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Thread: Hunting Opportunities w/o Flying...

  1. #1
    Member NDTerminator's Avatar
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    Default Hunting Opportunities w/o Flying...

    OK guys, here's my question for today.

    This is based on the premise I land the position in Fairbanks and thus would be hunting that area. Needless to say I know I'll have to buy NR tags for this season/ possibly next and will hunt under the attendant restrictions. That's OK, I wouldn't want to mess with big bears or sheep until I have a couple of Alaskan years experience under my belt.

    I have a pilot's license but no aircraft. I do have two very capable 4WD trucks, a decent ATV, a 15'/30HP War Eagle, and a 14'/15HP jonboat (presuming I bring the boats rather than sell them). I also have two pretty good legs equipped with All Terain Feet.

    Given the area and my available transportation, how effectively can I expect to hunt big game? Are "day off" type hunts feasible, given the road/trail system (getting into an area by truck/to a trailhead by ATV then hunting in on foot and returning at the end of the day) ? Is it safe to assume moose and black bear would be the extent of the hit list?

    Is it unheard of for a couple regular joes with pilot licenses to pool their money to buy an aircraft and form sort of an informal outdoor-guy flying club?...

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Yes, it is completely feasible to do the short or even day hunts and find success. You just need to go into it with realistic expectations. I do almost all of my hunting on the road system (besides Kodiak deer, I've flown in to hunt once - unsuccessfully, by the way). I do have lower success rates than those who fly out to moose or caribou camp every year, but I enjoy my time in the woods every bit as much, and since I have to work harder to find an animal I would say that I even enjoy it more because I get to spend more tiem hunting! There are lots of places to hunt with an ATV, and a lot more with a small boat. The key here is going to be using your vehicle to get to a decent spot, and then getting out and hunting on foot. I have taken animals within spitting distance of my ATV, but the most successful hunters in these areas are those that use their legs as much, if not more, than their motorized source of transportation. Scouting will also be key. Spend the summer figuring out where you'd like to be and where the concentrations of animals are. Another great method to figuring things out would be to connect with a local and offer your packing services if he'll let you tag along. If you're going along as a helper and not another hunter to compete with, you might find plenty of folks willing to show you the ropes.

    I don't live in Fairbanks, so I can't give you any grand specific suggestions, but I just wanted to reassure you that yes, you can have a great time hunting off the road system in Alaska. Oh, and you can add caribou and eventually sheep to that list of road-accessible species. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Member barrowdave's Avatar
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    Default Flying

    NDT,

    Check out the Bush Flying section of this forum. A few weeks ago someone was looking for a pilot to buy into his Maule. Might be what you are looking for.

    Dave

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    Member walk-in's Avatar
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    Default weekend hunting

    I do a lot of weekend hunting trips. It is completely doable. You could reasonably expect to have a chance at moose, black and grizz bears, and caribou on a weekend trip from the Fairbanks area. I have a hunch you could do sheep, too, but I haven't tried that for a weekend trip yet....possibly this year.

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    Member NDTerminator's Avatar
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    Appreciate it much, guys. I figured it was doable, just looking for some annecdotal evidence. I couldn't imagine the majority of resident hunters having their own aircraft.

    I'm a firm believer in scouting and getting off the road on foot...

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    You can do it no prob. I have for years. Off the higway, atv, or small boat up a river. It seems that with atvers (or boaters for that matter) a lot of guys like to burn gas instead of hunt. I figure if your watching the trail or the river you can't be watching for game. I got my bull last year fairly close to Fairbanks on a well traveled atv trail but I was off the main trail a ways and hunting as opposed to atving. I watched lots of quads just drive up and down the trail.

    Day trips are doable but you double or triple your chances by doing even an over nighter. You can atv in after work, pitch a tent and hunt till dark. Wake up in the morning and crawl ouf your tent and be hunting. At least that's how I like to do it. Some guys like to set up a base camp and then hop on the quad at daylight a go for a ride. Ride back to camp in the afternoon and then ride out to hunt again until just before dark. Problem with this is your riding your quad when you should be glassing or calling.

    my .02 works for me.

  7. #7
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Walk-in hunting

    Without question you can do successful walk-in hunting in the Fairbanks area. I don't live up there but a number of our forum members do, and they could probably offer you specifics. But even if they don't, all you need is good research skills and some time. Here are a few tips:

    1. Get some good maps of the area. I'd start with the Alaska Atlas and Gazeteer, available on this website. "The Map Book" is an essential hunt planning tool. Later, once you start to narrow down on an area or three, you'll want the USGS 1:63,360 series topos.

