The Alaska Big 5 are a safari unto themselves.
There are a number of deer species in Alaska, but only a few don’t really inhabit the lower 48, and one of the best examples is caribou. (Though there are limited pockets of woodland caribou in some states bordering Canada.)
A lot of people dream on going on safari… but there’s a way to go on a North American safari without needing to change currency! Go after the Alaska Big 5.
The Big 5 would be the 5 big game animals of Alaska that most people would dream of hunting. Could you get all of them in one trip? It would be hard…but not impossible, especially given Alaska’s diversity of wildlife and abundance of public land.
Some people define them differently. The Denali Big 5 are the 5 animals most people try to view in Denali National Park, though some people would put different animals on the list. This list is the five most easily (and take that with a pile of salt) pursued big game animals in Alaska.
Alaska is home to both boreal woodland and Porcupine caribou, sometimes called just Alaskan caribou.
Caribou are very common in Alaska, along with other animals on this list, but an Alaskan safari – as it were – just wouldn’t be complete without a caribou hunt.
In most of the lower 48, a moose hunt is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In Alaska, there are some areas where subsistence hunters can pursue moose without a tag. Non-resident tags aren’t unreasonable and there is abundant public land to hunt on.
Alaska has an enormous moose population across the entire state, so skipping an Alaskan moose hunt if you had the opportunity would be a wasted opportunity.
Alaska is the only state in the union where hunting grizzly bear is not only permissible, but a regular occurrence. Griz are located all over the state, but be advised that non-residents have to hire a guide in order to hunt grizzly bear.
The ultimate challenge in bear hunting is a Kodiak bear hunt. Dense underbrush and punishing terrain make hunting a Kodiak grizzly a daunting challenge, to say nothing of the possible dangers. However, those that draw the tag and successfully harvest a bear there will come away with an experience not many hunters can boast of.
Dall sheep hunting is one of the greatest hunting challenges in North America. Their preferred dwellings are often in rugged, steep mountain terrain, making pursuit a tough physical test. They are also a challenge to the shooting skill of the hunter, as shots are often at longer ranges than when hunting most other game.
Many hunters consider a Dall sheep hunt a once-in-a-lifetime privilege, let alone if one were to take all five animals on this list.
The musk ox is a hardy arctic bovid that was literally rescued from the very brink of extinction during the last century. The animal once roamed much of North America and Europe, but by the Roaring 20s was located only in the most northerly parts of Canada and Greenland.
Reintroduction and careful management have brought them back from the brink, with populations currently living in isolated pockets of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Scandinavia. They are, however, very small. As a result, hunting of musk oxen is by lottery draw only.
Drawing the tag and not having competition from other hunters for the same quarry won’t guarantee an easy hunt. They live in the coldest parts of the world. Civilization is sparse and the going isn’t easy, but it is still one of the rarest hunts in the world.