Alaska is home to some of the best big game hunting in North America. Whether you’re a fan of black-tailed deer or more dangerous game like grizzlies, it’s not hard to satisfy your thirst in America’s last true wilderness. Take a look at these areas of Alaska that provide some of the best hunting the state has to offer.
The Alaska-Yukon Moose is the largest of all deer species with antler spreads reaching as high as 70 to 80 inches with averages in the 60s. There are many of these world record holders on the Alaska Peninsula that separates Bristol Bay from the Pacific. Due to the large sizes of the moose, the area has been declared a Trophy Moose Area, meaning that none under 50” cannot be hunted. In addition to trophy class moose, the area boasts a large habitat of Alaska brown bear. The Alaska Peninsula is a remote area, so competition here is scarce.
The area around Haines, Alaska is home to some of the largest mountain goats in the country, possibly even the world, with some of them even coming close to 400 pounds. Many have qualified for the Boone and Crockett Record Book. They’re best hunted in mid or late-season and it’s important to keep in mind that their habitats can reach between 1,500 to 3,800 feet in Southeast Alaska. During the winter they can often be found down at the bottom of the mountains near rivers and streams if you’re looking to avoid a hike.
Illiamna Lake is home to the Mulchatna herd that typically produces some of, if not the largest caribou in all of Alaska. The herd consists of many trophy animals and the caribou here routinely weigh upwards of 500 pounds. The caribou have been declining steadily in numbers since reaching their peak in 1996. Because of this, most hunting is restricted to two caribou and one bull each season.
Bristol Bay is a veritable smorgasbord of excellent choices in wildlife to hunt, but one of the biggest draws are the Alaskan Brown Bears. Guides in the area regularly report close to 100% success rates due to the area’s abundant bear population. The brown beasts here can reach gigantic proportions, providing you with meat to last a long time. Rivers and lakes surround the area, which makes it ideal for boat hunting. If brown bears aren’t your thing there are plenty of Dall sheep, moose and caribou in the area too.
Hunting on Denali Preserve for Dall sheep or grizzlies requires a bush aircraft to reach the remote areas where they live, but it’s worth the effort. Many of the areas in Denali have no established trails and it can be difficult to obtain a permit for these places. Dall sheep season runs between August and September while there is no closed season for brown bears. Due to high elevations and rough weather, it’s advisable to hunt here in the summer months.
Prince of Wales Island
Prince of Wales Island is 135 miles long and enjoys a moderate climate with ample sources of food, making it ideal for hunting Sitka black-tailed deer. In fact, the island holds more record deer entries than any other location in North America. The bucks on Prince of Wales weigh in at over 150 pounds. The island is also home to black bears and wolves, but not aggressive brown bears that might attack so you won’t need to take extra precautions. The area is incredibly remote, so you won’t have to worry about running into other hunters or visitors on while you’re there.