Hunting: Lower 48 vs Last Frontier

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Carlson

Cristopher Carlson
Staff Writer

It’s no question hunting in the Last Frontier is a big deal to every hunter in the lower 48. One of the biggest reasons my family and many others came to Alaska was because of all of the stories of the outdoor lifestyle and the wildlife the 49th state has to offer.
My parents and family grew up hunting whitetail, duck, and hare in northern Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes.
Almost every Thanksgiving I fly down to northern Michigan to enjoy a winter whitetail hunt. The hunting atmosphere is way different down there compared to Alaska. Everytime I go I have to mentally prepare myself to be bored, sitting in a blind waiting for a deer to walkout isn’t exactly an exciting style of hunting.
Being active and hiking to find a good spot or track the animal is a way better experience in my opinion. Growing up being a mobile hunter and fully participating in the hunt makes the sport so much more enjoyable and meaning to me.
My uncle, Earl Robinson came along with my parents strictly for the hunting and the fishing he had heard about up in Alaska.
“I never thought that anything would beat a good whitetail hunt in the middle of November when you’re freezing in your blind with a cup of coffee waiting for one to walk out,” said Robinson. “That all changed when I went on my first moose hunt with your father when we got up to Alaska.”
Hunting is an amazing experience in general but something about Alaska just makes it extra special. Alaska gives off a presence of being wild and untamed and that carries onto the wildlife and hunting experience as well.
D Jay O’Brien is a former resident of California where he spent many years hunting and enjoying the outdoor lifestyle the Golden State has to offer.
“The quality of hunting in Alaska is just absolutely phenomenal, you can park your car or anchor your boat and just be on your own in the pursuit,” said O’Brien who grew up hunting pheasant. “The laws are so much more complicated and controlling down south, the areas are fragmented into such minimal zones it’s almost impossible to get anything or truly be focused on the hunt.”
Another thing that plays a big role for the favor of hunting in the 49th state is an intact ecosystem. Many states down south control the population of animals and bring in certain wildlife species into areas where they don’t belong or where they might damage the ecosystem.   
Kayhi Football Coach Isaac Castruita has noticed quite a difference in the ecosystem between Texas and Alaska.
“The amount of animals in Alaska is absolutely ridiculous compared to Texas, don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of animals in Texas but the way the animals act up here and respond to each other is crazy,” said Castruita. “It’s almost like they know they belong here together and they have to rely on each other in some sort of way.”
Hunting in the most northern state is a true blessing. Residents get to experience sights and hunts that other non residents dream of.
“There’s nothing like being a residential hunter in Alaska, it blows me away every time i’m out there,” said O’Brien. “People from down south save up thousands and hundreds of dollars to come up here and hunt our land and our animals, that shows how gifted we are to be able to hunt this land as regularly as we do.”

Quick Facts

Moose hunt in Alaska for non residents
7-14 day guided trophy moose hunt $6,495
Non resident license $160
Non resident tag $800
Total cost: $7,455

Moose hunt in Alaska for residents
Annual hunting license $45
Moose harvest tag free

Whitetail hunt for non Michigan residents
Non resident license: $151
Non resident tag: $170
Total cost: $321,4570,7-350-79119_79147_82102—,00.html

Whitetail hunt for Michigan residents
License: $11
Tag: $20
Total cost: $31,4570,7-350-79119_79147_82102—,00.html

Whitetail deer
Average adult male 150lbs
Average life expectancy 6-14 years
Most popular large game animal in the U.S.

Sitka Black-tailed deer
Average adult male 120lbs
Average life expectancy 9-10 years
Predictions of decline in the Ketchikan area of 50-60% by the end of 2054



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