This is by far the most common question I have been getting from readers about our 2017 Kodiak Island adventure – how much did it cost? The true answer is that “it depends”. Depends on how diligent you are in chasing down each and every last discount. Depends on how much Kodiak-appropriate gear you own already and how much you are going to have to rent. Depends a lot on the location you choose to hunt while on Kodiak. Depends on how many tags you choose to buy and for which species. Depends on if you want to combine a fishing trip on to the back end of your hunt. It really does depen. That said, this is how our trip broke down in terms of expenses. Keep in mind we benefited from sliding in under the 2016 Alaskan hunting license and permit prices, all of which doubled if purchased January 1, 2017, or later.
Commercial airfare from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, to Kodiak Island, Alaska $762.81 total/$381.41 split. If you don’t utilize the Alaskan Airline credit card to do this sort of trip…you are stupid. Plain and simple. This was inclusive of flex-insurance for each ticket to accommodate the potential unruly nature of Alaskan weather ($70.50 total). Total savings $1291.74 total/$645.87 split.
Commercial check baggage fees RDU to Kodiak $50.00 total/$25 split. Again, flying Alaskan Air with their credit card saved us $50 apiece on this leg of the journey. Total savings $100.00/$50.00 split.
Commercial check baggage fees returning from Kodiak to RDU $500.00 total/$250.00 split. A huge price tag just to move luggage and meat, but considering we checked 10 bags (!!!!), $50/bag actually seems like a great deal. Total savings $250.00/$125.00 split.
Floatplane charter $2,664.00 total/$1,332.00 split. This item can be quite a bit cheaper depending on where on the island you choose to hunt and also if you more strategically weasel in a 3rd guy to share costs.
Alaskan non-resident hunting license and 2 deer tags. $385/person. Total savings $385/person.
Alaskan non-resident 7-day fishing license and king salmon stamp. $55+$20=$75 total/person.
Electric bear fence rental from Kodiak Kamps $150 total/$75 split. Priceless.
Delorme Inreach 1 month subscription and “rental” from a Rokslide forum member who was kind enough to share equipment. $67.00 total/$33.50 total. Another place where we saved significantly by not renting from an outfitter on Kodiak Island. Most places rates were $15/day which would have pushed this item up in the $150 range for the duration of our interior hunt.
Map printing costs using CalTopo and a local Kinkos here in Ohio. $34 total/$17 split.
Total incidental expenses including a couple dry boxes of firewood, last minute groceries before jumping on a floatplane, salmon fishing lures, terminal tackle, and a spincasting combo, tupperware containers for shipping antlers back to the Lower 48, wax-sealed boxes for shipping meat, and butchering supplies for the hotel. $268.44 total/$134.22 split.
2 nights at the Best Western in Kodiak $531.98 total/$265.99 split. Awfully expensive at first glance but you consider we converted our room on the first night into a venerable butcher shop, the hotel had a walk-in freezer that we used extensively, a restaurant in-house that served awesome free breakfasts, and supplied a complimentary shuttle service around town and to the airport, it seemed like money well-spent in hindsight.
All-day fishing charter + tip for the first mate = $770 total/$385 split.
Next-day processed salmon, halibut, rock bass, and cod $157 total/$78.50 split. Dropped off at 6 PM on Thursday night and picked up frozen in wax-sealed boxes including a special request that I made for 3 salmon carcasses, head-on.
Other tips $60 total/$30 split.
I don’t buy a ton of Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry-type meals for my hunts, so our backpacking menu was easily as cheap as what we would normally eat in our normal, everyday lives, so that’s a cost that would have been incurred regardless and I don’t like to include that in total trip cost calculations. So with all that said, our total trip costs summed to $3,467.62/person or just under $7,000 total all-expenses round-trip door-to-door. A couple considerations where we could have substantially trimmed costs…saying no to fishing and a fishing charter would have saved $638.50 per person (1 fewer checked bag per person, no fishing license, no charter, no processing fee, no fishing equipment purchases). You could drop that much again if you wanted to fly into a much closer hunting destination to Kodiak City, however, in a year right after a major winter die-off, you have to fly to where the deer are. After hearing many, many other hunters reporting back on their 2017 fall hunts, I am SO thankful we stayed flexible in where we chose to go hunting. The pay-off in terms of quality of hunt was enormous!!
Of course, the $385 per person savings by going with 2016 license and permit fees is a cost-cutting opportunity of the past, but I would argue pretty adamantly that this is the highest adventure you access with the lowest cost required – at least from a hunting perspective – anywhere on earth. Bold statement I know, but I really do believe that.