Adak Caribou Hunt Story in Alaska Magazine


Picture 1 copy(Following the text are photos from this year's hunt/exploration).

Last April (2009) my buddy Ryan and I flew out to Adak Island in the Aleutian chain to hunt caribou. A transplanted herd brought in for the naval officers in the 50's has escalated to some, by F&W estimates (in a 2005 aerial survey), 3000 animals. A population not kept in check can have a detrimental effect on the island ecosystem. In fact, a local mentioned that Fish and Game wanted to come in and exterminate the herd completely because they were afraid the population was becoming too large for the island and overgrazing was becoming an issue. For that reason, I feel good about hunting animals here. As a former vegetarian (for 10 years) I've only begun to hunt in order to harvest my own meat. Both Ryan and I enjoy taking responsibility for our meat consumption by knowing what it is to hunt our own food. This is what keeps us hunting.

I wrote and photographed an article after that trip that has just appeared in this June's issue of Alaska Magazine.

Last year we experienced sun at least part of every day we were on island (a complete anomaly we later found out), returning to Anchorage at the end of a week with burned faces. This year we hunted through snow showers each of our 7 days as winter broke late and the squalls that passed over the island delivered a colder version of the precipitation that is normally expected during the spring months. This is more typical of Aleutian weather (minus the outsized winds that often haunt this part of the world, thank goodness).

If you want to hunt caribou on Adak, you can do so year round (for cows--of which there is no bag limit). Bulls can be harvested August through December.

Folks on Adak are extremely friendly. Here are a few contacts to get you started on your hunt:
~Jack Stewart can rent you vehicles, lodging, and help with hunting logistics. His cell is 907-592-3165
~Jeb can provide you with taxi rides around the island as well as lodging. His cell is 907-572-9911
(For chartering a boat around the island for a drop-off to hunt, ask Jack or Jeb about the possibilities).
~Adak General Store is surprisingly well-stocked (for a population of just around 100). They sell bullets and fuel for your stove as well as all kinds of food. Call with questions: 907-592-8403
~Helene at Aleutian Real Estate will set you up with the required land-use permit you need from the Aleut Corporation. The phone is 907-592-ADAK or email at: adak@adakisland.com

The entire south side of the island is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The US Fish and Wildlife Service welcomes hunting there. If you want to contact them with questions about some of the dilapidated cabins dotting the island or with questions about trails, wildlife, etc, their email is: alaskamaritime@fws.gov

Also, be sure to get your hunting license and free (for Alaskan residents) cow tags at any Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game office.

Below are photos from this year's May hunt. I only brought two lenses this time and took mostly wide-angle images that encompass one of the most wild, volcano riddled landscapes in the state.

The haunting beauty of this island is partially in its remoteness.

IMG_6926 copyThe view near town.

IMG_6822 copyHiking the island's south side. Without a boat, you work to get here (which is how we did it).

IMG_6604 copyHome for 5 of the nights.

IMG_6651 copyPassing Teardrop Lake.

IMG_6705 copyStrangely, we found this fish in a massive sink hole. Apparently, it had nowhere to go.

IMG_6752 copyThe view from the sink hole.

IMG_6737 copyPhoto of me by Ryan Kingsbery.

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IMG_6782 copy

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IMG_6959 copyLucky strike in Adak's old bowling alley (not open to use unless you roll with Jeb!)

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IMG_6936 copyJeb gives us a tour of the island road system.

IMG_6910 copyAnother building left over from Adak's heyday--before the navy packed up and left town in the mid-nineties.

IMG_6870 copyDown to where a river opens up into Hidden Bay.

IMG_6688 copyRyan starts up one of the passes during a meat haul (still plenty of snow up high in May).

1 comment:

  1. HMMMMMMmmmmmm . . .
    Sure looks different. I was there in 1956, USN.
    Attached to Chaplains office as Yeoman. Lasted 2 weeks. Navy X-ferred me to Armed Forces Rado /TV station . . bottom of bearing bldg. Assigmed to assist Dadge TV engineer, installing television broadcasting station. [Dadge TV, Michigan City, Ind. Prepackaged components. X-mitter, video/audio control board, slides projector, 2 cameras on wheels, 10 ft. tower on top of Bearing Building, etc.]

    Showed 14 day old shows, 16mm, black/white, recorded stateside, for troops and dependents entertainment.
    i.e. Tommy/Jimmy Dorsey show, Jackie Gleason etc.

    Navy discovered I helped - [1954-55 install TV station, WLUK-TV, MARINETTE, WI.]Now a FOX network station, Green Bay, adjacent to Packer Stadium. . . .

    Packer's not happy with officiating in Washington, Monday nite. . . .

    eMail: batmanpete@gmail.com