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Thread: floating for sheep

  1. #1

    Default floating for sheep

    I know this may vary depending on what area I hunt. As many have noticed I am planning a sheep/griz hunt in AK with my sis as my guide for fall 2007.

    I am learning how spread out sheep can be and how few and far between a legal ram might be. Not being able to scout and also wanting to have a crack at other game like moose and bou has made me realize I cannot simply be flown in too a good location (correct me if I am wrong).

    It appears that I need to be mobile and cover ground so I can find sheep, and then a legal ram. I do not want to be near roads since I believe it will make hunting tougher since many legal rams will be shot out.

    Based on the above it seems to me the only option left is to float hunt. Initially I was strongly against a float hunt. Time spent floating and breaking camp over and over is time not spent hunting.

    However floating can allow me to cover a lot of ground. Obviously sheep are going to be a 2-3 hour hike above me.

    First is this a good approach? Second can I expect to be able to glass ridges (and other high likely sheep cover) from the river or close to the river? My thoughts were pull over, glass all around, no sheep then float down 1/4 mile and repeat. During that time I might spot a legal moose or a bou or something else worthwhile.

    Please give me any input towards this plan that you can come up with. Good idea? Bad?

    Thanks
    DonV

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Float hunting for sheep

    Don,

    There are several places where you could get an inflatable boat involved in your sheep hunt. Here are some suggestions.

    1. Hunting from "the bottom up". Your idea of glassing from the river bottom will work well in some areas, but not so well in others. It all depends on how steep the terrain is above you; you may not be able to see what's going on up there. Each area is different and you will have to adjust your tactics based on that.

    2. Hunt the side drainages. Don't be afraid to pack up your boat and hike in for a few days away from the river. This will get you farther from other hunters and increase your odds of success. Look your maps over carefully before the hunt and plan these side drainage hunts carefully.

    3. Think of the river as a road. On a road hunt, you're not usually gonna find an animal standing on the shoulder of the road waiting to be shot. Most of the game is had by hiking away from the road or, in this case, the river.

    4. Choose your boat carefully. Your choice of boat should be influenced mostly by the type of river you're on. Water levels are typically shallow in the fall months (of course that can change overnight), so generally speaking more floatation is better than less. Use enough boat, and go lightly-loaded.

    5. Focus. You mentioned sheep as a primary animal, but you also suggested moose or caribou or "whatever". Focus your efforts on one animal and you'll have more fun, plus your chances of success will increase. If you're even remotely considering moose, you better have a big enough boat to do the job!

    Hope this 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/
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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  3. #3

    Default

    Sheep is by far my focus, but griz is very high up there. I will allocate 3 weeks hunting time, so I think if I hunt hard taking a sheep and a griz seems very doable, and after that much time in the bush I should run into a bou, moose and black bear too. It is a rifle hunt and I am used to bowhunting, so that helps too. Sheep is the focus, but, say I get my sheep, then I canfloat into moosie looking area - at least I am not stuck on a fly in hunt 10 miles from the closest area likely to hold moose.

    My biggest concern is not being near enough to sheep habitat to effectivly hunt, and not being able to glass from so low.

    Good info, never thought about it being to steep, I amused to glassing from above, steep is good most times, otherwise trees tend to block views. I might nowhave thought about steep being bad in this scenario!

    Good idea about hiking up from the river. Maybe pick out a point where I can climb and glass into 2 side drainages, and across the river too. Anything to increase visibility to help my find a legal ram.

  4. #4
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    Default Cost

    Originally you mentioned not wanting to pay the high bucks to hunt sheep with a guide. If you shoot a sheep, a moose, and a grizz your costs are probably going to be higher than just a sheep with a guide, just a thought. Does your sister pack game meat? A moose is HUGE, and butchering AND packing one alone would be a tremendous chore if it was a long pack.

  5. #5
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default 3 weeks

    a 3 week hunt, dam, your a better man than I, your sister is up for this?

  6. #6

    Default

    My sister never has a steady job and travels a lot, so 3 weeks is nothing for her. She often takes 3 weeks to come home and visit and 3 weeks to return. I wokr my but off and she travels everywhere! I am jealous!

    I have explained to her how long it will be and she is ok, she wants to see other parts of AK so she will go.

    Trouble is job and my wife, wife is not happy, job will not be but I am not giving them a choice if this pans out. This is my only shot at a griz and dall sheep hunt in my lifetime, so I am going to make it count! I figure a solid 10 day hunt is typically enough for a rifle hunt, so 21 days should be enough for both.

  7. #7

    Default

    As for a moose, the huge quantity of meat/work is a reason I will not hunt moose unless there is nothing else, once I get one down I figure 2 days of nothing but dealing with the meat,more if it is far away.