    2. Locate the public lands in the area. Fairbanks has a lot of mining claims, homesteads, and such, along with other lands that are either not open to hunting or impractical to hunt. There are sources of public land information in Fairbanks. Start with the Bureau of Land Management and get further referrals from them as needed. It's your responsibility to know the land owners in your area. Don't expect private lands to be fenced or posted. In Alaska, they usually are not.

    3. Check the current Alaska Hunting Regulations for areas that are open for the species you are looking for. While you're at it, stop by the local ADFG office and get to know the area biologists. Cultivate a relationship with these folks and you'll find it pays big dividends over the years. Don't expect them to tell you anything they don't tell other folks, but they can help you sharpen the edge a bit. It's time well spent.

    4. Learn as much as you can about the target species. There are different resources for different species, along with some really good biological textbooks. One of my personal favorites is Wild Mammals of North America, edited by Feldhamer, Thompson and Chapman. It's expensive ($175 new), but you'll learn things that would otherwise take a lifetime to pick up. The more you learn about your animal, the more you will appreciate him, and the more successful you'll be hunting him.

    4. Scout the area. By this time you will have identified several spots worth another look. Get out and do some scouting on foot. Look for areas just off the beaten path or places likely to be overlooked by other hunters. I have found many productive hunting areas close to Anchorage (within 90 minutes of where I sit writing these words). We have taken many moose in these areas. One place we used to call "The Moose Patch", was within yards of a main highway. The way it worked was that there was a little dirt road that turned off into a small parking area that was screened from the main highway by some thick alders and birch. To avoid giving our little secret away, we'd drive slow until no cars were coming, then whip into the turnoff so nobody would see us. From there is was an easy 1.5 mile hike up through a wonderful birch forest, carpeted with an understory of willow and some alder. Eventually it became a series of benches as you ascended, and we'd just pick a bench on which to camp. We'd glass from there, and find bulls feeding along the edges of the forest just below us. My wife shot her first moose in there, and we killed many others. There are many, many places like this; you just have to do your homework.

    That's what I'd do, anyway. Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    The other thing you can do to improve your odds is to be a bow or muzzle load hunter. The typical rifle season is 2 or 3 weeks long depending on the area. The any bull areas are usually only 2 weeks. But, there are longer seasons for bow and some special seasons for muzzle loaders.

    Up here in the Interior there are several GMU's that are any bull as opposed to spike, fork, 50. That helps to if you aren't picky about horns.

    Oh, but don't forget, if you hike off the road a few miles and knock down a mature bull moose you'll have 1300-1800lbs of animal to deal with and 5-800lbs of meat to pack out! Plus horns, cape or hide if you want them! We got a big bull one year and ended up with 600lbs of boned out meat in the freezer!

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    Thanks Mike, that's pretty much my usual method even down here. Very reassuring to hear it's a good game plan up there as well.

    Snyd, I'm a dedicated bowhunter who last year put the high tech tackle away and went back to Traditional. I do have a 54 caliber Hawkens replica ( it's even left handed) but never really developed an appreciation for muzzle loading. I fully intend to continue bowhunting up there.

    The thought of walk in day or two hunting appeals to me. When I was younger (before cell phones and GPS) I used to hunt the ND Badlands this way. I would navigate in by topo and park the truck, then shoulder my pack, shoot a bearing, and take off into The Breaks. Simply crawl under a cedar at the end of the day and start again from there come morning. Never saw another person for as long as I cared to stay back in there. Little tough to do this now with all the oil activity, mountain bikers, and such now, but I still love to hunt the Badlands.

    Maybe I can smuggle some pronghorns into Alaska when I come up. That would make it perfect...
    Last edited by NDTerminator; 04-29-2007 at 05:54.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NDTerminator View Post
    Snyd, I'm a dedicated bowhunter who last year put the high tech tackle away and went back to Traditional. I do have a 54 caliber Hawkens replica ( it's even left handed) but never really developed an appreciation for muzzle loading. I fully intend to continue bowhunting up there.
    .......
    Maybe I can smuggle some pronghorns into Alaska when I come up. That would make it perfect...
    The area all around Fairbanks is open for moose with a bow. I know guys who carry thier bow in thier car because they might see one on the way to work. I know people who have stuck them in thiers or thier friends back yard.

    Go ahead and try bringing up a couple speedgoats!! Heck, I saw a pheasent in my yard in downtown Fairbanks a couple weeks ago! I'm from Montana and do miss hunting both those critters.

    I suppose now we'll start hearing all the North Dakotan, Montanan and Wyoming jokes!!


    Ya, I'm from Montana but I'm not going baaaaaaack.

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