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Thread: Bow hunting the haul road in September?

  1. #1
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    Default Bow hunting the haul road in September?

    I'll be making four trips to AK this year, one for a blackie hunt on PWI in June with my daughter and three others for work.

    The work related trips are in May, September and December. Most of my time will be spent in Anchorage with perhaps a day or two in Juneau or Fairbanks. I'm thinking of extending my September trip to include a caribou hunt if its possible.

    Recent posts have completely cured me of thinking of hiking the 5 miles off the road...thank you very much!!

    I do bow hunt regularly in Montana, but mainly for deer (everyone else is after elk with the stick and string). Can someone describe the general process, terrain, tactics, etc. of bow hunting off of the haul road? I have images of endless tundra with no-where to hide and making 60 yard shots in raging windy conditions.

    Long drives don't bother me, I regulary go over 300 miles one direction just to shoot prairie dogs.

    I'd consider a fly-out but I'll be solo. Not a problem in MT but not necessarily wise in AK for a first timer.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    First you have to have a IBEPcar bow cert card.
    Hunting the haul rd. an be lots of fun. It's about a 13-14 hour drive from anchorage. Most people drive the road until they see a caribou they want to go after. Either they will go out after it or if the caribou is coming towards the road they will hide next to the road. There can be tons of people up there at times. Weather can vary one day sunny and warm next day snow
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    Member akndres's Avatar
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    Default It's worth the trip...even if you don't tag out

    One of the most beautiful drives you will ever have the fortune of taking. The colors, the animals. It is worth the drive even if you don't hunt anything.

    You could drive up the Haul road past Tulik and be surrounded by caribou. You may have to drive to Happy Valley or to P.S. 2. In september they can be stretched out a good ways. They could be beside the road or at the five mile fringe anyway. My point is they are where they are and you shouldn't have trouble finding them.

    The biggest thing to remember when hunting caribou above the brooks is lack of cover (i.e. no trees, very little brush except around the river). You need to use depressions, rocks, hills, skylines, etc to mask your movements. There is a lot of eyes up there and they are stalked by more formatable predators than you and I year round. This is why you hear of long shots. 60 yards is a long shot in the deer woods with a bow, It's not that uncommon on the north slope. Also, 60 yards doesn't look that far on the open tundra. Use a range finder and definitely practice your long range shooting (40-65 yards).

    One tip to give you is this. Don't try and stalk specific animals (that will be hard to do, because you will see some brutes). Get set-up ahead of a small group and let them come to you. Set-up on established trails. The caribou will come. A good day of watching them, and you will see which way the majority are going, what drainages are being used, etc. Now with that said, don't be surprised if you go to bed surrounded by caribou, and wake up to zero for miles. They follow the wind and the animal in-front of them.

    Your images of endless tundra is correct. If you've never hiked on that stuff....you will be in for a treat! Tundra is the worst crap ever....period. It's like walking on a mattress...one mile is like five on hard ground. Be prepared for no-notice weather changes up there that time of year. Winds, rain, snow, can (and will) come out of nowhere.

    There will be no shortage of hunters either. However, depending on what time in Sept. those numbers may be reduced due to moose and sheep season being in. You will be closer to 400 miles (out of fairbanks). Stop and coldfoot and gas-up. Save your extra fuel until you have to use it. Besides the diner at coldfoot has great food.... or maybe I've just been hungry everytime.

    I love hunting the haul road. You hear horror stories about it, and there is a lot of fact in those stories, but I have always been able to get away from the crowds.... it's amazing how the hunters thin out about a mile off the road.

    If you want any more specific answers... ask.
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

  4. #4
    Member akndres's Avatar
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    Default give you an idea of the openness of the N.S.

    here is some pics of what you expect in terms of terrain.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

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    Member akndres's Avatar
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    Default

    some more
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

  6. #6

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    If you go in september... be prepared with some seriouse bug gear. I wear a bug suit because they are so bad. Im no wuss about bug bites either. I sit in my stands all day without putting on any bug dope. But the amount of bugs there in the summer time is un real. I watched a national geographic about the carabou up there and it said the mosquitos actually reach plague proportions at the height of hier time. I believe that is in june or july. But every time I have been up there in september there has been a good amount of bugs. Lots of carabou also.

  7. #7

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    How bad were the bugs in Sept.?
    I have been there in Aug that were not overly bad.Once it cools there is not much of a problem.Just kinda curious.

  8. #8

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    the blowflies are horrendus in august sept. Doesnt matter if it gets cold or not, seems when it warms back up, they came right back.

    Best thing you can do is get off the road!!! Sounds pretty stupid to say it, but 99% of the people on the haul road are ditch jumping road hunters.

    If it can be seen from the road, they are hunting it.

    The drive....well its 360 miles from anchorage to fairbanks alone. You'd best have a extra tire or three, repair kit for them, and a compressor from napa aint a bad idea. Dunno how many trips I've done up north but it's quite a few now. Most trips go uneventfully, when it goes bad, 3 4 or 5 tires later, it gets really bad. Also you might check but most rental places in the state will not let you drive the haul road. The roads gotten tons better however there still are sections where it is like it has been since I started driving it.

    And no you can get close to them releatively easily, getting a shot off is the harder part. Start shooting that far out and you're more liable to wound and loose or just wound them. A caribou walks faster then most animals. Most people dont heed this warning and end up making bad shots the first go around or get lucky and completely miss.

