“If money wasn’t an object, where is the first place you would travel, and what would you hunt?”

We asked that simple question of our social media audience, and the overwhelming winner was Alaska. As for the type of game, just about everything the land has to offer was suggested. For the average person, the frigid temperatures and long nights are best endured from a safe distance with some nice filmography on the National Geographic channel, perhaps. But for an avid hunter, conquering the vast and brutal wilderness of Alaskan can put your hunting skills up to the ultimate challenge.

MuscoxWhy Alaska?

The question should really be, “Why not Alaska?” Of the 50 U.S. states, it is the final frontier and offers almost unlimited opportunities to hunt, including game you can’t hunt anywhere else in the states:

  • Brown Bear
  • Carib
  • Muskox
  • Sitka Black-tailed Deer
  • Dall Sheep

Sure, you can find moose in states like New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota, but only Alaska claims it as the official state animal. And the Alaska-Yukon species grows bigger than any other.

Perhaps the best part about hunting Alaska is the fact that you can do a variety of combo hunts, and lots of outdoorsmen do combo hunting/fishing trips that include salmon, trout and halibut fishing. Hunters who hunt Kodiak or the Aleutian Islands often stay on boats, where crab pots and rods and reels provide the surf portion of dinners, and the hunters provide the black-tailed backstraps for the turf part.

So, really, why not?

Well, there is a reason the phrase “if money wasn’t an object…” is a consideration for hunting in Alaska. A non-resident annual hunting license will cost you $85, and $250 for a non-resident annual hunting/trapping license. Various non-resident annual hunting license/sport fishing license combos are $105 to $230. Non-resident tags for big game range in price from $30 for a wolf tag, up to $1,100 for a muskox bull, including $400 for a moose and $500 for a brown/grizzly bear tag. So far you’re saying, “Hey, I could save up for a while and do this!”

Brown Bear

While you’re saving, consider the one major cost that almost everyone will want to choose: a guided hunt. Alaska is a huge state, and the game isn’t standing shoulder to shoulder by the highways — even if the game is plentiful. Do-it-yourself hunters are mostly limited to driving the highways and making day trips from the road as far as possible and back during daylight. But, they’re competing with plenty of hunters in similar situations, and their odds of success are not good — especially on mature or trophy-sized animals. Guide services can fly you or transport you by boat or horseback to prime hunting country, and your guides will know the habits and patterns of each animal you’re after. And, most importantly, guide services will know the very detailed hunting regulations in Alaska by heart, which is important to staying on the right side of the law.

Your better odds of success come with a price. You could be looking at $1,500 for a deer hunt, up to $15,000 for a prime brown bear hunt. You can trim costs by using one guide for two hunters, or by opting for sparse tent accommodations and foot power over four-star lodging and float planes. No matter what, though, saving up for a guided hunt is recommended on your first hunt. After that, if you’re the bold kind, you might venture out with a friend and try to save some change. You’re probably going to need it for plane tickets, shipping costs for your meat and trophies, and taxidermy costs when you get home!

Resources

Caribou

Nothing makes sure that you follow up on a dream like having resources around to constantly remind you: magazines, a notebook with ideas and packing lists, etc. So, we put together a few links that you can bookmark and refer to when — not if — you start planning your Alaska hunt of a lifetime.

Do you have experience hunting in Alaska and want to share your tips? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

If you logged onto Twitter, Facebook or even your email anytime during January 14-17, then you likely caught some of the buzz from the 36th SHOT Show in Las Vegas. It’s not your average tradeshow. Attendance is restricted to industry professionals, and you have to be invited or apply to go.

With more than 1,600 exhibiting companies and a record-breaking 67,000+ attendance, the four-day event lived up to its billing as the largest shooting, hunting and outdoor tradeshow. For everyone who missed this year’s SHOT Show, and for those who attended and likely still missed out on a few things, this recap will highlight some of the most important action.

 

The Show — It’s a BIG DEAL.

