Questions and Answers
Listed below are the most asked questions I get year after year. If you have additional questions that I haven't answered, please go to the contact page and type your question in the comment box.
Question: How do I get there?
Answer: Fly directly from your home to Anchorage and spend the night in a hotel of your choice. The next morning (as early as possible) you will fly to Pilot Point on Lake Clark Airlines. You will then fly onto the main camp by chartering our designated flying service. You are responsible for all charter costs to and from main camp, which is $600.00 per person, roundtrip from Pilot Point. The point of outfitting is when you arrive at our Dog Salmon River Lodge/main camp.
Once you arrive at the main camp you will be given a short tour of camp, meet the crew, assigned a bunkhouse and then you can start to unpack, and repack. You will leave your traveling clothes at the main camp, and wear one of your sets of hunting clothes. You will sight your rifle at our range to make sure the highly trained baggage handlers didn’t drop your rifle case to many times, on your commercial flight. After this is done you will complete the paperwork required by the State of Alaska. You may be flown out to your spike camp the same day, weather permitting, or you may need to spend the night at main camp. Usually your guide will already be at the spike camp getting everything ready for your arrival.
Upon your arrival at the spike camp, your guide will explain the daily routine, and answer any questions you will have. You will start hunting the following morning. We check on each camp every 2-3 days and bring in additional food and supplies as required. Once you have taken your animal, you will be flown back to the main camp to get a shower and relax. Your skin will be fleshed and salted and prepared for shipping. After you have heard all the hunting stories you can handle, or at the end of your hunt, we will call the airlines and make your reservations for your return home.
Question: What items are furnished?
Answer: All camping equipment, food, sleeping bags, pads, cots, boats, motors and bush airplanes used during the hunt. All licenses and tags will be purchased before you arrive in base camp.
Question: What services are furnished?
Answer: You will be personally guided by a licensed guide. All field care of your skins will be handled by your guide. You will be staying in comfortable tent camps with cots, stoves and lanterns.
Question: What can I expect for weather?
Answer: Windy and cloudy most of the time. Rain and snow 50% of the time. Temperature is usually 20-50 degrees above zero. You will be sitting for long periods of time (16-18 hours per day) glassing for bears, 8-10 hours per day glassing for moose. Warm layered clothing is required. Like I have said for years, if we had white sandy beaches and warm weather on the Alaska Peninsula, there would be condos there instead of bears and moose. Plan for the worst weather you have ever hunted in, then if the weather is nice a couple of days, you get the prize for good weather.
Question: When do we start hunting?
Answer: You will start hunting the day following your arrival in spike camp. It is illegal to shoot any big game animal the same day you are flying. Our hunting area is approximately 550 square miles in size, including over 100 miles of coastline on the Pacific coast across form Kodiak Island, 19 salmon streams, and the Dog Salmon River on which our base camp is located. Although the area supports an excellent bear population, we plan to take only 12-14 animals per season. We also try to harvest only mature animals, which helps to maintain an excellent bear population. Our camps are located near good vantage points, where you will be able to glass valleys, streams and hillsides.
Question: What kind of sleeping bag do I need?
Answer: You do not need to bring a sleeping bag. We furnish good, cleaned sleeping bags, pads and cots for all clients. Is you are very tall or heavy and want to bring your favorite sleeping bag, please feel free to do so. We will still have one of ours available.
Question: What should I pack my gear in?
Answer: Please bring only small/medium duffel bags. The perfect bag is Cabela’s medium size duffel bag. Please, no suitcases or 6 foot long duffel with wheels on them, commuter airlines charge for over 50#, and now your guncase counts as one piece of baggage. Our super cubs are 1 passenger aircraft, with 50# of baggage, including your gun case. You will only need two sets of hunting clothes, plus your traveling clothes. If your gear requires an extra flight, there will be an additional $600.00 charge.
Question: How much walking is involved in the hunt?
