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How Do I Get My State Hunting License?

The directory includes Alaska hunting guides , Alaska air taxis , Alaska hunting lodges , transporters and much more. The Outdoors Alaska Store. Our store features hundreds of books, maps and DVD titles specifically focused on hunting in Alaska, including field techniques, float hunting, species, hunting stories and much more. David is a retired biologist from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and he produced similar material for the department. This article, though time-worn, still contains much valuable information.

We have updated it and are including it here as a service to you. But be sure your expectations of Alaska hunting are realistic. There is not game behind every bush in Alaska. Regulations and land ownership are complex in some areas. Highway vehicles are rarely a great way to get to hunting areas. Even the very act of hunting Alaska can be hazardous because of dangerous game, early winter weather, and distance from help. Some caribou herds number in the hundreds of thousands and contain impressively large animals.

Moose populations are dense in some areas. Moose racks larger than 70 inches are not unheard of. Coastal Alaska habitats produce large numbers of brown and black bears. Dall sheep or goats populate most mountain ranges. Yes, it can be very good.

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Alaska hunting can best be examined by regions. Hunting opportunities vary from deer hunting Southeast Alaska's coastal rainforest Region 1 , to muskox hunting on the windswept tundra of western Alaska Region 5 , to hunting for moose in the hills of the Interior Region 3 , to high mountain Dall sheep hunting in Southcentral Region 4 , to brown bear hunting world-famous Kodiak Region If you are interested in hunting Alaska, your task is to find the combination of the species you want to hunt, the kind of country you want to hunt in, and how you want to hunt.

Let's look first at Alaska's regions and what they are like. Follow the links within the regional descriptions to find more specific information. Southeast Alaska's geography and climate provide conditions for good habitat for a variety of big game. Sitka black-tailed deer are found throughout the region, but in best numbers on the "ABC islands" โ€” Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof. Black bears are particularly abundant on Prince of Wales island and the islands in the central portion of the region.

Finding a Place to Hunt

Goats are indigenous to the coastal mountains and have been transplanted to Baranof Island. Moose are not numerous in Southeast Alaska as they are in other areas of the state, although reasonable populations are found on the Yakutat Forelands, in the Haines area, and smaller populations near Juneau, Petersburg and Ketchikan. Much of the guided big game hunting in this region is by boat. Boat rentals are available in some communities for hunters wanting to roll their own. A variety of air charter services with float planes also provide an important transportation alternative.

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Our Southeast Alaska Hunting archive page. Check this link for our original page on hunting Southeast, just to get a feel for the area and what you can expect. This area contains several big-game species, including Sitka blacktailed deer, moose, Dall sheep, caribou, goat, black bear and brown bear. Deer are currently abundant on Kodiak Island and are found in good numbers on the islands of Prince William Sound. These are transplanted deer originating from Southeast Alaska, and as is the case in Alaska, annual abundance depends much on winter snowpack.

Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula are famous for their brown bear populations.

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Farther inland, many Alaskans refer to these bears as grizzlies. There are some size and color distinctions but no clear line divides the populations. That said, hunters interested in bears that meet the official distinctions that the Boone and Crockett Club makes between brown and grizzly bears should consult that organization's current standards.

They've drawn a somewhat arbitrary line across the state such that bears taken south and west of Denali Park are considered brown bears, and bears taken north of that line are recorded as grizzlies. Some pockets of outstanding opportunity remain, however, most notably the Tustamena Lake area. The most practical way of hunting this area involves horseback hunting, as the distances to be traveled by foot are prohibitive. Some caribou hunting opportunities exist, with drawing permits available for the Kenai mountains area.

Elk were transplanted to Afognak and Raspberry islands some years ago, and the population is healthy enough in both places to allow hunting by drawing permit. These are Roosevelt elk, and the antler configuration of bulls from this area are somewhat smaller than those found in indigenous populations in the Pacific Northwest, the heartland of this species.

The biggest challenges elk hunters find in these areas are weather, steep and heavily vegetated terrain, and predatory brown bears who may appropriate a kill before it can be packed to the beach. Moose and caribou are the most visible big game in the interior and eastern arctic. This region encompasses the huge area drained by the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers and draining into the Bering Sea, east of Prudhoe Bay. This is relatively dry country, and habitats vary from the forested Interior to the western and arctic treeless tundra. Regulations in some parts of the state require up to four brow tines on at least one side or 50" antler spread.

The regulation allows more opportunity, but hunters must look very carefully before shooting. Caribou exist in more or less discrete herds, and some of these herds are huge. Moose are found in good numbers throughout the region, with some population increases occurring in the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta. Both black and grizzly bears inhabit the region, but bear populations here are not as dense as in the coastal regions.

Populations of wild bison, transplanted earlier in the century from Montana, are established and may be hunted on a draw permit basis. Dall sheep are found in most of the mountain ranges. It is not uncommon to hear wolves howling on a fall evening while sitting around the hunting campfire.

Wolverines are distributed across the region, but because they are usually solitary, sightings are rare. Four wheelers have made much more of Alaska accessible to moose hunters, although care must be taken to avoid long lasting damage to the land. Waterfowl hunting is locally good, but again, only for a short time.

Waterfowl begin moving out of the Interior as early as mid-August, several weeks before the beginning of the hunting season. It is not uncommon, for example, to see flocks of hundreds of sandhill cranes a huntable species in Alaska staging for flights south during the September moose season.

Some of the best Interior waterfowl hunting occurs on broad river flats, like the Minto Flats west of Fairbanks, shown here. There is a wide variety of game birds here, and populations can be quite good at the high point of their cycle of abundance. Grouse species include ruffed, spruce and sharptail. In the hills and mountains, hunters may find willow, rock and whitetail ptarmigan. Tel FAX SouthCentral offers an incredible diversity of topography and land cover. This region begins at Icy Bay on the Gulf of Alaska coast, and generally is comprised of the lands draining into the Gulf and Bristol Bay, and includes the Alaska Peninsula and related islands.

Climate ranges from wet along the coast to dry inland. The Alaska Peninsula is notorious for bad weather, including high winds. Moose in parts of Southcentral were recent victims of excess predation by wolves, brown bears, and black bears, however a predator control effort was initiated in and moose numbers seem to be on the rise. Nonresident moose hunters must check the regulations to identify areas that are open to nonresident harvest of moose.

The Matanuska and Susitna valleys have excellent moose habitat and have traditionally produced well.

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  6. Caribou numbers in the Nelchina Basin GMU 13 are on the rise, however the caribou population in the Western Alaska Range, normally low, has dipped in recent years due to predation. Regulations limit the harvest of the most easily accessible population to Alaska residents.

    Alaska Hunting and Trapping Information, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

    Dall sheep are found in the drier mountains in the region, and mountain goats nearer the coast, although there is some overlap. Black bears are not as numerous as in Southeast, but they are widespread and numbers are good. Wolf and wolverine are present. In fact, wolves tend to be numerous wherever there are good numbers of moose and caribou.

    Waterfowl hunting can be quite good here, although the effective season is short as birds are moving south. The season generally opens the first of September, but most of the birds will still be in eclipse plumage, regaining their full colors by mid to late September.