Adak Island hunting?

Dr. Dan

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Feb 19, 2018
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Hello, I'm stuck overseas with too much time to plan out next hunting season. I'm new to Alaska and eager to try my hand at caribou hunting. I've been researching Adak island, and it seems promising! There seem to be a couple of outfitters there who have very reasonable rates compared to anything I've found in interior AK. Does anyone have any experience hunting the Aleutians? Any other recommendations for caribou hunting for myself and my wife (we live in Fairbanks).
 

wllm1313

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Feel free to shoot me a PM with questions, several other folks on here have gone.

There is one outfitter on the island to my knowledge, and we used them to do our rentals. If I was a AK resident I'm not sure that's the trip I would do... just saying you have ton of options that are much better.

 

Bambistew

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Chugiak, AK
Adak is hit or miss. I haven't gone personally, but know a number of people that have. The DIY factor is pretty easy and its super cheap for a resident. Airline miles over, rentals are cheap and walk in off the road. Easy if they are near the road, if not... you might roll a doghnut. Going guided would certainly increase your odds. The size of the animals is considerably smaller than other areas, as they are reindeer vs caribou.

Are you an actual resident having lived here or a year? I'm not sure if military are exempt from the 365 day rule to establish residency or not, but I don't think so. If you are a resident there are a couple registration hunts, otherwise its the luck of the draw around FBX, a registration hunt open to everyone, hunting the Haul Road or flying into the Brooks.

Personally Adak is scraping the bottom of the bucket for a caibou hunt. YMMV. I certainly wouldn't pay to go on a guided hunt there vs somewhere else.
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

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SE SD
I've gone down there before. Miserable, wind like you couldn't imagine and almost constant rain.

Depending on snowfall it can be an easy hunt or a difficult hunt. In general most animals are on the south side of the island, so a guide will take around the island to hunt down there.

If you don't go to the south side, it can be pretty miss since the locals tend to thin the herd anywhere close to town is the roads.

PM me for more details if you're curious.
 

Arctic_Snow_Seeker

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I would hire a transporter to hunt caribou in the 40 mile country. Cost wise it may be a little more but well worth it. Being in Fairbanks you’re only a 6 hour drive from bow hunting bou on the haul road. Worst case for next year you could take the unit 13 tier tag....
 

N_8

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Feb 27, 2019
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Yakutat, Alaska
I know several people who have done this hunt. They like it, some going back multiple years. Sounds like it is kind of a weird place though and windy. I believe you can get stuck pretty easy with the limited jet schedule and agro weather.
 

Dr. Dan

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Thanks everyone. I will have been in AK for a year in July, so I'll have resident status by hunting season. Seems like the hunt is getting really mixed reviews. I'll probably focus closer to Fairbanks and look into the 40 mile herd or Haul road. I've just heard several stories about the absolute zoo that the 40-mile hunt is, with a season measured in hours. Not sure that's really my scene. I'm also trying to get my wife on her first big game animal, and she doesn't have any interest in archery.

I'm certainly open to other suggestions!
 

glass eye

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El Centro, CA
The size of the animals is considerably smaller than other areas, as they are reindeer vs caribou.
They are not reindeer:

During 1958–1959, 23 barren-ground caribou (R. tarandusgranti) from the Nelchina herd on mainland south-central Alaska were transplanted to the west side of Adak to provide recreational hunting and an emergency food supply formilitary personnel.
 

wllm1313

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Thanks everyone. I will have been in AK for a year in July, so I'll have resident status by hunting season. Seems like the hunt is getting really mixed reviews. I'll probably focus closer to Fairbanks and look into the 40 mile herd or Haul road. I've just heard several stories about the absolute zoo that the 40-mile hunt is, with a season measured in hours. Not sure that's really my scene. I'm also trying to get my wife on her first big game animal, and she doesn't have any interest in archery.

I'm certainly open to other suggestions!
Reviews on Adak are mixed, IMHO because of the user. If you are an experienced hunter and are looking for a wild Alaskan experience, or looking for a big bull to hang on your wall... not the hunt for you. If you are a first time hunter, meat hunter, adult onset hunter, something along those lines it's an awesome experience.

Adak IMHO should be looked at more as a cow hunt than a bull hunt. There aren't predators so the bou aren't spooky, I was able to get my buddies GF her first animal on Adak, we were able to get extremely close which was nice.

I know most folks are going in the winter when the caribou are in town, but that is also when the weather is the absolute worst and also per earlier part of the sentence, when it's most crowded. We went in August, you had to hike quite a ways in to find caribou, but it's a pretty easy hike all things considered, there was a salmon run, and we didn't see another person. Also the island is stunningly beautiful in August.

I would say if you are in great shape and have low trophy expectations then Adak is a blast. Would I go back... hard to say (definitely for sea ducks), was it a great trip absolutely.
 
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Arctic_Snow_Seeker

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Arctic_Snow_Seeker

Active member
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
161
Thanks everyone. I will have been in AK for a year in July, so I'll have resident status by hunting season. Seems like the hunt is getting really mixed reviews. I'll probably focus closer to Fairbanks and look into the 40 mile herd or Haul road. I've just heard several stories about the absolute zoo that the 40-mile hunt is, with a season measured in hours. Not sure that's really my scene. I'm also trying to get my wife on her first big game animal, and she doesn't have any interest in archery.

I'm certainly open to other suggestions!
It all depends on your attitude. Some people cant handle it and would be better off hunting farmland in the lower 48 chasing exotics. You're new to AK. It kicks a lot of peoples butt's. Go into it with a great attitude, best gear you can afford and it will all come together. There are times when the weather is going to REALLY suck. You will get to the point where that's the icing on the cake for a great hunting story. I don't reflect back much on the hunts with blue bird weather and everything went "right". Maybe I've been up here too long...
 

Gary

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Jul 4, 2009
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240
Thanks everyone. I will have been in AK for a year in July, so I'll have resident status by hunting season. Seems like the hunt is getting really mixed reviews. I'll probably focus closer to Fairbanks and look into the 40 mile herd or Haul road. I've just heard several stories about the absolute zoo that the 40-mile hunt is, with a season measured in hours. Not sure that's really my scene. I'm also trying to get my wife on her first big game animal, and she doesn't have any interest in archery.

I'm certainly open to other suggestions!
That being the case, you could/should have applied for a Tier 1 tag for Unit 13, this year. Guaranteed tag (with some restrictions) and road accessible.
 

Dr. Dan

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Feb 19, 2018
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Thank you for the advice everyone. You've certainly given me some ideas for next year. It's a shame I missed the Tier 1 deadline. I think I'll just have to invest time into scouting this summer and see what I come up with
 
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