Alaska’s wildlife provides some of the best opportunities for hunting game large and small. Because of the variety of animals and the open terrain, it may be best to utilize a rangefinder when hunting many animals. Rangefinders offer advantages over the naked eye when targets must be hunted from longer distances.
Sitka Black-tailed Deer
Deer are some of the most commonly-hunted game, with Sitka black-tailed deer being the most pursued in Alaska. The populations fluctuate significantly depending on the harshness of winter, and they sometimes concentrate at low elevations after heavy snowfall. The average weight for Sitka deer is around 80 pounds. When using a rangefinder to hunt deer, the displayed maximum range is capable under ideal conditions, so it is best to adjust strategy according to the actual reading and conditions. Rangefinder reviews can be compared in order to determine the best model to use for deer hunting in Alaska.
Members of the deer family, caribou are large animals that are referred to as “reindeer” in Europe. Though there are nearly one million of these animals in Alaska, they are divided among just 32 main herds. They usually spend winter in the boreal forest, but during the rest of the year they can be found among mountains and the tundra. Approximately 22,000 caribou are harvested on average in Alaska every year. Caribou are antlered animals, but they are unique in that both males and females grow these ornaments. Adult males average 350 to 400 pounds, while females are 175 to 225 pounds.
Mountain goats protect themselves with the surroundings of the mountains and rough terrain. For hunting, it is best to approach them from above as they are more keen to detect danger from below. If the terrain can be overcome, they can be targeted within shooting range. Both males and females have horns and other similar features. Hunting either is legal, but hunting females (nannies) is discouraged. Male goats weigh 180 to 260 pounds on average, but they may lose up to 50 pounds during winter due to meager sustenance. This weight is gained back in the summer.
Kodiak Brown Bear
Also known as the Alaskan brown bear, this species is native to Alaska’s Kodiak Island and surrounding areas. This is the largest type of brown bear, and they are physically and genetically unique compared to those on the mainland. Brown bears are usually found living within 75 miles of the sea where they rely on salmon as a main food source. Like other wild animals, hunters should keep a safe distance, but the brown bear is very dangerous to encounter up close. The best way to accurately spot the target in this instance is with the help of a high-quality rangefinder.
In Alaska, wolves are found throughout the mainland, and they are able to adapt to a variety of surroundings and habitats. They live in packs that include members of all stages of development, and the average pack consists of six or seven wolves. Some larger packs may consist of even 20 or 30 animals. Most adult males weigh from 85 to 115 pounds, but they may reach as heavy as 150. The average female weighs 10 to 15 pounds less than a male, and they rarely exceed 110 pounds.
There are many opportunities to hunt smaller animals throughout Alaska. Hunting small game is more suitable when teaching youngsters or amateurs, and it is also easy and affordable. Common game in this category includes hares, grouse and ptarmigan. For small animals, having a rangefinder with adequate magnification is essential. Having an image appear 6 or 7 times closer to the naked eye makes it easier to place each shot without frightening game. The compromise for using the higher magnifications on a rangefinder includes a darker picture and small field of view.
Various factors should be taken into consideration when buying a rangefinder. If hunters plan to target only one type of animal, they will have different needs from those hunting various game throughout the year. Reviews for some of the latest models can be found at www.bestrangefinderreviewsguide.com . Comparing rangefinder reviews is the best way to match models with hunting needs.