Alaska undoubtedly is the largest state in the United States, with over 93 559 paid hunting license holders. It offers an incredibly diverse habitat for hunting deer. Sitka black-tailed deer is the only native species of deer control in Alaska. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) estimates that there are around 80 000 Sitka black-tailed deer on Kodiak Island.
If you want to learn more about hunting deer in Alaska and general restrictions. This guide provides everything that there is to know about hunting deer in Alaska.
Alaska 2023 Season Dates
Alaska is divided into game management units, all of which have their own regulations and bag limits. Deer hunting season in Alaska is restricted from units 1 to 8 on the southern coastline. Seasons are subject to change and can close at any given time due to the effects of severe weather conditions.
Alaska deer season starts at the beginning of August and runs to the end of December. Hunters are allowed to use Firearms unless the unit has specific weapon restrictions, such as muzzleloader, crossbow or bow and arrow only.
Hunters are allowed to harvest between 1 – 5 Sitka black-tailed deer per season, depending on the regulations set by each game management unit.
Open Season Dates and Restrictions
|Unit 1 A (Cleveland Peninsula south of the divide between Yes Bay and Santa Anna Inlet)||August 1 – November 30||Four (4) Buck|
|Unit 1 B||August 1 – December 31||Two (2) Buck|
|Unit 1 C (Douglas, Lincoln, Shelter, and Sullivan Island)||August 1 – September 14 (Bucks only)September 15 – December 31 (Any deer)||Four (4) Deer limit|
|The remainder of Unit 1 C||August 1 – December 31||Two (2) Buck|
|Unit 1 D||No open season||0|
|Unit 2 (Prince of Wales Island)||August 1 – December 31||Four(4) Buck|
|Unit 3 ( Mitkof Island, Petersburg Management Area)* Bow & arrow only||October 1 – December 15||Two (2) Buck|
|Unit 3 (remainder of Mitkof Island, Wojewodski, Butterworth islands)||October 1 – November 7||One (1) Buck|
|Unit 3 (remainder)||August 1 – November 30||Two (2) Buck|
|Unit 4 (Chichagof Island east of Port Frederick and north of Tenakee Inlet, including all drainages into Tenakee Inlet)||August 1 – September 14 (Bucks only)September 15 – December 31 (Any deer)||Three (3) Deer limit|
|Unit 4 (remainder)||August 1 – September 14 (Bucks only)September 15 – December 31 (Any deer)||Four (4) Deer limit|
|Unit 5 A (Yakutat)||October 15 – November 30||One (1) Buck|
|Unit 5 B||No open season||0|
|Unit 6 (North Gulf Coast and Prince William Sound) *Residents only||August 1 – September 30 (Bucks only)October 1 – December 31 (Any deer)||Five (5) Deer limit|
|Unit 6 (separate listing for non-residents)||August 1 – September 30 (Bucks only)October 1 – December 31 (Any deer)||Four (4) Deer limit|
|Unit 8 (Kodiak Island north of a line from the head of Settlers Cove to Crescent Lake)||August 1 – October 31||One (1) Buck|
|Unit 8 (Kodiak Island north of a line from the head of Settlers Cove to Crescent Lake)* bow and arrow, crossbow or Muzzleloader only||November 1 – November 14|
November 16 – December 31 *(Youth hunt)
|One (1) Deer limit|
|Unit 8 (remainder)||August 1 – September 30 (Bucks only)October 1 – December 31 (Any deer)||Three (3) Deer limit|
To hunt deer in Alaska, hunters must first purchase a Fish & Hunting license from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). There are four (4) groupings of hunters; each has its own regulations and licensing fees.
License Costs & Requirements
|Group||Hunting License Requirements||Cost|
|Alaskan Residents aged 10 – 17||Required to be accompanied by a hunter 18 years or older, and must have completed a Hunters Education Course ($19.95, and possess a harvesting ticket for every deer hunted.||$0|
|Alaskan Residents aged 18 – 59||Fishing & Hunting license, a harvesting ticket for every deer hunted, and a Hunters Education course.||$45|
|Alaskan Residents 60 years and older||can apply for a free Permanent identification card from ADFG.||$0|
|Non-resident||Must purchase an AK Hunting & Fishing license, locking tags for each deer harvested, and are required to have completed Hunter Education Course.||$160|
Locking tags $300 per deer.
Sitka black-tailed deer hunters must obtain a land use permit from Old Harbor Settlement Trust if they wish to hunt deer on Sitkalidak Island. Land use permits cost $150.
All non-U.S citizens must be accompanied in the field by a registered and licensed big game guide. In addition, anyone born after January 1st,1986, must attend a hunting education course.
Please note that these regulations and license costs are strictly for hunting Sitka black-tailed deer only. None of these restrictions apply if you plan on hunting Mule deer or White-tailed deer.
What Weapons Can You Hunt With in Alaska?
Alaska is one of the few states in the United States where hunters may possess and use firearms with limited restrictions. However, there are still firearm restrictions in certain state and national parks.
Here is a list of weapons that you may hunt within Alaska:
- Archery- Bows & Arrow
- Centerfire firearms
- PCP Airgun
|Shotguns||Must not be more than 10 gauges.|
|Airgun||Must have at least .35 caliber or larger and pre-charged pneumatic, including arrow-shooting air guns capable of producing 250 feet per second with broadheads 7/8 inches or greater.|
|Prohibited Firearms||Any automatic firearms are prohibited unless permitted by a license.|
Bow and Arrow:
|Bow and Arrow||Details|
|Arrows||Arrow must be at least 20’ inches in length and at least 300 grains in weight.|
|Broadheads||Broadheads must be fixed, replaceable, mechanical/ retractable blade type, not barbed. Broadheads must have a minimum cutting diameter of 7/8 inches.|
|Bow Characteristics||Peak weight of 40 pounds.|
|Crossbow draw weight||Crossbows must be at least 100 pounds peak draw weight.|
|Arrows/ bolts||16 inches long in overall length, weigh 300 grains, and have an appropriate broadhead attached.|
|Broadheads||Broadheads must be fixed, replaceable, or mechanical/ retractable blade type and not barbed.|
|Prohibited||No electronic devices can be attached to the crossbow, except scopes or electronic sights that do not project light externally.|
|Powder||Black powder or black powder substitute only.|
|Calibre||A single barrel of.45 calibre or larger.|
|Legal Projectile||Barrel must be rifled / smooth bore and discharges a single projectile.|
|Ignition||Matchlock, flintlock ignition system, percussion ignition system with a primer or percussion cap, or a wheel-lock.|
|Prohibited||Muzzleloader equipped with a scope or using smokeless powder as a charge.|
What Types of Deer are popular in Alaska?
Alaska is limited to one species of deer, the Sitka black-tailed deer. However, in the past decade, there have been numerous sightings of White-tailed deer and Mule deer. Sitka black-tailed deer are closely related to Mule deer and have a healthy population across Southeast Alaska.
What else is Popular to Hunt in Alaska?
Deer hunting is the most popular type of hunting in the US. However, Alaska is known for its big game, and with the unexplored and uninhabited terrain comes an extensive variety of animals to hunt. Below is a list of popular animals to hunt in Alaska:
- Black Bear
- Brown Bear
- Grizzly Bear
- Dall Sheep
- Mountain Goat