Alaska Hunting Guide Service
Choosing a Hunting Guide
In Alaska, as with any other location, the chances of a successful hunting trip increases exponentially with the use of a knowledgeable guide.
If you're not a resident of Alaska, you don't have a second-kindred family member who is a resident of Alaska, and you want to hunt bear, Dall sheep, or mountain goat, by law, you will have to secure the services of a licensed Alaska guide service. If you're not a U.S. citizen, and you want to hunt big game of any kind, you will have to secure the services of a guide. Even if you aren't legally required to be accompanied by a registered guide, it's not a bad idea, considering the cost of getting to Alaska, the unpredictability of the weather, and the inherent dangers of wilderness terrain.
Anyone planning to hunt with a guide in Alaska should prepare a list of questions to ask prospective guides, but the first question actually has nothing to do with the guide and is to determine which big game and location you are interested in. This will help whittle down the list of prospective guides. The second question should be to determine if a guide is professionally licensed. It's important to make sure your guide is registered, in order to comply with the law, and for peace of mind in knowing that the person you may come to depend on has been vetted by the state of Alaska.
The Alaska Professional Hunter's Association maintains a list of its members, color-coded by master and registered guides.
A list of registered guides and transporters for $5.00 can be found here:
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development
Big Game Commercial Services
P.O. Box 110806
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806
Telephone: (907) 465-2543
Next, a prospective guide should be able to provide references from previous hunts. They should be as close to the present as possible. The guide should also be able to divulge his/her success rate, with reasons explaining why they may be less than desirable. Many reasons are out of the guide's control but a hunter should be aware of them.
The all-important question of any hunting trip is cost. Most experienced Alaskan hunters recommend a hunting trip of at least five days in order to be successful. Prices can range from $8,000 for a five-day caribou hunt to $15,000 for a 10-day hunt for Kodiak brown bear, which typically covers meals, equipment, travel to the field, meat/trophy care, and the cost of the guide. Licensure and tags may or may not be included in the prices. Airfare to Alaska and all permits and licenses are typically not included in these prices.
Other questions to ask center on the guide's years of experience, the extent of clothing, gear and equipment that is or is not provided by the guide and the level of physical activity involved in the hunt.
See the cities in Alaska pages of AlaskaGuideServices, which provide information on area specific outfitters and guide services.