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Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
December 2003

How to Select a Hunting Guide

By Excerpted from Hunt Alaska
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A registered Alaskan guide must accompany hunters who are not Alaska residents or they must hunt with close relatives within the second-degree of kindred who are Alaska residents when hunting brown/grizzly bears, Dall sheep or mountain goats. Also, look in the Alaska Hunting Regulations for definition and a complete list of who qualifies as second-degree of kindred. Non-resident alien hunters must have a guide for hunting all species of big game.

Guides improve the chance of finding game.

The chances of killing an animal improve if one hires a guide or travels to remote areas. Individuals who lack precise knowledge of game distribution, access and Alaska geography, yet attempt to put together hunts themselves may face frustration and disappointment. On the other end of the scale is the fully guided hunt. It is expensive, but the chances of killing an animal are high. The best guides deliver 80-100 percent for most big game species. In addition, guides are familiar with their areas and possess equipment that the average hunter might not care to purchase for one time use.

However, a guide's knowledge, experience and equipment do not come cheaply. Although figures vary from guide to guide, expect to spend $8,000-$12,000 for a brown/grizzly bear hunt, $4,000-$6,000 for a sheep hunt and $1,500-$3,000 for a goat hunt. Moose and caribou are often part of a mixed bag hunt and prices vary considerably.

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The best way to find a reliable guide is by references.

Check among your hunting partners. Have any of them hunted in Alaska before? Or do they know someone who did? Which guide did they use?

Many guides attend outdoor shows and conventions in the "Lower 48" during the winter. They have booths and promotional material. Try to attend one near you. This kind of personal acquaintance will pay dividends later. Ask the guides for references and follow up on them.

Another avenue is the advertising section found in the back of many hunting and outdoor magazines, or in commercial directories. They offer a starting point for identifying guides that specialize in the species or area in which you are interested.

A list of licensed Alaska guides is available. The list includes guide-outfitters and assistant guide-outfitters and the areas for which they are licensed to operate. If you are interested in obtaining the licensed Alaska guide list, contact the Division of Occupational Licensing. Another source is the Alaska Professional Hunters Association, which represents many guides and outfitters.


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