    I have packed elk, half the size of a moose, but I know what an 80 lbs pack feels like going uphill, not in a marsh though.

    I am you and in great shape and will be in near perfect shape for the hunt - so getting a moose 1 mile or less will be doable, I doubt I would have my sis help much, not sure if she could do it. Will have dad there probably between him and sis if they can carry 25 lbs each after a few trips it would help. Bonless of course.

  8. #8
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    Default research

    As you continue to do research and locate the area you will be hunting you may find boneless is not an option. Just a thought, some areas meat has to be left on the bone. a 1 mile pack on a moose alone? Bet after doing that once it won't happen again

  9. #9
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default c'mon

    Don, I'm beginning to wonder if you're for real.

    3 weeks is a long time in the field to keep meat and hides. And now you mention the possibility of also taking a moose. All this off the road system somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonV
    My sister never has a steady job and travels a lot, so 3 weeks is nothing for her. She often takes 3 weeks to come home and visit and 3 weeks to return.
    Didn't several guys in the other thread warn you about residency status of someone who travels a lot? Sounds like you might want to forego the next-of-kin non-resident hunt on the cheap and giving out all this info to ABWE troopers who peruse these sites. You're already aware your sis has to be physically with you, yet you just said she is only capable of maybe hauling 25 lbs of moose meat. All this begs the question: How is she gonna keep up with YOU?

    Not sure if you are for real or toying with folks here. What bothers me is many read this site for info on Alaska hunting. I don't like the perception that a 3-week hunt is even doable, in terms of keeping meat and hides from spoiling. It was in the high 70s last August and sheep hunters had a hard time keeping meat for one week, let alone three. And I certainly don't like it when another species (moose) comes into the picture. Based on your posts, I'd say you'll be doing an illegal hunt with a non-resident sister, and even if she is a resident you'll end up having to leave her while you slyly go tromping off by yourself to do an end-around our state laws. Be careful...you may end up paying more in fines than you'd spend on a guided sheep hunt.

    Mark

  10. #10
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default only chance

    You said your sister is here full time, so why would this be your only chance to hunt grizz & sheep? unless she is not planning on being in alaska long.

    I agree, 3 weeks is way too long, you will loose meat for sure, so besides the residency issue you now have wantn waste. You should reconsider, Do a sheep hunt, and if you happen across a Grizz great! If not come back the next year and try for a Grizz

  11. #11

    Default

    In your other post it sound's like your sister is not planning on staying here more than a year, that in itself could get you into trouble.

  12. #12
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Default Meat Spoilage

    I'll post more about res/nonres status in the other thread, but going back to the subject of this one:

    DonV, 3 weeks in the field is too long to keep meat from going bad. You strike me as the sort of guy who wouldn't want that to happen. So if you're really going to do this, you need a way to call for a meat flight (which means prior arrangement with a flight operator and a place for the pilot to put down), or otherwise get that game animal to a freezer.

    That means roundtrip air charter expense, or the time it takes to get out of the field, get the meat cooled, and get back to hunting. Or it means planning more than one trip. I recommend the latter.

    It's good to see that you're thinking this all out in advance. Be absolutely sure you don't find yourself several days from anywhere with no way to care for meat that's been hanging for several days already...

  13. #13
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default possibilities

    Don,
    In theory the idea of taking more than one species per hunt sounds good, but in reality sometimes it just makes it harder with too many variables & you screw yourself, by not putting in 100% effort for one or the other.
    Now float hunts imo are great, & very rewarding & would make your trip a memorable one. However now you must consider the cost of renting a raft per day, not cheap for 20 days +.
    I don't know what your budget is but here is one thing I would consider.
    Forget the moose & replace it with caribou. Get your aircharter to drop you off in the brooks range. Hunt for sheep for 7- 10 days, then focus on caribou the remaining time. If you tag a sheep early have a sat. phone & call the charter for a meat pick up or make some kind of prior arrangements.
    If you float there are a couple rivers up there that this type of trip would work for.
    If you are not floating this plan would still work. Have your air charter move you after your sheep hunt. There are quite a few bou up there & the charter woulnd't have to move you far. This still may be cheaper than a raft rental.
    Also while you are hunting both sheep & bou you will have a good chance of coming across some grizz up there.
    One final note, if this is a once in lifetime trip up here don't measure sucess by the # of animals taken. You will be in some beautiful country & if you do it right the experience & memories will be just as rewarding as the meat & hides taken.

