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Thread: 2013 Caribou Hunt Help

  1. #1
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    Default 2013 Caribou Hunt Help

    My Dad has decided he wants to come to Alaska next fall for a Caribou hunt and I want to try and do everything I can to make that happen! He's 70 this year and if we're gonna do it, now is the time.

    I have done just some basic reading but would love some direction from you guys as to where to start planning a hunt of this kind. I will start with the regulations. Trophy animal quality is not important, we are more interested in the experience and spending time together enjoying our favorite pasttime. My dad is in pretty decent shape for 70 but a really physically demanding hunt isn't desirable. He has done a cruise ship tour of Alaska a few years ago, but that is our only experience in your beautiful state.

    Are we too late to get something set up for next year? Any guidance you could provide would be very helpful! We are both very experienced big game hunters and elk hunt in Colorado about every other year.

    Thanks!
    Chris

  2. #2
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    Chris,

    Most of the people on this forum are going to recommend two different hunts. One would be the North Slope and the other Kotzebue. Others would be able to chime in and let you know what the transporters schedules look like, but if you act quickly you should be able to get someone to fly you in for either of these hunts next year. I've hunted the North Slope and have been successful, but I have heard fantastic things about Kotzebue. Both represent different logistical challenges. Kotzebue will be more expensive to fly to, but does not require you to rent a vehicle and drive from Fairbanks nearly 350-400 miles north to reach Happy Valley (where most transporters work out of for the Slope).

    Many people will recommend Mike Strahan, whom I believe owns this sight, as a hunt planner. He has a website and provides varying levels of "help" planning your hunt. It might be worthwhile to enlist someone like him to help you, as you have never hunted Alaska before.

    Most will recommend that you thoroughly read the regulations and reread the regs for the area you are going to hunt. Alaska is a giant state and their regulations can seem overwhelming. With a little due diligence you can be prepared for your hunt without much issue. But I caution against going unprepared, both with gear and knowledge of the regs.

    Hunting caribou does not require a guide in Alaska, but grizzly/brown bear, goats, and sheep do. So it isnt necessary for you to hire a guide, although you may choose to if money is not an issue and you want to both increase your odds for success and shortcut some of the work of learning about Alaska.

    I am no Alaska expert, but you can learn alot by reading this forum. I pay way more attention to this hunting forum than I do the one for my own state (PA). By and large this forum is filled with way more valuable information and less nonsense. People here are willing to help you, but most will encourage you to use the search function before asking questions. Once you've done that if you have trouble finding the answer you're looking for, ask and you will receive help.

    Hope this helps,

    Matt

  3. #3
    Member brule's Avatar
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    Hi Chris
    As Matt mentioned, a hunt planner is the way to go. My 71 year old father and I spent 2 weeks in September in the interior for moose. We used a hunt planner and it was worth every penny. It was an awesome experience. Doug

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    Quote Originally Posted by brule View Post
    Hi Chris
    As Matt mentioned, a hunt planner is the way to go. My 71 year old father and I spent 2 weeks in September in the interior for moose. We used a hunt planner and it was worth every penny. It was an awesome experience. Doug

    Doug,

    Who did you use and how much did it cost? Feel free to reply via PM if you prefer.

    Thanks!
    Chris

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    There are two reliable hunt planners. As previously mentioned, Mike Strahan how does indeed own this site. The other is Larry Bartlett who owns pristineventures.com. Check their websites for the services they offer. First thing to do is figure out a budget. Airline transport in, filight to your jump off location, air service to the actual hunt location and license and tags. Then are you bringing gear or are you trying to rent gear or use an outfitter? Then food. Meat care should be high on the planning list. Last time I checked, and it may have changed, there is no place in Kotzebue to store meat although Alaska Airlines website states they have both a freezer and a cooler there for cargo. Always plan for delays and always plan for rain.

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    Just adding my 2 cents, based on two trips to AK from Outside: The cost for the Hunt Planners is CHEAP, well worth every penny. I have several friends who've told me they can't afford a hunt planner but, somehow, they can afford to go to Alaska every few years and come home with nothing. Sure, they have a great time but they do have regrets about logistics, broken promises and lack of success.

