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So I am 54 years old, been working the same job for 30 years. My kids are grown, I'm single and my parents have passed on. I have a nice little home in the mountains of western VA, paid for, and I love to hunt and fish. My health is pretty decent for a guy my age, nothing crippling or debilitating. I applied for a job very similar to my current career, but in Alaska. How's the bow hunting up dere?
Not sure where you applied but I’d say Southeast AK would be excellent . I’ve been there 5-6 times and there are plenty of opportunities for deer and bear. Obviously world class fishingas well .
Honestly I'm not sure were the job with be home-based but there will be Statewide travel
About 11 years ago I was offered a Land Surveyor job with the Federal Government, Bureau of Land Management working out of Anchorage. I did a lot of soul searching and reached out to the Bowsite like you are doing now. I have a really good job that I have been at for 30 years and I decided to stay and I can retire in 1 year, although I kind of regret not taking the job in Alaska... Some of the advice that I got on Bowsite was to stick it out at my current job and I can spend all the time I want in Alaska after I retire.
Good luck with whatever you decide... I'm envious because like I said, I kind of regret not moving there...
Poop doesn't leach in Alaska; it freezes and becomes part of the fossil record!!
You need to check the cost of living where you are thinking of going. Rent can be staggering and if you aren't on the road system, everything is very expensive. I just left after 30 years up there.
I prefer the hunting in MT, WY, SD and MN. Everything you hunt in AK involves either a fly out or a ATV and then you will have lots of company. Check out where the roads are and you will see why this is true.
Also, except for deer you are pretty much done by the end of Sept.
Given your situation, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat. I almost had a chance to head up there in 1979, just out of high school, with a friend that drove up there, but he took off 2 days before I got back from a Canada fishing trip. I often think “what if”.
I’d PM guys like TEmbry and Nick Muche, who did make the move up there. Although it seems they rarely kill anything, they seem to be having some fun up there ;-)
The only place a guy can go and after becoming a resident ( 1 year) be allowed to hunt sheep without a guide except the unlimited areas in MT and Canada. Don't know if sheep are high on your list but there are several threads each year about hunting sheep without all the costs.
My buddy that lives in Anchorage is jealous of all the hunting I get to do after September.
He tells me after his Sept moose hunt, he spends his time preparing for the long winter
The hunting varies a LOT. The better hunting opportunities are quite expensive and that doesn't guarantee a miss-selection in the area or the week. I have has hunts planned a full year out and basically had them ruined due to weather--can't hunt f you can't see!
I've also had opportunities that I wouldn't have had if I'd have stayed down south. I'd say the brown bear/grizzly hunting at this moment in time is exceptional; black bear can be really good too but less so for many coastal opportunities; deer up and down with winter kill conditions; caribou from hit and miss to very good; moose hit and miss but much better than 15 years ago due to heavier handed predator control efforts; Dall's sheep poor; mountain goat excellent in many areas.
If you want a beautiful spot on the Kenai with good access give me a shout as Wifey and I are putting our house on the market, after 17-18 years we are headed to Wyoming to dry out!
You should have a plane if you want to get off the beaten road, big country and long winter nights along with long summer days, just keep your legs strong and you'll be fine.
Living in Manitoba I imagine Alaska is equally as cold? You also need to determine if you are cut out for the long winters. They are LONG. When snow is on the ground mid November and doesn't leave till end of March it takes till June for summer to arrive. Little things like boiling heads off in the winter in -20, changing your oil, everything is just cold. All the time.
I was just in BC for a week snowboarding in Fernie and couldn't believe how mid their winters are. Seemed like heaven. I could go BBQ in a t-shirt cause it was hardly below freezing. Winters get to a lot of people, and I can't blame them. Not like I exactly love it either. But some people go straight-up batsh$t crazy cause of it. I imagine daylight hours are limited there in winter as well like they are here. It's crazy cold, sun going down at 4:30, but the summers are the opposite. Super awesome, just too short!
Without knowing where in AK you will be it's really impossible to tell you what to expect. I lived 10 years in a place where the all time record low was 9 above. As for darkness, you won't know how much you have without knowing the latitude of the place.
