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Alaska Deer Hunting Season

  • May 23, 2013 /

Big game hunting is a favorite past time in Alaska. In some parts of Alaska, deer hunting in August and September during the Alaska deer hunting season is a popular sport. Here is some information about hunting deer in Alaska.

Alaskan Deer Species

The Sitka Blacktail Deer is found along the coastal regions of Alaska. It has a shorter face and is a smaller, stockier version of most of the blacktail family. Found on the ABC Islands, the Prince Wales Island and other coastal areas, the Sitka deer can be found in old-growth forest rummaging in the shrubs and in heavy timber. Most trophy bucks come from Kodiak Island where there are no natural predators.

Tactics For Hunting Deer in Alaska

Unlike mule deer, Sitka deer are largely nocturnal, so tracking deer along trails to their feeding sites may prove to be frustrating. Spot and stalk techniques are usually employed to capture these elusive creatures. Man-made stands can be effective if you use proper scent containment methods. Still hunting is another effective method.

Many believe that large magnums are necessary in the Alaskan wilderness, however, many guides recommend rifles in order to save your hearing and the hearing of those around you. Use caution and good housekeeping skills when camping to keep away bears.

Permits and Seasons

Alaska Deer Hunting Season is from August 1st to November 30th. Both a hunting license and a harvest tag is required to hunt big game in Alaska. A non-resident annual hunting license is $85.00. A resident tag is $25.00. A harvest tag for a deer is $150.00.

All hunters must complete a basic hunters education course before applying for a license or a tag. You cannot reuse a tag or use two or more tags on the same animal.

Other Restrictions

You cannot hunt game using a rimfire firearm or with a muzzle loader except under certain conditions. You also cannot kill a deer that is swimming. You also cannot use a dog or a bow with a deer unless it is a 40 pound weight.

Where To Hunt

Part of Alaska is designated Native American land that is considered private property. Still, there is a vast area open to hunting. Deer populations congregate along the Southwestern part of the state in the coastal forests, so it’s best to check with the state department for a map of federal and state hunting lands. With permission of the owner, you can hunt on private property.

Alaska is well known for its harsh environment. It’s best to plan out a trip well before the Alaska deer hunting season and plan on a longer trip that includes five or more days of hunting instead of a short weekend trip. Another good practice is to hire a field guide who is well-aquainted with the topography of the area, the game in the area and who can lead you to areas where the deer are known to herd.

Sitka deer are so popular to hunt precisely because they are so difficult to bag. Known as the “ghosts of the Pacific,” these deer practice nocturnal habits and are notoriously difficult to track because they are not predictable. Adding to the challenge is the rugged wilderness of Alaska, the danger of other big game such as bear, moose, wolves and wolverines and you can see why hunting deer in Alaska is not a beginner’s game.

Regulations and license costs vary year by year so make sure to check the State website for more information. Residents and those who hunt for subsistence are given priority over non-residents when giving out tags.

If you would like to find out more about the Alaska deer hunting season, visit the Alaska hunting page.