Bison once roamed Alaska as far back as the ice age, and fossil skulls and bones are still found on occasion. These animals were massive in size compared to modern bison. Today bison exist in huntable numbers near Delta Junction and Farewell. Some also live on ranches on Kodiak Island, where they are occasionally made available to shooters on a fee basis. All bison hunting on public lands is done on a drawing permit basis.
Black bears are common to Alaska, and are distributed across most of the state. Colors may vary from coal black to bluish-black, to cinnammon, and even nearly blonde. A regional genetic mutation exists in the Yakutat area and parts of Region 1 (Southeast). Some bears in that area have a bluish tint and are locally known as "glacier bears). There is both a spring and a fall season, and in many areas the seasonal harvest limit is very liberal; up to three bears per hunter.
Alaska has only one species of deer; the diminuitive Sitka Blacktail. Found throughout Southeast Alaska and in the Kodiak / Afognak archipelago, they are abundant, and seasons are generally liberal.
The brown bear has a statewide distribution in Alaska. As far as trophy hunters are concerned, brown bears and grizzlies are two different animals, and this distinction is carried forward in both the Boone & Crockett and the Safari Club International records books. Each bear has different scoring standards, and both organizations draw lines on the map of Alaska to delineate the geographical boundaries of what they consider a brown bear, or a grizzly. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) makes no such distinction, and both bears are treated the same for regulatory purposes. Most hunters recognize a bear that has access to salmon as a brown bear. This includes bears found in most coastal areas, or along most of the major river systems in the state. Grizzlies are generally thought to be bears found in some parts of the Interior and in the Arctic.
Regal. Graceful. Perplexing. Stunning. All these terms and more can describe Alaska's barren-ground caribou. Widely-distributed from the Kenai Peninsula north, and out onto the Alaska Peninsula, caribou are majestic wanderers on whatever range they are found. Calving takes place in the month of May in most of the state. Calving frequently takes place in areas where lots of caribou are together; the many sets of eyes, ears, and noses are a huge asset in detecting wolves and bears, the two chief predators of caribou calves.