top of page

Embarking on an Unforgettable Alaska Hunting Expedition

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Old Harbor Alaska, home to The Harbor Adventure Lodge, provides the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness of Alaska, a dream destination for avid hunters seeking a unique and exhilarating experience. With vast landscapes and diverse wildlife, this remote paradise offers thrilling opportunities for those willing to embrace the challenge. However, planning an Alaskan hunting trip can be a logistical nightmare, akin to navigating a foreign land. But fear not, The Harbor Adventure Lodge provides you with a comprehensive guide to help plan your ultimate Alaskan hunting expedition.

Selecting Your Adventure To begin, it is crucial to narrow down your desired hunting experience in Old Harbor Alaska. While certain areas offer opportunities to hunt multiple species, focusing on one specific target will enhance your chances of success. Nonresident hunters have the privilege of pursuing caribou, black bear, moose, Sitka blacktail, and even Roosevelt elk with the appropriate permits. The Harbor Adventure Lodge can assist in acquiring an Alaskan hunting license and the proper permits, including locking tags for an additional fee.

Navigating the Wilderness Gaining access to hunting areas in Old Harbor Alaska can be challenging. The primary modes of transportation include boats, bush planes, float planes, and rafts. The Harbor Adventure Lodge provides experienced captains and staff to transport you to prime hunting spots, whether by boat or plane. Additionally, meals can be prepared and fish can be packaged and prepped for your convenience. The Harbor Adventure Lodge's outfitter/transporters provide valuable knowledge about the hunting areas, scout locations before your arrival, and drop you off at prime spots based on their expertise. Although this option comes with a higher price tag, the investment can prove worthwhile in the long run.

In certain areas, this might be the sole available option, with prices closely resembling standard transportation fees. If you prefer to select a transporter, thorough pre-hunt investigation is crucial. The Harbor Adventure Lodge can assist in studying maps, consulting experienced hunters familiar with the area, and seeking advice from local biologists to pinpoint the ideal location. It is also advisable to engage in conversations with transporters beforehand, inquiring about suitable landing spots or boat access points. Additionally, charter pilots who frequently fly in the region can offer valuable insights. Remember, weather conditions significantly impact transportation, so maintaining a flexible schedule is beneficial.

Prepare for the Journey

One of the most challenging aspects of an Alaskan hunting expedition, especially for first timers, is determining the appropriate gear to bring. Given the need for air travel, selecting essential items becomes even more critical. The Alaskan weather can be harsh, characterized by strong winds, heavy rainfall, extreme cold, and snowfall. Therefore, it is essential to equip yourself with gear that can withstand these elements while making efficient use of limited space. When utilizing bush planes for transportation, ensure your gear adheres to weight and size restrictions. Here are some essential items to consider for your Alaskan hunting expedition:

Clothing: Pack a combination of base layers, insulating layers, and outer shells suitable for layering in cold and wet conditions. Include waterproof and breathable clothing, insulated boots, gloves, a warm hat, and face protection.

Camping Equipment: Depending on your chosen hunting method, you may need camping gear such as a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooking utensils, stove, and food supplies. Lightweight and compact options are recommended.

Hunting Gear: Bring your preferred hunting weapon, whether it's a rifle, bow, or muzzleloader, along with an adequate supply of ammunition or arrows. Additionally, pack a hunting backpack, game bags for meat transportation, a knife, binoculars, a range finder, and a GPS device.

Safety Equipment: Carry essential safety gear, including a first aid kit, bear spray, bear-resistant food containers, and a satellite phone or emergency communication device. Familiarize yourself with wilderness safety protocols and be prepared for potential wildlife encounters.

Food and Water: Plan and pack lightweight, high-energy foods suitable for the duration of your expedition. Consider dehydrated meals, energy bars, nuts, and other non-perishable items. Ensure you have access to clean drinking water or carry water filtration systems.

Personal Essentials: Don't forget to bring personal items such as toiletries, medications, sunscreen, insect repellent, headlamp or flashlight, extra batteries, and a repair kit for equipment.

It's crucial to carefully assess the weight and volume of your gear to ensure it fits within the restrictions imposed by bush planes or other transportation methods. Consult with your chosen outfitter/transporter or transport service for specific guidelines.

