• The forum is now running on the Xenforo platform. The first time you log in here, you may have to reset your password by doing a password recovery. Your login info will be sent to the email you have listed on your account; please check your spam or junk folders if you don't see it in your inbox. If that address is invalid, obviously you won't get the email: In that case, use the contact form or the envelope icon at the top right of the header to send us your member name and a current valid email address.




DIY Caribou bowhunting

Zbearclaw

Well-known member
My old man and I are looking at 09 as a good year to do a DIY bowhunt for caribou, I have read a lot about hunting the Haul Road however once extra fuel, vehicles, gear and such are figured it may be cheaper, and better for a drop camp via fly in charter. Has anyone done both, or what are your experiences researching both, I realize the fly in largely depends on the charter servies's knowledge of the herd and gets you ahead of them, which is one reason I really like the idea of loading up some 4x4's with OUR gear and getting after em', leaving the problems and solutions in my hands.

Any input? My "old man" isn't really that old, mid fifties, and gets around pretty good so I am not concerned about that aspect, mainly the logistics and costs, though I would rather do it myself if it gets to the point where it costs what a "fully guided drop you into the bou" hunt costs that is overboard, and doesn't make financial sense.

thanks guys,
 

Lost_By_Choice

Well-known member
OK, my disclaimer right off the bat is, I haven't hunted the haul road myself, but I have plenty of friends who have. I am by no means an expert, but I do know a few things that you might want to know. If you hunt the Haul road, you have to hike back 5 miles just to get to the hunting area, it is by no means a easy hike. You would think if you hiked back 5 miles knowing you will have to pack out a 500 lb animal if you get one, that you would be by yourself back there, you won't. In Alaska, most people who live here are into some sort of outdoor activity, especially hunting and fishing, so places tend to get crowded if it is easy access or a well known area(and yes a 5 mile hike is considered easy).

Now, when it comes to drop off hunts, their is actually 2 types of hunts. The first one, and the one I think you were thinking of is the expensive one. Basically, you call up a charter service and say you want to be dropped of in an area with some good caribou hunting. This is the way you will spend a few grand. Although the flight is included, you are mostly paying for the pilot's knowledge of the area and being put on a good hunting area. It is a really good way to go, not nearly as expensive as a guided hunt, but still expensive.

Their is another way though, do the research, figure out a place on your own, and tell the charter service where you want to be dropped off. This way, you pay an hourly rate which usually falls in-between #350-$500 an hour. Hopefully this helps, any more questions, just let me know.



Ryan
 

SDHNTR

Well-known member
Your old man is a bad ass, are you kidding? It was great watching him whip his little punk kid all up and down them Tejon hills.

Do the research on this, then tell me where to show up and when.
 

Zbearclaw

Well-known member
He impressed me, the previous trip there he sang like a school girl on those hills, second time he knew what he was getting into, his glassing was more impressive than anything, in the snow the last time he had a hard time finding them, but in Feb he could find a tail wagging a mile away, he gets the first crack at them this year, I may try to video him as well, we shall see.

I am also probably dragging him to OR next fall for Roseys, but the following year is Caribou and Lope.

You are better at research than I am, you look at any drop camp stuff and we will talk about shortly.
 

sagebrush

Well-known member
I looked into the Haul Rd hunt. The thing that put me off was the time required to drive up and back, and the possibility of equipment failures. You can lose days trying to overcome problems once on the road. You can hunt right off the road with a bow. The five mile restriction is for firearms only. My research says you will have lot's of company.

As far as using an air taxi to fly your equipment in, it's very expensive and a logisistical nightmare to package and palletize your equipment, get it shipped up in time for your hunt, arranging to have it warehoused until you arrive and getting it to your air taxi when you are ready to leave, and then doing the same to get it all back home. In my opinion, it's less hassle to just rent your camp equipment from a local service and know it will be there when you are and it ends up costing about the same or even a little less. This does limit you to bush flights orgininating from communities where such a service exists, but there are several.

You're right on schedule for planning a hunt in '09. You want to have all your decisions made and services booked by this summer. I started looking into our hunt two years before we went and really got serious about the planning 18 months out. I'm sure it goes without saying, but an Alaskan bush hunt requires a lot more planning than a hunt in the lower 48. There is no running to the store once your plane leaves the airport or when you're 300 miles up the Haul Rd.
 

bou-hunter

Well-known member
We've been on a lot of outfitted bou hunts in Canada, haven't done Alaska yet. But I agree with Sagebrush, it sounds like with the fly-in drop hunts it's a lot easier to let the flying outfit "rent" you the tent, gear, etc rather than haul it up there yourself. It will be enough getting home with your regular hunting gear, weapons, meat, capes and antlers without also dragging along a bunch of camping gear.
 

Wild1

Well-known member
Here's another option worth looking into: Larry Barlett of Pristine Ventures (www.pristineventures.com) puts together a "consulting package" for DIY hunters in Alaska. He has an outstanding reputation for reliable service and priceless information for hunts. It'll cost you each about $500.00 for his consulting, but by all accounts, it's well worth it. I've never hired him and his service but I am looking into it - he always returns e-mails and is very professional.
 

waldo2382

Well-known member
that sounds about right that alien non residents hunting canada would need a guide, but not sure, never hunted there. There are plenty of transporters up here in Alaska that will take you to caribou. You can google more than you'll know what to do with. Right now the Mulchanta herd and the rest of the Caribou on the Alaska Peninsula (unit 9) are rather low from what I heard with not very many big quality bulls taken. Up near Kotzebue seems to be the place to go you can rent stuff from Walt, and I've heard plenty of good things about him http://www.northwestalaska.com/index.html for a reasonable price for renting stuff. Of course that is just to rent a raft and camping supplies and there there is the transporter and prices will vary. Walt posts this:

How much does air taxis cost?
Kotzebue has a number of experienced backcountry air taxis, with costs ranging from
$350 to $450 per hour, depending on aircraft size. The region boasts many
outstanding rivers within 1-2 hours flying time from Kotzebue. Call us for our
recommendations on optimum local options

Then again you can hunt the haul road. You must have the IBEP certification and you can rent a truck. I would suggest to not just be looking out the window of the truck the entire time, but get out and about. Hike a few miles, if you can in hip boots or waders. It is also a long road to hunt. You'll probably be near Prudoe Bay if the animals are around. It can be a circus along the road too since it is easy access and probably the cheapest way to go. Plenty of options for you.

