Alaska combo fish and hunt

Seavas

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I would like to plan a trip to Alaska for a combo deer hunt and some salmon/halibut fishing. Most of my research points me to Kodiak. Several lodges that I have looked up advertise that this is possible around Aug-Sept, the beginning of deer season and end of fishing season. I spoke with several outfitters at DSC and they gave the impression that deer was an afterthought to bear and goat hunts, and fishing an even lower priority.
Has anyone here done this type of trip or know if it's even possible to successfully combine them? I would like to knock a sitka blacktail off the list but not really excited about the cost and logistics of going to Kodiak on a guided hunt for one deer. Bear and goat is not in the current budget so I figured some fishing would be a good mix.
 
I hunted prince of wales island in SE Alaska 2013, 2017, and 2018. Unfortunately that outfitter has since retired. I took 2 nice bucks on the August hunt in the alpine then I took 3 bucks on the November rut hunt. I also took a big black bear on a spring hunt. Both deer trips I got to do plenty of salmon fishing. The August and April trip we set crab pots too. Take a look a prince of wales island. There is no brown bear hunting to complete with there. I’d choose the August hunt if I went back. Also DSC and SCI probably aren’t the best places to look for a Sitka deer hunt because the money just isn’t there to justify that level of marketing.
 
Also the logistics of prince of wales island were very easy. Fly from Seattle to Ketchikan then take the regular scheduled ferry from Ketchikan to prince of wales island where I was picked up. Plenty of halibut charters in Ketchikan too.
 
Also the logistics of prince of wales island were very easy. Fly from Seattle to Ketchikan then take the regular scheduled ferry from Ketchikan to prince of wales island where I was picked up. Plenty of halibut charters in Ketchikan too.

I always meant to get to PoW when I lived in Alaska and never did. Sounds like a great hunt!
 
Check out Jeff at Kodiak Combos. He’s out of Old Harbor.

 
I always meant to get to PoW when I lived in Alaska and never did. Sounds like a great hunt!
The more I think about it, those were probably some of the best value for the experience hunts I’ve ever done. Also an extremely honest outfitter. I also did a 4th hunt with that outfitter in 2015 in the misty fjords national monument. Absolutely Beautiful area to hunt, but spring came too early that year and it had greened up inland from the tide flats and we just didn’t see a lot of brown bear over 12 days. We did see a huge number of goats and I missed a shot at a big wolf.
 
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The more I think about it, those were probably some of the best value for the experience hunts I’ve ever done. Also an extremely honest outfitter. I also did a 4th hunt with that outfitter in 2015 in the misty fjords national monument. Absolutely Beautiful area to hunt, but spring came too early that year and it had greened up inland from the tide flats and we just didn’t see a lot of brown bear over 12 days. We did see a huge number of goats and I missed a shot at a big wolf.
Sounds like a good outfit.
 
POW is a draw for Bears now. A great place that was over exposed.
 
POW is a draw for Bears now. A great place that was over exposed.
It’s only on a draw for unguided hunts. It might have been over hunted for bear on the northern part of island where more accessible but I wouldn’t think on the southern part of island. This is bear I took in 2018 on a guided hunt. A draw was in place at the time as well.
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Nice bear. We always hunted DIY out of Craig\ Klawok. I hope your right.
 
