Are you planning to take a hunting trip of a lifetime to the wilds of Alaska? Where do you begin to make all the necessary preparations for a successful hunt? Below are some steps to take and checklists of items needed to make the planning processes less painful.
Booking an Outfitter or Air Taxi
The first thing you need to do is get an outfitter or bush pilot lined up. Most are usually booked a year in advance, so you should do this first. Before booking a flight with an air taxi, it is a good idea to do some research to decide if they are competent. First hand experience from someone you trust is hard to beat. You might also ask around on various forums and newsgroups. Among the many other considerations for selecting an air taxi are how far they are from the area you'll be going, what types of aircraft they fly, and their rates. Make certain you know exactly how you'll be charged. Some will charge by the hour (round-trip) and others by a flat rate. Get the last agreement in writing to prevent misunderstandings. You should also make sure you get the pickup place and time in writing, and make sure the air taxi has written it down also.
Commercial Airline Flights and Hotel Reservations
After you have secured an outfitter or air taxi you will want to get your commercial flights and hotel reservations booked. It is best to book your flights with Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines transports animals regularly and they are the only airline to fly within the state of Alaska. The weather is unpredictable so it might be hard to make connecting flights. For this reason you will want to book hotel reservations in Anchorage before you fly into the tundra and upon leaving the field. There are many hotel options available in Anchorage.
Licenses and Tags
Next, you will want to secure you licenses and tags. You can find all the information you need on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website. For your license visit: http://www.admin.adfg.state.ak.us/license/ and for your tags go to:
https://secure.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=interperm.issue_permit_greeting Some of the Caribou units allow you to get two Caribou tags. Obtaining two tags is well worth the extra money compared to the total cost of the trip. You never know what you will see.
Now for the list of all the gear you will need. Each pilot has a limit on the amount of weight you can take so make sure you know your limit. Hear is a good checklist of what you will need.
Hard Rifle Case
Framed Pack / Cord
XL Duffle Bag / ID Tag
Soft Rifle Case
Wool Socks for each day
Underwear for each day
2 Pair Mid-Heavy Weight Base Layer
2 Hunting Pants / Belt
Insulated Hunting Pants
3 Hunting Shirts
Gloves / Heavy Gloves
40 rounds of Ammo / Ammo Cases
Extra Game Bags
Extra Roll Toilet Paper / Ziploc Bag
8 oz Citric Powder / 1 oz (2 TBS) per 1 qt
5 lbs. Salt per Caribou
Spotting Scope / Tripod
Stocking Foot Hip Boots / Insulated Hunting Boots
1 Roll Toilet Paper / Ziploc Bag
License, Tags, Harvest Permits / Ziploc Bag
Transfer of Meat Possession Forms / Pen
Caribou Score Sheet
8 Pair Latex Gloves
Two-Way Radios / Batteries
GPS / Compass
Flashlight / Batteries
Personal First Aid Kit
Camera / Waterproof Bag
The native tradition is still very prevalent in Alaska and subsistence hunting is a way of life for most. They are very protective of their native cultures and their way of life. They are friendly and welcoming of you if you treat them, their land and their cultures with respect. Please don’t walk around in your hunting gear making it clear that is your only purpose of being in town is to hunt. You will need some non-hunting clothes for time in Alaska and the domestic flights (Socks, Pants, Shirt, Jacket, etc.).
Depending on the outfitter, camping gear might be supplied for an additional cost, but if you are a do it yourselfer then here are things to add to your camping gear list.
XL Duffle Bag / ID Tag
Smaller Duffle Bags to Break Down Bags for Bush Plane
Personal Toiletries / Ziploc Bag (Deodorant, Soap, Tooth Brush, Toothpaste, Foot Powder, Wet Wipes)
Dishes and Utensils
Alaska Hunting Proclamation
1 Six Man Tent
1 Three Man Tent
2 Propane Stoves
Propane Lantern with Mantels
*Four 1 lb. Propane Bottles
Lighter / *Matches
2 Collapsible Water Containers
First Aid Kit
Iridium Satellite Phone
* Due to airline restrictions, propane and matches will need to be purchased in Alaska.
You will need to also plan out your food for the entire trip. Here is an example food menu.
Breakfast (6 Days)
9/17 Fri Mountain House Granola w/Blueberries & Milk, Hot Chocolate
9/18 Sat Mountain House Scrambled Eggs w/ Ham and Peppers, Hot Chocolate
9/19 Sun Mountain House Granola w/Blueberries & Milk, Hot Chocolate
9/20 Mon Mountain House Granola w/Blueberries & Milk, Hot Chocolate
9/21 Tue Mountain House Scrambled Eggs w/ Ham and Peppers, Hot Chocolate
9/22 Wed Mountain House Granola w/Blueberries & Milk, Hot Chocolate
Lunch (6 Days)
9/17 Fri Cereal Bar, Granola Bar, Mixed Fruit Cup, Jerky, Trail Mix, Dehydrated Fruits, G2
9/18 Sat Cereal Bar, Granola Bar, Mixed Fruit Cup, Crackers, Pudding, G2
9/19 Sun Cereal Bar, Granola Bar, 2 Pop Tarts, Pudding, G2
9/20 Mon Cereal Bar, Granola Bar, Jerky, 2 Pop Tarts, Crackers, Trail Mix, G2
9/21 Tue Cereal Bar, Granola Bar, Mixed Fruit Cup, Trail Mix, Pudding, G2
9/22 Wed Cereal Bar, Granola Bar, Mixed Fruit Cup, 2 Pop Tarts, Crackers, Pudding, G2
Dinner (6 Days)
9/16 Thu Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce
9/17 Fri Mountain House Beef Stroganoff
9/18 Sat Mountain House Rice & Chicken, G2
9/19 Sun Mountain House Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, G2
9/20 Mon Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki with Rice
9/21 Tue Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef
Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Last but not least here is a small list of items that you won’t want to forget.
Cash to pay the outfitter or air taxi, propane, matches, wet lock boxes, or any other expenses
Credit Card for Airline Baggage Fees, Hotel, Dining, and any other expenses that will take a card
Drivers License for airport security
Cell Phone to call hotel shuttle in Anchorage