Sitting on the aspect of the mountain having a snack for lunch, I couldn’t have been happier at how the previous few days of my annual Sitka blacktail deer hunt on Kodiak Island had gone. The blue sky, vibrant sunshine, and cozy temperature had set the tone for a pleasing lunchbreak. My buddies, Mike Zupancic and Darryl Amason, and I had all had a profitable hunt. We have been nearly tagged-out with three bucks every once more this yr.

Mendacity there within the solar, looking over the huge Kodiak panorama in entrance of me, some form of sixth-sense feeling informed me to look behind me. Slowly turning my head to the suitable to look, I noticed a pleasant Sitka buck standing 15 yards behind me and looking out away! In some way, I managed to get my bow up, get to full draw, and put an arrow by means of the buck. He solely made it about 50 yards earlier than piling up.

That was the third buck I’d killed in November 2018. Whereas field-dressing the deer and taking good care of the meat, I regarded up and noticed one other large buck headed in my path. My deer decoy was nonetheless up, and he had clearly seen it. He’d additionally seen the motion of my taking footage and field-dressing the deer I’d simply killed. I suppose the buck thought he was lacking out on one thing, and his curiosity brought on him to stroll to inside 20 yards of me and stand there broadside.

When the deer are rutting on Kodiak, the looking could be tremendous. Personally, that is considered one of my favourite bowhunts in Alaska, and it’s one of many best and least costly Alaskan bowhunts for nonresidents to do on their very own. With some analysis and planning, it’s not too tough to get considered one of these hunts discovered and scheduled.

Attending to Kodiak Island is straightforward. Alaska Airways and Ravn Airways each fly to Kodiak from Anchorage a number of instances a day. As soon as within the city of Kodiak, there are a number of completely different floatplane operators that may fly you out and drop you off for a deer hunt. Seahawk Air, Island Air, Deckload Aviation, and Andrew’s Airways are a number of corporations which you can contact and make preparations for the flight out of city to the various good deer-hunting locations on the island.

Personally, I desire to hunt within the latter a part of October and in early November. That is the height of the rut, and it makes for some action-packed and thrilling looking. The deer are very energetic, and actually conscious of decoys. Early August is one other time that some folks desire to hunt. Associates Jack Frost and Invoice Barrickman desire to hunt deer on Kodiak presently of yr, as a result of the deer are usually greater up on the mountains and are extra seen. This makes for extra of a spot-and-stalk hunt for these early August velvet bucks.

Moreover the fundamental bowhunting gear that you’d tackle any Midwestern whitetail hunt or Western elk hunt, good clothes and tenting gear is important. Clothes, rain gear, tents, and many others. have to be of fine high quality with the intention to keep away from a depressing expertise on Kodiak. The climate could be excellent sooner or later and completely horrible the subsequent. The temperature could be 70 levels sooner or later, and 25 levels the subsequent day. So, packing accordingly for this hunt is essential. As an alternative of bringing all your gear with you as checked baggage in your flight from your own home to Kodiak, I recommend delivery up a few of your gear by means of the mail system or through UPS to Kodiak. Do that a few weeks or extra earlier than your precise hunt dates. Realizing that your tools has arrived and is ready for you within the city of Kodiak, earlier than you ever depart your own home on an journey like this, is reassuring. A few essential notes: There’s a nice sporting good’s retailer in downtown Kodiak — Mack’s — that has absolutely anything a hunter may need forgotten or wants for a hunt. There may be additionally a grocery retailer the place you should buy a number of last-minute perishable meals treats, propane, lighters, and many others. Another choice in Kodiak to discover is Kodiak Kamps, a camp rental firm that gives tents, cots, stoves, lanterns, and many others. Kodiak Kamps additionally rents satellite tv for pc telephones. By renting among the bigger gear, an individual wouldn’t need to buy and/or fly it up from their dwelling.

Kodiak Island landscape

Moreover your primary looking gear and camp checklist, listed below are a number of different objects from my private Kodiak deer-hunt guidelines, and some notes and proposals about what and what to not carry.