The SHOT Show is the brainchild of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Since its inception, it has united shooting sports, hunting, and law enforcement professionals from around the world. Attendees are often the first to see and test out new equipment, making it the perfect opportunity for retailers to connect with their audience.

Infographic: How Big is the SHOT Show?

 

The Products

The SHOT Show is like going to a candy store as a kid — except now you’re all grown up and the candy is firearms, accessories and safety gear. The same hard choices must be made, though, and the manufacturers made sure of it!

 

Things got really loud with Realtree & Skullcandy.

 

 

It’s cute, but the gun packs a punch. And something tells us Katie can hold her own, too.

 

 

Just a little Mossy Oak camo or a lot!

 

 

 

Wouldn’t mind taking this for a spin.

 

 

We’ll take that one, that one, that one and…

 

 


The 10 Best New Hunting Guns from the 2014 SHOT Show
Best New Guns from SHOT Show 2014
NSSF Product Spotlights- Videos

 

The People. All 67,000+ of Them

At a show this big, even the “A list” people have celebrities they want to meet and take pictures with. There was no shortage of people to see, meet and reunite with.

Middleweight UFC fighter (and former shotgun model) Tim Kennedy was there for a demonstration of the Gerber DingDong  (a door-breaching tool). He may never need one, but he helped to prove a point.

 

 

 

Top Headlines

 

Won Over: A Non-hunter, Non-shooter’s Eyes Open at SHOT Show

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is a Star at the 2014 SHOT Show

POMA Releases New Mobile App for Android/ITunes/Amazon

New Digital Magazine Sportsman Life Launched

B. Tyler Henry SHOT Show Auction Rifle Yields $50,825 in Support of Outdoor Heritage

 

A Few Giveaways

 

 

For the Memories

It’s difficult to walk away from SHOT without learning something new or adding to your experience as an outdoor enthusiast. Even if you miss something, there’s always next year. One tip — don’t forget to bring bacon jerky.

 

 

SHOT Show 2014 – It’s An Experience

For those outdoor professionals who attended and shared your experiences — thank you! Next year’s event is already set for January 20-23at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Did we miss something worth mentioning? Feel free to tell us about it with a comment!

One of the hardest things for a hunter to do is explain to a non-hunter how you can love and respect animals for their beauty and grace … but also kill and eat them. Stalking a deer through crunchy leaves, calling in a big tom turkey at the end of the season, and facing down a charging Cape buffalo are all difficult tasks. Helping to keep hunting a protected right, in a society that understands it less and less, is a tough responsibility that we all need to think about diligently.

However, there has been a disturbing trend developing in the last decade or so of using war or “battlefield” terminology to name products and talk about hunting. I don’t feel any “rage” when I’m hunting a big buck, and I don’t want to “eliminate” a flock of mallards over my decoys. But, those words turn up in the first few advertisements I looked through in my hunting magazines. Using words like “killzone,” “ambush” and “ruthless” to describe hunting or hunting products tells non-hunters that we see ourselves as violent people who are waging war on animals.

www.hunter-ed.com

We all know that there are certain aspects of hunting that are necessary, but not something we exactly celebrate — blood and guts being the primary one. Killing is a natural part of our world, and it’s an everyday part of every wild animal’s world. But, to people who don’t join us in our pursuit — and who might, in fact, try to restrict hunting because they don’t agree with us — using words that portray violence or “war” on animals is going to work against us in the long run. We need to use words, images and thoughts that respect animals and show that we are normal, even non-violent people. Hunting is a family-oriented activity, and always has been, because the tradition of hunting comes from providing the daily food for families.

Some of the crossover of battlefield language comes from using common tools — speaking of rifles, of course. Guns can be used three ways: defensively for self-protection; aggressively during war (or by criminals); and for hunting or target shooting, which is neither aggressive nor defensive. At Hunter Ed, we never call a firearm a “weapon” because we are not attacking or defending when we are hunting. Our hunting AR-15s come from a military pedigree, and so do our bolt-action rifles. Perhaps we’ve incorporated the military language as a result of that. If so, we need to think a little harder about what we’re saying. The general public already has a tough time understanding that ARs are useful for hunting and target shooting, so the more we keep them from being seen as “violent,” the better for us as hunters.

