Donald Trump Jr. and his son will be embarking on a weeklong hunt for Sitka black-tailed deer and ducks in Southeast Alaska — and a spot to join them was auctioned off to the highest bidder.
For one Juneau-based guide, it’s a way to teach his guests about the importance of the Tongass National Forest at a crucial time.
Keegan McCarthy owns Coastal Alaska Adventures, a business that guides visitors on yacht-based hunts.
He’s also developing a new program that will help kids learn the subsistence values he grew up with. A big part of that revolves around Sitka black-tailed deer.
“That’s what my family subsided on,” he said. “Growing up in Juneau, all we ate was Sitka black-tailed deer, and still do to this day. That’s what my family eats. So (I am) sharing that message and the importance of that resource with the young hunters.”
McCarthy is well-connected in the guided hunt scene. In fact, he spoke on a cell phone where he was attending the Safari Club International convention in Reno, Nevada.
McCarthy auctioned off the Alaska hunt there and online. It’ll help fund his new youth program.
And he tapped a famous acquaintance to come along: Donald Trump Jr.
“As a hunter, I do personally believe that his morals and ethics are excellent in the hunting world,” McCarthy said.
Trump has been criticized by the Humane Society for his hunting practices. Photos of him posing next to a dead elephant in 2012 caused a stir among animal rights groups.
But McCarthy stresses Trump is conservation-minded. And the deer on this hunt aren’t being shot for just trophies. The meat will be served on board the yacht, taken home or donated.
“You know, like farm-to-table type concepts,” McCarthy said. “We stress the importance of how we eat what we harvest.”
But McCarthy has another thing he wants to teach Donald Trump Jr. and his guests about a subsistence lifestyle in Southeast Alaska: He thinks it’s largely dependent on protecting habitat in the Tongass National Forest.
McCarthy is outspoken in his opposition to changes to the Roadless Rule in the Tongass, which could increase logging. The Trump administration has been pushing for that.
But McCarthy said it’s not a secret that he would like to see an end to massive timber sales in the national forest. He’s spoken to Trump about it before, and that conversation will continue when he visits in November.
“Hopefully, if anything, we can bend a sympathetic ear towards getting somebody potentially as influential as he is out there to really see what we’re doing,” McCarthy said. “And see how important the Tongass National Forest is. So I do think this can be beneficial if done right.”
The auction closed on Saturday — the final day of the Safari Club International convention. It sold for $150,000.