Hunting in Alaska

If you ever peek at someone’s hunting bucket list, hunting in Alaska will surely be the top spot.

Hunting in Alaska offers a unique and unparalleled experience compared to other U.S. states, making it a paradise for hunting enthusiasts. Alaska’s remoteness, abundant wildlife, and vast wilderness put the state in the front row when talking about unique and fantastic hunting opportunities.

Its nature of having a low human population makes it an ideal hunting destination for every hunter because of the minimal hunting pressure.

Ready to uncover the exhilarating experience when hunting in Alaska? Let’s delve deeper!

Hunting Seasons

Hunting seasons in Alaska are managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), a state agency responsible for ensuring the conservation, development, and utilization of fish and wildlife resources.

With the regulated hunting seasons, the ADFG promotes responsible and ethical but bountiful hunting for every hunter.

Big Game Seasons

Unlike other U.S. states, Alaska offers various selections of unique big game seasons, especially the Caribou and Munskox hunting seasons.

Here’s the general rundown of the big game season dates in Alaska:

Moose HuntingEarly September to late November
Caribou Hunting Mid-August to late March
Deer and Elk HuntingEarly August to late December
Dall Sheep HuntingMid-August to late September
Bear HuntingBlack Bear: Early September to late June
Grizzly Bear: Mid-September to late December
Muskox HuntingEarly August to late March
Mountain Goat HuntingEarly August to late January
Wolves and Wolverine HuntingWolf: Throughout August
Wolverine: Early September to late March

Other Seasons

Aside from big game seasons, Alaska also boasts generous and long hunting seasons for other species.

Wild Turkey HuntingOpen Season
Feral Ferrets and SwineOpen Season
Upland Game Bird Hunting
(Chukar, Pheasant, Quail, Partridge)
Open Season
Grouse HuntingEarly August to mid-May
Crow HuntingEarly September to mid-November
Early March to mid-April
Small Game HuntingHare: Early September to late April
Squirrel: Open Season

Alaska is a top destination for hunters seeking a wide selection of large game animals. And everyone knows that!

The state takes first place in offering an impressive array of species not commonly found in the contiguous United States.

Moose Hunting

Unlike other states where moose hunting is limited through lottery-based hunting, anyone can experience the thrill of hunting the humongous Alaska-Yukon moose in Alaska.

Prime moose hunting areas in Alaska include the Alaska Range, the Yukon River region, the Kenai Peninsula, and the Talkeetna Mountains. The distribution of moose is widespread across the state, but the highest densities are typically found in forested areas near water sources.

For a legal moose hunt, every hunter must have a valid Alaska hunting license and the appropriate moose harvest ticket or permit for the specific area where they plan to hunt.

Deer Hunting

In Alaska, deer hunting opportunities are primarily focused on Sitka black-tailed deer, which are native to the coastal rainforests of the Pacific Northwest.

Deer hunting in Alaska requires more effort as hunters often need a boat or floatplane to access remote hunting areas. Hunters may charter boats or hire guides to help them reach prime hunting locations.

Hunters must have a valid Alaska hunting license and the appropriate deer harvest ticket or permit for the specific area where they plan to hunt. Ensure you obtain the necessary papers for a legal deer hunt in the state.

Unique Hunt

Alaska offers hunting opportunities that are not available in many other states. Here are unique hunting game species that you can enjoy in Alaska:

Caribou Hunting

In the United States, caribou hunting is primarily limited to Alaska. So, if you want to experience this unique hunt, Alaska is for you!

The barren-ground caribou is the primary subspecies of caribou inhabiting Alaska. This species is characterized by its distinct migratory habits and diverse herds, making it a challenging, yet exciting species to hunt.

To hunt caribou in the state, hunters must have a valid Alaska hunting license and the appropriate caribou hunting permit to hunt in a specific area.

In some areas, antler restrictions may be in place to protect younger, breeding-age caribou and maintain a healthy population structure.

Dall Sheep

Dall sheep hunting in Alaska is a highly sought-after and challenging pursuit due to the animals’ remote and rugged habitat and impressive horns.

The Dall sheep are all-white sheep known for their striking curved horns. They inhabit mountainous regions of Alaska, making them one of the most challenging and rewarding big game species to hunt.

Hunters who wish to hunt this awesome-looking game must obtain a valid hunting license and a Dall sheep hunting permit. Some areas have limited entry hunts, requiring hunters to apply for a drawing permit.

Grizzly/Brown Bear

Alaska has one of the world’s highest brown and grizzly bears concentrations. This makes the state stands out from its surrounding states.

Hunting brown bears in Alaska is a thrilling and challenging experience due to these magnificent animals’ size, power, and intelligence.

Prime brown bear hunting areas in Alaska include the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island, the Kenai Peninsula, the Chugach Mountains, the Alaska Range, and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Hunters must have a valid Alaska hunting license and the appropriate brown bear harvest ticket or permit for the specific area where they plan to hunt.

Top Hunting Destinations

Alaska has a vast tract of public land which are open for hunters to pursue their desired species. Here are the top hunting locations in Alaska where untamed wilderness and great hunting experience awaits you:

Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island, situated in the Gulf of Alaska, is renowned for its Kodiak brown bears, the largest subspecies of brown bears in the world.

The island also offers opportunities to hunt Sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats, and various small game animals. The rugged wilderness and diverse terrain make Kodiak Island a top hunting destination in Alaska.

Alaska Peninsula

The Alaska Peninsula, stretching southwest from the mainland of Alaska towards the Aleutian Islands, is home to brown bears, moose, caribou, and various waterfowl species.

The peninsula features vast tundra, rugged mountains, and coastal estuaries, providing a stunning backdrop for a memorable hunting experience.

Chugach Mountains

The Chugach Mountains in Southcentral Alaska provide exceptional hunting opportunities for Dall sheep, mountain goats, black bears, and brown bears.

The region is known for its steep, rugged terrain, alpine meadows, and breathtaking glaciers, making it an ideal destination for mountain hunting enthusiasts.

Hunting License

Alaska’s hunting licenses are available for resident and nonresident hunters, with different price structures depending on residency status.

Resident-Adult LicenseHunting: $45.00
Hunting & Fishing: $69.00
Nonresident-Adult License3-day Hunting: $45.00
7-day Hunting: $105.00
Hunting: $160.00
Hunting & Fishing: $262.00
Resident-Youth License
(under 18 years old)
Nonresident-Youth License
(under 16 years old)
Small Game: Free
Big Game: Same as the nonresident adult licenses’ prices

Nonresident Hunting

Nonresident hunters pursuing certain big game species, such as brown bears, Dall sheep, or mountain goats, must hire a registered guide or be accompanied by a close relative who is an Alaska resident.

Those who are not U.S. citizens and do not reside in the U.S. (nonresident alien hunters) must have a guide or be accompanied by a close relative who is a resident of Alaska for all big game hunts.

Youth Hunting Programs

Alaska offers several youth hunting programs to encourage the next generation of hunters to learn about and participate in hunting activities.

These programs include the Youth Hunter Education Challenge, the National Archery in the Schools Program, and various youth hunting opportunities with specific seasons and regulations.

Hunter Access Program

The ADFG works closely with private landowners, local and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to develop access agreements, easements, or leases that allow hunters to access private or public lands for hunting purposes.

Through this program, private lands become accessible for public hunting. This increases hunting opportunities for hunters while also benefiting landowners who can receive assistance in managing wildlife populations and minimizing wildlife-related damage to their property.