Alaska and Knees

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by werth338, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. werth338

    werth338 Well-Known Member

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    I am considering a few different hunts in Alaska at the moment. I have never hunted Alaska and am looking for some feedback.

    I know it is a physical hunt which isn’t a concern. The concern for me has to do with ability of knees to hold up. I have had 3 major knee surgeries a somewhat minor one and sublexed a knee as well. The major surgeries were due to tearing both ACLs and a broken knee cap which was screwed back together.

    I have hunted and am active outdoors but would think Alaska would be taking it to another level. I have hunted with an individual who was a guide in Alaska and he said the knee issues could pose a problem but also read of people 20 years older than me that make the hunt work. For those that have hunted there, how big of a concern should I have with regards to knees holding up for a backpack hunt there?
     
  2. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Are you having any issues with them holding up on pack hunts in the Rockies or other places with steep climbs and lots of elevation changes?
     
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  3. dennisinaz

    dennisinaz Well-Known Member

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    Alaska has a lot of different country. Completely depends on what you have in mind. I did a hunt on Kodiak in Oct 2017 that was extremely painful to my right knee. I had surgery on it shortly after arriving home. Most moose hunting and caribou certainly are not particularly tough on knees. Packing meat won't be fun. If you are sheep or goat hunting, that could be different. There is nothing magical about walking in Alaska. If you can handle steep mountains in the lower 48 you can handle them there. The tundra is the only thing that is really different.
     
  4. KyCarl

    KyCarl Well-Known Member

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    Bad knees are the very reason I don't even consider those exotic hunts.
    W.V. wears mine out and the pain really impacts my fun?
     
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  5. werth338

    werth338 Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t had any issues in the lower 48. Pack weight and distance haven’t been on the magnitude of Alaska. One of the hunts I was looking at was a goat hunt on Kodiak. A sheep is most likely not in the cards.
     
  6. just country

    just country Well-Known Member

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    morning, knee surgeries r not forgiving. depending on the
    severity, and time of recoup the pain and expense of other
    may be needed surgeries could make the hunts
    a determent to ur health and wallet. I had 3 knee surgeries. 1
    twice on the same knee. I have not fully recovered. its
    been 3 years. this depends on ur age and tolerance of daily pain.
    justme gbot tum
     
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  7. Iceking02

    Iceking02 Member

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    Werth338,

    If you have enough concern about the stability of your knees holding up to a goat hunt on wet, slippery terrain in an unforgiving part Alaska then you already have your answer... We can compare tough country, time of the year, lucky breaks in the weather, fitness, fatness, gear selections, knee braces, medications and past surgical history. If your mind is not resolved to make your body find a way to succeed when you are cold, wet, worn out, hungry, hurt and miserable then you will have a tough time on Kodiak. I might suggest that you consider a bear, deer, moose, or caribou hunt. Still hard. Less likely to injure you.

    Alaska is a place NOT to be missed! Just don't make it your last hunt. Good luck on your adventures to the Greatland!

    IceKing02
     
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  8. imyourhuckleberry

    imyourhuckleberry Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend that you do some rucking. That is walking with a ruck sack on your back. Start light about 40 pounds and do about a two mile distance. If you have access to a football field walk up and down the bleachers. If you have access to back country even better if you have hills. After about a week of this increase by 10 pounds until you work yourself up to 100+ pounds on your rucksack. If you are able to do this without issues, than increase the distance you walk. Your body will let you know if you can handle the type of hunt you want in Alaska. Slow and steady will require a lot of patience from you as well as discipline to be smart about working yourself up to a physically fit condition that will not injure you further in your knees.
     
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  9. werth338

    werth338 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the insights on this. Hard part of living in Houston is minimal terrain change to train on so bleachers are the default.
     
  10. alcesgigas

    alcesgigas Well-Known Member

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    You can do it. And have a fantastic experience.

    I live here in Arctic Alaska and I depend on moose for my meat, sometimes caribou wend their way to my trapline. In 2013 my right knee buckled as I attempted to shoot cranes. Didn't get a one. I was 67 then and by Falltime (buckling occurred in May) that knee went out several times and they were getting more frequent. No road here so I had to fly out--twice--and get it fixed. I was, and am, very lucky; after the third repair I walked out of FMH unassisted. There's more to the story, but I'll spare all. Moose and caribou are mostly easy and habit relatively flat ground most of the year; both die quickly and well. That is if the shooter knows he or she can access the animal for extraction. If you're with a guide that person will take care of the meat, or should. If you're DIY and it's caribou it's cake compared to moose. For with alcesgigas it's ALL labor before the echoing of the shot is gone. And this is where your knees will be tested to the extreme. You'll be on them--don't even think about sitting on you heels as I have all my life--and you'll be getting up and down countless times. So, good knee pads and knee braces (make sure to do both knees) allow me to continue hunting moose.

    Don't walk the tundra. Good or bad knees the walker hurts and all over. Envision Your back yard filled with those high buckets (roe cans) filled with water and no two spaced alike. Did I mention this to be done just after a freezing rain? And that the buckets should all be different--in height and width? Then add some of the slickest mud under the thin ice that's more like--and sometimes is--quicksand. It looks so easy from the air... That's regular tundra; mountain tundra is far easier to traverse, but then you gotta get there.

    All the advice I read in this post is sound; the preparation "will do you good" no matter where you hunt. Do not miss hunting here; first views will take your breath away temporarily. Just don't let it take your knees permanently.
     
  11. 26Reload

    26Reload Well-Known Member

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    If you want to get a truer idea of your knees and the rest of your body...do what Walter Payton did to survive in the NFL for all those seasons....he had a hill behind his house that he ran up and down for years...basically wore that mountain out.....but that was Walter....the BEST running back the game ever had...
     
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  12. Heavyiron

    Heavyiron Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Few years ago i would have considered a hunt, but after having knee surgery thought i had recovered. About 2 weeks later starting having a burning sensation where surgery was done. Going to have total knee replacement now.
    Not at 64 no way
     
  13. dennisinaz

    dennisinaz Well-Known Member

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    I am ready to hit the mountains hard. I do agree, however, that an icy mountain on a goat hunt will surely test the knee more than about anything else. There are a lot of goat hunts that can be done largely from boats. You need a guide anyway since you're a non-resident. Only thing with bleachers is that they don't turn your feet up the same as a real hill. You're going to have to make some day trips to do some hiking and see what you're capable of.
     
  14. dougduey

    dougduey Well-Known Member

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    I just returned last weekend from a mountain goat hunt on Kodiak Island. It was the most physically and mentally demanding thing I have ever done. I have no knee issues, but you need to be prepared for lots of steep uphill climbs, steep downhill descents and lots of difficult side hill traversing. The trails are very treacherous in spots and you have to pay attention and make sure every step you take is stable. It's hard to be that focused when you're tired. The hike in took 7 hours, and almost 6 on the way out. We hiked in during a heavy rain storm with high winds. It sucked from the minute we hit the trail. I think the downhill descents were the roughest on my legs and knees. Honestly, I'm still recovering from the trip. I'm not hurting anymore, but my body still doesn't feel totally right. That being said, me and my buddy both got great goats. I'm glad I did it, proud this 52 year old guy survived it, and knocked it off my bucket list. Our guides also said sheep hunting is actually a bit easier than goat hunting.
    My biggest question for you is what do you do if your knees fail when you're halfway there? Something to consider. Plan for the worse, and hope for the best.

    Good luck
    Doug
     
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