Answer: All hunting is done, by walking from spike camps. This is strictly a fair chase hunt. Please be capable of walking five miles daily in ankle-fit hip boots. Your guide will always carry his own rifle while hunting.
Question: Should I bring binoculars?
Answer: Yes, you should bring the best binoculars that you have or can afford. Most guides will be carrying 10X40 Zeiss, Leica or Swarovski. Any good 8X30 or 10X40 will be a big advantage to your hunt. Many clients are excellent spotters, and you will be setting for hours looking through your binoculars. Just make sure they are waterproof, because believe me, the Alaska Peninsula weather will test your gear.
Question: Do I need to bring a spotting scope?
Answer: No, every guide will be carrying a good spotting scope and tripod. This will save you about 5-7# in gear weight.
Question: What is your success rate last year?
Answer: Our success rate last season (2019) was 8 bears for 10 brown bear clients.2020 bear season was closed because of the virus.
Question: How much should I tip my guide?
Answer: This is probably the hardest question I have to answer at the sport shows. I have received tips ranging from a Desert Sheep hunt in Mexico for just getting the client a nice trophy, to zero for getting a client a super trophy. One man sent his son and son in law on a bear hunt and they took 2 bears in 2 days. He told them to tip the guide 10% of the hunt price, that came to $2200.00 tip. I paid the guide $2000.00 in wages, so you can see the guide had a good hunt, as well as the clients. I pay my guides very well to keep them coming back year after year, and they are expected to provide you with a very high quality hunting experience. It’s the additional effort the guide puts forth to ensure you have a great hunt, that you should be tipping for. The average is probably about $1000.00 on a bear hunt, and $500.00 on a moose hunt. Some clients tip the packers, cook, pilots, as well as your personal guide. The tipping amount is up to you, and I don’t want you to think I am telling you that a big tip is required or expected.
Question: Do you guarantee the taking of an animal?
Answer: No, Alaska state law prohibits guaranteeing success, on any given hunt or trip.
Question: What are Ankle-fit hip boots and where can I get them?
Answer: Ankle fit hip boots are hip boots with a tight fitting ankle. This tighter fit keeps the boots from moving up and down when you walk. By not rubbing on your heel, there is less chance for blisters. You can purchase these from Cabela’s, they call them contour ankle fit. They come in both insulated and uninsulated, and with regular boot sole or air-bob soles. I recommend uninsulated ones with the air-bob soles. I buy mine one size larger than I normally wear and then buy 2 pair of felt insoles. I place an insole in each boot. The insoles give you and extra padding for walking on river gravel, and also absorb moisture. I change the insoles daily.
Question: What kind of shape do I need to be in?
Answer: The best shape possible. You do not need to be a marathon runner, but you need to be able to walk up to 5 miles in ankle fit hip boots daily. When bear hunting we often are glassing areas 1-2 miles away. If a bear is spotted, that you want, you need to be able to get close enough for a shot. The only time when this is critical,is right before dark when there may not be enough time to poke along at a snails pace. Usually you will have enough time to work into place at a normal walk, unless a bear is traveling and you are trying to cut him off. Most of our spike camps are within 1 mile of a good lookout or vantage point.
To get in shape, I recommend climbing stairs or hills. Walking on flat ground doesn’t help you as much as you think. If you have a pack frame, put it on and start climbing. After a couple of days, add a couple of gallon milk jugs full of water. Climb the hills or stairs and when you get to the top, you can dump the water and start back down. Coming down hills or stairs with lots of weight in your pack is very hard on your knees. Work your way up to where you can climb with 5 gallons of water or 40#. That is more than you will need, but you will think the 20# load o your hunt, is really light then.
Question: Do I need a camera?
Answer: Yes, every hunter should bring a camera and extra film or digital cards to take home pictures of their adventure of hunting in Alaska. I recommend a small 35mm or digital camera. A built in telephoto lens is nice. Either 200 or 400 ASA film will work well, bring 2-4 rolls of each, and at least one extra set of batteries. I also have extra film at the lodge. The one comment I get often is that “I wish I had taken more pictures”. Alaska is a cameraman’s, dream come true.
