Kodiak, it turns out, is a great place to live if you are a sportsman.
On Tuesday, Outdoor Life magazine released its list of the 200 best cities in the nation to live as a sportsman, with Kodiak at No. 4 and Old Harbor in the top 100.
The city rankings are contained in the magazine’s May issue. Outdoor Life has a paid circulation of 750,000 readers, according to its website.
Kodiak’s top spot was earned by having a multitude of nearby species to hunt and fish, as well as large game species with trophy potential. Kodiak was also judged on ready access to public lands and how gun-friendly the city is.
But the list also takes into consideration community dynamics that contribute to quality of life. The magazine gave extra weight this year to unemployment numbers, household income and the cost of living.
For sportsmen here in Kodiak, it’s no secret that they live in a mecca for outdoor activities.
“It doesn’t surprise me that it’s No. 4,” said Dustin Egdorf, a board member for the Kodiak Island Sportsman’s Association.
Egdorf said the reason he has chosen to live in Kodiak is the abundant hunting and fishing opportunities for his family.
He listed the wide variety of water fowl available here, as well as fox, rabbit, the Sitka black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk that live on Afognak and Raspberry islands.
But the most significant species by far is the world-renowned Kodiak bear, master guide Dick Rohrer said.
“There are sportsmen that have collected brown bears other places, but they still want a Kodiak bear experience, “ Rohrer said.
A special part of that experience is the fair chase methods used on Kodiak Island, with no use of airplanes to spot bears, Rohrer said.
He also noted the increasing interest in mountain goat hunting with the increase of the goat population, which has spread out to cover the island.
Kodiak, of course, has close access to world-class fishing and an ocean full of varieties to catch.
“Pretty much everything that is available in Alaska is right here,” said Ken Newman, board member for the Kodiak Association of Charterboat Operators.
Newman said the Kodiak charter fleet is more personal to sportsmen than others he has encountered around the world.
Charter boat operators have also made a conscious effort to sell Kodiak before selling themselves, Newman said.
“We’re working to sell the whole package here,” he said.
So which places in the country compare to the outdoor opportunity enjoyed in Kodiak? Outdoor Life lists Bend, Ore., as the top place to live as a sportsman, followed by Pindale Wyo., and Rapid City, S.D.
Other Alaska communities making the list include Coopers Landing at No. 6 and nearby Kenai at No. 29. Fairbanks makes the list in the top 50.
Kodiak was listed as No. 26 in the nation in Outdoor Life’s list of best cities for a sportsman last year.
Mirror writer Wes Hanna can be reached via email at email@example.com.