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Thread: How do you float and hunt?

  1. #1
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    Default How do you float and hunt?

    When on a float hunt, how do you float and hunt? I mean,
    - do you just float and keep looking for game?
    - do you float hard on some days and then stay put on other days and focus on hunting?
    - do you hunt mornings and evenings and float during mid day?
    - others?



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  2. #2
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Mad Angler,
    ......brief answer....
    While game can be spotted, has been spotted, and has been shot while floating, my float days are generally designated travel days. Any game animals spotted are considered "targets-of-opportunity". And my client hunters have harvested both brown bears and moose during days when I had expected to mostly be traveling. Keep in mind that most rivers are serpentine shaped, so it is exceptionally important to remain quiet if you expect or hope to view a game animal around the next few bends in the river. If we are singing old rock & roll songs or hooting-an-hollerin after catching another rainbow trout, we alert every critter within a half mile of our presence and arrival.
    Breaking down a camp, and then building camp later that day can be time consuming also. So I generally float to where I want to hunt, then put up camp, and hunt there for a day or four (?) before moving down the river. My "hunt days" are generally full time, all day, hunting days. But frankly, every day, either while camping or floating, could end up a day of whackin, slashin, hackin, and stackin.

    Hope this helps some.....AlaskaTrueAdventure/Dennis

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    While your guide carefully paddles you and your new, salted brown bear hide downstream, you can quietly sit in the raft's front seat with your rifle next to you while you quietly eat your guide's candy bars and smoke a few cigars as you look around for any wolves or black bear who aren't sleeping and enjoy the scenery. .

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Dennis pretty much nailed it. Pre-select the areas you plan to hunt, then float to them and hunt for some time. It's possible to shoot game while you're traveling, but successful float hunters get out of the boat and really hunt.

    Of course you are hunting the entire time you're afield...

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Member shmobag's Avatar
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    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but you are allowed to shoot your Rifle and or Bow from the boat? sorry again if thats a dumb question i just always thought of a boat like a vehicle where you have to get out of the vehicle to make a shot. Also what kind of boats are normally used on float hunting? blow up boats, canoes, or actual boats with a motor? thanks

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    shmobag:

    Sent you an email.

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    Member shmobag's Avatar
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    Kingfisherktn, thank you, i just read your thread and now it makes alot more sense. But i still have the question as to whether or not it is illegal to shoot from the boat while on the river? thanks for the email it cleared up alot for me though

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    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    shmobag,
    Parts of southeast it is illegal to shoot from a boat at all, most of the state it's illegal to shoot from a boat under power, a couple of places you can even shoot from a boat that is under power.
    check out page 18 http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...fs/general.pdf

    There are some places you can hunt waterfowl in Utah while floating too.

  9. #9
    Member shmobag's Avatar
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    scott, thanks that clears it up a bit. Ill be in Alaska in one month so im trying to learn as much as i can about hunting up there.

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    I have been outfitting Float Hunting Groups for some time in unit 23 and i get this same question every year. There are 2 ways to look at a float hunt. 1. As you are moving from point A to point B you and your parted need to keep your eyes pealed on the horizon for game animals that are moving through your drainage and you need to be looking at the Topo map for your next spot and stalk hill side. I advise my groups to choose 4-5 prominent spots on their maps as potential places to spot for game and have them marked on your GPS or Topo Map and plan your camps around these spots. With Google Earth it is easy to check these areas out ahead of time and have camp sites pore picked as well. If you have a great spot that allows you a good 360 degree view for at least 3-5 miles you may want to camp at that area longer than others.

    The thing that makes float hunts better (most of the time) than a drop hunt is the amount of country you can cover in a 7-10 day hunt. I can cover 40 miles of country in a 7 day hunt and have many more chances to see big game than the 3-5 miles max that a Drop Camp offers. Over the years My float hunts were 100% in unit 23 buy my drop camps were closer to 80+%. Some of that has to do with hunters choosing bigger game and letting sub-prime bulls go by but the numbers don't lie. The down side to Float Hunts is you have more work to do every time you break or set up camp and that can be a pain.

