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Thread: Best bet for caribou these days?

  1. #1

    Question Best bet for caribou these days?

    I haven't done a caribou hunt for several years and noticed where I previously hunted is now closed. I know the Mulchatna herd has crashed and was wondering what area would be best for a non-resident hunter these days? I was wondering if some of the drawing tags would be worth putting in for or a general region where a herd is growing or atleast stable? There was a lot of negative talk about the Kotzebue area a while back and I am just not sure where to look. I think I would like to a drop or float hunt somewhere and was just looking for some advice on what the best units would be these days. Any information on herd status would be great as well.

    Thanks in advance,
    Greg

  2. #2
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Go north off the Haul Road, or northwest out of Kots.
    (Archives are full of samO questions, sameO answers.)

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I've been recommending Bettles. Comm flights to there and then a charter with the 2 or 3 outfits working out of there. You'll have to fly in to unit 26 to get in decent hunting.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Member LungShot's Avatar
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    Brooks Range, Central Arctic herd.

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    Thanks Guys, thats what I suspected. Anyone have a favorite transporter up that way?

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    Whats wrong with Kotz?

    WACH has 375,000 walking Meats, and you dont actually hunt IN Kotzebue ~~LOL!!~~
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Fav transporter is Mike McCrary, 70North LLC / SeventyNorth...907 659-2544, flying out of Happy Valley or Deadhorse, both on the Haul Road.
    Note that Happy Valley is about a 16 hour drive from Anchorage.
    Happy hunting.

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    Member northernalberta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
    Fav transporter is Mike McCrary, 70North LLC / SeventyNorth...907 659-2544, flying out of Happy Valley or Deadhorse, both on the Haul Road.
    Note that Happy Valley is about a 16 hour drive from Anchorage.
    Happy hunting.
    Any idea on his rates? I didn't see any info on their website...

  9. #9
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Northernalberta,
    I really do not remember his hourly rate. But I have referred other "shoppers" to 70North/Mike McCrary and they agreed that he was a little less expensive, straight-forward with info, with less "smiley sales ash and trash" talk than the others transporters.

    Seriously, all transporters are expensive. Airplanes cost 100K to 1 million. Insurance, even for those with a spotless safety record, is sky high. Fuel cost are ever increasing. To park a cub in Anchorage cost 5K per year. To build a metal shed/hanger anywhere big enough for two Beavers cost 200K. The cost of recreation, for all of us, is seriously high.

    But today, Friday, July 15th, the sun is shining, one of my rafts is loaded on the trailer and ready to head south for the weekend after work!
    Life Is Good.

    dennis

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Some info on 70 North rates

    70 North charges by the hour and most hunters are getting by for between $1,300 and $1,700 per person depends a little on where the caribou are and how many in the "group" and of course how many caribou you stack up. But it's averaging out at about 1300-1700 hundred per person.

    The airplanes at 70 N are set up essentially for two people and gear or about 600#s total per flight.


    So, 3 guys are not as economical as 4 hunters or 2 hunters.

    I did speak with the owner and there are NO OPENINGS this year at 70 North for anytime between Aug 1 and Sept 10 this year. If you want dates in that time frame for next year then call between Halloween and Thanksgiving <grin>.

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    Member northernalberta's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. Yeah I know planes are expensive, especially with the commercial insurance; my inlaws run an airtaxi business and I would use them but they're in Palmer so it would be like 6 hours just to GET to the Brooks Range!

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    It may be just me, but it seems like Kotz is falling out of vogue and the Haul Road is becoming the current hot spot. Kotz has been the widely publicized destination for out-of-state hunters coming to Alaska and as such has earned a reputation for trophy hunting and wanton waste by uncaring hunters, whether deserved or not. Any place that is frequented by so many people is bound to have some who are displeased with their experience and they are the ones who are going to be most vocal on the internet. The Haul Road has been a relatively untouched commercial hunting destination and thus doesn't have the bad reputation that Kotz has developed. Most of the negative stuff about the Haul Road is about road hunters jumping each other's animals, which is not a concern for someone doing a fly out. It all seems pretty cyclical and it's just the Haul Road's turn to be the premier caribou location.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member northernalberta's Avatar
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    What about Adak Island? There's no bag limit and no closed season, so I assumed it was prohibitively expensive or logistically complicated to go hunting out there. But a friend recently pointed out to me that it's just a $599 direct flight on Alaska airlines.