Question: Do I need to bring fishing tackle?
Answer: We have a good selection of spinning rod and reels at the lodge for you to use. We also have a good selection of lures. If you want to fish with a fly rod, then you will need to bring your own gear and flies.
A 7-9 weight rod, 8-9 ½ feet in length, and a mid size reel with a disc or caliper drag, that can handle a full floating or sink-tip fly line plus 150 yards or more of 20lbs backing. This is perfect for situations that require long casts, fast sinking lines, or the power to lift fish from deeper water. Great for silver salmon or large Char and trout.
RECOMMENDED FLIES: An assortment of bunny leeches, egg-sucking leeches, wooly buggers and flesh flies tied on # 4 and # 2 hooks should be in every angler's fly box. Black, purple, olive and dark red are the preferred colors, but throw a couple of loud color ones (chartreuse or hot pink) in your box also if you can. Egg patterns, lots of them, are also a must, and they should be orange, red and hot pink, tied on # 8 & 10 hooks. Spawn sack flies like the Babine Special, the Alaskan Omelette, and the Polar Shrimp, on white or tan with bright orange, pink or red, and tied on # 4 & 6 hooks are also hot producers. These flies will work on just about everything that swims in Alaska.
A selection of high-vis flash flies on 1/0 and # 2 hooks is also very important, particularly for salmon, which strike flies out of reflex rather than hunger. Some of the best known are the Karluk Flash and the Salmon Flash Fly in purple, silver, and in gold, Mercer's King Caviar, the Boss Bunny, the Comet Bunny, the Christmas Tree and the Wiggle Tail.
Question: What caliber do you recommend?
Answer: I recommend at least a 7mag or larger for moose and bears. More bears are taken with a 300mag than any other caliber, and more moose are taken with a 30-06. If you are buying a new rifle to hunt Alaska, get a 338 mag. The 338 is a perfect rifle for everything in Alaska. If you can handle the recoil of a 375mag, then that would be a good choice also, especially for large brown bears. Good bonded bullets such as Noslers, Swift or Barnes are the best.
I carry a 375 mag., pre 64 model 70, with a fiberglass stock. My rifle is light weight, has a 20 ½” barrel, and a 1.5–5 power Leupold VarXIII scope. I shoot only 300 grain Nosler bullets in Federal factory loads.
Your scope is actually more important than your rifle. Bring only a good waterproof scope, that will not fog up in the rain. Lens covers are a must. You will not need anything larger than a 2X7 or 3X9 power scope. Please no 6X20 power scopes, we are not shooting prairie dogs
The stainless steel actions and fiberglass stocks are the best for Alaska, because your rifle is going to be wet 90% of the time. Trust me.
Question: What kind of pack should I bring?
Answer: You should bring at least a very large good day pack with a hip belt, or better yet would be a framed pack with a good hip belt. You will be carrying your camera, extra shells, rain gear, a jacket, your lunch and snacks, plus your water bottle. Then add about 5# of misc. stuff you will probably never use, but like to carry just in case.
The best frame pack on the market is sold by Barney’s Sports Chalet in Anchorage. It is a well built, with heavy duty shoulder straps and hip belt. This is what 95% of all the guides use. I buy these frames for my packers who regularly are packing 100# of moose meat or more each trip.
Question: How much ammo should I bring?
Answer: Bring 2 boxes of the exact same ammo that you have sighted your rifle in with at home. Sight your rifle in 3” high at 100 yards. Then you can hold on the animal out to 300 yards. Very seldom do we ever take a shot over 200yards. Usually the average shot is 150 yards. Please shoot your rifle at least 50 times before you come and get use to it, and know where it shoots. I had one hunter who came on a bear hunt who had never shot his rifle once, only had it bore sighted at the gun shop where he bought it. Another hunter said he had his wife sight in his 338 for him. He had never shot his rifle either until he arrived at camp.
You should practice shooting kneeling, sitting, and a little offhand.
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