Bethel or Kotzebue

Jbith

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May 10, 2020
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I have an opportunity to move to Bethel or Kotzebue Alaska for 2 years and am wondering which location would offer the most, best hunting and fishing options. I am down to hunt and fish pretty much anything but would enjoy hunting Caribou and fishing some salmon. Do either of these places offer hunting and fishing without having to hire a bush plane? I would like to be able to get to hunting and fishing grounds by ATV or Snowmobile rather then pay hundreds of dolllars to fly every time I want to hunt. My thought is that Bethel would be the better town because it is larger and seems to offer a bit more in terms of stores and supplies. But I don't want to go there if Kotzebue is where all the good hunting and fishing is. From what I have found, Kotzebue is the best destination for Caribou. Any thoughts or information would be greatly appreciated.
 

Bambistew

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Chugiak, AK
I think the biggest thing I would consider is your sanity for being so isolated. It takes a very special person to move to those places and thrive. I've met many people that count the days until they leave after about 6 months. Winters are really long. I also know people that love living there.

As far as close to to hunting. You and everyone else in town will be doing the same, trying to get out as cheaply as possible. There is not a lot of hunting in Bethel that won't be a mob scene, or require a boat or long land travel in winter. Kotz is similar, but fewer people, and maybe less overland travel until late fall/early winter. Fishing is not awesome in either.

If I had to chose. It would be Kotz, but I wouldn't expect a whole lot of opportunity to hunt or fish without a boat, a lot of time, and a lot of gas money (gas =$6gal)
 

Dunning Kruger

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May 9, 2019
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Man, i dont know about the hunting aspect, but maybe you should fly up there and check it out. Its like a different planet. A shitty third world planet. ive been to bethel, kotzebue, all kinds of western alaska villages, and i can tell you no way would i move there for 2 years, not without getting payed an absolutely outrageous amount of money. Id have to leave a millionaire with zero debt after those 2 years.
 

BearFoot

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Alaska
I spent several years working villages in the arctic, western Alaska, and Aleutian islands. I did not live there but worked days, weeks, and months depending on projects. Got paid great amounts of money. These places offer a "culture experience" and you are a visitor. Its not for everyone. Bethel and Kotzebue are the regional hubs for the areas native villages. Air taxi is how people move about. Alaska "The last frontier". I'd pack a fishing pole everywhere. Everyone knows a new guy came in town. Treat folks with respect without attempting to impose your own ideals on them. Express interest in hunting and fishing, you'll likely get invites to tag along. Opportunity!
 

Salmonchaser

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Nov 12, 2019
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If you’re committed, I’d take Kotz. In either case you don’t get very far from town with out investing in a boat or an ATV. I’d approach it like Bearfoot recommends.
Good luck!
 

Jbith

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May 10, 2020
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Thanks for the info! I have lived in some remote places before and have dealt with the long, dark and cold winter factors in Estonia (although I'm sure Western Alaska will be more severe). The job does allow me to pay off my debt, and I'm looking forward to the experience even if turns out to not be my favorite place on earth.

I'm leaning towards Bethel because it seems more likely that I could buy a boat (and possibly barge in an ATV on the company's dime) to reach some decent fishing/hunting there. The town also seems slightly less isolated as it is bigger and offers a little more. From what I can tell, Kotz has a little more in the ways of ice fishing, but would require hiring a bush pilot for almost any hunting. And I'm not sure how easy it is to buy a boat or ATV there. Thanks again for the advice everyone!
 

Salmonchaser

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Nov 12, 2019
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Looking forward to your reports, an awful lot of people use Bethel to fly out for moose and caribou.
 

Justin Essian

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May 21, 2020
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1
I have an opportunity to move to Bethel or Kotzebue Alaska for 2 years and am wondering which location would offer the most, best hunting and fishing options. I am down to hunt and fish pretty much anything but would enjoy hunting Caribou and fishing some salmon. Do either of these places offer hunting and fishing without having to hire a bush plane? I would like to be able to get to hunting and fishing grounds by ATV or Snowmobile rather then pay hundreds of dolllars to fly every time I want to hunt. My thought is that Bethel would be the better town because it is larger and seems to offer a bit more in terms of stores and supplies. But I don't want to go there if Kotzebue is where all the good hunting and fishing is. From what I have found, Kotzebue is the best destination for Caribou. Any thoughts or information would be greatly appreciated.
I lived in Kotz 3 1/2 years and currently live in Bethel. Both have great hunting and fishing opportunities. Kotz is best for boo, not so hot for Salmon. Basically only Chum up that far North, Great Sheefish fishing though. There are moose, but they are no where even close to what the Kuskokwim and Yukon have to offer. Ice fishing in the spring is good right out of town. Bethel is great for moose and Salmon. However, the Kusko is milky all the time. Only chance of catching a salmon besides dumb luck is with a set net. The Kwethluk river and Kisaralik river would be your best bet for Salmon, Bow, Grayling, and Dolly but it would be a little bit of a ride to get that far, but it is sooooo worth it. Both places you would need a boat or a snow machine, preferably both, or makes friends with some one who has both:) Great opportunities at each location. My favorite in general is Kotz, but best overall, in my opinion, for fishing and hunting would be Bethel.
 
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