Preparation and Research Preparing for an Alaskan hunting expedition goes beyond packing the right gear. It involves thorough research and understanding of the area you'll be hunting in, the wildlife you'll encounter, and any applicable regulations. Here are some key steps to take:

Research Hunting Areas: Study maps, consult hunting forums, and reach out to local biologists or experienced hunters to gather information about the hunting areas you're considering. Look for prime locations and determine their accessibility.

Learn about Wildlife: Familiarize yourself with the behavior, habitat, and seasonal patterns of the game species you're targeting. Understanding their habits and movements will increase your chances of success.

Obtain Permits and Licenses: Nonresidents must acquire an Alaskan hunting license and the appropriate permits for their desired species. Check the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website for the latest regulations and application processes.

Understand Hunting Regulations: Review the hunting regulations specific to the species you'll be pursuing. Pay attention to bag limits, hunting seasons, weapon restrictions, and any special regulations for the area you'll be hunting in.

Physical Fitness: Alaska's rugged terrain demands a certain level of physical fitness. Engage in regular exercise and consider training specifically for the physical demands of hunting, including hiking, backpacking, and carrying heavy loads.

Hiring Guides: If you're new to hunting in Alaska or prefer expert guidance, consider hiring a reputable hunting guide or outfitter. They can provide valuable knowledge, help with logistics, and increase your chances of success.

Navigation and Orientation: Familiarize yourself with the terrain and navigation methods relevant to your hunting area. Carry detailed maps, a compass, and a GPS device to aid in navigation. Learn how to use these tools effectively before your trip. Weather Preparedness: Alaska's weather can be unpredictable and harsh, so be prepared for changing conditions. Pack appropriate rain gear, cold-weather clothing, and extra layers to ensure you stay warm and dry. Monitor weather forecasts regularly and adjust your plans accordingly. Wildlife Encounters: Alaska is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including large predators such as bears. Learn about bear behavior, carry bear spray, and practice proper bear safety protocols. Make noise while moving to avoid surprising wildlife, and store food and attractants securely to minimize wildlife encounters at camp. Backpacking Tips: If you plan on backpacking during your hunt, pack your gear efficiently and distribute the weight evenly. Prioritize essential items, and consider the weight of your pack to ensure you can comfortably navigate the terrain. Train with a loaded backpack before your trip to build endurance. Emergency Preparedness: Prepare for emergencies by carrying a well-stocked first aid kit, emergency shelter, and signaling devices. Familiarize yourself with basic wilderness first aid procedures and learn how to recognize and respond to potential hazards. Leave a Trip Plan: Before departing for your hunting expedition, inform someone responsible about your trip details. Provide them with your itinerary, including the dates, hunting area, and contact information for emergency services. Regularly check-in with your designated contact to ensure your safety. Respect Local Communities and Cultures: If your hunting expedition takes you near local communities, respect their customs, cultures, and private property. Seek permission if necessary and engage in positive interactions with locals. Remember that you are a guest in their area. Learn from Others: Engage with experienced Alaskan hunters, local guides, and outfitters to gather insights and tips specific to your hunting area. They can provide valuable advice based on their expertise and experiences. Trophy Care: If you are pursuing trophy animals, ensure you are knowledgeable about proper field dressing, caping, and preserving techniques. This will help maintain the quality of the hide or antlers for mounting purposes. Enjoy the Experience: While hunting is the primary focus, take the time to appreciate the natural beauty and wilderness of Alaska. Take photographs, observe wildlife, and create lasting memories of your expedition.

Remember, planning an Alaskan hunting expedition well in advance is essential, as permits, transport services, and accommodations may require booking ahead of time.

Respecting the Wilderness While hunting in Alaska, it's crucial to practice responsible and ethical hunting. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Know and Respect the Land: Familiarize yourself with the Leave No Trace principles and practice them throughout your throughout your expedition. Minimize your impact on the environment, respect private property rights, and adhere to any land-use restrictions. Practice Fair Chase: Engage in fair chase hunting, which means giving game animals a reasonable chance to evade you. Avoid unethical practices such as "canned hunts" or pursuing animals in a manner that guarantees success. Safety First: Prioritize safety at all times. Handle firearms and equipment responsibly, follow proper hunting protocols, and exercise caution when encountering wildlife. Be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to prevent accidents. Utilize Game Meat: Make use of all harvested game meat and minimize waste. Properly field dress, handle, and process the meat to ensure it remains of high quality. Consider donating excess meat to local communities or organizations. Respect Wildlife and Other Users: Appreciate the wildlife you encounter and maintain a safe distance. Avoid disturbing or harassing animals and respect the rights of other hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and local residents.

