Alaska Big Game Hunting

Alaska Private Guide Service
Smokey Don Duncan, Master Guide #136

Alaska Private Guide Service Home Page

Serving Alaska Big Game Hunters Anglers and Adventure Travelers Since 1990

APGS is the premier Alaska guiding and outfitting service provider for hunting Alaska's big game, fishing, and adventure travel. We guide hunts for Moose, Brown Bear, Grizzly Bear, Black Bear and Wolf. We provide world class fishing guide and outfitting services for King Salmon, Red Salmon, Silver Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Arctic Grayling, Dolly Varden, Char, Giant Northern Pike, and Sheefish. Alaska Private Guide Service also offer a full range of winter activities based out of Fairbanks. The winter adventure trips include long and short snowmobile rides and tours, Fairbanks ice fishing trips and aurora (northern lights) viewing trips. We also offer excellent wilderness Photography trips. Our primary operating areas are unit 17 in SW Alaska and unit 20 in the Interior of Alaska. Just click on one of the links above to begin your journey.

The name Alaska "Private" Guide Service was chosen to reflect the individual attention, care and concern given to each and every client even though we are one of the larger service providers. We make sure that we can provide the trip you want based on your desires and abilities before you book your trip. This web site is rated A+ for honesty and thoroughness. And, we address any concerns you may have during the trip. APGS did not start out big and well financed from inexperienced outsiders as many operators have done and continue to do. Instead, we grew steadily as equipment, guides and experience allowed.

Our operation's size is unique and delivers advantages to you that most other operators do not have. A short list of advantages would include: Guides that have worked with APGS an average of 10+ years. We have huge and excellent operating areas utilizing multiple adjacent Guide Use Areas. Our equipment list includes 17 prop or jet boats, 15 snow machines, 4 wheelers, multiple Base Camps, and a couple of remote cabins professionally and comfortably equipped along with substantial portable spike camps to use when needed. Oatmeal and freeze dried are not a food staple and are seldom used in our camps. On most of our trips all you'll need to bring is your gear.

We have tried to answer all your questions in detail in an easy to read format. Please take the time to read the information before you contact me. By then, you will know that you have found someone you can work with and trust, an operation with very experienced guides that care; with the logistical capabilities that increase success with out sacrificing comfort. If you still have questions, or you see a mistake or discrepancy, please call or e-mail me.

Enjoy the excellence of experience and let us make your Alaska Hunting, Fishing, winter adventure or Photography dreams come true.

You can see photos of APGS hunts for all the species as seen on Picasaweb. Just select Slideshow or individual photos for Alaska Hunting. You can also see our separate individual slideshows separated by species. Just click on one of the following: Moose, Brown Bear, Caribou, Fishing, and Black Bear photos on their individual pages.

You can watch some of our videos by clicking here. Alaska Moose Hunts and River Jet Boat videos. You can order a 2 hour DVD for $8 which includes DVD and mailing costs.

Guiding Industry News: These updates are listed as the most current first and the oldest towards the bottom. It may help, make more sense, to read them in reverse order.