  • I hunt in rubber boots, or extra just lately, Simms G3 Information wading pants, with their good supportive boot. I don’t take leather-based boots in any respect into the sector. I additionally typically hunt in 18-inch LaCrosse or similar-style boots. It’s a moist local weather.
  • A one-burner Coleman propane range that makes use of these widespread inexperienced Coleman one-pound bottles. Freeze-dried Mountain Home meals are what we eat primarily for dinner on this hunt. Keep in mind, weight is a matter on this fly-in hunt, so preserve that in thoughts when formulating your gear checklist.
  • A very good, sturdy tent. The wind could be horrendous at instances.
  • A very good kettle for heating water
  • Water-purification tablets and/or a water air purifier
  • High quality clothes and rain gear. I desire and use clothes and equipment from KUIU, however no matter model you want, get the best high quality.
  • Trekking poles
  • Satellite tv for pc cellphone and/or Garmin InReach
  • Electrical bear fence
  • Pistol for peace of thoughts and safety in your hunt. You will notice brown bears, however we’ve got had little or no issues with them over time. Notice: We preserve our meals and our deer meat proper subsequent to our tent. We boil water and drink espresso, eat breakfast, and eat Mountain Home dinners at night time in our tent. I do know this goes in opposition to the “Boy Scout rule” of placing all meals and meat away out of your tent. Nonetheless, in case you put it a pair hundred yards away out of your tent, the bears WILL most likely finally get it. That is what has labored for us over quite a few years of bowhunting deer on Kodiak.
  • Pack the whole lot in robust, high quality dry luggage and/or Rubbermaid totes. The totes are additionally nice for checking your gear on the airlineflight from dwelling, and for flying out into the sector in your hunt. They shield and preserve your gear dry. I take further ones, and that is what we put our deboned deer meat in after we pack it again to camp.
  • A big, high-quality backpack for hauling your deboned deer meat again to camp. A small daypack will not be very helpful on Kodiak.
  • Sport luggage
  • Numerous deer decoys
  • We by no means have a campfire. There’s no time, no profit, and wooden is at all times moist.

Alaska looking licenses and deer tags could be bought on-line forward of time. This makes one much less factor on the checklist to perform when you get to Kodiak. Nonetheless, it’s also simple to purchase your license and tags on the town when you get right here, when you’ve got time. As a bonus, caribou could be encountered on some elements of the island. If you happen to suppose there is perhaps an opportunity of working into caribou the place you’re looking, be sure to buy a tag. Two foxes could be taken as effectively, simply along with your looking license.

As indicated firstly of this text, the deer looking could be incredible. When the inhabitants is sweet, as it’s on the present time, this can be a must-do hunt. The restrict is three deer or three bucks, relying on the time of yr. Throughout this rut time-period hunt, the restrict is three deer, both intercourse. This lets an individual get numerous looking carried out on the journey.

Through the years, we’ve got experimented with all types of looking strategies. What works finest for us is decoying these aggressive, rutting bucks. I exploit all types of decoys, from decoy hats to bow-mounted decoys to full-size decoys set out in entrance of me. I’ve made a number of decoy caps over time, however my mom, who lives in Texas, has made among the finest ones I’ve ever used. My pal and legendary Sitka blacktail deer hunter, Bob Ameen, took me on my first deer hunt on Kodiak years in the past. He’s the one who I feel began this hat decoying on Kodiak, and he’s the man who launched me to this tactic. His spouse, Lisa, can be recognized to make some nice deer decoy hats. Now there are a number of corporations that make decoy hats commercially and promote them. Revolution Taxidermy Provide makes a whitetail hat that I’ve discovered to work effectively on Kodiak. Final yr, I additionally used a bow-mounted mule deer decoy from Final Predator, and located it to be extraordinarily efficient. We’ve additionally skilled good success with Tink’s Miss November inflatable decoys the previous few years. We additionally like to make use of the Primos Authentic Can name at the side of the decoys to get a buck’s consideration.

If I see a giant buck I would like, I’ll attempt to stalk in as shut as I can undetected earlier than rigorously organising my Miss November decoy. If the buck’s in the suitable state of mind, finally he’ll work his manner into bow vary of me and the decoy. It’s superb simply how shut a few of these bucks will get!

I at all times have a deer hat on, whichever one I’m utilizing on the time, from the second I depart the tent within the morning till I return at darkish. Typically I’ll unknowingly stroll up on a buck and spook him in thicker brush. If I rapidly crouch down and stay nonetheless, the buck will see the deer hat and sometimes are available shut and provides me a very good shot. If I’m in an space with good deer signal and am simply taking a break to eat a snack, I’ll set the decoy out in from of me. I’ve killed quite a few deer that I didn’t know have been there this fashion, just like the one I discussed earlier.

It is a super-fun bowhunt with a very good pal or two. I’ve killed my restrict of three bucks annually for the previous three years on Kodiak. With slightly planning and energy, this hunt will not be too tough to place collectively. I strongly encourage you to get severe about planning a blacktail deer hunt on Kodiak Island. I assure you’ll be glad that you just did!

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