To become a fully-fledged registered hunting guide-outfitter in Alaska requires years of preparation and skill, so if you are interested in learning how to become a hunting guide in Alaska, we've detailed your path to success in a challenging career. Alaska is a rugged land which draws equally rugged individuals. If you are drawn to all that Alaska has to offer and you have great perseverance, you are likely to have what it takes to become an Alaskan hunting guide.
Qualifications and equipment:
- 21 years of age or greater
- Alaska hunting license and big game tags
- ability to take on high levels of responsibility
- experience handling firearms, judging trophies, field preparation of meat and trophies, and photography, among others
- high quality customer service
- successful qualification and certification exam scores
- hunting gear
- first-aid certification
- a minimum of five years big game hunting experience in Alaska
- a police record with no disqualifying charges
- training from an approved guide school or 25 years as an assistant guide or class-A assistant guide
- eight positive recommendations from big game hunters including two from each of three consecutive years you worked as an assistant guide or class-A assistant guide
- Take a deep breath. There are a lot of entrance barriers to becoming a hunting guide in Alaska, but if you love to hunt and you're ready for a challenge, this might be the right career for you.
- Hunt big game in Alaska. You've got to know if you like hunting Alaska's game and landscape. You'll also need this experience to qualify as an assistant hunting guide in Alaska.
- Become an assistant hunting guide. Everybody has to cut their teeth somewhere. Becoming an assistant guide is the first step to becoming a hunting guide in Alaska. You can start at age 18 as long as you've got two years big game hunting experience in Alaska, a first aid card and either the recommendation from a registered guide-outfitter or graduation from an approved guide school. We recommend the guide school, otherwise you are looking at 25 years working as an assistant before becoming eligible for registered guide-outfitter status in Alaska, and you can get your second year of hunting experience in Alaska to qualify for the assistant guide position.
- Become a great assistant. Becoming a hunting guide in Alaska has as much to do with helping your customers and boss create a great experience in the outdoors as it does with bringing home a trophy. If your customer gets the biggest caribou, elk, moose, or grizzly bear in Alaska, but never wants to come back you're likely to lose your chance to become a fully-fledged hunting guide in Alaska.
- Work for three years as an assistant. Three years will help you meet the five years of big game hunting (remember, you've got two years of big game hunting experience to become an assistant) and the three years of assisting required to become a fully registered hunting guide-outfitter.
- Study, study, study. Passing the exam to become a registered hunting guide-outfitter is a must. You'll be able to increase your quality as a guide if you're continually reviewing and refining your knowledge.
- Make friends. Your customers and colleagues are the people that can make or break your career as a hunting guide in Alaska. You need at least eight people that will give you high marks across multiple years to qualify for certification. Develop your character and stay consistent.
- Use the proper forms. Like with any state licensing, you will need to follow the appropriate process in getting your certification.
Alaska wants to make sure that its guides can hold up to the rugged environment and high standards it expects of hunters. If you are the rugged individualist who is willing to cut your teeth working with and learning from the experts, you can become a hunting guide in Alaska.