements. We expect our hunters to be actively involved in the planning process as we provide coaching and direction. This is a fee-based service, but once you are in the program, we work with you on additional hunts at no charge. Read more about it on our HUNT PLANNING SERVICES page.

    There's a LOT more to this, but it should be interesting to see what others have to contribute.

    Hope it helps someone out there!

    -Mike
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 07-10-2013, 10:34. Reason: added resource
    Michael Strahan
    Site Owner
    Alaska Hunt Consultant
    1 (907) 229-4501

  • #2
    Great post. Should be good help to those not familiar with the state, even some who live here.
    Under finding a place to hunt, I would put no. 6 as no. 2. The reg book shows which areas have healthy populations, in general. Units open to all hunters have good numbers of animals. Registration hunts, drawing hunt areas, generally indicate lower numbers and restrictions being used to limit the number of hunters.
    Print this one out guys.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Good stuff!

      Originally posted by martentrapper View Post
      Great post. Should be good help to those not familiar with the state, even some who live here.
      Under finding a place to hunt, I would put no. 6 as no. 2. The reg book shows which areas have healthy populations, in general. Units open to all hunters have good numbers of animals. Registration hunts, drawing hunt areas, generally indicate lower numbers and restrictions being used to limit the number of hunters.
      Print this one out guys.
      Thanks for the kind words, MT. Yeah, a good look at the regs is extremely important for sure. Some of our Outside visitors may not know that the regulations don't come out until mid-summer (the ones that will be in effect for the following fall, that is), so all you have to go on initially is the previous year's regulations and a consultation with the area biologist. He or she should generally know what changes (if any) are coming down. Of course it all goes through "the process" before it becomes final, and, VERY IMPORTANTLY, regulations can change via emergency order AFTER they're printed! In some cases the regulations may change after you're in the field. You are responsible to follow them!

      Best regards,

      -Mike
      Michael Strahan
      Site Owner
      Alaska Hunt Consultant
      1 (907) 229-4501

      Comment


      • #4
        Bartletts Float hunting book and video

        One might need to look at Bartlett's Float hunting book. Also very informative. Must have forgotten about that one!!

        Great forum Post here, definately helpful.

        Comment


        • #5
          PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:

          COMMUNICATIONS (who you tell where you are going and if/when you have to reserve and prep you satallite phone or other form of comms).
          RIFLE (plans, caliber and rehearsal - go to the range).
          OPTICS (plan for you species and terrain/area to hunt).
          CONDITIONING PLAN (get it shape, you owe it to yourself and to your hunt).

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks. My brother has started to plan for a future trip. That was my reasons for my last thread. I will pass this along. I think a post like this should be a sticky for all new folks to read. Thank You again.

            Ron
            "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

            Edwin Hubble

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Mike for generously pointing many of us in the right direction.

              I might be a bit premature, but I'm beginning planning the initial planning for a 2010 caribou float hunt with my family. My outdoor experience prior to moving up to Alaska has only been a few hundred kayak river miles floating/fishing/duck hunting and a few guided whitewater trips up to Six Mile here in AK. We had a great DIY float on the Gulkana this summer and will hopefully add a couple hundred river miles this next summer. My big game hunting has been limited to relative easy deer hunts in the Sierra Nevadas in California. I have a lot to learn and digest prior to setting out here in AK. Thanks to you and everyone else who contribute to these boards and provide invaluable information.

              Comment


              • #8
                Maps

                I would love to get my hands on some good maps. 1:24K is what I consider good. 1:50K would work....

                Where can I get some with that kind of detail for Alaska?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mike
                  This is great thanks for sharing.

                  Ive attached a gear list that I put together for my last hunting trip (D-I-Y POW black bear hunt). I hope that some find it useful.

                  I also ordered two topographical maps from the USGS for roughly $12 (I think?).

                  http://store.usgs.gov/b2c_usgs/usgs/maplocator/(xcm=r3standardpitrex_prd&layout=6_1_61_75&uiarea= 2&ctype=areaDetails&carea=%24ROOT)/.do
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Map issues

                    Originally posted by Bullelkklr View Post
                    I would love to get my hands on some good maps. 1:24K is what I consider good. 1:50K would work....

                    Where can I get some with that kind of detail for Alaska?
                    Bull-

                    A few years ago I purchased, directly from the USGS, ALL of the topo maps they ever produced for Alaska. All of them. It was on 43 CDs and cost me close to $6,000. I still have them, but I noticed that there are not a lot of 1:24K maps in there for Alaska. Coverage is very limited. We do have pretty much statewide coverage in 1:63,360 though, and this is what I supply to my hunters. In some cases I will also supply 1:250,000 maps in addition if it is a longer float. These maps are intended just as supplemental though, to get a feel for the bigger picture.

                    I will open a separate thread on maps here; I have some questions for all of you, along with a few observations. I want to keep this thread focused on hunt planning itself.

                    -Mike
                    Michael Strahan
                    Site Owner
                    Alaska Hunt Consultant
                    1 (907) 229-4501

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What NOT to do!

