Sitka Blacktail Hunt: Kodiak, Alaska

 

 

By: Roy K. Keefer

The day has finally arrived, today we took off for Alaska.  Thankfully, we’re flying to Kodiak, I would hate to think about driving there.  The flight itself is pretty grueling.  We left at 6 A.M. which meant we had to be at the airport by 4 A.M., so it was a short night.

After stopping in Seattle, we boarded the flight to Anchorage.  A short layover there and we flew the final leg to Kodiak.  At the airport we met our guide, Fred O’Hearn.  Fred is principally a fisherman taking parties out for day fishing around Kodiak.  In the fall, he guides for brown bears, mountain goat and Dall sheep.

You might ask why we needed a guide and the simple reason is the brown bears.  Several years ago my wife, Shelby and I hunted brown bears on Afognak Island.  On that hunt we had a brown bear do a false charge on us, stopping at 15 feet.  Neither of us wanted to experience that again and felt safer going with a guide.

Fred normally doesn’t do Sitka blacktail hunts, but he agreed to help us on this trip.  Although the southern part of the island is best for Sitkas, we decided to hunt the northern part known as the “Road System”.  This decision was based on two things.  First, it was less expensive, southern hunts require additional transportation by boat or float plane.  On the southern part of the island you can take three bucks while the northern limit is only one.  Secondly, I wanted to take one of the Sitkas to complete my personal bucket list.  I wasn’t interested in going for a trophy deer, just a good representative buck.  Of course, if I got lucky and a trophy buck walked by I would consider myself fortunate.

Tomorrow the hunt for a good Sitka buck begins.

I should emphasize that the southern part of the island has more deer and less hunting pressure.  With that in mind, I know the odds are against us and it will require a lot of luck to be successful.  I hoped that by allowing over a week to hunt I would prevail.

After Fred picked us up at the airport, we went to Wal-Mart and bought my licenses.  We also picked up some things, mainly snacks, I didn’t want to pack on the plane.

Roy and Shelby in downtown Kodiak’s visitor’s Center.

Fred dropped us off at the downtown motel we would be calling home during the hunt.  Shelby got her video equipment ready.  She plans to video our efforts.  I assembled my bow and we called it a night.

Tomorrow we would begin the first day of our hunt.

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