The Sitka Black-tailed Deer is native to the wet, coastal rain-forests of Southeast Alaska and North-coastal British Columbia. The original distribution has been expanded by transplants and now established populations also occur near Yakutat, in Prince William Sound, and on Kodiak and Afognak islands.
Part of the purpose of hunting for me is to get away from it all. By going to Kodiak this is accomplished. I refer to Kodiak as my “Exotic Island”. In 1963 when I was in the Navy they had what was referred to as a “Dream Sheet”. A form you filled out at the completion of schooling that told the Navy where you desired to go. I simply put down, “any exotic Island,” on my form and they sent me to Kodiak.
Once in Kodiak, we hop on a small bush plane out to Afognak. We like to use Andrew Air because they are right next to the airport within walking distance. They will meet you with a van or have a driver go pick up your gear with you. They provide transportation to town to pick up last minute grocery’s or tags at Fish & Game etc. Safety is their game and they are very helpful when it comes to working out a trip. Last year, one of the pilots called me a couple hours before leaving Delta and advised me not to bother coming down to Kodiak due to the weather. That saved us some money, a flight, time and the frustration of waiting for good weather in Kodiak. They have always been friendly and accommodating to our needs.
Charley and I prefer hunting out on Afognak because we have been lost on that Island and now know our way around a little better. Plus, Afognak is a lot smaller than Kodiak and if you do have a tendency to lose yourself easily, it is better to do it on a smaller island. I have hunted other Islands around the Prince William Sound area for Deer and have to say I favor Kodiak and Afognak . The deer population is healthier and you get better bucks. You can harvest four deer on Kodiak or Afognak during one hunt. Usually, this is limited to 3 bucks and one doe. But this will vary depending on hunting pressure and how healthy the population is. Some years the snow fall can drastically reduce the deer population, causing the number to be harvested to drop also. Getting bucks means climbing to the tops of the mountains.
We have never been lucky enough to have the snow drive them down to us, as some hunters claim. Both Kodiak and Afognak also have a healthy population of Brown Bears. Many hunters have had their deer claimed by bears. It seems a rifle shot becomes a dinner bell to bears in some cases. I had a Brown Bear permit this past season and even though we harvested 10 deer between three of us, we never saw a bear. Of course, I had a permit. Charley is shown with his first buck, we were lost at the time; and with other deer harvested this past season. The fun of deer hunting is that it is not over after you pull the trigger. You pull the trigger on a moose and the work really begins. With deer, you can pull the trigger three more times. Each time is a challenge and you can bring your deer back to camp in one trip, all alone. Can’t do that with most of Alaska’s’ game. Deer hunting is fun.