For now the Guide Concession Plan is dead. However, I fully expect some legislator to re-introduce it again in 2015. Ask any guide you are considering to hire if they supported the Guide Concession Plan or if they apposed it. Please thank them for apposing it or call someone else if they supported it. Big changes may be on the way for sheep hunting and sheep guides. Changes may occur this spring at the Board of Game meetings. But the situation is "A solution looking for a problem." (Joe Want quoting someone else). The fact of the matter is; sheep are not in trouble now nor have they been in trouble for 60 years. The data disproves just about every argument being used to change the status quo or to change what has been the most successful management plan for 60 years. There has not been a biological problem even in the more crowded areas. And the success and success rates have remained virtually unchanged or slightly increased over 60 years for all types of hunters. Recent changes by the Board of Game were proven unnecessary biologically but it cost the State a lot of revenue and displaced sheep hunters and guides. This "sheep emergency" was started and promoted by many of the Guide Concession Plan supporters and used as a threat to force the GCP through. This whole mess was/is an attempt to satisfy greedy people that thought they should be the only ones allowed to hunt opening day and shoot the easy sheep standing by the runway. But none of them wanted to pay for that exclusivity. They want the guides and non-resident hunters to give up their opportunities to make up for their laziness. While this may seem harsh, 3 facts remain unchanged. 1) 50 % of the legal sheep in any area remain after the standard 40+ sheep hunting day season. 2) 50% of the sheep are killed each year are taken in the first 10 days or so. 3) The full curl management system originally stated that if we held harvest to full curl minimum, we could never over harvest even if we harvested every single full curl sheep in the area. Which we have never done. The fact is, we should be able to leave the sheep season open year round with the full curl minimum. All that being said, if the BOG does take action, any action, things will get worse as shown by their past actions concerning sheep management. The scary part is; they will now have a template to screw up other shit and use the whiny, cry babies complaining as the excuse. I remember my good friend and neighbor, Master Guide Pete Buist, saying, "Some people think there should be a moose standing behind every tree. It is never going to happen no matter what we do." You may hear that some sheep areas have taken a hit from freezing rain, avalanches, etc.... and local sheep populations are down. I am not calling them a liar. But sheep hunters, where they chose to hunt and sheep hunting pressure seems to have been able to take care of itself and quickly establish an equilibrium over the last 60 years. And no matter how few sheep are now in an area, 50% of the legal sheep will not be harvested. In my humble opinion, The BOG has caused more displacement and subsequent problems in the last few 7 years than they have solved. And for no, good biological reason. Let us hope for the best.

Update 2012 The second round of public comment on this Guide Use Area Concession Plan was this summer. The proposed plan is worse than expected. Not only would it send administrative costs through the roof (which the surviving guides must pay) but the plan also restricts the number of assistant guides. That means we will only be able to take a few hunters during short seasons. That will drive up the cost / hunter dramatically. Although the program promoted as "resource conservation ", nothing could be further from the truth. Any conservation results from the elimination of guides and assistant guides and not by sound resource management. It appears to me that even the original supporters do not back the plan but some still back the idea. The fact is, this plan, left unmodified, will be a complete disaster. The fact is that any such plan that does not also include the regulation of transporters is not based on resource conservation and is therefore fatally flawed. The Big Game Commercial Services Board that regulates guides and transporters has refused for 7 years to even attempt to regulate the transporters. Yet the guiding industry has seen major changes that drive up costs and license fees. The resulting increase in the prices of a guided hunt have sent more of our potential clients to a transporter for an unguided hunt. The transporters have 2 members on the BGCSB and they have supported this program plan. I wonder why? Every time they (2 transporters representatives on the board) vote to restrict guides and put them out of business, I can not help but think they are laughing all the way to the bank. I wonder why, when the link is so direct, they are even allowed to vote on an issue that directly benefits them in this manner.

UPDATE 12/7/2010. The vast majority of guides are still in opposition to this proposed program. DNR failed to mention to the Guide Board that the comments on the program were running 2:1 against. DNR has now updated the proposed implementation date to Jan. 1, 2014. In 2011, the legislature gave DNR $120K for development of this program. So far DNR has read the comments and bought some plane tickets for Fairbanks employees to travel to Anchorage to attend the Guide Board meetings. DNR is now trying to hire a contractor to analyze the comments and make recommendations. The issue is the BGCSB has lost control of this process and DNR is trying to sub it's duties out to who knows what. Nobody wants to touch this thing because they know it is not justified because it is not really based on resource conservation no matter how many times everyone says it is. Repeating a lie a million times does not make it true. The Achilles heel is still legislative funding. No money no go. Contact your legislators and ask them to tighten the purse strings.