Remembering our roots, as hunters, is really helpful in reminding us of how to talk and think about hunting. In Europe, when a hunter is successful, he or she will put a sprig of grass or a green branch in the animal’s mouth, sending it off with a “last meal” as a sign of respect. Native American hunters offered prayers of thanks and sprinkled cornmeal or tobacco around an animal’s mouth; these were very valuable resources and showed a “trade” for the animal’s life. Today, many American hunters have adapted those traditions and made some of them their own.

At the core of all this tradition is respect for animals and even acknowledging a little bit of regret when we take one of their lives. As long as we think of animals as special, we won’t talk about them — in advertisements or on Facebook or in hunting videos — as if they are our enemies or our victims. Hunting is a right, but it’s also a privilege, an honor, and a responsibility. We should never, ever forget that.

This is the time of the year when families throughout the country are dusting off their good dinnerware in preparation for another round of holiday traditions. Unlike most people, however, the hunting community has had Thanksgiving on its mind since spring turkey season.  For us, Thanksgiving is a true celebration of our labor in the field, and it’s an opportunity to share our gifts with those around us.

As we are reminded of this, it’s only fitting that we share just what Thanksgiving means to us.

Hunters are still doing it the old way

I told Bill we were having another old-fashioned meal using only the food we had either raised or acquired ourselves. Just think: apple pie from our apple tree, squash casserole and sliced tomatoes from our garden, Idaho bakers from our neighbor’s field, homemade rolls, venison roast and grilled salmon. What a blessing.”

Not everyone has the pleasure of catching, killing, growing and cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal. Lenore Mobley is one of the fortunate few. With her husband at her side, Mobley rode through 6 inches of snow to collect the venison roast that will adorn her table. Why? Because that’s her Thanksgiving tradition.

National Wild Turkey Federation members pass the turkey

Hunting to put food on your family’s table is a special kind of achievement, but for the members of the Sioux Falls National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), it’s not quite enough. For the past several years the group has donated turkeys to The Banquet, a ministry dedicated to providing food to people in need. The organization will be able to serve 350 to 375 people this Thanksgiving with the 32 turkeys NWTF delivered. It’s a tradition for them that goes beyond the individual hunting experience and highlights what the season is truly about.

The Sioux Falls NWTF group isn’t the only organization offering a helping hand either. Hunters across the country are fighting hunger this Thanksgiving.

Work and play collide, and it’s delicious

There’s a great joy in sharing your passion of hunting with someone else — especially if you’re exposing them to something new. The fastest and easiest way to do this is with food. So bring on the jerky, goose chili, bacon-wrapped dove and whatever else!

 

Creating new traditions

Jeremy Elbert of Wildlife Pursuit decided a couple years ago that his family needed a new tradition. When you hunt as much as Jeremy does, changing things up is always acceptable. So now, once a year, his mother and brother meet up for an out-of-state long distance hunt. They captured their most recent journey to Montana in the video below and it’s worth a watch.

Remember, traditions have to start somewhere. Could this be the year you start a new one?


A different kind of dressing

Once you’ve got meat in the fridge, you’re only about halfway done. Everyone has their go-to recipes for venison in particular, but most reserve the best ones for the holidays. It’s also a chance to do something different. If you’re ready to move beyond your tried and true ways of cooking venison and WOW your guests, Celby Richoux of Wide Open Spaces makes a compelling case for why you should. This venison tenderloin recipe is so enticing it could steal the spotlight from the turkey. We’ll let you decide!

The big bird still rules the table

Somewhere in America, a hunter and his family are enjoying this wild turkey. We hope that whatever you’re serving this year, you’re with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Hunter Ed!