Joe Klutsch – Alaska Master Hunting Guide
I was born and raised in the small town of Wheatridge, Colorado, where I grew up hunting, fishing, playing sports, and doing other outdoor activities. I first came to Alaska, from Colorado, back in 1972 with my wife Carol. I initially worked construction on pipeline housing. I was drawn to Alaska because many of the places in Colorado I grew up hunting and fishing were being developed and I wanted to escape the influx of people that was happening at that time. Within a couple of years of coming to Alaska, we had relocated from Palmer to King Salmon, where I had accepted a job as a packer for a guide out there. I quickly became an assistant guide and began working my way up. I quickly began working for other outfitters as well and earned my assistant guide license in short order.
Guiding was a perfect fit: After all, I came to Alaska out of my love for the outdoors. My guiding schedule quickly filled up and I began to hunt and fish guiding full time, starting with Dall sheep in the Wrangle Mountains in August, moose on the Alaska Peninsula in September, followed by Brown Bear and caribou, and then onto Kodiak for brown bear and Sitka blacktail deer. For many years, I would spend winters in my hunt area on the Alaska Peninsula, living in a small cabin, trapping wolves, beaver, fox, otter, and wolverine. In those days fur prices were very high, It was a difficult but rewarding way to earn a living, in addition to my hunting and sport fish guiding.
I founded my business, Katmai Guide Service in 1976, starting out taking fishermen on the Naknek River, and, after earning my Registered Guide license, gradually earned several guide areas of my on the Alaska Peninsula in 1982, as my mentors that I worked for retired. Eventually, I acquired an area on Kodiak Island as well in 2007. In 1995 I became a Master Guide. Over the years I have earned several awards, including the Safari Club International Outstanding North American Professional Hunter in 1996, the Dallas Safari Club Outstanding International Professional Hunters Award in 1998, Wild Sheep Foundation Frank Golata Outstanding Outfitter Award in 2000, and was honored to receive the Alaska Professional Hunters Association’s Simon-Waugh Award in 2017. In addition, I had the honor of serving as the president of the Alaska Professional Hunters Association for many years.
My son, Joey began joining me at camp at a very young age. As soon as he was old enough began packing and finally earned his assistant guide license. He is a Registered Guide now with a business of his own and he still works with me to this day. It is truly a family business. Guiding is all we do.
What distinguishes me, my wife Carol, and my son Joey is that we are year-round residents of the Bristol Bay region for over 40 years. We do not base our operations out of state or claim residency only to spend most of the year elsewhere. We really live here, understand and care about the resource, and want to see it preserved for future generations. I truly enjoy the opportunity for every future season as does my son. It is my goal to give you the best experience possible and teach you about our amazing area and way of life.