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Thread: Lessons learned from this years 2012 unguided caribou drop hunts

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Default Lessons learned from this years 2012 unguided caribou drop hunts

    Looking back this fall, I was wandering if you guys could share experiences from your unguided Caribou drop hunts? What problems/bad experiences did you have or good experiences did you have? What air carriers would you recommend in the areas that you hunted and why? What air carriers would you NOT recommend and why? What things would you do the same or what things would you have done different? Thanks AG

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    Let broaden the question. For those who have does a unguided drop off caribou hunt in the past, what advise would you share with others interested booking a hunt. What time of year? What air carriers did you use? What things would you do the same or what things would you have done different? We know this forum does not allow people to bash transporters and other services, so to restate the question of if you used a air carrier would you use them again or would you look elsewhere. Thanks in advance.

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    I guess nobody learned anything. Bad Post. My bad!

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    Member logman 49's Avatar
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    I was hoping you would get some responses as I'm contemplating a hunt like this in the future with my son.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Things I've learned from my past few drop hunts out of Kotz:

    Advance and often communication with your transporter is critical (let them know your expectations, limitations etc)
    never go on a fly out/remote hunt without a sat phone
    you don't need the kitchen sink with you, but redundancy of critical items isn't necessarily a bad idea (fire making items, water making items etc)
    make sure everyone has a sleeping bag before you take off (this is a hard lesson learned!)
    attitude is everything when you are in the field...stay positive, and enjoy the experiences. Invariably, something(s) won't go as planned, but don't let these things ruin the trip.

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    Member bigdog's Avatar
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    Well I have done some of these hunts over the last few years, I use 70 North out of Happy Valley... I would say dates around the 20th of August have worked best for our hunts.... It can be cool this time of year in the Brooks Range so bring a good sleeping bag, I think I have been there seven times during this timeframe and got snowed on every single time... Usually it is a dusting or a couple of inches but the first year I took a bag that was only good to 20 or 30 degrees and froze my butt off, now I take my marmot that is good to zero and I sleep great, I hate to wake up with my teeth chattering... Bring plenty on instant coffee or hot chocolate good to have before bed to keep you warm, and again in the morning to warm up... Good luck guys

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    ok deleted my other post cause quite honestly it sucked.. I typically dont do the transporter thing but if I were this is what I would do... First pick an area or herd to hunt... I have heard very good things from the kotz area but I do NOT have any experience there and dont know any transporters.. Also I hear nothing but good things about 70 north up on the slope.. They would be my first two choices... I would as Frostbitten suggested and that is open up a good line of communication with the outfit you choose.. they should be able to give you general ideas on herd movements from past years....when have been the best times...ect.. Also ask every question you think of.. Ask about incidental kills such as a bear, and what additional costs for extra meat.. find out if and how much to to a mid hunt move if necessary due to lack of game movement... Ask if they and how often they check on you and if possible to fly meat you may have back to cold storage or similar... Ask them how much gear you are allowed and my suggestion is to use every pound you are allowed to make a more comfy camp.... Bring some comfort items that will make you days better to keep an up beat attitude... Always remember they are caribou and they feed at 5mph or so....do the math if you are not seeing them it dont mean squat....wait a while.. just have fun..

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Thanks for ya'll input. Yeah, I'm looking at an outfitter out of Happy Valley. Looks like we might only have the first of August to hunt. I really don't want to have to deal with the heat and bugs. I was also wanting hard antlers not velvet. I have to work the whole month of Sept. so I might have to find somebody that has an opening in Oct.

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    October's Bull Caribou are in Rut.

    YUCKKK!!!!! And not to put you down, I think you must at least be informed.........its just a fact that is specific to Caribou.

    August Bulls are Wonderfull , and so are the skins. Antlers are in velevet , but the meat will be fat and fresh as the greens that they eat.

    Good luck, what ever you do.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by agoyne View Post
    Thanks for ya'll input. Yeah, I'm looking at an outfitter out of Happy Valley. Looks like we might only have the first of August to hunt. I really don't want to have to deal with the heat and bugs. I was also wanting hard antlers not velvet. I have to work the whole month of Sept. so I might have to find somebody that has an opening in Oct.
    +1 to what Stranger said. Plus I don't think any operators are still flying on the slope in Oct.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    My advice would be to never fly with Scenic Mtn Air out of Moose pass. They'll leave you stranded because the old fart has become scared of his shadow.


    Also, as mentioned, bring a Sat phone so you can call another place to pick you up. Have some back up #'s available or you'll wind up spending $200 on the camp close by (me/us) that had a Sat phone.... Like I said choose your flight service wisely!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Yep you fellers are right. They don't do the October hunts. They can get us in the first week of August, so that looks like the dates.

    I'm definitely bringing the Sat phone and the .500 S&W.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum View Post
    My advice would be to never fly with Scenic Mtn Air out of Moose pass. They'll leave you stranded because the old fart has become scared of his shadow.


    Also, as mentioned, bring a Sat phone so you can call another place to pick you up. Have some back up #'s available or you'll wind up spending $200 on the camp close by (me/us) that had a Sat phone.... Like I said choose your flight service wisely!!!!!!!!!!!
    I can't stress this enough....especially as it relates to flight services. High Adventure was GREAT and got the other guys out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum View Post
    I can't stress this enough....especially as it relates to flight services. High Adventure was GREAT and got the other guys out.
    I probably wouldn't be hunting Mulchatna for caribou though...had a rough go of it as of late... much better success rates up north

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    It wasn't the Mulchatna.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum View Post
    It wasn't the Mulchatna.....
    my bad thought high adventure hunted 9 and 17 which is mostly mulchatna...

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    Bugs in August on the North Slope ??

    Thats an UNDERSTATEMENT as to what we had up there the second week in August.

    We had 100% Deet caked on & Still got chewed to pieces.

    Velvet is not a problem that time of year as long as you get em back to town in just a couple days, Not in 7.

    We got in ALOT of caribou from guys that flew in with 70 North this year. They did pretty good.

    Also got a Ton of Caribou from the guys that hunted with Striker Overly of Alaska Arctic Adventures, & also a bunch from Phil at Arctic North Adventures.

    Arrowhead & Coyote Air work up north too & we heard good reports back from their hunters.

    Plan your hunt NOW & book soon or you will be slumming to find a transporter at the last minute.

    Always take some cold weather gear just in case.

    Last year we had 60 degrees one day & over night it turned to 35 degrees. Really got the Caribou moving .

    Study maps of the area you are flying into. It fogs in on a regular basis & you need to know where you are at all times.

    Spare Batteries for your GPS too. I learned that the hard way.

    I always take my 20 below sleeping bag, You can always unzip it but I never get cold.


    RJ Simington

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    Well, on the positive side, Bug Dope, sweat and dirt will combine to make you waterproof.......
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    my bad thought high adventure hunted 9 and 17 which is mostly mulchatna...
    Yes, but they'll drop you anywhere around the Kenai too. Maybe somebody had a permit...???
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Yes, but they'll drop you anywhere around the Kenai too. Maybe somebody had a permit...???

    Oh I hear ya but the op is looking at an unguided caribou drop hunt not a charter...different situations......and its no dig against high adventure

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