Texas is the supreme leader when it comes to the variety of huntable big game animals, but this is only possible due to the large numbers of high fenced ranches that make hunting global game species a possibility. If we are talking free range, fair-chase variety of huntable species, then Alaska is the current king. Here is a breakdown of what’s available to residents and non-residents.
The free-range bison is one huge meat provider and it is available to non-residents and residents. However, you will have to draw a tag and you will need some logistics to ensure that you get your trophy and your meat out of the field. This is a big animal to hunt, but it is wild and free ranging.
The moose is another behemoth that can fill a freezer. Moose are not as abundant as people are led to believe, but there are plenty to hunt for both residents and non-residents. No guide is needed, but again, logistics is everything and you will need to spend a couple thousand dollars just to see one during hunting season. Flying in Alaska is more expensive than flying from here to the lower 48.
The Roosevelt elk is located in numerous spots in Alaska, but the trophy potential is below average at best. Elk are mostly considered meat in Alaska so there is no serious trophy management going on. Most are found on islands so they offer a unique hunting experience for residents and non-residents alike.
The brown bear is the legendary Alaska big game creature that is the ultimate trophy and the making of many hunting legends. Non-residents will need a guide and they will need thousands of dollars. Guided hunts range from $7000.00 to $23,000.00 depending on area and services required. The non-resident who are willing to pay have a clear advantage to obtaining tags as the state of Alaska makes it basically guaranteed to get a tag if going with an outfitter. Kodiak Island is the go-to nerve center for the largest bruins in the world but the Alaska Peninsula is also known for record book bears.
The black bear is very abundant and available to non-residents and residents as an over-the-counter tag. Multiple tags can be bought and black bears are located all over the place. The sky’s the limit on these.
The mountain goat is a great rock dweller that is available to non-residents if guided, and residents can either draw a tag or hunt on a registration tag. They are located mostly in Southeast Alaska and the southern mainland of Alaska, but Kodiak has tons of goats and the terrain is somewhat tamer than other locations.
Dall sheep are a very coveted animal to harvest and they are located in seven of Alaska’s mountain ranges. It takes great logistics to hunt them and non-residents need a guide to kill one. There are huntable populations that are reachable from walk-in areas close to roads, but those spots are few and far between.
Caribou are the best starter game for hunting in Alaska. With ample numbers and tags, they are a great animal for non-residents and residents to hunt and eat.
The Musk Ox is the hairy beast of the north and those will require a hunting guide for non-residents also. The tags are hard to get and the logistics are very expensive. Some Alaskans have figured out that it is cheaper to fly to Canada and go on a guided Musk Ox hunt than it is to fill a tag in Alaska. It might be true, but what a great prehistoric trophy they make.
Finally, the Sitka blacktail deer is the most handsome species in the deer family. They are in the Southeast, Prince William Sound and Kodiak Island areas of Alaska. No guide is needed and multiple tags can be purchased in most areas.