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Thread: Caribou

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    Default Caribou

    Need some information on going into the Brooks Range Area for caribou in late august and early september. Any info on pilots in that area would also be appreciated.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info stid2677. I've been reading your accounts of your hunting trips --- awesome

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    Is this in hopes of a 2012 hunt? By now you'll be hard pressed to line up a flight.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Like TWB said, you will probably be hard pressed to find a transporter with an opening. But you can always drive up the haul road and bow/rifle hunt. It will be much cheaper too.
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    duckslayer I've been thinking that but I've heard that the haul road is crawling with hunters. I would want to come about the end of August or first week of September. What do you think it would be like then? I can't believe as long as the haul road is that a person could not find an area that would be overrun with hunters. Would I be right in the midst of the caribou migration at that time somewhere along the highway. I know you have to hunt with a bow 5 miles out from the haul road which I plan to hunt with a bow any way. My intentions would not to road hunt anyhow I would hike back a few miles anyhow. Any more info would be greatly appreciated.

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    It's not that the haul road is over run with hunters, it's that you don't/won't find caribou crossing every mile of the road.

    Their migratory wanderings are scattered so hunters are naturally going to concentrate in these areas.

    Personally I'd source up a small raft and cross the Sag and get away from others.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by jroc View Post
    duckslayer I've been thinking that but I've heard that the haul road is crawling with hunters. I would want to come about the end of August or first week of September. What do you think it would be like then? I can't believe as long as the haul road is that a person could not find an area that would be overrun with hunters. Would I be right in the midst of the caribou migration at that time somewhere along the highway. I know you have to hunt with a bow 5 miles out from the haul road which I plan to hunt with a bow any way. My intentions would not to road hunt anyhow I would hike back a few miles anyhow. Any more info would be greatly appreciated.

    The number of hunters greatly reduces once moose season opens and I second the recommendation to bring a raft and cross the Sag,, not a pool toy either.
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    If your plan is to hike in a couple miles it's perfect. Most of the hunters up there stick to the road because that is the easiest way to do it. It's not as bad as people are making it out, its not like there is a hunter behind every bush or something. Most of them will ambush caribou as the cross the road. By hiking in a mile or two you will probably be on your own out there. The 5 mile restriction is only for rifle hunters. If you are bow hunting you are able to hunt where every you want with the exeption of on the road. Just make sure you park your vehicle 100% off of the road. The truckers will greatly appreciate it.

    The way I did my hunt was to drive up the road until I spotted caribou, then turned around and drove back about 10 miles or more in the direction they were headed. Then I walked in from that spot. (I was rifle hunting so I went in 5 miles) When I woke up the next morning the caribou were standing all around my camp.

    If you decide to walk in, treat it like a sheep hunt. Go in as lite as you can. The ground up there is very exhausting to walk on, make sure you have boots with really good ankle support. Don't under estimate the tundra, it will kick your butt. Also bring plenty of bug protection, the bugs up there are bad enough to force the caribou to migrate. They will eat you alive if you have any exposed skin. Bug nets, long sleeves, and gloves are mandatory, along with some good bug dope.

    Most of all, have fun! You will see a lot of caribou up there, and that time of year is great. They have that really nice snow white beard at that time. I saw a quite a few double shovels up there on both of the hunts I did. Bring a camera too, there are a lot of other critters up there to see as well. The coolest for me was a herd of musk ox up by deadhorse.

    The other option you have as TWB stated is to float. I don't have any experience in that category so I can't help you there.
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    The five miles limit is for firearms. With a bow you just have to be off the road. I would hit it either before or after Labor day. I went up last year during labor day and there were a bunch of hunters but we did cross the Sag and were pretty much alone. If you do decide to cross don't take it lightly as its fast and cold water. From my 2 trips up there(15 Sep trip 1 and labor day week trip 2) we saw lots of animals but we were by no means in the middle of the migration.

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    If a guy decided to float the Sag where would be the best area to do this? Also if a guy was just going to cross the Sag with a raft and hunt the other side where would a good area be to go? This area up here is new to me and I am only looking at maps and Google Earth to try and figure everything out and any help from somebody with knowledge and prior experience in the area is really appreciated and keeps me from just stabbing in the dark. I appreciate all the input from everybody.

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    They are still spread out in August and September, you won't see any large herd numbers until the end of September through the winter.

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    I am new to Alaska and myself and a buddy are planning on going up haul road in November after we get back from deployment. We will be gun hunting so we will have to get off the road 5 miles. What size raft would you recommend and where would be a decent place to get one? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barber8605 View Post
    What size raft would you recommend and where would be a decent place to get one? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    A raft will be a questionable proposition in November. I've experienced -30 temperatures up there in October, and while that was on the very low end of the temperature range for that time of year, I've got to assume that the Sag will be freezing if not completely frozen over by then. If I were going in November I would walk West from the road (no rivers to be crossed) and drag a sled to pull the meat out in.

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    If you're going up there in November, there is no need to cross the Sag to get away from other hunters. Back up to August-September. From my experience, a couple miles off the road in just about any direction was devoid of hunters. Glass from the road and locate a group that you think you can put a stalk on. If there are no parked vehicles, they are likely all yours. We did this the whole trip last year and never ran into folks chasing the same caribou as us. Also, sleep with your bow in the tent and carefully peek outside before you jump out in the morning. My bow will never be more than a few feet from me when hunting up there. Lessons learned, unfortunately.

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    I am the buddy barber8605 was speaking of, the five mile restriction rule (since we will be rifle hunting) only applies to the road north of the yukon river, if Im reading the regs correctly, would it even be worth our time hunting south of the river during november so as to avoid the 5 mile rule?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt83 View Post
    I am the buddy barber8605 was speaking of, the five mile restriction rule (since we will be rifle hunting) only applies to the road north of the yukon river, if Im reading the regs correctly, would it even be worth our time hunting south of the river during november so as to avoid the 5 mile rule?
    Nope. You won't run into any caribou south of the Yukon along the Haul Road.

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    Ok, thanks Brian M, I had a feeling that would be the answer but it was worth a shot. Myself and Barber have been talking about this quite a bit lately, guess we will be having to purchase a sled to drag along behind us in the snow so if and when we shoot something it will make it easier to get out. In November hopefully the tundra will be nice and frozen so we wont have to worry about sinking into the quagmire that I have read about guys doing during the summer up there. Also would it be worth it to bring along our issued snow shoes for breaking trail up there?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Yep, snowshoes may be helpful. Also, be very sure that you have a warm tent and very warm sleeping bags. The daylight hours will be very short in November, so you'll either spend a lot of time hiking by headlamp or a lot of time in your tent. The actual hours for hunting will be quite limited. I'm not sure of the specifics, but Jerod or one of the fellas that is up there regularly this time of year should be able to comment on that.

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    Member Matt83's Avatar
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    Speaking of hunting hours, both barber and myself are from the lower 48, and have pondered this question. What are the legal shooting hours in Alaska, does it vary by season, or by GMU? For instance, back home the legal shooting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise, and 1/2 hour after sunset. Since there is almost constant daylight in the summer, is there actual shooting hours? I have yet to read anything about this in the regs. Thanks

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