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    Member cjustinm's Avatar
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    i think the prob with kotz is that i've had people tell me up here that the caribou seem to be going farther east and migrating later in the season meaning trasnporters are having to fly a lot more to get people to the animals. I heard some guys did really well up here others not at all. I know the only caribou i saw even remotely close to kotz last year was in november (within 30 miles). I also heard of people being dropped off in less than good locations and spending their trip waiting for nothing.... i guess that's hunting though.

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    Member cusackla's Avatar
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    Default Kotz

    [QUOTE=Kay9Cop;975202]It may be just me, but it seems like Kotz is falling out of vogue and the Haul Road is becoming the current hot spot.

    Let's hope so :-) It seems like Kotz has lost a few of its transporters and it is becoming harder and harder to get flown out.

    I have hunted the same river for the last 9 years and it seems to me like either the numbers are changing or the migration is changing, since the last couple of years have seem to produce fewer good bulls. I am not sure of what the hunting pressure has been around the area, but the little river I hunt is as quite as ever. I am hoping for 15 days without spotting another camp again this year. Its pretty nice to have that feeling of having the place to yourself.

    We did not shoot a single Caribou last year, but we were looking for something special. We certainly could have sunk the boat if we were simply looking for meat.

    Anyone else hunting out of Kotz notice a change?

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    Member cusackla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjustinm View Post
    i think the prob with kotz is that i've had people tell me up here that the caribou seem to be going farther east and migrating later in the season meaning trasnporters are having to fly a lot more to get people to the animals. I heard some guys did really well up here others not at all. I know the only caribou i saw even remotely close to kotz last year was in november (within 30 miles). I also heard of people being dropped off in less than good locations and spending their trip waiting for nothing.... i guess that's hunting though.
    My experience in Kotz, is that you really have to know your transporter. I would really do my research prior to spending my money

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    Ive have a front row view to alot of this........
    First , I'd say theres been no changes in the animals, but the weathers been warmer longer inthe season, and as Caribou do, they wait for cold crisp insect-less days to come down from the mountains and ridges to the Rivers, and a bit later in starting the trip in the first place. The migration doesnt kick into a hurry untill the puddles are frozen all day anyway.

    For a long while Kotz was hot 'cause fly-in fellas could get 5 Caribou each, then it was choked back to 1 as there was quite a few guys who were with too much meat and too little experience in dealing with it, the weather and getting it out in edible conditions, as well as unscrupulous pilots flying low and Herding caribou to clients as well guys intercepting lead Caribou coming down from the mountains to the river,scattering them insted of having them establishing the seasons trails South, which made hunting the later arriving Caribou being a scatter'd lot rather than a normal 'on the trail' migration.
    There is an 'etiquette' to hunting Caribou near rivers here that makes sure everyone who can does get Caribou, and with a general education campaign, its seems that all is settling down just fine.
    Maybe not a big deal to a fellow who can pay thousands to fly up and get his antlers and some meat, but local folks who depend on the meat wern't too happy and made sure it wouldn't happen again, so now all is well.

    Now its two (?) Caribou, so maybe more hunters will arrive again, and more transporters will work the Kotz ramp again....375,000 meats in the WACH to choose from.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  18. #18

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    Call Dirk and Danielle with Coyote Air in Coldfoot.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

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    Member LungShot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Romo View Post
    Call Dirk and Danielle with Coyote Air in Coldfoot.
    Dont waste your time. He's booked up by now and besides he told me last year he is only taking out repeat customers. He wants no newbie's. He's tired of people whining and blaming him because they dont know how to hunt.

  20. #20

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    I'm not a hunter but run facilities on Adak Island. I've heard the hunt is almost too easy but there are supposedly harder trophy caribou. Pricey plane ride, use miles even if you buy them.

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