The Cost of Hunting in Alaska

bush planeIt costs more to travel inside the state of Alaska than it does in the lower 48. I repeat, it costs more to travel in Alaska than it does in the lower 48. This fact is never advertised in the Alaska tourism ads and few hunters who move here in anticipation of endless hunting experiences realize this fact as well.

The bottom line is that if you lived in a location like for example, Anchorage, you would obviously have to leave the city to hunt. However, Alaska has very few roads and only a small portion of Alaska is even reachable by these roads. 

How about four-wheelers then? Well, four wheelers are not only expensive, but they require a truck and/or a trailer to haul them around. There are tons of places where you can use four wheelers, but you need to be more than a novice rider, know how to outrun crowds and carry plenty of fuel and supplies to get you far away from where you started from. It is also not a coincidence that all easily accessible hunting areas are regulated to only a small number of lucky draw hunters.

So no matter what, you have to travel to kill game in Alaska. You can also travel by boat, but again, boats are expensive and you will still be hitting bodies of water with plenty of other people. Hunting with other hunters around may be the normal in the lower 48, but most hunters come to Alaska to get away from the crowds. 

The ultimate freedom vehicle to freely hunt in Alaska is a small bush plane, but how many people can afford an airplane, let alone a pilot’s license and the hundreds of hours of back country flying experience? Not many. So, if you want to get away from the wheelers and the boat crowds, you have to pay someone to ‘fly-in’ somewhere to hunt. This is where the real expense comes in.

If I want to fly from Anchorage to a close by Caribou spot (granted I drew a tag), it would cost me a minimum of $800.00 one way. That is just one way, and that is a close by area that won’t force me to be in the field for 10 days. Most working people cannot be gone that long very many times.

If I want to fly to a decent sheep hunting spot, it costs even more. A good friend of mine is hunting sheep in an elite location this year and his flight costs will be around $3000.00 for round trip.  How many people can afford that much to hunt an animal? Not many I would guess.

If you add up all the specialized gear that is also needed for weather protection and survival, hunting in Alaska is actually out of reach for a lot of people.