I receive many calls from Alaska hunters, usually non-residents, wanting to know how to “give away” some or all of their meat after completing a successful hunt. I find it hard to believe that anyone would want to even share Alaska wild game, much less give it away; but knowing how expensive it is to transport heavy-laden moose quarters from the field to home, I can understand why certain hunters would rather cut costs when possible.
After non-resident hunters pay for airfare to and from Alaska, obtain licenses and tags, outfit their adventure, hire air or river charters, and purchase necessary items for their hunt, such as clothing and ammunition, the price for a quality Alaska hunt bares much resemblance to buying a quality used car.
Before setting out on your next Alaska hunting endeavor, and you’re wishing to donate portions of your harvest, you must have the official documents to make the transfer of possession legal. Before I tell you how and where to obtain this form, I should spotlight the Alaska Hunting Regulations in order to more clearly define the process.
Transfer of possession form
You may legally transfer possession of game animals to other persons; but in doing so, both you and the person taking the meat must be able to provide a signed statement that includes: both your names and addresses, when and where the game was taken, and what specific game animal and parts were taken. Show this statement to any department representative if asked. You may hand write this statement or use the form provided by ADF&G. You will find a blank form on the inside of the back cover of any Hunting Regulation booklet of Alaska, or you may download one of the ADF&G website at www.state.ak.us/local/akpages/FISH.GAME/wildlife/geninfo/regs/transfer.pdf
Caution to gift givers
One year I was ending a river trip at a small village within GMU 25, and a hostile native greeted me at the river’s edge. Just behind him followed a frightened non-resident hunter from Louisiana. This guy was as white as a Dall sheep cape, and clearly worried that he might have endangered his and his friend’s life by showing up to this village with a trophy bull moose. While the antler spread was impressive (66 inches), these particular natives weren’t upset over the trophy headgear; they were angry that non-Alaskans were not only hunting their homelands, but also trying to give away meat that had spoiled from poor field care!
The absolute worst offense to native Alaskans is the wasting of game meat by careless non-native hunters. If you’ve been on a 7- to 10-day hunting adventure and tried to upkeep your harvest without any meat spoiling, you know how incredibly difficult it is to do. Warm temperatures, wet conditions, poor ventilation, and other factors often plague an extended hunting quest in Alaska’s back-country.
While nearly every village one visits in remote Alaska has rotting animal flesh hanging under tarps and over drying racks, and the stench is often enough to induce vomiting, it’s their way of meat preservation, and they eat dried meat under such conditions. However, meat that has spoiled because of blatant neglect is easily noted, therefore, if you plan to transfer possession of any of your game, I strongly recommend taking quality care of the meat along your journey. This will prevent situations like the one above from spoiling your once in a lifetime hunt.
Learn top-notch field care
Do yourself a favor by learning how to properly render care to your downed animal. Such education is vital to your success as an Alaska hunter. With an average sized moose one can expect to harvest 300 to 600 pounds of meat, if proper field care is performed. The general rule of thumb is for one-third of the animal to be taken for consumption. That leaves a third for hide and bones, and a third for entrails. This rule applies to all other game animals as well.
To learn how to properly field dress Alaska big game, there are a couple of resources to help the curious hunter. If a video is more of what you’re looking for, ADF&G offers great videotape of such instruction. It’s available at any department. The title is Field Care of Big Game and it retails for $15.00. This video instructs modern day techniques of field dressing big game animals. Books are more commonly found because they become mobile resources, enabling hunters to bring the information to the field with them for refresher courses. A Complete Guide To Float Hunting Alaska, which retails for $19.95, has everything a hunter needs to become proficient at field care of meat and trophies, plus endless resources that will improve your next hunt. Order this book by calling toll-free (877) 716-4366, or order online on our hunting books page.
Author / Wilderness Guide