A couple different times I've watched programs on TV about the high suicide rate due in part to the looooong sunless winters. I know I couldn't handle that.
Like some others have said it all depends on where you relocate to. Hunting up here can be as expensive or as cheap as you would like. If you are budget minded take a 4 wheeler or boat and start exploring. Expect a lot of company anywhere within a couple hours of anchorage.
If you plan ahead and save you can get into some really good fly out hunting within an hour of Anchorage. But that means a minimum of $2k eveytime you want to go fly out hunting. Even with your own plane a quick weekend trip costs several hundred $.
But where else can you hunt Black Bear, Brown Bear, Grizzly, Mt Goat, Dall Sheep, Bison, Muskox, Caribou, Moose, Deer, Elk, and Wolf all in the same season?
Why not just go,,,,, you can hunt that now, that your still young in years, and can always move, back, if you do not like it,,,,, life is short, so try it,,,, I lived in the west, its nice, prefer the UP,,,, Alaska is an adventure, go for it, like I said, you have nothing holding you down
This would be a no brainer for me... Ed F
I wouldn’t think twice, color me gone...What a place!
It wasn't even a question for me. I planned my entire college/career path around a move to Alaska, and I hit the road less than 72 hours after graduation. The hunting is expensive, and there is a steep learning curve to figure out the logistics, but it truly is a one of a kind place. If the job has a flexible schedule (i.e. you can take off significant time) then jump on it. If you are moving up in hopes of stacking up critters on 2 day weekends, a reality check is in store.
The winters are somewhat of a bore, especially moving up from the South and not having any exposure growing up to winter hobbies. I've adapted well though. Between riding snow machines, trapping, ice fishing, and the occasional netflix binge the winters pass fast (especially throwing in the fact that winter is travel season). I annually hunt OTC brown bear, black bear, grizzly bear, dall sheep, mountain goat, blacktail deer, moose, caribou... I miss the weekend hunt back in L48, but I don't know any weekend warriors chasing all these critters either.
I've taken Brown Bear, Black Bear, Caribou, Dall Sheep, Wolf and Moose all either after work on a weekday or on a weekend :) and a bison on a 3 day weekend. No planes, ATV's or Boats involved, just a beat up Tacoma and some boots. It can be done! haha
I plan most of my big ticket hunts for a week or more, but from May through October I am hunting or fishing (July) most every weekend, somewhere for something. That's the perk to living in Fairbanks I guess, there aren't many others aside from having guys like Pete close by.
Anymore when I head to or through the L48, I find myself much more anxious than I should be, the traffic is horrible, so many people... it's much different than Alaska.
If you have a job offer that allows time off and a decent enough wage to get out and do some hunting, you'll enjoy your time in Alaska. Good luck with your choice.
Thanks for the responses guys. I'm not sure I'll even get an interview, but if I do, I'll keep y'all posted on how it develops.
Honestly it's exciting to even TRY for something like this.
Nick Muche, compared to Stateside salaries the pay looks amazing, but I know cost of living up there is steep. They're posting a starting salary of $6,500/month gross
When I think of or imagine Alaska the image that comes to mind is the month of September, Autumn in it's finest glory, and rutting bull moose. I can't see living somewhere 11 months just for the splendor of one. As they say, it's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.
South Farm, there are endless things to do in Alaska, moose hunting only takes up a few weeks.
I understand what you mean though, if a person doesn't take the initiative to search out the many other opportunities, Alaska would be a rough place to live. Couple that with the cold/dark winter, it would drive most insane.
Just had an interview with a company up in Alaska. Would be a rotation gig - either 2/1 or 4/2.
If they make an offer, I will likely go. I think the rotation is to Anchorage. not a big deal to jump another plane from there and back to Colorado.
Would likely look to find a place a ways out of town (Wasilla, Willow, etc) and keep the place in Colorado for a while as the wife has a good job here.
For me - endless awesome options in Alaska. Have Takoma, will travel:) Also have a couple buddies with planes:) For the wife - she may get really uptight in the winter...
Good luck Tavis, hope it works out for you! That would be a pretty good deal, with the rotational job. Plenty of time to hunt.
