How to Prepare for Your Hunt on Kodiak Island

How to Prepare for Your Hunt on Kodiak Island


Kodiak Island hunts include a wide variety of game, ranging from Sitka black-tailed deer, caribou, mountain goats and even the infamous Kodiak bear. However, there are a few things you should know about your hunt on Kodiak Island:

  • Weather conditions
  • Physical preparedness
  • Protection from animals
  • Suggested gear
  • And more!

This is everything you need to know to prepare for your future hunt on Kodiak Island!

Weather Conditions on Kodiak Island

The weather on Kodiak Island can be extremely unpredictable, and sometimes, unforgiving. Not to scare you, but you can expect to get stuck at least once during your expedition travels. It’s just the reality of navigating Kodiak weather, which is why it’s best to be prepared for anything. So, bring your best rain gear and tools. Bonus: we use windy.com to navigate around unpredictable weather.

To avoid missing flights (due to weather), it’s best to allow for a buffer day on Kodiak Island surrounding your trip. During your downtime, there are certainly plenty of things to see!

Be Physically Prepared for your Kodiak Hunt

If you’re a seasoned hunter, you know that some hunting spots are physically easier than others. To put it nicely, I would not consider any Kodiak hunt an easy feat- especially if you plan to chase mountain goats across the mountain tops or Caribou in the marshy flatlands. 

All of our hunting is spot and stalk. We do not hunt out of blinds and you won’t often get lucky sitting in one spot. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are physically capable. Ultimately, it will often influence your success rate! 

Note: Deer hunting is ideal later in the season. Due to the colder weather and snow, the deer are forced to head to lower elevation for their food supply. Consequently, earlier in the season, you’ll find yourself embarking on longer hikes.

Protection from Kodiak Bears

Although we don’t frequently have issues with bears, you’ll likely see them in the field.   Many hunters feel more comfortable carrying a sidearm, which is definitely better protection than a can of bear spray. In fact, we have actually seen more hunters accidentally deploy bear spray on themselves or others, instead of using it as self-protection against a bear. So, if you’re looking for extra protection, a side arm is the way to go. ADFG also provides great insight on personal bear protection.

Hunting Partners 

When it comes to Kodiak Island hunting, I never recommend going it alone. Not only is it safer to have a hunting buddy, but it’s most definitely more enjoyable. Alaska’s rugged beauty makes for quite an experience, but that said, it can become dangerous very fast. Hunting with a buddy, or in a group, reduces the risk of danger and provides a solid back-up plan in the case of injury or unexpected events.

Suggested Hunting Gear List for your Kodiak Hunt

Last, but certainly not least, your hunt is often only as good as your gear. Be prepared for rain, at any and all times, even on the seemingly sunny days. Also, many parts of Kodiak can be pretty marshy. Hiking boots are helpful, but Muck Boots are ideal- especially if you’re in the flatlands going for caribou. Boot gaiters are also an effective alternative.

The average shooting range is 100-300 yards, so most hunters are sufficient with a 3×9 scope. Yet, it’s important to consider not bringing your heaviest scope, even if it’s your best one. Always aim to keep your load light and easy. Be careful to save most of your energy for when it matters most, such as carrying and prepping an animal. 

Alaska Hunting Packing List:

Below is a suggested packing list & gear recommendations. You can shop all recommended products here.

Disclaimer: This extensive list contains suggested items- all of which may not be necessary or required. Needs vary from person to person. Each hunter best knows what they need to be prepared and comfortable.

  • Hunting pack – Eberlestock
  • Rifle + ammunition – .300 Weatherby
  • Scope cover
  • Bow + accessories (arrows, broad heads, release, etc.) – Mathews and/or PSE
  • Trekking poles 
  • Binoculars – Vortex or Leupold
  • Spotting scope + rangefinder (if desired) – Vortex or Leupold
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Matches/lighter
  • Game Bags – Caribou Game Bags
  • Sharp hunting knife (buck and/or Havalon, skinning/caping knife)
  • Garbage bags for miscellaneous purposes 

Clothing and Attire:

  • Waterproof outer layer (top + bottom)
  • 2-3 changes of clothes
  • Base layers
  • Mid-layers for warmth
  • Plenty of socks & underwear
  • Warm hat + variety of gloves
  • Waterproof/resistant hiking boots

Note: there is no legal requirement for hunters to wear orange in Alaska.

Before you secure your trip, I recommend reviewing the current Alaska hunting regulations, which can be found on the ADFG website. Also, find your licenses and tags here.

I might be biased, but hunts on Kodiak Island are by far the best. You’ll witness God’s country with the most extravagant views, while experiencing a one-of-a-kind hunt. It doesn’t get any better.

Are you interested in booking a trip to Kodiak? Check out our lodge website at www.kodiak-safaris.com