Big Game Hunting FAQs

This page of Big Game Hunting FAQs is the answers to the most important as well as the most asked about questions from our clients and guests.

If you do not feel as if all of your questions or concerns have been answered, please call! (907-734-0007)

Or please feel welcome to leave a comment on any of Alaska Chick’s Blog posts or send an email! info@pioneeroutfitters.com 

We know, the more you know, the smoother your adventure will go allowing you to enjoy every minute.

 

Your Physical Conditioning:

Please evaluate your physical condition prior to booking your hunt. As in most places within Alaska the terrain can be difficult to negotiate. Using horses on our trips allows us to provide comfortable camps, plenty of good food and of course- saves us from packing entire camps and, if the case may be, the fruits of your hunt on our backs.

However, some people do not have the experience with horses to know that horseback riding itself is very hard work. To optimize your hunt we strongly recommend some sort of daily exercise prior to your hunt. If horseback riding is available to you, this is also a good idea- to strengthen riding muscles and to toughin’ up your seat.

There is virtually nothing that impedes us from taking a good trophy once spotted within a reasonable distance, except a client in poor physical condition. Please give us notice and

** Please let us know if you have a handicap so that we can formulate a plan to optimize your chances and your Hunt while lessening your physical output.

PIONEER OUTFITTERS CONDUCTS ALL HUNTS ON HORSEBACK:

If you do not ride horses a lot (or at all) you are going to be stiff and sore. You should be feeling fairly good to go by the time you head for home. If it is possible for you to ride a horse before you get here, for a few weeks, it would have your body ready for hours in the saddle. If not, no worries!

When you get sore, your knees start aching, have an old injury giving you trouble, or you get cold ~ give a holler, get off, stretch  your legs and / or walk a bit. You will be and do better for it. You will get tired, thinking you are too tired to get back on your horse. Not so, and if you have troubles, remember that this is what we do and we are there to help.

The Lodge:

Comfortable cabins await you in Chisana, when you arrive for the first time and when you return from your hunt. Home cooked meals and snacks taken family style and the showers are always hot and ready. If you are coming with your wife or honey, we have couples accommodations as well.

Maps:

Although on a guided hunt you will not need maps, you may want to consider them. This will help you get to know the details of the Wrangell St.-Elias National Park & Preserve and the mountain ranges you will be hunting in.

If you would like to explore detailed maps, visit the NPS Topographic Map Index. You will need the Nabesna Quads A3, A4, B3, B4 and McCarthy Quads D2, D3 and D4 to cover Pioneer Outfitters hunting area.

We are located in the Wrangell St.-Elias National Park and Preserve, surrounded by the Wrangell Mountains and the Nutzotin Mountains.

Chisana is accessible only by aircraft and is home.

To find us on a map, Chisana is at:
(Latitude) 62*4 min 3 sec North
(Longitude) 142*2 min 7 sec West

** There is always one of us there waiting to answer questions, chat awhile or just to be sure you have what you need.

Pioneer Outfitters airstrip elevation is 3200 feet. We typically hunt from 4000- 7000 feet, sometimes up to 8000 feet.

Your Guides:

All the Guides here at Pioneer Outfitters are experienced and licensed by the state of Alaska. Your safety and comfort are the first priorities for Pioneer Outfitters. Each guide has been chosen by Master Guide Terry Overly to give you the hunt of a lifetime.

Going on a hunting trip is a lot more than killing a trophy quality animal, many of our clients end up as lifelong friends. Make friends with your guide, he wants to be your hunting buddy anyway.

Taking people hunting (guiding) is the most rewarding level of hunting. I have never met a Professional Guide yet that didn’t thoroughly enjoy sharing their knowledge and learning interesting tips, by taking people hunting.

FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE STATE OF ALASKA’S HUNTING REGULATIONS FOR UNIT 12

Understanding these regulations and being able to answer questions about them plays an important role in continuing to have generous hunting privileges for non-residents and residents alike. Here is the link address to the Web page explaining the regulations in Unit 12.

www.wc.adfg.state.ak.us/regulations/pdfs/gmu12.pfd

Alaska Hunting License & Tag information

Familiarize yourself with the State of Alaska’s Hunting Regulations for Unit 12. You must arrive in Chisana with your:

  • Alaska Hunting License
  • Appropriate Big Game Hunting Tags
  • Appropriate Harvest Tickets
  • (optional) Alaska Fishing License

Here is the link address to the Web page explaining the regulations in Unit 12.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hunting.main

Buy Your Alaska Hunting License and Tag (s) On Line

www.admin.adfg.state.ak.us/license/

Things to remember:

  • No Wolf Tags are needed in our area, nonresidents are permitted to harvest 5 wolves.
  • Our area permits you to take 1 Grizzly Bear every year, not 1 every 4 years.
  • A tag may be used on another big game animal  if that tag is of equal or lesser value. (for example, a Grizzly Tag $500.00 for nonresidents, may be used on a Dall sheep $425, or Alaska-Yukon Moose $400.)
  • 
We allow our hunters to take a Black bear, wolf or wolverine at no extra charge to your hunt.

** If you have booked the last Hunt, our last hunt, you are welcome to stay, if you choose to, to continue to hunt Grizzly Bear for a few extra days, if you have not harvested one at that time. Also note, you may want to  consider this when booking your return home flight.

** Reminder, if you would enjoy doing some lake or stream fishing, here and there while you are on your hunt, be sure to buy a fishing license.

Weather:

Our weather vary considerably from August, when our hunts begin, to the beginning of October, the end of our last hunt.

It is important to consider the weather conditions that are most likely to occur during the time period you have chosen for your hunt and to bring the appropriate clothing and gear.

Being in the Interior of Alaska as we are, our weather is usually mild and stable compared to some of the coastal areas.

On clear, sunny days in August you may see temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s with the evening temperatures of 30* to 50*. Rain is more likely in August with the possibility of a little snow at higher elevations.

August snows as a rule will melt off in a day or two. Cloudy and stormy days in August will bring temperatures of 35* to 55* and usually with winds of 10 to 20 miles an hour.

In September temperatures and weather conditions may change considerably between the beginning and end of the month. 50* to 70* is not uncommon on clear, sunny days and likewise 20* to 40* is not uncommon on cloudy, stormy days. Very little rain is usually expected in September and as mentioned before, snow is likely at anytime.

Basically, it comes down to this, folks, even on the nicest, hottest days (which by the way, it can be in the upper 80’s*), you will be climbing most likely, up to the snow, overheating and sweaty- only to stop in the
glacier winds to get hit by a snowstorm! You will be hunting in the interior of Alaska, its cold and
 wet at the heart.

Personal Gear:


50 pounds seems to be the magic number for travel weight. As we hunters know, this is very restrictive. Our clients find it much easier to mail the bulk of their gear ahead of time to reduce the stress of traveling with it.

Please be sure to mail your gear at least 4 weeks ahead of your hunt date, with your boxes clearly
 labeled with your name.

As with any convenience, new problems arise. The return of your packages back to your home is your responsibility.

We would be happy to put them on the twice weekly mail plane for you as long as the postage money has been left with Terry Overly or his Manager and the boxes are
resealed, labeled for return and left at the Lodge in Terry Overly or his Manager’s possession.

Shipping Address:

to yourself

(C/O) Pioneer Outfitters

Post Office Box CZN

Tok, Alaska, 99780.

Now, how do YOU get here? Travel FAQs will help with planning your travel.

Pioneer Outfitters Weapons Information:

FIREARMS:  Firearms and ammo are not provided or included in your hunt.

However, due to the difficulty in bringing firearms from a foreign country we will provide and lend a firearm to our non-U.S. citizen clients.

** There is a refundable $500.00 deposit fee for this service. 

** Any damages to the firearm or scope will be taken out of this deposit.  The available caliber rifles are Remington Model 700, 300 Win/Mag with Leopold scopes.

** You are responsible for buying 2 boxes of compatible ammunition and arriving in Chisana with it.

Choose a firearm that you are comfortable with and practice, practice, practice.

After you settle into your cabin here in Chisana and are given a short rundown as to where everything is, you will be taken to the shooting range by one of Pioneer Outfitters guides to site-in and check your rifle for any problems. We will help you “dead-eye” the target at 150 and 200 yards.