The first thing I'd like to mention is that a guide is not necessary for non-resident deer hunters in Alaska, so you can do a drop-off hunt on your own. "Nonresidents who hunt brown/grizzly bear, Dall sheep, or mountain goat must be personally accompanied in the field by an Alaska-licensed guide" is the official reading. Your expenses for hunting here would be non-resident license and tags, a commercial flight, and bush plane or boat charter, which are really pretty economical due to the number of operators available.
(I could go on about the planes available, since I'm an aviation enthusiast, but suffice to say that a float plane trip is pretty darn cool no matter what type you're flying.)
If you want to go with an outfitter, then Kodiak offers essentially two kinds of bases for hunters; staying at a lodge, or staying on a boat. Either one is not cheap by any means, even if you get a party together to book the entire place for yourselves for a week. On the other hand, they provide very comfortable accomodations (i.e. warm and dry with soft beds) and really good food (i.e. not freeze dried out of a bag), and often offer a full combo experience to include deer, sea ducks, fishing, and crabbing. (Kodiak and its surrounding islands are my favorite place to go as a resident hunter now living north of Anchorage. I've been there half a dozen times on drop-off hunts and taken deer, caribou, and Roosevelt elk on Afognak. There are a lot of bears here - I've seen or encountered them on every trip, but I've never had one get agressive or cause an issue.)
Southeast Alaska may be a more affordable option just because it would be easier for a non-resident to access, as "375 Fox" described. The entire panhandle area is known for good deer and black bear hunting as well as fishing. I started my Alaska residency in Ketchikan in 1992, but I haven't hunted there, nor have I ever hired a guide, so I can't speak to those specifics. Also, this year's regulations allow non-residents to take four bucks on Prince of Wales Island, whereas the limit at most other places is one.
Marine fishing charters everywhere around the Gulf of Alaska are usually booked as rockfish/salmon/halibut combos, and there are lots of them, so that would be easy to take advantage of no matter where you go. The August-September timeframe is late for spawning returns, but that's a moot point when fishing the salt, and the halibut are still around gobbling up the spawned out carcasses of salmon washing back out to sea. It's early fall hunting, so the weather is usually pretty nice (before the fall storms or cold and snow, although it's going to be rainy for sure).
The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game (adfg) runs a fantastic website that is an absolute treasure chest of information for anyone wanting to know more about hunting and fishing in the state. I can still get lost in there for hours just looking over all the possibilities. Everything you would want to know about places, seasons, and animals will be found there. You might be interested in the drawing permits available for other species (like mountain goat or elk) that would expand your hunt.
The last thing I'd like to mention about Sitka deer is their vulnerability to winter die-off. Both Kodiak and Southeast Alaska typically have very temperate winters, but if they get hit with deep snow then that leads to mass starvation which can take several years to recover from. This is much less of a problem than it was 20 or 30 years ago, since Alaska winters have been trending less severe during that time in general, but it's something to keep in mind for planning purposes. Again, ADFG can often supply population surveys as well as hunter success rates.
I really hope you get to go, no matter how you do it. It's beautiful country with great hunting opportunity. Best of luck to you!
 
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I live in Alaska but the reason I ended up moving here was 2 DIY trips when I was younger-

First to POW on a bear and fishing trip

Second was to Kodiak Deer and fishing trip,

Fell in Love with AK and always wondered why was I leaving to fly home when I could just stay!

If you are the DIY type then Kodiak in Aug is entirely doable. Just book a drop off with one of the many air taxis where deer are (I recommend further south- less trees more visibility but more flight time = more $)

You will most likely shoot a deer the first day if you want to. Then get picked up and go on a charter out of Kodiak for a day, then fish off the road system for free for salmon. Too easy

IMG_3835.jpeg

my oldest son with his first Sitka Blacktail
 
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Excellent advice from "wildwilderness"! I would totally endorse that itinerary.
Another point to be made about going farther south on Kodiak is the chance to hunt caribou, with an over-the-counter tag. (ADFG categorizes this population as "feral reindeer", since they are the legacy of a reindeer farming enterprise which failed long ago).
Q: What's the difference between reindeer and caribou?
A: Reindeer have names and come when you call them.
Something else I remembered are the public use cabins available throughout the Kodiak archipelago. I think there's a mix of State and US Forest Service cabins around, but they book up fast and those areas subsequently get a lot of hunting pressure. (My wife was leery of camping in bear country, so we stayed in a cabin on Shuyak Island the first time we went deer hunting - beautiful setting close to the beach, fresh water stream nearby, shower shack, well set-up interior... she felt comfortable and I got my first Sitka deer there.)
Another point in favor of the panhandle is that Prince of Wales Island has a rudimentary road system from commercial logging that makes it more accessible than other islands in Southeast. I've always wanted to try hunting the elk transplants on the ABC islands (Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof), but hunter success rates are abysmal and the reviews all mention how impenetrable theses places are.
This is a Roosevelt elk I took on a solo hunt to Afognak Island in 2007 (the camera was on a timer).
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i would like to go with a person-persons who had already hunted there, i did that on my first african hunting trip and that made it very easy to go on 5 more by myself, i did take friend along on 2 of the later trips.

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I've talked to the folks at Afognak Wilderness Lodge about a bear hunt. They offer fishing too. Afognak Island is part of the Kodiak island chain.


 
I did a combo black bear, fishing trip in 2022 in Prince William Sound. It was unguided. There’s a lot of bears in Alaska. There are a large number of transporters out there or even a few companies you can simply rent a boat from. We were fortunate enough to have a buddy with a boat so that helped keep cost down. If you do a search these transporters and rental companies are easy to find online.
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"A buddy with a boat." It doesn't get any better than that!!!!

