Hunting in North America

These magnificent mountains in southern Alaska are a sheep-hunter’s mecca.

by Ron Spomer

The state of Alaska is larger than many countries. You’d need a fat book, if not a small library, to describe all of its lands and many hunting opportunities.

Let’s limit our exploration to just one small corner of The Great Land, the Chugach Mountain Range, which covers an area “only” 300 miles long by 100 miles wide, running west to east from Anchorage to the Canada border. That’s roughly 30,000 square miles of floor space and considerably more if you add the vertical terrain—and most of the terrain is vertical.


Take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course for stress-free border crossings.

by Michael D. Faw

American hunters traveling to Canada often encounter long lines, confusing firearms regulations, and hidden fees. But if you hunt in Canada often, there's a way to avoid all of that.

Now you can prepare ahead, and cross into Canada with a firearm while dealing with less paperwork and fewer hassles. The key to easier border crossings is to complete a Canadian Firearms Safety Course (in Canada), pass a written test, and then file an application for a possession and acquisition license under the Canadian Firearms Act. After you pay a $55 test fee, and then a $70 application fee (at the time this was written), you'll receive a card that will permit quick processing through lines when you reach the border and want to cross with your firearm. The at-the-border fees will also be waived.


The Ultimate To-Do List?

The so-called "North American 27" is based on the categories of North American game animals as recognized by the Boone and Crockett Club since 1971. The traditional North American 27 consists of the following animals:

Stone sheep, Dall sheep, desert bighorn, Rocky Mountain bighorn; brown, grizzly, black, and polar bear; barren-ground, Quebec-Labrador, mountain, and woodland caribou; mule, white-tailed, Columbia black-tailed, and Coues deer; Alaska-Yukon, Canada, and Shiras moose; as well as bison, muskox, cougar, jaguar, pronghorn, American elk, walrus, and Rocky Mountain goat.

To make things confusing, B&C traditionally recognized two walrus (Atlantic and Pacific) and two muskox (barren-ground and Greenland), which actually makes 29 different animals. Hunters have only ever counted one walrus and one muskox, hence the North American 27.


Hunters have an obligation to make sure their game meat is cared for and used, even when hunting far from home.

By Ron Spomer

Once upon a time, a hunter hoisted his deer over a saddle and led the horse home proudly. Or he merely dragged it from the woods to shed or smokehouse. Then came decades of carrying game home on fenders and hoods, with the carcasses slowly cooking atop big Detroit motors.

Nowadays some of us are lucky enough to lay our game in the back of a cool pickup bed for the trip home, but, increasingly, many of us fly to our hunts, and that throws a wrench in the works. How do you get raw steaks, chops, ribs, and roasts from Alaska to Alabama?


What's the best way to defend yourself if you
run into a grizzly while hunting—or if a grizzly
tries to run into you?

By Anthony Acerrano

Nearly all authorities on the subject agree that the first two words to memorize in this regard are "pepper spray." I'm fully aware that some hunters associate pepper spray with politically correct, granola-eating, New Age, tree-hugger crapola. "Just give me my gun," these guys brag, "and I'll drop any charging griz like a sack of rocks."

Other hunters are less fanatical on the subject, but simply have serious (and understandable) doubts about the efficacy of a spray can to stop one of the largest and most dangerous animals in North America. Doesn't it just make sense that a high-caliber bullet is more potent, and more effective in a life-or-death situation?

It’s a reasonable question, and by no means should hunters dismiss the power and value of their firearms, as we'll discuss later. But as is so often the case when it comes to bears, the answer is more complex than it might first appear.