There is a broad-head target for bow hunters as well. Your guides will want you no more than 40 yards, and long bow hunters no more than 20 yards.

Even if you are an experienced crack-shot, it would be wise to before you arrive, set your scope sights to 150 yards and run at least 50 rounds through your gun at 100 yards, 50 rounds at 200 yards and 50 rounds at 300 yards.

Most importantly, bring a rifle you know well and are comfortable and confident shooting.

Bow Hunters are Welcome, as well:  You must be in possession of a resident or nonresident hunting license and appropriate harvest ticket, permit and metal locking tag. No special archery license or stamp is required.

A few points from Alaska’s Bow Hunting Regulations:

For all BIG game, you may:

  • NOT hunt big game with a long bow, re-curve bow, or compound bow unless the bow is at least: ~40 pounds peak draw weight when hunting black-tailed deer, wolf, wolverine, black bear, Dall sheep, and caribou;  ~50 pounds peak draw weight when hunting mountain goat, moose, elk, brown/grizzly bear, musk ox, and bison;
  • Only use arrows tipped with a broad-head and is at least 20 inches in overall length and 300 grains in total weight
  • Only use broad-head that is:  ~a fixed, replaceable or mechanical/retractable blade type broadhead when taking of black-tailed deer, wolf, wolverine, black bear, Dall sheep and caribou; ~a fixed or replaceable blade type broad-head for the taking of mountain goat, moose, elk, brown/grizzly bear, musk ox and bison; and ~not barbed.
  • NOT use electronic devices or light attached to the bow, arrow, or arrowhead with the exception of a non-illuminating camera.
  • NOT use scopes or other devices attached to the bow or arrow for optical enhancement.
  • NOT use any mechanical device that anchors a knocked arrow at full or partial draw unaided by the bow hunter.

Definitions as stated in the Alaska Hunting Regulations:

“Bow” means a longbow, re-curve bow or compound bow; that is, a device for launching an arrow which derives its propulsive energy solely from the bending and recovery of two limbs.

The device must be hand-held and hand-drawn by a single and direct pulling action of the bowstring by the shooter with the shooter’s fingers or a hand-held or wrist-attached release aid.

The energy used to propel the arrow may not be derived from hydraulic, pneumatic, explosive or mechanical devices, but may be derived from the mechanical advantage provided by wheels or cams so long as the available energy is stored in the bent limbs of the bow.

No portion of the bow’s riser (handle) or an attachment to the bow’s riser may contact, support or guide the arrow from a point rearward of the bowstring when strung and at rest.

“Bow” does not include a crossbow or any device which has a gun-type stock or incorporates any mechanism that holds the bowstring at partial or full draw without the shooter’s muscle power.

“Broad-head” means an arrowhead with two or more sharp cutting edges having a minimum cutting diameter of not less than seven-eighths inch (7/8″).

“Bow peak draw weight” means the peak poundage at which the bow is drawn through or held at full draw by the shooter at the shooters draw length.

“Mechanical or retractable broad-head” means a broad-head with cutting edges that are retracted during flight and open upon impact to a minimum cutting diameter of not less than seven-eighths inch (7/8″) and does not lock open after impact to create fixed barbs.

“Barbed” refers to an arrowhead with any fixed portion of the rear edge of the arrowhead forming an angle less than 90 degrees with the shaft when measured from the nock end of the arrow.


Method:

All of our hunts, in all of our camps the hunts are conducted in the same manner, hunt-spot-stalk.  We use the same camps, the same trails, the same tricks that Pioneer Outfitters has been using since 1924.

Chisana, our home that we live in year round, and our spike camps alike, are located in the heart of our hunting area to ensure our clients the best opportunity of the game each client seeks.

All hunts are fair chase.  Our responsibility is to report all game violations, no exceptions.

Additional Points:

Going on a hunting trip is a lot more than killing a trophy quality animal, many of our guests end up as lifelong friends.

Make friends with your guide, he wants to be your hunting buddy anyway.

