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Help with Kodiak deer hunt plans....
I'm retiring in a few years and plan on going on a couple of out of state hunts each fall. A Kodiak Island deer hunt is high on my list. I know this hunt is a good ways off but I love to plan and dream. I'd like to hear some advice from those who have been; I know there are lots of things to consider. Boat or fly in/drop off, cabin rental? Guided or unguided? Do you have to draw a tag or are they readily available? Best time to go? Care of meat a big issue? A little about myself....I live in Georgia, retired military and have bow hunted for over 40 years. I've been on a number of out of state hunts, including BC and Africa, but most have been guided. As a result I don't have a lot of backpacking/camping gear but I'm good with purchasing some quality stuff. I'm 56 and a fitness fanatic so don't mind tough humps. Thanks for any advice!
Might want to contact Blacktail Bob on this forum....
My only experience was a boat based hunt. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but can give one word of caution. The boat ads claim an advantage about having access to more territory. The facts are that they can only take you places where they can get you to shore and these places to seem to be visited by various boats on a fairly regular basis. On the other hand, they do offer comfort and security to the novice.
Fly in, I'd tent it, tags are OTC and you can shoot three bucks, I'd go in early Nov, meat care is not hard and plenty of people can help you out there.
A beaver load to the south end will carry 1200lbs and cost from 1200-1500$ each way. Pretty inexpensive hunt when costs are shared with a partner.
Best of luck!
I'll rent you the Kodiak Buck shack in November of 2018. Nick is right on the timing of when to hunt and everything else he said. Flight to the Buck shack is a little less money. All you need to bring is your clothing, game bags, pack, hunting equipment and food. The buck shack includes everything else you'd need.
I think your most important choice is whether or not to go ASAP or roll the dice on an intervening bad winter and massive die off that will take years to recover.
Been so long since I hunted there. We flew in on a goose. I Agree, fly out is a good way to hunt black tails on Kodiak. Like others said, get a strong tent, ie bomb shelter tents. They are good. And yeah, Blacktail bob is a great reference. The packing list goes on and on, but you will have a bigger payload with the Beaver mentioned in above post. Also every year is a little different, but some years can be brutal as we landed on a big body of water that froze and we were removed one at a time by a super cub. So we ended up spending Thanksgiving there. Not in our original plans, haha. Kodiak weather is definitely something to respect. Also, like Nick said, early Nov. is a good time to hunt. Feel free to message me if you ever have any questions. Good luck on your hunts!
Steve is correct about deer numbers. They are very high right now after three consecutive easy winters. Its December and we really haven't had any snow accumulation yet so hopefully they will have another average winter or easier again this year.
I'll be out there in early March to Goat hunt then return the second half of April to bear hunt. I should have a pretty good idea of what the condition of the deer heard is.
I can't swing it now. I'm still paying off a killer African taxidermy bill and have 2 sons graduating from college in the next 2 years. But after that, look out! lol Bob, your shack sounds like an awesome opportunity, I'll be in touch. Thanks so much for all the great info...you guys rock!
I typically defer to Alaskans on this one--especially Bob or Nick. However, if you have never been to Alaska--or more specifically, Kodiak--it could be overwhelming to logistically put together a trip where you are responsible for all the gear and will be sleeping on the island in late fall. It is not a place everyone will enjoy in a tent.
A place like Bob's would be great because you don't have to worry about shelter. The only draw back is mobility. In early November, daylight is around 8-9 hours long and you can only get so far away each day. At least you have a sturdy building to avoid the weather.
I have done both sleeping on the island and the boat trips on Kodiak. I didn't mind sleeping on the island, but I didn't like hunting the exact same spot for 7-10 days. Especially after others had hunted it for weeks prior. It is no doubt cheaper to hunt from a cabin or tent, but it takes a certain person to do well. Weather on Kodiak can be nice, like it was this fall, or it can be downright violent.
Like the others said, the deer population is key. There are plenty of deer right now and that makes your bowhunt more enjoyable--regardless of the weather. Hope for a couple more nice winters...
Whatever you choose to do, Kodiak is an amazing place. Guys either love it or hate it. It is my favorite place on earth. Good luck!
I've done a few boat hunts and enjoyed them all - a great hunt to do with 5 good friends.
The 2nd time I was on the island (mid-Nov.), we had a week of unseasonably cold and windy weather (high 20's/low 30's, sustained wind of 40 mph w/ gusts to 60 mph). There were 2 guys in a cabin who got stuck because float planes couldn't fly for ~4 days due to the wind chop, they burned all their fuel, all their water and food froze, and they had to be rescued. That stuck with me.
I need to start looking at packs, something that will work for this hunt as well as an Alaska DIY caribou and WY elk. Recommendations? Thanks!
Get a $10 Alice pack if it helps you get there sooner. Don't over think packs, just about anything will be just fine.
I did a fly-in lodge hunt last time. It was nice to only pack clothes and hunting gear, have a nice place to sleep, all meals taken care of and nice set-up for preparing meat to go home. They ran us around a big bay to hunt different spots or we could hunt right from the lodge. Never saw another person, boat or plane. They were only transporters so we hunted on our own wherever we chose. They had one group per week so others had hunted it but there was a lot of accessible terrain and most folks only hunt the first mile in from the water. We hunted maybe 10% of what was available to us.
The cost wasn't that much more than a DIY hunt once we figured the cost of getting all the food and camping gear out there and back with meat & horns. Bob's cabin looks like it would be a great option and a pure drop off hunt would be fun as well and obviously he's a wealth of knowledge on Kodiak. Its a neat place regardless of which route you choose
Make sure everyone knows you may be home a few days later than expected. Weather changes schedules all the time. We were delayed at about every point after Anchorage but with patience and being ready to go the moment the plane is, it all works out.
Here is a link to the write up and pictures from our hunt at the buck shack in case you hadn't seen it. Hope it paints a half decent picture of what that option offers and if it's the right one for you.
I hunted with an outfit in Larson bay about 6 years ago. We killed deer but it got hunted hard by the locals and other outfits in Larson bay.
We went in Late November and deer were rutting hard. It was really cold with snow the entire time. Meat was well taken care of but it was the worst tasting meat I've ever eaten. Smelled musky and didn't taste any better. They were gutted immediately, drug to the transport, hung and skinned out the same day. Temps were in the teens to low 20's.
Not sure what others experiences are but I won't go that late again.
Stele, that's awesome! Thanks for sharing! Glunt, what was the name of the outfit you went with? Thanks!
Blacktail Bob, How many people can the buck shack accommodate?
You can rent a complete camp, which includes some quality gear and is really the way to go for someone doing an unguided hunt. You can bring your own gear, but logistically it's tough when you live out of state. If you decide to do it with your own gear, go early.
The cabin is set up and I rent it based upon two guys. Its 12 x 16 so there isn’t much room. Also, I keep it to two guys at a time so it doesn’t get over hunted.
Next year is booked up. It is open for November of 2018.
What does it cost to ship meat and trophies home? How mush meat are you getting off an average buck?
40-50 lbs of meat or so off a mature buck. Just freeze it in hotel over night and send it home as extra baggage. Put antlers in luggage. Best of luck.
Booked yesterday for this fall!!! 1st week of November cant get here soon enough!