Unguided Hunting in Alaska
Pulling off a successful unguided hunting trip in Alaska is a major accomplishment. Yes, Alaska is without question a hunter's paradise. But it's twice the size of Texas, with diverse ecosystems, entire mountain ranges, thousands of miles of rivers, and a huge variety of species, where do you begin? It's a good question.
A successful Alaska hunt involves a lot more than just showing up. In other words, you need much, much more than simply a location and a way to get there. Though there certainly are simple hunts that can be done on a day-trip basis, most Alaska hunting involves a multi-day remote expedition, where just accessing the hunting area involves an aircraft, a whitewater raft, a long hike, or all three. But before you get to that point, you've got to do your homework.
Did You Know?
If you are a resident of any state in the United States outside Alaska, you do not need a guide for most species! Of all of Alaska's species of big-game, there are only three that require you to hire a guide: Brown / grizzly bear, Dall sheep and Rocky Mountain goat. The rest are available to you on a do-it-yourself basis. If you are an experienced hunter and are able to handle Alaska on your own, you can save a lot of money by planning this yourself or hiring our consulting service to help you.
A Hunt Planning Timeline
With all the details involved in planning an Alaska hunt, organization is the key. The following timeline is a good general plan for getting your hunt off the ground. Since every hunt is slightly different, your dates may change somewhat. Use this as a general guide. You can find much more detail on our Hunt Planning Timeline page.
- 1-2 years in advance:Select region / location, air charter / transport
- 7-8 months out:Collect deposits from group members, make airline reservations
- 6-7 months out:Make air charter / boat rental deposits (some companies require earlier deposits), satphone rental
- 5 months out:Inventory gear
- 1 month out: Ship gear and dry goods
Any successful hunt in Alaska absolutely depends on good research. This research falls into one of two categories: non-perishable information, and perishable information. Learn more about this on our Hunt Planning Page.
Other factors such as hunting pressure, guide activity and local subsistence pressure require local knowledge that may be hard to obtain. It's wise to hire a consultant to assist you the first time through. Outdoors Directory offers fee-based consulting for all types of expedition planning. CLICK HERE for a description of our services. Also check out some of the excellent resources we have in the Outdoors Directory bookstore. Of particular interest is our Hunt Planning Library, which contains research materials you need for planning your hunt.
Getting Your Gear Together
If you're an experienced hunter, chances are you already have some of the gear that will work for an Alaska hunt. On the other hand, most Alaska hunts are expeditions; they're much more than just a weekend jaunt into the woods. Your survival may depend on the quality of your equipment. Take time to go through a good gear checklist and ensure you have what you need. On the other hand, overpacking is often a problem for hunters unfamiliar with Alaska hunting, especially those who have not done much fly-out hunting. Find out what your air charter's weight limits are and stay well under the line!
For general hunting gear, refer to our Hunting Gear Section. If you're float hunting, you'll want to review our section on Inflatable Boats. These sections discuss the items you need for your hunt, and even include reviews on some of the more popular and useful brands.