    When it comes to moose hunting the chances are much higher for float hunting than Drop Camps plain and simple. Some guys will argue this with me but from my experience the float hunters slip up on more animals plain and simple.


    A great Float Hunts started with planning and I am talking about 10-14 months out. You need to find someone with experience in the area that you are interested in and pick that brain as well as read everything on your area. Successful hunts are not cheap or easy. Time must be invested and you must be willing to pay the physical price to reach the country where others will not go. This past fall my 13 year old went on his first caribou hunt where he was the gun carrying hunter. He has helped me on a number of hunts but never got to pull that trigger. We canoed in 8 miles over 2 difficult portages to reach country where I felt confident that we would see animals and not see other hunters. The boy was rewarded with his first kill and all of the work that goes with it. Great trip!

    We are re-entering the outfitting business in Kotzebue starting in 2012. We will be working with Golden Eagle and NW Aviation out of Kotz on outfitting float hunts but no drop camps. If you are planning on hunting Unit 23 and would like to talk about a hunt give me a call.

    Walt

    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    www.northwestalaska@yahoo.com
    907-259-4290

  11. #11

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    Read Mike Strahan's book, Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers. If you are lucky, read the book that inspired Mike called Bowhunting Alaska's Wild Rivers by Jay Massey. Also a great resource. IMO, float hunting is just like regular hunting, with the added advantage of being in control of your own destiny. If you want to move down river, so be it. Pack up and move down river. The other added advantage is that while I am floating, I am calling moose, and I am hunting. I have shot both a bull moose and nice grizzly bear while on the float. Last year, I called about a 45 incher down to the river, but couldn't make him legal. My son and I also got to see a lynx while floating down the river. But most of your hunting is going to be on shore. Glassing, calling, spot and stalk, and still hunting. The only difference is, you get to move when you want to. A word of warning though, once you go down river, you can never go back. Oh, if I could turn back the clock. There are so many times that I wish I could have gone back though. Good luck to you.

  12. #12
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Float Hunting Resources and Help

    To our Alaska float hunting friends,

    I suggest you check out our Float Hunting Page here on the site, for a general overview of float hunting. In addition to that, I am currently converting my seminars, titled, "Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers", to an online format that will be a lot of help for float hunters. The first page, an introduction, went live just yesterday. I will be adding more today and over the next couple of weeks. These seminars, which pre-date my book by over ten years, provided the basis of some of the material for the book. We will cover such things as costs, river selection, gear, hunting tactics, meat and trophy care, logistics (shipping, expediting and such) and a host of other topics related to float hunting in Alaska.

    You might also have a look at our YouTube channel, which features video podcasts as part of our "Alaska Outdoor University" series. You might be interested in the following podcasts:


    We went through our store and grouped some of our books and DVD titles together into "Float Hunting" and "Hunt Planning Library". There are some great resources out there and I hope you take some time to look them over for yourself. The store has between 300-350 titles in it, so there is a lot there for you.

    Finally, if anyone needs detailed, hands-on assistance, I provide what I believe to be the most comprehensive planning service available. You can read about some of it AT THIS LINK, together with other hunt planning resources that are available free of charge on this site. As you browse those pages, take a look at the menus on the left-hand side of the page. They take you to many pages of related material useful in the hunt planning process.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  13. #13
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Just speaking from experiance, ( four floats down a river from the head waters from a said river )

    First you fly into a strip that is 6 miles from said river, then you strap on a 110 pound pack, ( and that pack will last you two weeks and includes your raft and all the meals.) It ussaly takes a full day to get there, and by the time you are there you want to fall over dead. Climbing down a hillside for 6 miles with that pack on, wading through the tosaks and climbing over rocks will take its toll. When yo get to said river all you want to do is rest for a couple of days. On the secound day you start to get ancey and want to see whats around the next bend, so you feel like a litte trip down river, lol.

    Load up and take off, but you are so busy with the raft trying to keep it in the safe spots in the river that even if you did see something you would'nt be able to shoot it, lol, been there,

    I remember one time when me and a buddy was floating I saw a open space in the williows of a bar and we pulled up to the shore did'nt say a word to each other just me pointed him in to the area and let him know I was going to walk down stream.