Bringing Back the Spoils

Transporting your hunting rewards back home can prove to be the most challenging aspect of any Alaskan hunting adventure, especially when traveling by plane. This phase of the hunt often comes with a significant price tag.

There exist two main alternatives for bringing the meat and animal home: shipping or taking them with you on the plane. After thoroughly examining all available options, it appears that the most cost-effective approach is to bring them back as checked luggage. Alternatively, one can opt to have a butcher handle the shipping process. Additionally, if you have accounted for extra days to accommodate potential weather delays but find them unnecessary, this time can be utilized to manage the logistics of returning everything.

For items to be shipped, it is advisable to send non-perishable items such as antlers and gear separately, while bringing the meat back as additional luggage. This method has been employed numerous times without any reported loss of meat.

When making arrangements for the post-hunt phase, it is wise to seek accommodations that provide freezers specifically for storing game. Given the popularity of hunting and fishing tourism in Alaska, there are numerous options available. In cases where suitable lodging is unavailable, local butchers may offer freezing services and even assist in quick packaging before your departure. However, it is important to note that for large animals like moose, relying on hotel freezers might not be feasible.

A recent approach involves using a spacious, soft-sided Yeti hopper to transport frozen meat. The hopper can be checked as an extra bag, with the additional fee paid accordingly. Remarkably, the meat remains frozen solid until reaching its destination. In the past, an alternative method involved placing meat in plastic bags, which were then frozen inside a cloth duffle bag lined with a garbage sack. The choice between shipping and bringing as luggage depends on the quantity of meat and the cost comparison.

If you intend to bring antlers as luggage, it is essential to consider that different airlines may have varying regulations. However, a common practice has been to cover the antlers completely with duct tape and cardboard, providing protection against damage to other passengers' luggage. Subsequently, the antlers can be checked as a separate item.

The logistical puzzle of bringing everything back can be the most challenging aspect. While opting for a hassle-free shipping service is always an option, there is a sense of satisfaction in managing the process oneself. The key lies in determining the method of transportation and acquiring the necessary supplies for packaging and freezing the game before embarking on the hunting adventure.

Undoubtedly, an Alaskan hunting expedition is an experience every outdoor enthusiast should undertake. The difficulty lies in knowing where to begin and how to prepare. Once the logistics, including travel arrangements, required equipment, and the return journey, are meticulously planned, you can finally savor the much-anticipated Alaskan hunting trip.

Estimated Costs for Fly Time: Fixed rates:

  • Moose: Includes animal extraction, air scouting, and pilot-suggested area - $3700 per hunter (minimum of 2 hunters)

  • Caribou: Includes animal extraction, air scouting, and pilot-suggested area - $1700 per hunter

Hourly Rates:

  • Super Cub: Average of $325 per hour with a load capacity of 500 lbs, including people and gear.

  • Beaver: Average of $700 per hour with a load capacity of 1,200 lbs, including people and gear.

For an all-inclusive hunting adventure at Harbor Adventure Lodge, the rates for hunting transport with lodging are as follows:

  • The package includes lodging for a minimum of 4 nights.

  • The price per night per person ranges from $650 to $850.

  • Delicious meals are included in the package.

  • A boat ride to and from the hunting grounds is provided.

Please note the following:

  • Airfare is not included in the package.

  • Hunting guides are not included and would need to be arranged separately.

You can choose your desired game between Sitka Blacktail Deer or Kodiak Bear.

For more specific details and to make reservations, I recommend visiting the Harbor Adventure Lodge website or contacting us directly. 1-907-202-3484

Hunting in Alaska, Bear Hunting Alaska, Deer Hunting Alaska, Alaska Hunting
Alaska Hunting Expedition

102 views0 comments


bottom of page