  7. #7
    Member brule's Avatar
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    Chris, You can drop me an email at dhoftiezer@frontier.com if you want to discuss our hunt and planning. You haven't reached the number of posts to PM yet. Doug

  8. #8
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Hello Chris,

    (Here I go over-communicating again. But I think this question has a broader appeal, so I am writing this not to you alone, Chris, but also to other hunters who have similar needs)

    I have spent many years putting Alaska big-game hunts together specifically for my dad and I, so I think I can relate to your situation somewhat. We made some great emories. You have these years right now to make those memories that you will have for the rest of your life. It's important to make it count. My dad and I never really hunted big-game while I was growing up (it was mostly waterfowl back in those days), so I ended up teaching myself how to hunt big-game after I moved away from home. My first landing spot was Oregon, where I met and married the woman who is now my wife. Her father was an avid mule deer hunter and I learned the ropes from him. Through a convoluted process I eventually wound up in Alaska, where I dove into big-game hunting with great enthusiasm. I tell folks that I killed a moose in the first hour of the first day of my very first moose hunt. Problem was, it was three miles from the lake and it took me most of a week to pack it out. That was my baptism by fire, and I realized pretty quickly that my smart idea of hunting high where nobody else was, may not have been such a good idea. So I started listening to other Alaska hunters, and learning from them. From there I wound up discovering float hunting, together with my hunting partner at the time. We had a lot of great memories together and he finally moved out of state, so I guess I'm on my own now.

    Along the way I started teaching seminars on float hunting and hunt planning back in 1991, and soon followed with a seminar on meat and trophy care. The float hunting seminars were titled, "Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers", a take-off of Jay Massey's "Bow Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers" (Jay was a personal friend and I had the highest respect for him). I still do those seminars at outdoor shows. Somewhere along the line someone convinced me to write a book on float hunting, a process I began in 1996 or so (I signed a publishing contract for it in March 1997). It took most of 12 years to write, and it was finally out in print in January 2008. The title of the book was the same as the float hunting seminars, and it seems to have been pretty useful to some folks, so maybe I hit the mark with that project. My goal with the seminars and the book was to help some hunters avoid making expensive mistakes, and to share the joy of float hunting with hunters who may not have experienced it.

    I started consulting with hunters during the early part of my seminar years, and eventually hung out the shingle and became a paid hunting consultant. My wife told me that if I was going to spend that kind of time on the phone with hunters, it better pay for itself, so... here we are.

    That said, I have always been taught to give more than I take, and so I started writing for this site way back at the beginning, and I eventually purchased the site from David Johnson, it's original founder. Since I purchased the site I have done my best to add tons of new and relevant content for our members, all of which is currently available here for free. Lately I have been converting some of my seminar material into articles on the site. Here is a list of some of those pages, if you are interested:

    Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers: Intro
    Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers: River Terminology
    Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers: Costs and Budgeting
    Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers: River Selection
    Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers: Boat Selection
    Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers: River Gear

    Okay, so now we come to your caribou hunt.

    I agree with some of what's been written here, however there are several herds in Alaska that are doing well right now. The biggest issues you'll find are access and timing. Access in terms of suitable landing places, sure. But also in terms of even getting a seat on an aircraft. Some of our charters are booking solid two years or more in advance. Timing is huge when it comes to caribou. As you probably know, they are constantly on the move, and though they might make the same circuit year after year, they don't always do it at the same time. In fact, these last few years have seen some significant changes in migration timing in some areas. If you go when Uncle Hank went ten years ago, you might end up with little more than an expensive camping trip.


    I think it would be worthwhile for you to have a look at our HUNT PLANNING SECTION of the main site. It contains a wealth of information you will find useful in planning an Alaska expedition hunt. You might also have a look at our Caribou Hunting Page for more details, Finally, you might be interested in my consulting service, where I assist you in putting your hunt together. It's very comprehensive, and you can view a video on how it works AT THIS LINK, or read about it AT THIS LINK.


    Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

    Best regards,

    -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

  9. #9
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    Great info everyone! I can't thank you enough! Now i gotta start reading and learning!

    Thank you so much!

    Chris

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    My Dad was 70 last year when he went along with my sons and I on a Brooks Range caribou float hunt. He had no problems though he did take an occasional nap. lol


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