You should go make the Wasilla/Palmer to Anchorage for a week in December. Preferably during some of the snow/rain periods. Won't take you long to learn what the term "ditch diver" means. Just my observation but 80% are four wheel drive.
The darkness was one of the things I don't miss.
Wasilla/Palmer area really doesn't get you into what you would consider great hunting.
Understand that LKH. After living in the mountains in CO for many years, I have had to put up with a pretty good amount of crappy mountain/winter driving. The dark will be a tough one coming from the SW. Figure I'll spend some time looking around before pulling the trigger. Have buddies in Palmer/Wasilla area. Might end up down on the Kenai for a little more daylight and all the fishing.
If you don't mind driving 3 hours or so (I certainly don't mind it) you can be into plenty of good walk-in hunting from Wasilla/Palmer. If you have buddies with planes, you'll be just fine as well.
Me, in that situation, I'm gone. at least for a while and I always adapt to new areas. I'd be fine. So would you.
thanks guys, I've not heard anything yet. hoping at least for an interview
Good luck, Fuzzy!
I see from the vest thread that you are already working on your "cold weather gear":)
Fuzzy, $6500/month gross might leave you a little light up here. Kind of depends on how you want to live and what you want to do, but Alaska will be zero fun if you are living pay check to pay check.
As Nick and Trevor have alluded to, hunting expeditions can be expensive. Living in the Anchorage area really sucks for any decent weekend type hunting. You've got to be willing to travel quite a ways to get away from people. Fairbanks is different, and Nick is willing to drive eight hours one way to hunt caribou on the weekends....lol.
From what I can see being a resident has two major advantages. You can hunt brown bear, sheep and goat without a guide; and the tags are free. Beyond that remote hunts are going to cost the same for non residents and residents.
Treeline I think you'd miss all the Colorado sunshine :)
treeline, "vest thread"?? I disremember that one... I'll have to look and see what's going on.
Treeline, found it, I didn't post on that one. That's "Fuzz", not "Fuzzy" ...lol
FYI, there are no big game animals left up here in Alaska to bow hunt......(-; Frank
Frank posting here is proof that the real bowhunters in the world DO read Bowsite. He's right, we have no animals left!
I know, Frank! You killed ‘me all!
I haven't killed em all yet Tav, but I'm trying!
Okay, made the final move to MT this year. Had a place here for 19 years. Nearest neighbor 1.5 miles. Right now we are snowed in. County road blocked by a 75 ft drift from fence to fence over 3 feet deep. Can walk on it. May not get cleared for a few days.
God I miss Alaska.
Its been colder here in NY most of the winter than even in the North slope of AK. Many days I've compared Westmoreland, NY with Utgiagvik, AK, and it was colder here. Minus 20 three weekends in a row early Jan. AK can't be all that much more difficult if you have the gear and the grit. And I'd like the fishing better. I know, it rarely gets 45 below in NY, but this year must be mild up there or something.
I would jump at it if I was in your situation. Been a dream of mine. No way I can talk the wife into it though.
Lookin' up. Got a call that they want me to come up for an on-site interview...
Go get it man! Good Luck!
Lots of caribou up north. Hunted the north slope of the Brooks' Range in 2015, and bagged a nice one. Pretty much nobody gets skunked up there though--bow or rifle.
Hey guys--I'm late seeing this as I was just outside AK trying to find some sun. If you guys need anything when you are up in Anchorage on your interviews let me know--place to stay or anything. I know the Colorado guys were pretty forthcoming with information and help when I came to hunt there and I would gladly return the favor. Just pm me...
Appreciate it, Ken. Think they have me pretty set. Will be in Anchorage overnight Sunday -out on Monday and back thru Wednesday night. Red eye back to Colorado. Will pm you.
Thanks for all the well wishes, guys! Have a number of interviews going on in Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and Alaska. Job market is definitely moving in the right direction.