Ted Spraker, who sits on the Board of Game and on the Guide Board (BGCSB), again stated his disappointment that this program is not moving forward in a reasonable time frame. He said the BOG has held off putting widespread restrictions on non-resident hunters (our clients), basically renewing the threat. However we have 2 issues: 1 F&G gets 85% of its revenue from non-resident license and tags. So the Game Board is going to be reluctant to shoot itself in the foot. And those non-resident hunters are also those hunters that shoot bears and wolves. Take them out and you now have another problem to deal with. I have no opposition to this program if it is truly based on resource conservation. But that is not the case at this time. And the big obstacle there is at some point, for this to proceed forward, there will have to be allocations made. Allocations between residents and non-residents. Allocations between guided and non-guided. Sound simple enough until you look at reality. For a fact, the non guided hunter is typically a transported hunter. IE: a transporters client. Every time the guides have battled transporters they have lost lobby, usually more than they gambled. Anything that threatens to raise the cost of a transported hunt for residents is the great fear and the main reason everyone has refused to get a handle on transporters. As a resident, I understand that. But we cannot move forward and call this based on resource conservation or call it management until we control transporters and make those difficult decisions on allocations. Win or lose. And guides will lose. Big time. We've never won and will lose this battle. Transporters/air taxis just have too much money, influence and resident support. So just about anyway this program proceeds will be detrimental to guides and our clients' pocket book. The inherently fatal flaws are as follows.

Updates: 1/20/09, 11/8/09 You should be aware that the State of Alaska is currently working on a plan to get back to exclusive and semi-exclusive guide use areas, GUAs. This may sound good at first until you get down to the implementation details and the effects on the guiding industry. The bottom line is: 70-80% of the hunting guide business like mine will be put out of business. If guides get 1 GUA then 50% of the guides will have none. If every guide that gets one GUA actually gets 3 GUAs; then 80% of the guides will be put out of business. Your selection of available - potential guides will decrease dramatically. The surviving businesses will have been the high bidder for the area. Consequently; the businesses will have to charge higher fees to cover their bids.

You can thank Alaska Professional Hunters Association, APHA, who lobbied the legislature to create the Big Game Commercial Services Board (BGCSB) (AKA Guide Board) in 2005. APHA has been getting large contributions each year from Dallas Safari Club $10,000, Houston Safari Club, $5000, and Safari Club International. This Board has been hell bent to "FIX" the guiding industry. The BGCSB is working through the Department of Natural Resources to create the exclusive use areas. The timeline is the areas are to be awarded by July 2010 and by Jan. 2011 most guides will be out of business. So beware, no matter who you book with! There will be a number of guides who take deposits and then file bankruptcy out of spite. Now it appears as DNR may not make the January deadline to request proposals from the guides and have them awarded by July 2010.

A four year report card for this Board would read as follows: ďFĒ. This Board operates under the Title Dept. of Community, Commerce and Economic Development. With a title like that; you would think they are actually trying to help the industry grow. So far the Board has raise our license fees 2 times in 4 years. They have failed, no refused to address any out of control transporter issues. They have restricted where guides can hunt by making it near impossible for a guide to test for a game management unit. They have thrown the industry into turmoil. No guide can be sure he will survive the next year or so. And they have started down the road to turning the whole state into a private hunt club where only the rich can afford to hunt. For example; will you be willing and able to afford to pay the State through me an extra $5000 kill fee for a brown bear or moose? In addition to my guide fees of course. How about an additional $100/ day for a land use fee on top of everything else? That is where this Board has steered the boat. And if you donít have the money; you ainít hunting with a guide or maybe not at all when they get through with adding fees and taxes. And if all of the above is not bad enough; the legislature sets the license and tag fees and APHA has been recommending to Fish and Game and the Guide Board to ask the legislature to raise those fees substantially. Presumably, they have also been asking the legislature directly to raise the fees. I think they hope it will drive away more unguided non-resident hunters than it drives away guided non-resident hunters. The rich hunter stays and the poor boy leaves.

You can see my harsh comments to the BGCSB and DNR about proceeding with these plans by clicking on this link. The next BGCSB meeting is in December 2009 in Anchorage. The Board has a web site on the State of Alaska web page. See the guides letter to the legislature 12/16/09.

See additional Alaska Hunting Regulation News

Smokey Don Duncan, Owner, Master Guide #136 and P.H.
299 Alvin St. Fairbanks AK 99712
Landline: 907-457-8318     Verizon Cell: 435-890-8328

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