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Prince of Wales Island - deer hunt


Well-known member
Hey guys,

I'm thinking of heading up to Prince of Wales Island for some blacktail deer hunting. I'm a backpack hunter, and I've got good rain gear (been a helly hansen fan for years).

Fly into Ketchikan, ferry to Hollis...

From there? I'm thinking get a boat drop off at an inlet up north, pickup in a few days at same place.

Is it as strait forward as that? What am I missing? Is there a ton of hunting pressure? Tags/licenses...from what I understand a DIY hunt on POW Island is doable.


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Well-known member
I did a deer/black bear hunt on POW island for a week about 15 yrs ago. Stayed in a lodge at Thorne bay and hunted mostly the central part of the island via truck and foot. Shot a nice black bear, never saw a legal buck. Not exactly what you are proposing but I'll tell you what I learned
1. Saw way more bears/bear sign than deer. Only saw a few does the whole trip. The guy we stayed with said the locals hit the deer really hard anyplace accessible by vehicle.
2. The POW locals are friendly except the loggers. Don't know what their issue is exactly, but if you ran into them anywhere on the island (even on the roads) they were just completely hostile pricks. After a few ugly confrontations, we made sure we steered way clear of any logging areas.
3. Except for the coast and a few flat inland areas (mostly along rivers or streams), the island has some of the most impassible forest I've ever hunted. It's steep and incredibly thick. Even the clearcuts are tough to walk thru cause they leave all the slash laying in them. Plus, the ground is a muddy, slippery mess. They don't call it rain forest for nothing. It rained on and off pretty much the entire trip and everything was constantly wet. We tried doing some treks thru the woods but it was so exhausting that we gave up and mostly walked or drove the roads (the island is covered with logging roads). Using a boat to travel and hunt the coast areas sounds good but trying to backpack across the interior of the island sounds crazy to me- unless you're one serious tough hardcore dude.
4. As an Alaska "wilderness" experience, it was a big disappointment. Everyplace we went that was accessible by truck was littered with trash and empty beer cans.


There are nice bucks on POW but your best bet is to get up high in the early season-August and September. Yes the locals do hit any easy access areas hard for any bucks. Calling in late October and November can be quite successful too. Good luck.

Devils Garden

Well-known member
Don't sound like you are booked with an outfitter or taking a 4x4 rental vehicle to your designated location. If you are on your own than you should rent a vehicle from Ketchikan and ferry it across to Hollis. I retired from the Forest Service and I worked a couple diff. times on that island. I stayed at Coffman Cove which is due north from Hollis and is on the Northeast side of the island. . I worked there in 2006 - 2 weeks in March and two weeks in Sept. The main Hwy from Hollis going north is all paved up through the middle of the island. Than you turn off this hwy that goes to Coffman Cove was under construction which I hopefully, believed it is completed and paved by now. I worked with several crews and we had 4 vehicles every single day while working on diff. projects we had flat tires. Sometime two flats on the same vehicle. I am recommending when if you do rent a vehicle make sure that you can get 8 ply tires or better. Those rocks are sharp. You will not be sorry. The rental places will only supply 4 ply tires on their vehicles. I know a FS employee that lived at Thorn Bay for quite some time. He told me that he hunted sitka blacktail buck south west of Hollis or due south of Craig up in the snow capped mtn. above the timber line. I do know one thing for sure when you are hiking up in the brush wear leather gloves because of the "DEVIL'S CLUB" they are thorny. Read about it on internet it is interesting. They are the right size to grab onto to pull yourself the the mtn. or down the mtn. Hunting pressure??? Well I didn't see that when I was there. Take your fishing equipment silver salmon are on the move in those streams. Fishing was great!


Well-known member
I did a little fishing up there on POW, we saw deer everywhere. Rent from Darren in Hollis- Hollis Adventure Rentals he can get you a super deal from Promech air from Ketchikan for $89 much better than the ferry. His vehicles have 10 ply tires and you can get tire and windshield insurance. BRING a fishing rod. Be prepared for rain. LOcal guides tell me best way to hunt deer is Alpine, then beach by float by on skiff. Forget hunting the dark thick forest possibly calling them during the rut. The deer migrate based upon snow fall, we saw a bazillion deer in 2012, did I say take a fishing rod? Take a fishing rod.

Huntr Pat

Well-known member
Sounds exciting good luck and take extra caution (BEARS) looking fwd to your story. I'm trying to plan a hunt to Alaska my self and drift some rivers for Caribou or moose.
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