So, is APICDA still offering those reindeer hunts? Indeed they are, according to APICDA's Director of Tourism George Weaver. He says the reindeer herd on Umnak has now swelled to 5,000 animals, and they would like to cut those numbers back. The hunts involve using ATVs or a 32-foot twin diesel cabin cruiser to get in the general area of the reindeer. The reindeer here are transient, moving to different areas of the 70 x 20-mile island, so the guides scout their location and set up camp before clients arrive. Hunting is by foot across a treeless, hilly landscape. Hunters should be prepared to shoot out to 300 yards. The guides are local hunters.
Reindeer hunts can be scheduled from August through September. Weather in August is consistent, but antlers are still in velvet. Later in September, the antlers have hardened up, but the weather is more iffy, not just for the hunting but for travel out to Umnak. Weaver can arrange seven-day packages for groups of four or more hunters at $3,500 each. He will also customize trips for smaller groups.
Getting to Nikolski involves flying from Anchorage, Alaska, to Dutch Harbor. From Dutch Harbor you have the option of taking an air taxi or the provided marine transportation to Nikolski. As previously mentioned, weather in the Aleutians can be unpredictable, and delays are common, so plan your schedule accordingly. Also, bring........(continued)