                      We've talked some about things you should do in planning an Alaska hunt, however there are also some things you should avoid. In particular, whether you're posting a question here in the hunting forum, or are interviewing an area biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, you want to avoid questions like these:
                      1. Where's a good place to hunt? Focus your questions on a specific species, specific dates, and a specific location. Questions this general will net an equally general answer.
                      2. Where can I find a trophy (moose, caribou, bear, etc)? The term "trophy" is overused, and means different things to different people. Focusing only on records-book game (or appearing to) may communicate that you're just a "horn hunter" and a superficial one at that. Folks interested only in large antlers are generally a turn-off to many folks up here, including many of our biologists. Besides, most serious trophy hunters have been around long enough to know where larger animals are found. Asking that question makes you look like a greenhorn looking for an edge for free.
                      Expect to "earn your spurs", rather than expecting folks to give away the farm just because you asked. It's been my experience that folks are freer with information once they determine you are not a threat. But if you come off like of those "whack 'em and stack 'em" types, be prepared for the cold shoulder.

                      There are many other "dont's"; how about it guys and gals? Care to add yours in?

                      -Mike
                      Michael Strahan
                      Site Owner
                      Alaska Hunt Consultant
                      1 (907) 229-4501

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        planning a trip

                        I truly appreciate the insight given to people like me on these posts about trip planning. I need direction and ALOT of it. My father has been dreaming of hunting in Alaska since I was very small. Now that he is 60 he seems to have given up hope for his dream. For his Christmas gift I am hoping to put together a wealth of information that I have been researching online and in books- to make his dream become a reality.

                        My father hunts with a long bow, unless hunting waterfowl...

                        He appreciates animals in the wild and has high ethical standards for himself as a hunter.

                        I have never been to Alaska- I am a very motivated researcher - however, it is difficult to find all the information I am looking for. I basically want to hand him a folder- and a few books at Christmas. The folder will contain all the information he needs to schedule a hunting and fishing trip to Alaska. The books will provide detailed information, and spark his motivation, something for him to look forward to...he'll probably cry.

                        So- I truly appreciate your posts. I have a lot of work to do- as I am still in the beginning stages of my research. However, I do know that what he'd like to hunt is Moose, but may have to settle for Elk. He also wants to fish- and he doesn't really care what type of fish- just fish... just loves it!

                        Areas I am looking at in Alaska- right now, Kodiak and Katmai have my attention and I have pretty much ruled out Fairbanks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Check to see if your hunting area encompasses any private lands. Can be done at the BLM and AK DNR. Seek permission from landowners or find where the easements are to allow access to public lands.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by huntkid View Post

                            So- I truly appreciate your posts. I have a lot of work to do- as I am still in the beginning stages of my research. However, I do know that what he'd like to hunt is Moose, but may have to settle for Elk. He also wants to fish- and he doesn't really care what type of fish- just fish... just loves it!

                            Areas I am looking at in Alaska- right now, Kodiak and Katmai have my attention and I have pretty much ruled out Fairbanks.
                            A little help for your research - there are no elk or moose on Kodiak, and Katmai is a National Park that has no legal hunting. I'm not sure how you came up with those two locations, but neither would work. As for elk hunting, that is extremely limited in Alaska and is not a good primary hunt target for most hunters. Moose would be a potential, but only if your father is planning to hunt with someone else. It can not be overstated how large a mature bull moose is and how difficult it is to properly care for one in the field. A better first hunt option might be caribou. If that interests you or your father, look into Kotzebue, Bettles, or Coldfoot as potential options for a starting point. Unless blacktailed deer is the preferred animal, forget about Kodiak.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by huntkid View Post
                              I truly appreciate the insight given to people like me on these posts about trip planning. I need direction and ALOT of it. My father has been dreaming of hunting in Alaska since I was very small. Now that he is 60 he seems to have given up hope for his dream. For his Christmas gift I am hoping to put together a wealth of information that I have been researching online and in books- to make his dream become a reality.

                              My father hunts with a long bow, unless hunting waterfowl...

                              He appreciates animals in the wild and has high ethical standards for himself as a hunter.

                              I have never been to Alaska- I am a very motivated researcher - however, it is difficult to find all the information I am looking for. I basically want to hand him a folder- and a few books at Christmas. The folder will contain all the information he needs to schedule a hunting and fishing trip to Alaska. The books will provide detailed information, and spark his motivation, something for him to look forward to...he'll probably cry.

                              So- I truly appreciate your posts. I have a lot of work to do- as I am still in the beginning stages of my research. However, I do know that what he'd like to hunt is Moose, but may have to settle for Elk. He also wants to fish- and he doesn't really care what type of fish- just fish... just loves it!

                              Areas I am looking at in Alaska- right now, Kodiak and Katmai have my attention and I have pretty much ruled out Fairbanks.
                              Once you decide on a species and location and if you want to save some money you can always look at a forest service cabin. Check this out:

                              http://www.outdoorlife.com/outdoor/adventure/article/0,19912,434105,00.html

                              Comment

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