ALASKA: Adak Island Caribou



Caribou on Adak are big and abundant along with seaducks and upland ptarmigan. Caribou  were introduced to Adak in the 1950’s to provide hunting opportunities and emergency food for residents of the Adak Naval Air Station. When the base closed in 1994, hunting declined sharply, and the caribou population exploded. A 2005 census found nearly 2,800 caribou. The herd had more than tripled in size in just seven years.

This exponential growth is typical of ungulates introduced to islands. There are several reasons: no predators on the island, no prior grazing had reduced or altered the plant life, no significant parasites or biting insects, and no need for long-distance migrations. Because of the remoteness of the island, logistical challenges, and limited year-round human population, there is not enough hunting to control herd size. With plenty of food and little to bother them, Adak caribou can get big as well as numerous. The largest caribou on record was taken on Adak (700 lbs).

Adak Island is a 1200 mile flight from Anchorage and currently serviced by Alaska Airlines twice a week. Always allow extra time for WX delays. All Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge lands are open to hunting. Much of the land on the north part of Adak (all areas with roads) is owned by The Aleut Corporation. An activity permit and fee is required to access Aleut Corporation lands. If you wish to hunt within the road system, then a land use permit is required. Permits are available upon request. Contact Adak Island Inn at (907) 592- ADAK (2325) or email

Caribou meat can be checked in as baggage in approved containers and all antlers must be boxed completely for flight. Lodging, ATV/Argo/truck rentals are available and groceries are available at the local store. Residents and non-resident hunt require harvest tickets.

For the self-guided hunter this is very doable, affordable and can be completed within a week. Enjoy!


Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge – Hunting Caribou

FAQs – Hunting caribou on Adak Island, Alaska (central Aleutians)

Alaska Department Fish & Game


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  1. frank knusta February 16, 2013 # | Reply

    My husband Frank was in the Marine Corp in Adak Alaska , and he raiseed the Caribou .There was an artical in the Marine Corp Gazette and another magzine in the 60’s with his picture and about his time spent in Adak. His time in Adak was in 1959 he has very interesting story about Adak and his time with the Caribou. If you would ever like to contact him, do so through this email address…Thank You.

    • Tim March 7, 2013 # | Reply

      We would love to hear more about Frank’s time on Adak and his raising of the caribou. Feel free to respond here or email us at Also find us on facebook. ~Tim