There are two primary locations to hunt Sitka Blacktail deer in AK: Prince of Whales (POW) and Kodiak Island. Both offer excellent opportunities for hunting.
Prince of Whales (POW)
POW offers early season hunting during August and September in the high elevations. This can be highly productive but count on spending most of your time hiking through dense forest and sometimes incredibly steep terrain to reach an area you can hunt. On POW there are numerous options to rent trucks and/or cabins that are very affordable, providing you with some of the creature comforts of home and keeping you out of a tent in bear country. There are also vast networks of roads that can suit folks who don’t want to or can’t hike every day. Road hunting is a type of hunting that many frown upon but it can be a successful way to hunt and get around.
When researching POW, I contacted many of the lodges that offer transport or just room and board.These were easily found online if you search “Alaska Sitka Blacktail POW deer hunting”. All of these folks were very responsive and many specialize in alpine hunting in August. POW is definitely has the price advantage as well as the comfort when it comes to early season AK hunting. However, I decided against POW because I have experienced Alpine hunting in my home state and wanted to experience some new terrain.
Kodiak is much more isolated and offers a few different options for the early season hunter; hunting the road system, hunting out of a lodge, or being flown into one of many remote locations throughout the island.
There are only about 100 miles of roads that you can access from the town of Kodiak, AK so options for hunting from the road system can be somewhat limited. You can fly into Kodiak with your gear, rent a car/truck, hit the road system, park and hunt “up” to the high elevations to chase deer. I found out that this can be a great way to get your deer on a tight budget. This is a popular means of hunting for locals.
The northern half of Kodiak is mostly privately owned and heavily timbered, but there are quite a few lodges that offer a nice base camp for a wet early season hunt. The downfall to these lodges, like on POW, is that most of the deer are up at high elevations and require a long hike through dense forest to get to where the deer are.
The last option is to hire a float plane to drop you off at one of Kodiak’s many remote lakes, recreation cabins, rivers or beaches located within the 1.9 million acre Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Due to the remoteness these fly-in locations they can offer some of the best opportunities for a trophy deer. I decided this was the best fit for us, so from here on out I will focus my discussion on DIY drop camp hunting for Sitka Blacktails on Kodiak, AK.
Kodiak Island's remote lagoon.