True Wilderness Hunting at its Best!
Joe Klutsch dba/Katmai Guide Service and his son Joey Klutsch conducts operations on lands managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Becharof National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, and Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge and the National Park Service Aniakchak National Park Preserve. These lands were designated as such by the U.S. Congress in 1980 as a part of the Alaska National Interests Lands Act. They are truly special areas exhibiting true wilderness characteristics that now exist in few other areas of the world. You should consider it a privilege to engage in Fair Chase Hunting, wildlife viewing and fishing in these areas. Because these are sole guide use areas, Joe Klutsch is the only one permitted to guide hunters in these areas.
Purposes for which these National Wildlife Refuges were established are as follows:
1.to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats their natural diversity including, but no limited to Brown Bears, the Alaska Peninsula Caribou herd, Moose, Sea Otters and other marine mammals, shorebirds and other migratory birds, raptors, including Bald Eagles and Peregrine falcons, and salmonoids and other fish.
2.to fulfill international treaty obligations of the United States with respect to fish and wildlife and their habitats.
3.to provide, in a manner consistent with the purposes set forth in the act and to provide the opportunity for continued subsistence uses by local residents; and
4.to insure, to the maximum extent practicable and in a manner set forth in the act, water quality and necessary water quantity within the refuge.
The significance and purpose for which Aniakchak National Park Preserve was established is as follows:
As a unit of the National Park system, Aniakchak is to be managed “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means that will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations” (NPS organic act of 1916). Aniakchak National Monument was established by presidential proclamation in 1978. The Alaska Lands Act of 1980 designated the area as Aniakchak National Monument and preserve to maintain the Aniakchak caldera and its associated features and landscape, including the Aniakchak River and other lakes and streams, in their natural state; to study, interpret, and assure continuation of the natural process of biological succession; to protect habitat for, and populations of, fish and wildlife, including, but not limited to, Brown Bears, Moose, Caribou, Sea Lions, Seals and other marine mammals, geese, swans, and other waterfowl and in a manner consistent with the foregoing, to interpret geological and biological processes for visitors. Subsistence uses by local residents shall be permitted in the monument where such uses are traditional.
The Aniakchak National Wild River was also established by the Alaska Lands Act in 1980. Although this description is crafted in more formal Congressional language, read it carefully. It is my responsibility and that of my staff to help you understand the unique significances of both National Park managed areas and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service managed National Wildlife Refuge areas.
You will be made aware of which land designation you are hunting in at the time of booking or when the logistical decision is made prior to you deployment to camp.
Interaction with Wildlife
Whether on National Wildlife Refuge or National Park Preserve, we are always sensitive to wildlife and avoiding close and unnecessary encounters excepting those we are stalking for the purpose of hunting. Wherever or whenever we encounter any wildlife we are not intentionally hunting, WE GIVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. It is best for them and for us that they never know we are there. Safety is a first consideration, avoiding habituation of animals which ultimately leads to wild animal – human problems and respect for the natural order of things dictate this. I recommend that you read BEAR SAFETY.
Protection of Habitat and Natural Environment
We practice a LEAVE NO TRACE approach to all our activities while in the National Preserve or Wildlife Refuge. This means eliminating or minimizing impacts on plant life, water resources and historic or cultural resources. For example, all trash and waste paper is removed from these lands during and following our hunting trips. No gum wrappers, match sticks, cigarette butts, toilet paper etc is left or buried in the field. All waste water is dispersed at least 200 feet from any water source. Human waste is buried at least the same distance from a water source and according to the oral instructions you will be given in camp. You will be hunting in a truly pristine and dynamic ecosystem. Every day in this country you will experience and learn something new. Take time to read the LEAVE NO TRACE web site.
The Cultural Environment
Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula, specifically the areas of Becharof, Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak National Wildlife Refuges as well as Aniakchak National Preserve where we operate have a rich cultural history going back thousands of years. I personally devoted years of study to this subject from the earliest pre-history over ten thousand years ago through the contact period (Russian exploration and colonization) to the present. It is a fascinating story. I keep a very respectable library of books on hand in my main camp and will be happy to provide you with a bibliography on this subject as well as the physical geography, fauna, flora, and history of hunting in these areas. At least you will have to sit through some of my daily discussions and lectures on these subjects. It adds meaning to your hunt. People living in the villages of the Alaska Peninsula have a historical and direct reliance on the plant and wildlife resources of the area. Read PROMISES TO KEEP; Subsistence in Alaska’s National Parks.
Regarding cultural or anthropological sites, my guides and I will occasionally point out land features or other evidence of human activity which you would probably otherwise never notice. We can discuss and observe their significance but rummaging, digging or collecting of items is strictly forbidden and enforced.
Wilderness Hunting and Your Safety
Outdoor activities, especially those conducted in wilderness settings, can be dangerous unless your are adequately prepared mentally, physically, properly oriented and trained in the basic procedures of conduct while hunting. My staff and I are all formally trained in CPR and Fist Aid as well as wilderness survival and emergency preparedness and response procedures. You will be given specific briefings on camping and backcountry travel safety, aircraft safety procedures, avoiding conflicts with wildlife, and our communications procedures. You are required to let us know if you have any special dietary needs, physical ailments or conditions that might impair your ability to go hunting in this environment. Your safety and ours is a primary concern to us. Good planning and preparation prevent problems.
We are responsible as your guides to make sure that you are properly licensed and briefed on all regulatory conditions related to your hunt including tagging, sealing and reporting requirements, proper handling of meat, antlers and capes, and requirements of true fair chase hunting.
You will also be briefed on specific U.S. Fish & Wildlife and National Park Service regulations related to camping, habitat and wildlife protection. Your time spent in these great wilderness areas is insured because those who came before you followed what is really a very simple set of rules.
Hunting conditions and methods may vary greatly from what you are used to. Please recognize that your guide is a professional and has accumulated experience hunting your species on the Alaska Peninsula.
The Guide and Hunter are a TEAM and function best in that capacity.