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Thread: Guide vs drop

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Guide vs drop

    New member here planning a fall Caribou hunt with my son....

    Would it be fair to say that booking a guided hunt will result in better hunting location, service, etc. than booking a drop or outfitter type trip? More remote, better scouting?

    Do you get what you pay for?

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Anchorage, Alaska

    Default Guided vs DIY Caribou Hunt


    If you're a savvy hunter you can put a do-it-yourself caribou hunt that will give you the same odds of success as most guided hunts. Here are a few tips:


    You need to know the herds, movement patterns and such. Currently our largest herd is the Western Arctic Herd (WCH), located mostly in GMU 23. The area biologist assigned to this area is Jim Dau up in Kotzebue. Reports are produced by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game periodically LIKE THIS ONE on the Porcupine Herd, that will be a great help to you as you plan your hunt. In fact, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game should be your first stop on the journey of researching this; they hold nearly all the data. The management reports I mentioned earlier are pretty good, and they are updated periodically. Avoid books that include downloads of this information, as the information is highly perishable; it changes all the time. Your best bet is the source itself, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. You can do a google search for caribou on their website and come up with a lot of information.

    I would also pick up a copy of Chris Batin's "Hunting in Alaska", available on this site. It provides a great overview of caribou habits and behavior, how to hunt caribou, and an overview of the statewide distribution. Finally if you are a trophy hunter, I'd have a look at the Boone and Crockett Club's, "Records of North American Big Game" to get a sense of where the larger bulls are coming from. A quick perusal of my copy shows a very poor representation out of the Arctic, for example. You have to go all the way down to #36 to find a GMU 23 bull there, and there aren't many after that either. Most of the bigger bulls have historically come from the Alaska Peninsula, Western Alaska, and the Interior. The Arctic just doesn't have what it takes to consistently produce really big bulls.


    Once you have some basic facts nailed down, it's time to start mining the gold here in this website. You'll find that people here posess a wealth of information that will help you pull this all together. But your best results will come if you ask educated questions. Avoid coming on with questions like, "Where's a good place to go caribou hunting?" Ask specific questions about specific areas, and you'll likely get specific answers. As I said, there is a lot of really good information here. Do a google search on this website for past articles and discussions of caribou hunting first. This will not only provide good details, it will tip you off to the folks who seem to know something. Lots of folks write here, but the quality of their information can be all over the map.


    Armed with this information, you can begin planning your hunt. The details of air charter selection, lodging, ground transportation, licenses and tags, gear, shipping it all to the field and back, meat care... it is all in front of you at this point. Many of us consider that part (the planning) one of the most enjoyable part of the hunt.


    I have been doing hunt consultation for nearly 14 years, and though I certainly enjoy helping folks put their Alaska hunt together, there's nothing like doing it yourself. I would be more than happy to discuss details with you privately if you just need a boost to get started- just send me a private message by clicking on my name above, and we can get started on that. It won't cost you a dime (unless I end up putting the whole thing together for you, of course.)

    Lots of ways to get rolling on this, but hopefully this will get you started.

    Best of luck!

    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:
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    Glad to here you are going to do a hunt with your son. I took my daughter on her first caribou hunt this past season.
    You can definitely do a caribou as a do it your self drop off hunt. The keys are to determine which herd and where you want to hunt from, and then who you will fly out with. Air services are like anything else, some are extremely good and some are not so good, so do the research and talk to references. I don't know where you are from but insure you are aware of the Alaska laws concerning salvage, plus trophy and meat care. The big advantage of having a guide is he or she will be able to help with all of that. Fish and game has an excellent video concerning meat care. Mike had some good advice.
    A guided hunt gives you someone familiar wit the area and hunting caribou if you have never done so. They are not as easy to hunt as some people think and you normally won't have the herds going through camp like some think should happen. You can do a two person with one guide hunt.
    Personally, I think the do it yourself hunt gives you a better feeling of accomplishment and a more relaxing hunt. Let me know if I can help.


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