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Thread: Solo Caribou Hunt Bush Pilot

  1. #1
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    Default Solo Caribou Hunt Bush Pilot

    Good Mornin' everyone.

    This is my first post, and definitely not my last -- AO seems to be the best place for all things AK. Thank you for reading.

    I'm headed to Kotzebue to hunt Bou mid-September but have not found a bush pilot that will drop off a solo hunter. So, I figured I would ask around to see who might be willing to taxi a savvy hunter without a partner.

    I'm a humble hunter. I hunt hard. I hunt solo. I hunt all year. I'm from Colorado (I know, I know, CO guys are notoriously overconfident) but I've spent more time in a bivy than I'd care to admit. This is my first venture to AK and caribou seemed like a great place to start.

    I've contacted a few pilots and a few have been responsive and others have said "no way" to flying a solo guy out.

    Any light that you can shed on the subject would be great.

    Cheers,

    Chasewild

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Aside from just finding a pilot to take you solo, you may have a hard time this late in the game finding a pilot period.

    Hope you manage something.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWB View Post
    Aside from just finding a pilot to take you solo, you may have a hard time this late in the game finding a pilot period.

    Hope you manage something.
    Which is why I'm here -- coming right down to the wire. The hunt may need to wait, but I'm still trying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasewild View Post
    Which is why I'm here -- coming right down to the wire. The hunt may need to wait, but I'm still trying.
    You might want to consider expanding your hunt region to the Brooks Range, you'll be able to expand your pilot availability substantially.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Instead of Kotz, you could get 70 North to fly you out of Happy Valley I believe he will fly solo hunters I know he has in the past. You could also just hike in off the road and not have to worry about a air taxi.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Have you talked to Walt at Gulkana Rafting? He works out of Kotz in the fall, and I'm sure if there's a pilot who will drop you off out there, he'd know who it might be.

    907-259-42ninezero
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    I have considered the Haul Road option but it's not the kind of "AK" hunt I'm looking for. I will Call 70 North today. Thanks so much for the idea.


    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Instead of Kotz, you could get 70 North to fly you out of Happy Valley I believe he will fly solo hunters I know he has in the past. You could also just hike in off the road and not have to worry about a air taxi.

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    Skinny D -- Thanks so much for the referral. I'll get on the phone with Walt today.


    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    Have you talked to Walt at Gulkana Rafting? He works out of Kotz in the fall, and I'm sure if there's a pilot who will drop you off out there, he'd know who it might be.

    907-259-42ninezero

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasewild View Post
    I have considered the Haul Road option but it's not the kind of "AK" hunt I'm looking for. I will Call 70 North today. Thanks so much for the idea.
    Most guys up that way will hunt near the road, if you are willing to walk out of the 5 mile corridor you would most likely not see another hunter. Especially if you have a raft and cross the sag. Just a thought to keep in mind. I hunt up there about every year and very rarely see anyone more than a mile or so from the road.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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  10. #10
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Steve (stid) nailed it with his description of what the Haul Road can offer to the hunter who is willing to walk. When I went up there I was inundated with warnings about having to outrace other hunters to the caribou as they approached the road. That is true enough, but once I was 1-2 miles off the road I was all alone. A true wilderness experience could be had up there if someone was simply willing to walk.

    As for a couple other suggestions, you might consider advertising here for a hunt partner. You and another person who prefers to hunt solo could fly in together, then grab your gear and head in opposite directions only to reunite at the strip once your hunt was complete. You'd get the solo hunt you're looking for while also finding a way to fly in.

    I have no idea if he flies solo hunters, but for an amazing wilderness experience I'd also call Kirk Sweetsir with Yukon Air. He could put you on caribou in the Brooks Range out of Fort Yukon. That experience would equal or exceed anything you'd likely find out of Kotzebue.

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    Great info -- as expected from this site.

    I'll contact Yukon and if nothing comes up, your suggestion for finding a hunt partner is a great idea.

    Thanks again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Steve (stid) nailed it with his description of what the Haul Road can offer to the hunter who is willing to walk. When I went up there I was inundated with warnings about having to outrace other hunters to the caribou as they approached the road. That is true enough, but once I was 1-2 miles off the road I was all alone. A true wilderness experience could be had up there if someone was simply willing to walk.

    As for a couple other suggestions, you might consider advertising here for a hunt partner. You and another person who prefers to hunt solo could fly in together, then grab your gear and head in opposite directions only to reunite at the strip once your hunt was complete. You'd get the solo hunt you're looking for while also finding a way to fly in.

    I have no idea if he flies solo hunters, but for an amazing wilderness experience I'd also call Kirk Sweetsir with Yukon Air. He could put you on caribou in the Brooks Range out of Fort Yukon. That experience would equal or exceed anything you'd likely find out of Kotzebue.

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    Chasewild:

    I outfit out of Kotz and I have solo guys that go out every year or 2. Shoot me a PM and I can refuse you to one of my pilots.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    907-259-4290

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gulkana Rafting View Post
    Chasewild:

    I outfit out of Kotz and I have solo guys that go out every year or 2. Shoot me a PM and I can refuse you to one of my pilots.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    907-259-4290
    He runs a good operation in the summer. I have no doubt he'll treat you right in the fall as well.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    What kind of Alaskan adventure are you looking for? The haul road has provided more than plenty of opportunities for many of us over the years. Agreed though you gotta get away from the hooligans on the road! I've had good experiences with 70 degree north, on a side note be sure your plans are flexible, weather has delayed people several days on both sides of their once in a lifetime adventures! I heard it stated once that "if you have time to spare fly". So true! The fog or weather will settle and there isn't a responsible pilot out there foolish enough to fly sometimes, even with deadlines you have to meet you'll have to sit. Solo on your first trip would be an adventure for sure. Get a sat phone.

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    Stick with your plan Chasewild, if you have the experience to hunt things like elk solo in Co you can handle a bou hunto ut of Kotz. I get where you are coming from in wanting to have the full experience of heading out to a bush village, fly out to a remote spot and to hunt to your heart's intent. I wish I could be of help with the pilot but my experience does not range to Kotz, but wish you the best of luck. All this kind of hunt takes is cash, good gear, and the right attitude. If you are in the bou, the hunting is not hard, the terrain and weather may be, but again, gear and attitude take care of this part.

    Looking forward to hearing about it.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gulkana Rafting View Post
    Chasewild:

    I outfit out of Kotz and I have solo guys that go out every year or 2. Shoot me a PM and I can refuse you to one of my pilots.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    907-259-4290
    Walt, I think you meant to say you will "REFER' NOT REFUSE!!!!! Sometimes while re-reading my type I find I make all kinds of errrors so it happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sambuck12 View Post
    What kind of Alaskan adventure are you looking for? The haul road has provided more than plenty of opportunities for many of us over the years.
    Clearly he hasn't heard about the dimes working the restaurant in Deadhorse.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Thanks! and yes I type and forget to spell check many times.

    Walt

    www.Northwestalaska.net
    Float and drop hunts in unit 23
    Kotzebue

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