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Big Game

Bowhunting Alaska On Your Own

by Robert W. Streeter   |  September 2nd, 2011 4

Are you up for the challenge of  Bowhunting Alaska by yourself?


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The first step in a DIY adventure is making sure you have realistic expectations. On a caribou hunt, if things go right and you’re dropped off in the right place, most of the animals are seen early in the trip and then sightings drop off as they migrate elsewhere. On a moose hunt, you may see a legal bull on the first day, and never encounter another one for the rest of the trip. You won’t have an outfitter keeping track of the animals for you.

You must also be prepared to deal with success. It’s a rookie mistake to wander far from camp and worry about recovering the animal once it’s down. I’ve packed out a couple of caribou and it takes me two fully loaded trips to get one bull back to camp so I won’t hunt much further than two miles out.

You should also plan for adversity, mostly because of the unpredictable Alaskan weather. Bobby was stuck on the tundra once for almost 20 days because of poor flying weather and an aircraft breakdown. Getting anywhere in Alaska almost always involves a plane. If your flight service uses Super Cubs, weight limitations are about 65-70 pounds of gear plus one hunter. For larger planes, like a Cessna 185, the pilot will usually take two hunters with about 100 pounds of gear each. Always allow extra travel time at each end of your hunt because of weather delays, and bring extra food and emergency supplies such as a first-aid kit.

If you are not in good physical condition for a hunt like this, get in shape or don’t go. This is especially true for moose, because the recovery will be the hardest work you’ll ever do.

If you are still up for a trip like this, take the time to plan every detail. Seek the advice of hunters who’ve been there, done that. Ask them what they learned and take advantage of their mistakes.

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