Bush Planes: Access to Hunting in Alaska

You haven’t really seen Alaska unless you’ve seen it from a vintage bush plane. A classic necessity, they still play a vital role in transportation, freight, and serve as a lifeline to rural Alaskans.


Though there are more than a handful of local pilots with less-than-certified planes, the majority of licensed companies offer well-maintained planes with some of the best bush pilots in the world. One of the best places to find these air taxis is the Talkeetna airport.


As the number one support station for climbers on the Alaskan Range, Talkeetna is home to some of the most experienced pilots in the business. These air freighters spend their year bringing climbers necessary cargo, and taking tourists to any number of destinations, including Denali, where they must land on glaciers as high as 7,000 feet.


Climbers are the biggest clients during the aviation season, but there are hundreds of anglers and hunters that need safe passage to otherwise inaccessible parts of the North Susitna Valley and Talkeetna river systems. Anyone can drive and hour out of town and find great outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and climbing, but fly an hour, and see a spectacle that only a handful of adventure-seekers will ever share.

At about $350 per person, costs can really add up with these trips. To help cut it, try keeping your party to two, with lightweight gear. If the carrier only has to make one trip, and use a smaller aircraft, you can generally work out a deal. That being said, it’s probably an expensive trek if you bring a few 200 pound friends with heavy camping gear. They’ll have to take a bigger plane, and generally make a couple of trips to get everyone to your destination.


Source: Field & Stream