  14. #14
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Hey marmot, good advice. The rest of you..........whatever happened to being helpful? Oh, kudo's to Mike S for his advice.
    There is a guy who advertises his video on here about a 700 mile trip, alone where he took a sheep, a bou, and I think a moose. How come no one ever gives him a hard time about his meat salvage? He's even planning a new trip, east to west, of the Brooks.
    DonV..........nothing wrong with setting your goals high, but finding a place where you have a chance at 5 different species? You might want to follow Buck Nelson on his traverse of the Brooks range. Otherwise you should consider something more reasonable.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  15. #15

    Default

    How are we not being helpful? Giving advice that might keep him out of the pokey is being helpful. I haven't seen you post any helpful advice yet.

  16. #16
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    Default The Buck Nelson Video...

    Great advice MT, Bucks video is top notch. He havests 2 magnificent bou, didn't find the sheep he was looking for, and passes on a couple bull moose that he decided might fit the regs...a true sportsman and you can see his love for the outdoors in his work. (Don V...this would show you what you're up for, but...Buck makes it look relatively easy, which I am sure it is not!) Nobody on here gives him a hard time about meat salvage, because he proved he knew what he was doing. Somebody with zero experience in AK on meat salvage is a different story with such an extensive hunt planned. I don't think these guys are being rude, they are telling it the way it is without sugar coating it. Can it be done...sure, but I belive it is the way Don is asking the questions that he is getting the responses he is.

    Don...congrats for wanting to hunt AK...it will be worth every dime. If I were you, I would order every book you can from this site about the species you are after and pick them apart page by page. Books by Larry Bartlett, Marc Taylor, Tony Russ, Chris Batin, soon to come Michael Strahan, etc. etc., watch the informational videos supplied by Fish and Game, study the harvest stats online for the species you are interested in, buy an AK Atlas, call the area biologists and then come back here and ask the specifics once you have a larger grasp of what you are looking to accomplish. Your questions so far have been very broad and this is why you are receiving the responses you have so far. I would take a deep look into the will power of your sister...if she truley will be accompanying you in the field. I know a lot of men that couldn't conquer a 21 day hunt in AK, a women with no experience there would worry me deeply, no offense to your sister, but your "dream" hunt could become a nightmare if she gets out there and wants to head for home on day 5 if AK dishes out what it truley can in the bush.

    There are many people here willing to help you, just do you homework first and you will have a better response. Good Luck to you!

  17. #17
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    Default AK trip

    I think that the cautions from many members on a guy coming to AK and doing a 3 week trip of a lifetime for anything he can find are warranted. I mean living up here and hunting every year, think of all the mistakes and difficult situations you encounter and continue to learn from creeks flooding to crowded hunting conditions to poor timing of migrations. If you spent the few hundred dollars to get professional advice and consultation from an outfitter or Pristine Adventures you will never regret it and may help make your trip of a lifetime a success rather than a very painful learning experience. And you would probably save a lot of money in the long run. I agree with everyone else, do it yourself in Alaska for a trip of a lifetime is really rolling the dice in my opinion.

  18. #18
    New member c-ne-elk's Avatar
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    Default Quality Hunt

    Don V. - IMO, you should re-think your plan. You would be better off planning more time to do each species than trying to wack the first moose, bear or sheep that you see. Allow more time per species and ENJOY the hunt, don't be rushed.

    Also, until you actually come up on a downed AK moose, you don't have a clue what you are in for. I had been involved with over 5o elk and 2 Shiras Moose that we have packed out on our backs over the years when I went on my AK Moose hunt and got my moose. I THOUGHT I was prepared for the amount of meat that would be laying on the ground but I was surprised / shocked at the size!

    Alaska is BIG country. While there are a lot of animals in Alaska, there are less animals per square mile than in the lower 48 and a heck of a lot of miles. It often takes TIME to find that animal that you are looking for.

    Don't rush things, spend some quality time in the field and ENJOY yourself and the beautiful wilds of Alaska!

  19. #19
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    Default Break up the 21 days into 2-3 shorter hunts.