Let me offer this up in addition to whats' been posted above. Im 52, moved here 5 years ago with my wife and young kids. They are 10 and 4 respectively now. I have some mobility issues due to back surgeries but still get out there. Ive hunted black and brown bears, moose, deer and caribou. Ive been invited to go on other hunts, but haven't been able to go do to job or family commitments. I can drive from where I live in Palmer and hunt moose and both bears fairly close and inexpensively. For many of the other animals, you will need to draw (not easy), registration hunt (too much to type) or fly out(can be expensive). All that being said, I wish I had moved here sooner. I came from Michigan so I was used to the snow and cold, but the darkness is wearying at times. The salary you proposed is what I would consider bare minimum to be able to afford a home in a nicer area with money left over for a few excursions. Do some work on Craiglist and Realtor.com before committing. Good luck. Hugh
Thanks Hugh, that's great info.
Hey, Fuzzy - sitting in Anchorage now. Actually a lot warmer here than back home for me. Will see how things work out for this interview.
Good luck on your end!
Just saw this for the first time-- good luck Tavis! Fuzzy, good luck with your decision too.
Before taking a job at any salary, i highly recommend looking at housing very thoroughly. And that doesn't mean just browsing a couple websites. Housing is expensive and everyone's idea of acceptable is different. Don't assume that just getting a middle of the road priced house/apartment will do you okay, particularly in the Anchorage area. Crime (theft) is very high in many areas, and this becomes a major issue if you have a lot of good hunting equipment, atvs, snowmobiles etc. Everyone's tolerance to this is different, but I wouldn't want someone taking a salary thinking they are fine, and end up begin bogged down by rent/house payments to get in an area that is acceptable. One thing to check out is utilities particularly in the winter months, there are some very poorly built/insulated homes that can easily cost you a few extra thousand dollars a year to heat. Depending on your exact location it is likely you will be using heat 10 to 12 months out of the year to at least some degree.
Listen to Mike. In the 80's a contractor build and sold a bunch of homes then disappeared. That winter they found out that their homes had zero, that's right, 000.000 insulation. Very expensive fix. Some areas have homes that were built with almost no code. The banks have gotten smart and try to make sure you don't get a lemon but it still falls on you.
Man! Gotta luv Alaska! Lost a day going out due to weather, so got to site a day late. Got weathered out and they wouldn’t fly in for three days. Finally get back to Anchorage and on standby for the flight back to Denver and get bumped. Sleep in the airport. Next flight to Denver is Sunday night at 11:40pm - overbooked and on standby for that one! At this rate I may be a resident before I get out of here:)
4 days behind and counting...
Rough country for sure in many ways. Safe travels!
I used to always sleep behind the polar bear, but can't remember which concourse it was on. Always took my sleeping bag as a carry on.
Anyone ever stuck in anchorage is welcome to message me. I’m a quick $15 cab ride from the airport and have a spare bedroom/shower for bowsiters :).
Hope it works out for you either way on your decision. I know moving here was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
Good luck getting home Tavis! My recent 13 flight journey was painless by comparison....one 3 hour delay that was of no consequence!
Thanks, guys! Got out of the airport for the day with Akbow. Hoping to get out tonight!
Reminds me of a '98 hunt that I was delayed coming out on a bush flight to Sitka and when I get to the Anchorage Airport I miss the red eye home when the and pushes off 4 min early and I get to sleep on a short couch. Had some explaining to do to my wife.
Another day in paradise...
At least it sounds like I can get out tomorrow.
So would you prefer to be stuck in, say, NJ?!!!!!
I'm confused on how you have been stuck in Anchorage for so long? There are dozens of flights a day leaving here for Seattle and other L48 destinations, can they not reroute you? Must be frustrating.
Maybe trying to take the direct flight to Denver through United? I think that only flies once per day.
I was originally set up to fly out last week on Wednesday.
Got weathered out at the camp up in north west Alaska for several days and finally got back to Anchorage Saturday night.
United had overbooked and I was standby Saturday night. Got bumped to standby last night.
Talked to Alaska Airlines yesterday and they were all full flights due to the ididerod.
I was first on the standby list last night but didn’t make it out. United is really limited for flights out of Anchorage.
Whew! Finally made it home, only 5 days late!
Dang, should have just stayed!
Dang. Just got word that they went with another candidate.
Really a bummer.
That sucks! :-( Disappointing news. Feel for ya, man!
I'm sorry buddy. At least you got an interview! (I didn't)