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Thread: Karluk River Blacktail Deer

  1. #1
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    Default Karluk River Blacktail Deer

    Hey everyone,

    I am heading with 2 buddies to fish the Karluk River on Kodiak Island in 2 weeks. The primary focus of the trip is fly fishing, but I am starting to get the itch to do some deer hunting. I have read through the past threads, but only found 1 that discussed the Karluk. I would probably only hunt the last 3 days of the trip (8 days), because I don't want to transport the meat to multiple camps along the river. We will be floating the entire river and camping along the way, but focusing primarily between the portage and the lagoon.

    Has anyone hunted the Karluk River valley or Kodiak in mid-October?

    1) Is it worth it to try for blacktails or should I focus on fishing?
    2) What elevation did you find the deer that time of year? I would expect them to be high still, but just curious.
    3) What do you suggest doing with the meat if I am successful? I would think it is pretty difficult to keep the meat from the bears near the river, but I am not sure. Anyone have any experience with this?
    4) Any other suggestions? I have never hunted blacktails, but have experience on bear, moose, and caribou hunts.

    Thanks for the help and I will post some pictures when we get back.

    Thanks,
    Isaac

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    There are certainly deer along the Karluk. Keep your eyes open and you will see a bunch! I think with those deer, the majority that you see will be right around the tree line on any ridges. But having said that, I'm sure you will see deer all over the place if your eyes are peeled. Good luck!

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Ice man, from Portage hike back towards Larsen Bay. Just prior to going downhill, veer left and start climbing. Shot lots of Deer in that area. Trail from Portage is about 2 miles. Not that bad a pack. You'll enjoy the country and the backstraps.

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    Sweet. Thanks for the advice KLNhunter and Roland. Any advice on storing the meat in bear country (electric fence?)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    Ice man, from Portage hike back towards Larsen Bay. Just prior to going downhill, veer left and start climbing. Shot lots of Deer in that area. Trail from Portage is about 2 miles. Not that bad a pack. You'll enjoy the country and the backstraps.

    Roland is exactly right. There have been some monster bucks in that area! Great cover and just a beautiful view as well! Thats actually where my profile picture is from.

    A bear fence works okay...Since you are on refuge land they will lend you a bear proof container as well. So talk to the refuge.

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    Awesome! Now I am really starting to get excited!

    I will give the refuge a call about it. I knew they required it, but didn't realize they had loaner gear.

    Thanks.

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    Just to be safe you might want to check with the native corp out there. Koniag native corp I believe. I was out there last fall working and saw some monster sheds and skulls with antlers still attached. Look high at and above tree line. Are you staying at the mouth of the river or down by the yurt?
    good luck and the steelies are pretty thick!!
    Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

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    Sweet. I talked with the Koniag Corp to get the permits for hunting, but I will touch base with them again. We don't have a set plan on where we are staying yet, because we will be camping. Our current plan is to camp a couple miles downstream of the portage. MJM do you agree with Roland on the treeline along to the north of the portage for blacktail?

    Any suggestions on flies for steelies out there, mjm? I have a pretty wide selection of streamers, but I could always add a few more!

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    "Any advice on storing the meat in bear country (electric fence?)?"

    Try sprinkling a can of Copenhagen on the ground around your meat pole.
    Even a jackass won't stumble on the same stone twice.

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    I would take 2 bear fences. One for the meat and one for your camp. There are tons of large bears all along that river (cause the fishing is so good) and thats without deer meat hanging. Just in case you are wondering I wouldnt store it in your raft and I wouldnt put it on the cabin. Also I have heard of them even getting them out of trees and even off a rope! I havent heard a fence fail yet but just in case I wouldnt put your tent in with the meat!
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

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    ACNDHO - I don't want to be wasting my buddy's life line out there.

    Sollybug- That seems like pretty sound advice. I'll see if one of my buddies is willing to buy an electric fence too. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Man 85 View Post
    Sweet. I talked with the Koniag Corp to get the permits for hunting, but I will touch base with them again. We don't have a set plan on where we are staying yet, because we will be camping. Our current plan is to camp a couple miles downstream of the portage. MJM do you agree with Roland on the treeline along to the north of the portage for blacktail?

    Any suggestions on flies for steelies out there, mjm? I have a pretty wide selection of streamers, but I could always add a few more!
    I was working on camp island last yr so that is a fair distance away from where you will be. I did fly out to the yurt to do some work and talked to the guide that had a few fishing clients didn't get much details other than they were certainly catching quite a few fish. As far as deer they were pretty much all over just way up high. Again I was staying about mid lake so you can take it for what it's worth as far as where you will be. If you have a motor boat you could motor down that direction. Watch for bears!!! They are all over. Discovery channel was out last fall videoing for a couple weeks
    Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

  13. #13

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    I floated the river during mid-Oct about ten years ago. One of the best week-long trips I've ever had. We saw most of the deer near the end of the float. Like you, the main focus was to fly fish for steelhead, but the whole time we were wishing we had brought some eggs. We caught plenty of char (which are delicious), but had horrible luck steelhead fishing with flies. To get the big steelhead I would suggest bringing some eggs just in case. Everyone that floated by us had eggs and was catching steelies with them. Also, it rained and blew wind the entire time, so I would make sure bring one of those big hand-held torches with a few extra fuel bottles to start fires. It was so wet that without that, it would have really been a struggle to get fires going at night. Good luck and have fun!

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    I fished the Karluk one spring on a Bear hunt. Lots of fresh Dollies coming in. We caught bunches of Steelhead on spoons such as little cleo also #2/#3 mepps.

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    When we helped build the cabin by the yurt there, we had a lot of success using an orange #3 mepps. Eggs also worked really well. You might even find a some silvers in addition to the steelies. Down stream from the yurt there are a couple of big rocks that put up a pretty nice ripple that the steelies like to hang out in.

    Also, just north of the yurt on the eastern short there is a land formation that we locals would call the "Butt." There were always a lot of deer in there. I've seen some nice bucks come from there.

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. The trip was a success. We caught countless dolly's at the lake and some steelhead near the portage. The steelhead fishing was not quite as good as we hoped, but we attribute that to the cold weather and snow that rolled in shifting the temp about 30 degrees from the week before. We did see a few deer further down the river and were able to get 2 does and a small buck. The tent camping got a little chilly, but that is what dreams are made of I guess! Thanks again for the input.

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    Ice Man 85, glad you had a good time.

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