    He went in and I headed downstream but somehow I got a rock in my hipboot and decided to go back and sit on the raft to get it out before heading down the bar. As I got the boot off, I hear this god aweful racket coming out of the williows and turned to see this moose coming straight at me. The thing was I did'nt know if it was a bull or a cow, lol. This thing had 16" spikes out each side of its head. I waved my hat in the air and it veried of to the side of me and stoped right next to the water. I looked at it and said to self it's got horns and I need meat, and thats where he dropped. Turned out to be a three year old just a freak horn. I've seen 3 of those horn deformations in 45 years so don't try to spout the browse subject on me.

    The point is if you are going to float hunt on a river that takes all your attenion to keep the raft out of trouble or if the water is to rough to get a good shot, take your time and check out some hiddinen ponds.

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    Good Morning: Mike

    We have emailed a few times before and I am hoping to gain some of your expertise on the FORTY MILE river. I have purchased 2 of your books a few years back for myself and sons and find your writing the best out there PERIOD.

    This year my 2 sons and I are going to float the FORTY MILE river for moose. I know that we will have other floater/company so I am asking about what are the top 3 river drainages that you would hunt if you were going to try and shoot a nice bull. We are going to try and put in at the taylor hwy bridge - the west fork of the dennison and then take out near o'brien creek.

    We will have 2 rafts and 2 inflatable canoes along to hunt the side drainages. We will hunt the entire season and plan to float for at least a 2 week period.

    I do sincerely appreciate your expertise and advice. Thanks again in advance for a little help so I can make this the best trip possible for my sons.

    My personal email addy is jtlegg@yahoo.com


    Your friend,
    Jeff

    Billings Montana

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    Quote Originally Posted by drfowl View Post
    Good Morning: Mike

    We have emailed a few times before and I am hoping to gain some of your expertise on the FORTY MILE river. I have purchased 2 of your books a few years back for myself and sons and find your writing the best out there PERIOD.

    This year my 2 sons and I are going to float the FORTY MILE river for moose. I know that we will have other floater/company so I am asking about what are the top 3 river drainages that you would hunt if you were going to try and shoot a nice bull. We are going to try and put in at the taylor hwy bridge - the west fork of the dennison and then take out near o'brien creek.

    We will have 2 rafts and 2 inflatable canoes along to hunt the side drainages. We will hunt the entire season and plan to float for at least a 2 week period.

    I do sincerely appreciate your expertise and advice. Thanks again in advance for a little help so I can make this the best trip possible for my sons.

    My personal email addy is jtlegg@yahoo.com


    Your friend,
    Jeff

    Billings Montana

    Keep an eye on the weather this summer if it's a dry hot one you couldn't float a rubber duck down the west fork.

  16. #16
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drfowl View Post
    Good Morning: Mike

    We have emailed a few times before and I am hoping to gain some of your expertise on the FORTY MILE river. I have purchased 2 of your books a few years back for myself and sons and find your writing the best out there PERIOD.

    This year my 2 sons and I are going to float the FORTY MILE river for moose. I know that we will have other floater/company so I am asking about what are the top 3 river drainages that you would hunt if you were going to try and shoot a nice bull. We are going to try and put in at the taylor hwy bridge - the west fork of the dennison and then take out near o'brien creek.

    We will have 2 rafts and 2 inflatable canoes along to hunt the side drainages. We will hunt the entire season and plan to float for at least a 2 week period.

    I do sincerely appreciate your expertise and advice. Thanks again in advance for a little help so I can make this the best trip possible for my sons.

    My personal email addy is jtlegg@yahoo.com


    Your friend,
    Jeff

    Billings Montana
    Hello Jeff,

    I emailed you this morning, with a phone number to call when I return. I'm out chasing kings and halibut right now and will be back in the saddle shortly.

    The comment TS made about the West Fork should be taken seriously. When I did the writeup on the Fortymile in the float hunting book, I pointed out an alternative launch at Chicken in low-water years. You've got more water down there, but even then you could hit some shallow stuff. The only way to know what you're really getting is via user reports just before your departure (check our forums for that), and to physically look at it when you get there.

    More later-

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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