Years ago, I moved to Morgan City, Louisiana. Everybody was telling me I needed to buy a boat. I told them nope, I need a friend with a boat.
 
The first thing I'd like to mention is that a guide is not necessary for non-resident deer hunters in Alaska, so you can do a drop-off hunt on your own. "Nonresidents who hunt brown/grizzly bear, Dall sheep, or mountain goat must be personally accompanied in the field by an Alaska-licensed guide" is the official reading. Your expenses for hunting here would be non-resident license and tags, a commercial flight, and bush plane or boat charter, which are really pretty economical due to the number of operators available.
(I could go on about the planes available, since I'm an aviation enthusiast, but suffice to say that a float plane trip is pretty darn cool no matter what type you're flying.)
If you want to go with an outfitter, then Kodiak offers essentially two kinds of bases for hunters; staying at a lodge, or staying on a boat. Either one is not cheap by any means, even if you get a party together to book the entire place for yourselves for a week. On the other hand, they provide very comfortable accomodations (i.e. warm and dry with soft beds) and really good food (i.e. not freeze dried out of a bag), and often offer a full combo experience to include deer, sea ducks, fishing, and crabbing. (Kodiak and its surrounding islands are my favorite place to go as a resident hunter now living north of Anchorage. I've been there half a dozen times on drop-off hunts and taken deer, caribou, and Roosevelt elk on Afognak. There are a lot of bears here - I've seen or encountered them on every trip, but I've never had one get agressive or cause an issue.)
Southeast Alaska may be a more affordable option just because it would be easier for a non-resident to access, as "375 Fox" described. The entire panhandle area is known for good deer and black bear hunting as well as fishing. I started my Alaska residency in Ketchikan in 1992, but I haven't hunted there, nor have I ever hired a guide, so I can't speak to those specifics. Also, this year's regulations allow non-residents to take four bucks on Prince of Wales Island, whereas the limit at most other places is one.
Marine fishing charters everywhere around the Gulf of Alaska are usually booked as rockfish/salmon/halibut combos, and there are lots of them, so that would be easy to take advantage of no matter where you go. The August-September timeframe is late for spawning returns, but that's a moot point when fishing the salt, and the halibut are still around gobbling up the spawned out carcasses of salmon washing back out to sea. It's early fall hunting, so the weather is usually pretty nice (before the fall storms or cold and snow, although it's going to be rainy for sure).
The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game (adfg) runs a fantastic website that is an absolute treasure chest of information for anyone wanting to know more about hunting and fishing in the state. I can still get lost in there for hours just looking over all the possibilities. Everything you would want to know about places, seasons, and animals will be found there. You might be interested in the drawing permits available for other species (like mountain goat or elk) that would expand your hunt.
The last thing I'd like to mention about Sitka deer is their vulnerability to winter die-off. Both Kodiak and Southeast Alaska typically have very temperate winters, but if they get hit with deep snow then that leads to mass starvation which can take several years to recover from. This is much less of a problem than it was 20 or 30 years ago, since Alaska winters have been trending less severe during that time in general, but it's something to keep in mind for planning purposes. Again, ADFG can often supply population surveys as well as hunter success rates.
I really hope you get to go, no matter how you do it. It's beautiful country with great hunting opportunity. Best of luck to you!
Excellent info, thank you.
 
I live in Alaska but the reason I ended up moving here was 2 DIY trips when I was younger-

First to POW on a bear and fishing trip

Second was to Kodiak Deer and fishing trip,

Fell in Love with AK and always wondered why was I leaving to fly home when I could just stay!

If you are the DIY type then Kodiak in Aug is entirely doable. Just book a drop off with one of the many air taxis where deer are (I recommend further south- less trees more visibility but more flight time = more $)

You will most likely shoot a deer the first day if you want to. Then get picked up and go on a charter out of Kodiak for a day, then fish off the road system for free for salmon. Too easy

View attachment 611692
my oldest son with his first Sitka Blacktail
I do prefer most of my NA hunting to be DIY, but I am just not sure if I am geared up or prepared to take on Alaska on my own. The logistics of getting there and back on multiple flights with gear and meat adds another element to deal with. If I could load up my truck and drive there within a couple days I probably would have already done it.
 
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