Without the voice of a cheesy infomercial salesman, I want to share with you an idea that could not only improve your hunting career, but is affordable, practical, and sells itself. If you want a taste of Alaska without the budget-busting commitment of a fully guided big game hunt in Alaska’s mainland, then consider a do-it-yourself, multiple-deer hunt on Prince of Wales Island (POW) in the Southeast part of the state. Think of it as ‘Alaska-lite.’
A famous nickname for the 49th state is ‘The Big Empty,’ which is also a great description of your wallet after you’ve paid for a much-hyped Alaska big game hunt as celebrated in many a magazine. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with going on a deluxe guided hunt, but most of us are on a blue-collar budget and chasing deer on POW is extremely doable for the cost-minded hunter. The best way to do it is to utilize one of the all inclusive lodges that specialize in do-it-yourself (DIY) hunting and fishing trips.
“How much does it cost?” you may ask. The bottom line is a group of 3-4 hunters can hunt for $150.00 to $200.00 a day, but wait, there’s more! In most cases, lodge packages will include lodging, processing facilities, a truck or SUV, a small boat with motor and charts and maps of area. These are basically one-stop shop operations that take all the pain and frustration out of planning your own logistics. “We don’t just take your money and turn you loose,” explains Verne Fabry of Log Cabin Resorts in Klawock, Alaska. Fabry and her husband have been assisting hunters and fishermen on the west side of the island since the 1970’s, and they care about their guests and the quality of their stay. “We try to work with our clients to make sure they get the most out of their money,” adds Fabry. When you stay with one of the proven and reputable operations on the island, you experience quality, but what about the quality of the bucks you will be chasing?
On the other side of the island, sits Thorne Bay Lodge, which also offers complete hunting and fishing packages for the do-it-yourselfer. Owner and operator, Brent Dickenson, takes pride in the trophy quality bucks that TBL’s hunters kill, and he has reason to. “Most of our four person groups take home about six to eight bucks per trip,” says Dickenson. Not only is the taking of multiple bucks possible, but it is encouraged. As of 2011, hunters can purchase four buck tags and being able to legally take four bucks during one season is unheard of in the lower 48. It’s not just about the quantity either. Dickenson recalls, “We had a group of four hunters who killed three trophy bucks which green scored over 110 inches.” For those who keep score, 108 inches is the minimum score for Sitka Blacktail that gets a hunter into the Boone & Crockett Club, the world’s foremost trophy animal record keepers. Boone & Crockett quality bucks are rare, and having three of them from the same place at the same time is phenomenal.
But wait, there’s more! If you like hunting public land without seeing any other hunters during your hunt, then POW might be for you. What the island lacks in hunting pressure, it makes up for in available hunting land. Prince of Wales Island is the fourth largest island in the U.S. and has 2,577 square miles of land, which is more than the state of Delaware. When asked how much land most hunters need to accomplish a successful hunt, Dickenson plainly answered, “Our hunters probably see about one percent of the available hunting area here on POW.” Enough said.
In short, you can get an all inclusive taste of Alaska on a budget, you can hunt unpressured, expansive hunting areas, and there is the possibility that you can take home multiple trophy bucks and mounds of deer meat. Operators are standing by, so contact an adventure provider on POW now!