  9. #9
    Member akndres's Avatar
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    Tradbow is absolutely correct with his long-range shot verbage.

    My intent was to illustrate the openness of the tundra. With open tundra and no cover, a 40 yard caribou looks closer than it is (esp. a large bull). If you are coming up from the lower 48 and used to hunting deer, hogs, etc at close range, you will be in for a shock. If you wait them out, like I suggested, you will get them close. Most people don't wait them out though, they pursue the ones they see from the road....resulting in longer/hurried shots or spooked animals.

    It doesn't hurt to get proficient with the longer range shots, but it isn't a necessity to take a bou up there either. With modern, fast, compounds, one can be relatively deadly and proficient out to 60 yards with lots of practice. IMO.

    Your right getting off the shop in the wide open is a whole different scenario. One can hide in the tundra, laying flat, but you have to expose yourself to take the shot.
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

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    Thanks very much for the replies to this and the other more recent thread on the same subject. Extremely helpful and generous. Montanan's, in general, are not so helpful with out of state people hunters asking for advise.

    I think the only way I'd do this is if I'm actually doing some teaching in Fairbanks and then drove from there and if I upgrade my bow equipment and practice much more than I have been.

    Thanks again

    Finally, how doesn one get a IBEPcar bow cert card?

  11. #11
    Member akndres's Avatar
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    Mt al

    Montana requires a IBEP, so check with your local game and fish department, they should be able to direct you. You don't have to have an Alaska specific IBEP card. Just have to go through the training and get certified.

    http://www.bowhunter-ed.com/overview.htm
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

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    from my experience bugs are bad in aug (make that terrible)and few in Sept......early sept can be bad if still warm. usually not case
    as an IBEP instructor i can't say 60 yards shots are good idea. most people are not that good of shot, if not using range finder even worse. biggest problem is wind and these are live animals and in the time it takes an arrow to travel 60 yards a caribou can move quite a bit= bad hit and wounded bou.....missed bou if your lucky but if you miss how bad of an idea was it to take a shot an have that big a risk wounding the animal. too many varibles when taking long shots.
    take judo points and try shots as practice and to keep warmed up and limber.
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
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  13. #13
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default 70 yards

    Caribou seem to have a 70-yard rule. It is OK to be around me unless you get closer than 70 yards. Then I am going to get nervous and leave.

    In some areas a small, lightweight piece of blind material might help.

    Montana Decory is prototyping a decoy right now.

    Most creeks have small willows around them, making them a low blind.

    The pipeline itself is a good blind and the supports are 20 yards apart.

    Some people hid behind the road berm and shoot them coming across......no comment.

    There are some rolling hills in some spots, just enough to make a stalk doable.

    What I found interesting last year was the number of cow running around without calves and the number of calves looking for cows. They would run right up to you if they saw your fron profile. Interesting!

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

  14. #14
    Member akndres's Avatar
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    I thought I was the only one with the 70 yard caribou force field...
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

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    If I go, big "If", I'd never take a 60 yard shot. Same thing for antelope around here: you hear about some of the hits but never hear about the wounded ones. The decoys are the way to go for speed goats and I hope the Montana Decoys work for caribou as well. If they do it will be well worth the small investment. Any idea when they're going to be shipping them? I did work for the company that assembled the decoys in Montana before they shipped them over to China, could have scored an early one!

  16. #16
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default A man has got to know his limitations.

    I am pretty sure it was Clint Eastwood in a flim that said; "A man has got to know his limitations".

    Just as with a firearm, all archers should know their own personal limitations. While for a "few" a sixty yard shot might be possibe, for many it is not. Not everyone has sixty yards to practice from or the time to devote to the skill level required to shoot proficiently at that distance.

    I am lucky. Very large yard and plenty of time to practice. I pracice to sixty, but feel that on caribou, my comfort limitation is fifty. Moose are bigger but because of the KE (75) of my setup, my personal limitation is less than 35.

    Up north a good rangefinder is an invaluable tool for the experienced and the novice caribou hunter. I do see some people taking some very long shots up there. And for many, they are exceeding their own personal limitations.

    I don't want to dwell into ethics, but it is just a fact that a man has got to know his limitations.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

  17. #17

    Default Right of Way Use Guideline Pass

    Stop at one of the pump stations & get this pass. They ck you out with NCIC to see if you've been good or bad. If security sees you close to the pipe itself they may stop you. If you have the pass it makes things easier. Security NEEDS YOUR EYES & EARS. It cost nothing but 15 minutes. WHATEVER stay off the pipe & it supports. In some areas the pipe gets pretty far from the main road. The access road is gravel & a lot easier walking than the tundra. Like others have said you will meet the best hunters & the slobs. When you go through Atigun Pass and your not impressed turn around & go home because your dead. Dave

  18. #18

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    Don't mean to but in, but can someone tell me for sure if the nonres. limit is 1 or 2 caribou on the haul road in sept. ?

  19. #19
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default 1

    1 bull until Sept. 30th. After the 30th, you can harvest another. Or if you harvest them both after the 30th, a total of 2 bulls.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

  20. #20

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    Thanks Dave, whats the chance of getting a black bear during the hunt?

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