    If it were me and I was going to be coming to AK for 21 days hunting with my sister. There would be some serious concerns with if my sis was gonna be able to tow the line. Keep in mind here, if she falls out for whatever reason, you are done. With that in mind, I would strongly consider breaking my time up for species specific hunts. Since you have said sheep hunting is your primary goal, this is what I would attack first, but with some realistic goals in mind. I will assume you are of moderate means like 99% of us who frequent the hunting woods, if not, my apologies. With that said, here is what I would do. I would scan the regs until you find the 3/4 curl area for Dalls Sheep (it shouldn't take too long) and consider a walk in hunt for 4-5 days to look around for rams. Yes the hunting pressure is fairly high in these spots early in the year, but you won't be hunting in Aug if you are wanting to look for Moose anyway. I have killed 2 nice rams on walk-in hunts in the past three years, and one year I broke my back and had to miss a season. Alot of people have a misconception about how far they think they can travel in 4-5 days on foot, therefore they discount this style of sheep hunting. But again, keep in mind your sis and her abilities, keep her fairly comfortable and safe and don't push it. Chances are, you will not kill a 40" ram, but you will see sheep and a lot of them. A 3/4 ram on a DIY hunt IS a trophy, if you don't think so, stay home. After the sheep hunt, I would take care of everything you need to do over the course of a few days. Such as meat care and replenishing some supplies and resting up for the next part of the adventure.
    Now, I am gonna throw a river out there that is no secret to anyone here in AK and it still produces moose to those who have the time and are willing to work for it. The Gulkana river can be accessed at the back side of Paxton Lake which you can drive to and launch your raft. You can paddle across or have someone give you a motorized pull to the outlet. From there, if you have the least bit of rafting experience, you will begin a 4-6 day trip down the river to the take out at Sourdough campground. You will have to get out of your raft and hunt for the Moose, but trust me there is 1 or 2 available for the guy who times it right and has a little luck. Do not, DO NOT shoot any of the Caribou, you WILL see them but you are not legally allowed to harvest one as a NR and even residents have to live in the GMU to be eligible for a bou. Again, DON"T SHOOT ONE. The water on the Gulkana is class I-II with one bad spot you can portage around, but overall its been pretty mellow the times I have run it.(often) Then, after you take care of the moose meat and rest up, especially if you shot a 50" plus moose. You will then proceed to another nearby river called the Klutina. Now, unless you are experienced with fast water and pucker factor, take a picture of the river and go back to the lower 48. If by chance you are prepared and capable to handle the trip, you will then launch from the Klutina bridge and rapidly head towards the mighty Copper River. Here is where I am going to get blasted by the forum members for sending you to your certain doom, but many of the naysayers have heard of the Copper instead of running it. I have run the Copper in the Spring and yes it can be a very dangerous river indeed, especially if it was a hot few days before you run it. But in the fall of the year, when you will be going, it is normally very manageable and happens to be a pretty good hangout for both species of bears, we have killed several of all sizes off the Copper. You will proceed down the Copper River in the early hours of the day due to the high winds, trust me, and you will patiently sit and wait for Ursus to make himself seen. Your sis can help you glass the surrounding hills or she can hang out and read or get a tan (its way hot then) or whatever. You will normally have to wait till the bear comes below high water mark to forego any issues with land use rights and the Native Corporations, but every bear we have ever seen was in a good spot to begin with. If you happen to have any serious issues during the trip, there are several occupied homes within walking distance of the river, some you can even see from the river on the bluffs above. You will take 4-5 days to reach the take-out at the Chitina bridge. Do Not go past this bridge, if you do it is going to take you a bit out of your way. We normally run the Copper all the way to the Million Dollar bridge for Spring bears, but the hunting is as consistent in the first stretch as the last longer section. At this point, you give your sister a big hug and tell her thanks and she will probably tell you to never call her again. She will smell like the stinking grizzly hide you had her fleshing on for the last few days. What you have done is break down your 21 days into something fairly manageable, where at any point if you had to stop because of whatever, you would still have had the opportunity most would have killed for.

    Before you ever step foot on a plane and come up here, make **** sure you are prepared for what AK has to offer, because she will snuff you out in a second along with your sister if you come to the table unprepared.

    Good Luck and God Speed

    I apologise in advance for anyone who felt I gave up to much info, but trust me, none of what I have divulged is a secret to many.

    Duster
    CEO of IBO

  20. #20
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Three weeks!

    Three weeks is an awful long time to try to keep meat in the field; especially if you go in August and / or shoot game early. Granted, my library has several books from the old days when month-long hunts were relatively common, however meat salvage ethics and legal restrictions for same have changed significantly since then. Three weeks is fine if you break the trip in half with at least a meat haul flight. Perhaps one idea would be to hunt sheep and 'bou up high, have the airplane come in for meat / trophies, and continue down low for moose and bear. It could work.

    If you go that route, make sure your air charter gets your game to a processor right away. This means you have to make advance arrangements.

    Also, I wouldn't do a longer trip without top notch gear. You'll want a bomb-proof tent, a good warm bag, and pad, along with a pack that can handle the loads and good footwear. Being in good shape doesn't hurt either.

    Not discouraging a longer trip, but you just have to know what you're doing and be geared / mentally prepared for it. Lotsa ways to die out there in three weeks.

    -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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