20 Great Economical Adventures

Alaska: Sea Ducks in Winter

Outdoor Life Online Editor

To most people a trip to Kodiak Island in January is nothing short of ridiculousäunless you're hunting sea ducks. While it may seem strange to plan a trip to Alaska in the dead of winter, if you want the best shot at sea and diving ducks in their most spectacular plumage, pack your parka and gloves and head north. Kodiak is one of the most popular locations on the Pacific Coast to hunt sea ducks, particularly for those looking for harlequins, old squaws, Barrow's goldeneyes, scoters and eiders for a taxidermy collection.

Even though Kodiak Island lies in the Far North, its marine environment moderates the weather and allows for numerous ice-free bays and lagoons and a rocky coastline rich in marine life. As many as 150,000 diving and sea ducks come here to spend the winter. In 2000-2001, the season was October 8 to January 22, with a limit of 7 puddle/diving ducks and 10 sea ducks daily. It should be the same next fall.

Chiniak and Anton Larsen bays are both good areas. Guided trips also are available. A resident hunting license is $25 and a nonresident small-game license for the season is a bargain at $20. State ($5) and federal duck stamps ($15) are required.