Taking people hunting (guiding) is the most rewarding level of hunting. I have never met a Professional Guide yet that didn’t thoroughly enjoy sharing their knowledge and learning interesting tips, by taking people hunting.

Care of Meat and Trophy according to Alaska Law:

By Alaska law all edible portions of big game animals must be packed into camp. There cannot be any meat left behind to bring in the trophy.

Our responsibility to you on a guided hunt is to ensure that this is done.  Once the meat and trophy is in camp, they are YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

You may sign over the meat to us; some hunters like to take a “taste” home with them.  Be aware that when you choose to take your meat home you may have to charter a larger or extra aircraft, at an additional expense, to fly the meat out.

Do You Want ALL of your meat?

It can be done. The logistics and your time may have to be a little more flexible, but remember, this is YOUR hunt. We will help you in any way we can and it can be done.

** Be aware that when you choose to take your meat home you may have to charter a larger or extra aircraft, at an additional expense, to fly the meat out. **

Posts that may interest you:

Alaska Big Game Hunting Resource

5 Biggest Mistakes Big Game Hunters Make

Alaska Big Game Hunter Gear List

Federal Firearms Permit Info & Help


After September 11 a number of changes and regulations have been put into place relating to firearms and ammunition.

If you are not a citizen of the United States you will be required to obtain an import permit before you can enter the U. S. with your rifle and ammunition. You may obtain information at the internet site of the U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and download the ATF Form 6NIA from the internet at:

www.atf.gov/forms/5000.htm#firearms

When the site comes up, scroll down and click on “ATF F – 5330.3D (Form 6NIA). Down load Form 6NIA and follow the directions below for completing and submitting the form.

You must purchase a current Alaska Hunting License and enclose a copy of the license when you submit Form 6NIA.  Allow 2 months plus mailing time to complete this process. Once approved the permit is valid for one year from the date of approval. You are required to have all of your documentation with you when you enter the United States.

You will also be required to export your rifle and remaining ammunition when you depart the United States.

To view and print form you will need Acrobat Reader ® software.

DIRECTIONS FOR COMPLETING ATF FORM:

6NIA
All required questions must be answered and the entries printed in ink or typed.

Number 1 – Enter your full legal name as it appears on your passport. For example, if your name is Gerald Dean Smith. Enter: Smith, Gerald Dean
Number 2 – Enter your residential address. It cannot be a company address or a Post Office Box.
Number 3 – Enter your telephone number, including the country code and the city code.
Number 4 – Enter your fax number, including the country code and the city code. If you have a fax number it is important to list it in the event there are questions about your application that can be answered by fax.
Number 5 – Check the appropriate box for either Male or Female.
Number 6 – Enter the date of your birth.
Number 7 – Enter the city and country in which you were born.
Number 8 – Enter the country from which you are exporting the rifle and ammunition.
Number 9 – Enter the country in which you are a citizen.
Number 10 – Enter N/A, unless you have a current or past Immigration and Naturalization Service admission number or alien number. (If you do have a number, see instruction 21)
Number 11 – Enter N/A, unless you are from Canada. (If you are from Canada, see instruction 22)
Number 12 – Check Yes.
Number 13 – Leave blank.
Number 14 – FIREARMS:
a. – Enter the name and address of the rifle’s manufacturer.
b. – Enter the word, RIFLE.
c. – Enter the caliber of the rifle.
d. – Enter the model of the rifle.
e. – Enter the length of the barrel, in inches.
f. – Enter the total length of the rifle, in inches.
g. – Enter the Serial Number of the rifle.
h. – Enter N/A, unless you are from Canada.
Number 14 – AMMUNITION:
a. – Enter the name and address of the manufacturer of your ammunition.
b. – Enter the word, CARTRIDGE.
c. – Enter the caliber of the cartridges.
d. – Enter the total number of cartridges you have for the caliber listed in c above.
Number 15 – Sign your name in ink, preferably in blue. Remember, you are completing 2 copies and each copy must have an original signature in ink.
Number 16 – Enter the current date.
When you have completed ATF Form 6NIA send two copies by Express Mail, both with original signatures, and a copy of your current Alaska Hunting License to the following address:
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
Firearms & Explosives Imports Branch
Washington, D. C. 20226

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