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Sample Unit Profile: Alaska Unit 13E - Nelchina - Upper Sustina

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Species icons for Alaska hunt unit

Overview

Snapshot

This large unit, located in south-central Alaska, holds a large portion of Denali National Park. The park is not open to hunting with the exception of the Denali National Preserve. A large majority of this unit is public alongside the park but the north half of the unit holds a few large parcels of tribal lands that hunters will not be allowed to hunt on. The Denali Highway provides good access along the northeastern portion of the unit while the Parks Highway provides access along the northwest corner of the area. This area is very mountainous with large river bottoms and drainage separating mountain ranges. Areas along the northern half of the unit see a lot of hunting pressure but some remote locations can be flown or floated into.

Buzz

Hunting pressure can be high at times but great populations of Dall sheep and grizzlies can be found here. 

Quick Tips

  • Plan your transportation and lodging options around the season and species you will be hunting 
  • Bear fences can be a good idea for camps
  • Rain gear is a necessity
  • Good ptarmigan hunting opportunities

On the ground

Terrain

This area features a wide array of terrain features from boggy muskegs to high mountain peaks. Most of the unit sees a high exaggeration of terrain with steep climbing ridgelines, large basins, and intermixed river drainages. Many of the low elevation areas will be heavily timbered or vegetated. Physically moving through some of this country can be difficult at times, particularly around creeks and rivers. Glassing can be difficult at times but utilizing high river banks and some areas with a slight elevation advantage can be fruitful. The high country areas are mostly void of tall and dense vegetation, and glassing and movements are much better.

  • Roughly 7,209 square miles
  • 90% Public land
  • Elevations range from 1,500-12,000 feet

Vegetation

Most of the river bottom areas will be comprised of spruce timber stands, grasses, sedges, alder, dwarf birch, and tundra. Bogs and muskegs are scattered across the landscape where ponds and small lakes are abundant. Higher elevation areas above treeline will generally see a higher distribution of mountain hemlock, black spruce, tundra, berry plants, and small shrubs. Traversing country in and around the river bottom areas can be difficult at times due to dense vegetation, but some of the lower areas are comprised of tundra and small shrubs and are great for glassing. Following established game trails can be a great way to effectively cover ground. Small gains in elevation in these areas can make spotting game from a distance much easier and can reduce the physical output needed to cover multiple areas. The high country areas are generally void of major vegetation, so spotting game from a distance can be fairly straight forward. 

Access

Access along the Park and Denali Highways is good but these areas generally see a lot of pressure. ATV trails provide some options for accessing interior portions of the unit, but these areas will still see heavy hunting pressure as well. Flying into remote locations can be a great way to escape some of the pressure but well-known airstrips will still be popular areas for other hunters. Physically traversing some of the thicker country in the lower elevation areas can be a chore at times and hunters will need to take special consideration when planning their hunts and stalks. Floating to upper Susitna River is a popular option for hunters and some good 1-2 day hunts can be had off of the main channel.

Camping And Lodging

There are a few options for lodging along the road system but most hunters will find difficulty in traveling to hunting spots each day while escaping pressure. Most hunters in this unit will generally opt to utilize primitive camping options whether they are flown in, floating, or hunting from vehicles. 

Historical Temperature

Historical temperature in Alaska hunt unit

Historical Precipitation

Historical precipitation in Alaska hunt unit

Species within this Unit

Species icons for Alaska hunt unit

Moose will generally be found in the highest densities around the river and creek bottoms, but they can also be found at slightly higher elevations and along foothill areas. Utilizing large banks to get above the dense bottoms can be excellent for glassing and calling. Still hunting through well-used game trails can be good at times but will also make for very close-quarter hunting. 

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Rifle, General

Sep 1 - Sep 20, 2019
**Resident only

Rifle general data for Alaska unit

Rifle, Permit

Sep 1 - Sep 20, 2019
**Resident only

Resident rifle permit data for Alaska unit

Rifle, Permit

Sep 1 - Sep 20, 2019
**Nonresident only

Nonresident rifle permit data for Alaska unit

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