My suggestion is to do a float out of Kotzebue or if you don't feel like paddling a river do a drop hunt by one of the many transporters. You get what you pay for with them. Remember to also look at how much weight you'll be allowed to carry. Some will only let you bring 50 lbs plus rifle or bow and others will allow you to bring 250 lbs total. When you float you can hunt an area for a day or two if if you don't see any animal you can move on down stream, but when you're dropped off at a camp, you pretty much have a 5 mile radius to hunt for however long you're out there, probably 7 days or so.
Anyway, good luck. I'll be an adventure with whatever you choose.
 

Shay Mann

Well-known member
My thoughts on the HAUL Road. I hunted it back in 2004. Luckily I had a good friend who lived in Wasilla, so we used his truck. It is a great bow hunt, especially if you bring a little zodiak to cross the Sag. River. But I will say, that it is the most miserable hiking around. Walking on muskeg, I compare it to walking on a waterbed. We bow hunted it, so we didn't have to worry about walking the 5 miles out. But we did end up going out about 2, and it took hours to get out there.

But we had a GREAT time.

Here are some of the photos from our trip.
[attachment=47678:shay_caribou.jpg]
 

Attachments

Zbearclaw

Well-known member
Shay, where are you considering floating from/to? A AK float trip was something I had saved for a few years ago, but consecutive deployments killed that and then came marriage, but I was going guided for moose and bou, but a DIY float is something I hadn't thought about, back to the drawing board.

I will check out the options out of kotzbue, thanks again uys
 

BOWUNTR

Well-known member
Great post and info, thanks for sharing the pics too. I've been planning the same trip for about a year now. I did a drop camp on the Mulchatna herd years ago and am ready to go back. I've looked into the Hual road and talked to quite a few people , including Shay. I am steering towards a float trip, which I have never been on. It seems like the North Artic herd is the most popular right now and Kotzebue is booming because of it. This scares me a little because like when the Mulchatna was booming, quality of service from most of these operations goes down. Do as much research as you can and nothing is more important than talking to people you trust that have done what you are wanting to do. Here is some info that will help. Good luck Zeke, keep in touch with what you find. Ed F


Alaska hunting forum

HuntAlaskaCaribou

Northwest Alaska rentals

alaskafloathunting
 

Shay Mann

Well-known member
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (bearclaw @ Dec 12 2007, 11:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Shay, where are you considering floating from/to? A AK float trip was something I had saved for a few years ago, but consecutive deployments killed that and then came marriage, but I was going guided for moose and bou, but a DIY float is something I hadn't thought about, back to the drawing board.

I will check out the options out of kotzbue, thanks again uys[/b]
Damn marriage will get ya everytime !
I'm not sure where I would go for a float. I would have to do alot of research. I wouldn't do a guided float trip. I would hire a pilot to fly me for a day or two to look over country, and look for a landing spot. And then organize a drop off, and pickup. It will be awhile before I head back up for Caribou.
 

Widux

Well-known member
I lived in AK- 74- 98--hunted Boo many places- some fly in-some road hunts-Denali Hwy-some in walk in areas- some by horse back-and off the haul road in fall and winter with bow and gun- best trips were when we took horses north of Atigun Pass and rode in 7-8 miles and camped. Some trips there were so many boo you could ride among them and take your pick- other times nada of course- but in a day or two they showed up if you knew where they were. Oher times i took friends from MT across Arctic Circle to small village and we hired a transporter to take us up River. Super fishing hunting etc.
Those guys had hired a transport service the year before to hunt the Mulchatna herd when it was at it's peak- never saw nada- gotta be careful who you hire and where you go when. Options have changed lately and so have migrations- still a great place to hunt but planning is super important.
 

Zbearclaw

Well-known member
Currently reading Hunt Alaska Now, good read, loads of info.

Anyone know anyone that has combo'd moose and bou? So far looks like it is either or unless you hunt fringe areas and even then it's just ok at best.
 

waldo2382

Well-known member
That's what I hear as well, however is has been done more than once. Many of the transporters can move you to another area to concentrate on the other critters, but thats adding more money if you can swing it on your budget. It will still be plenty cheaper than having a guide take two people out for a combo hunt for moose, caribou and perhaps black bear depending on where you're at. Also remember the what will happen if both of you score on a moose and a caribou at meat processing and shipping costs. I big bull moose could have much more than 600 pounds of meat. So just factor that into the logistics. If you can swing it, great. Pulling the trigger is the easy part after that the work really begins. If you head up towards Kotzebue, I think it will be more focused on the caribou and there is a drawing for moose up there. So it would be a caribou hunt with the added bonus of a moose. Or you can go down towards Dillingham and that would be a moose hunt with an added bonus of a caribou. I'm sure you could get a caribou there too, but like I said earlier the Mulchanta herd is down in numbers right now with only a few big bulls coming out. Lots of choices up here. Try not to be too overwhelmed, you'll have a great time regardless.
 


Top Bottom