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Thread: Brooks walk-in

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Default Brooks walk-in

    Ok fellas, got a contract in hand for a Brooks Range walk in hunt. Time to strap on a set!!!! I wanted to run a couple things by you all for thoughts/concerns/advice. Some background: I have been researching sheep hunts for about a year trying to find the right outfitter/hunt and totally stressing over spending this silly amount of money on a hunt. I am a hardcore bow hunter but with the money aspect weighing heavy on me, I was shying away from a bow hunt. I was considering it almost irresponsible to spend that kind of coin on a low percentage hunt. This sheep hunt will most likely be a one time deal for me. If I can do it again, I would be videoing my son. So after speaking to many, many outfitters, I find one that offered me a walk in hunt. Hunt plan is to bow hunt through the outfitter's bow only area for 2-3-4 days and see if we can arrow a sheep. If need be, we would then move into the rifle area. Looking for thoughts and advice as the walk in hunt was not my original plan. Every hunt I was considering was fly in. I know it will entail a more painful hike in. Also, what do u think about the bow/rifle thing?? A packer is included so multiple weapons and weight won't be an issue. The excitement meter is now pinned at the mere thought of chasing a Dall ram with a bow!!! Thanks in advance.

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    Sponsor protaxidermy's Avatar
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    IF it were me that was going to PAY a guide for a Sheep hunt It would not be a Walk in on the Brooks.

    There are ALOT of us that do that hunt area that DO NOT get a sheep.

    If I were planning on spending the money that a guided sheep hunt costs , I would try to get away from most of the hunters & hunting pressure.

    I would fly into the Canning River area Or the Hulla Hulla area. Lots more chances for a legal ram, Less pressure & a Hell of a lot less walking in most cases.

    I mount a Lot of sheep from the Brooks range & Most are coming from those areas, & the hunters usually tell me they never saw Any other hunters.


    I can GUARANTEE, you will see other hunters stalking the same sheep groups ANYwhere that has access from the haul road. I will probably be one of them unless I head for the White Mountains this year.


    Every place that there is to park along the haul road usually has atleast 3 pickups parked there & Several get more than that.

    I would hate to be paying THOUSANDS of dollars for a hunt just to have someone else blow the sheep out of the country. Its bad enough when it happens to us residents that do not have to pay a guide.

    Just my Opinion though.

    RJ Simington
    PRO Taxidermy Fairbanks

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    Fly in walk is... All the same mostly. Just cause a plane is involved don't mean much. I get dropped by planes all the time and sometimes still have to hoof it 10 plus miles.. Can't say much bout the area except don't expect to be alone ... Lots do that hunt up there..
    Not matter what guide weight should not be much of an issue for the hunter. I usually in guided sheep hunts carry everything except hunters personal belongings and sometimes ill even carry that.. Tough to do a bow hunt for a sheep knowing you have a gun too.. Makes it easy to give up on the bow when it gets tough

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    Fly in walk is... All the same mostly.
    I'll second what Bear said...at least to a degree. I know someone who flew into one of the drainages that RJ mentioned and, while he got a ram, he had 8+ hunters not in his party working the same area. Another friend walked in with a partner in the Brooks and didn't see a single other person while taking a ram each. Obviously there are exceptions in both directions, but a walk-in hunt can indeed be a quality hunt while a fly-in hunt can be just as crowded if not more so than a road system hunt.

    If you trust the guide, have a wonderful time and let us know how it goes!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post

    If you trust the guide, have a wonderful time and let us know how it goes!
    This quote is extremely important...!!!!!! Extremely !!!!
    You sound like you are doing your homework but at the end of the day it's a relationship and trust that you build with the guide that allows you to plunk down all that money ,if you feel he is offering you realistic expectations the I suspect you will have a hunt of a lifetime..

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I know of a hunter who went in guided off the haul road with a rifle. Got his sheep and a griz in just a couple days. He said that he could have shot full curl rams with his bow on the walk in. They saw no other hunters.

    Bear - I can't imagine hauling someone elses pack and my pack too......jeez - I must be gettin old!

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I know of a hunter who went in guided off the haul road with a rifle. Got his sheep and a griz in just a couple days. He said that he could have shot full curl rams with his bow on the walk in. They saw no other hunters.

    Bear - I can't imagine hauling someone elses pack and my pack too......jeez - I must be gettin old!
    Tried to send you a PM. Let me know when you clear out your box. Thx, Dan

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    Like others have said, a flyout hunt can be just as crowded. One of the areas we hunt in the Brooks had a guide, and a number of other planes at the strip, it felt very crowded. You still better plan on walking a long ways. The walk-in off the road is not a high success hunt. Talking with the bio for that area, mature ram numbers are lower than the rest of the Brooks. If you were to hunt later in the season then you'd likely see fewer hunters. Everyone wants to hit the opener. But you're likely to see some snow too.

    If I were going to have a once in a lifetime experience an depending on what you're paying for this, I'd do a flyout. Have you looked into the Chugach archery tags? There's outfitters there that take archery hunters every year and do fairly well.

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    Like others have said, a flyout hunt can be just as crowded. One of the areas we hunt in the Brooks had a guide, and a number of other planes at the strip, it felt very crowded. You still better plan on walking a long ways. The walk-in off the road is not a high success hunt. Talking with the bio for that area, mature ram numbers are lower than the rest of the Brooks. If you were to hunt later in the season then you'd likely see fewer hunters. Everyone wants to hit the opener. But you're likely to see some snow too.

    If I were going to have a once in a lifetime experience an depending on what you're paying for this, I'd do a flyout. Have you looked into the Chugach archery tags? There's outfitters there that take archery hunters every year and do fairly well.

    Thx much for the reply. Sending a PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa 5-0 View Post
    The excitement meter is now pinned at the mere thought of chasing a Dall ram with a bow!!! Thanks in advance.
    If you are in tip top shape then I say go for it. The only thing I would be a little concerned about would be only giving yourself 2-4 days. If you are as a dedicated archer as you say you are, I would say forget the rifle and give yourself more time with the bow......but that's just me. Think of the sense of accomplishment if you are successful. And if not.............it's only money....right?...........lol

    btw.....of the sheep I've killed with a rifle, a number of them I could have killed with an arrow, I stalked that close......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Think of the sense of accomplishment if you are successful. And if not.............it's only money....right?...........lol

    btw.....of the sheep I've killed with a rifle, a number of them I could have killed with an arrow, I stalked that close......

    Thx for the info sir. On the other side of that coin, I keep having this quick dream of me curled up in a ball in the corner of a tent, wearing my lacrosse helmet, sucking my thumb because a 40"er walked by at a 100yds and my rifle was in PA. LMAO!!! It's all good though. Like you said, its only money and the wife and kids sure ain't gonna put it in the box with me. And the sense of accomplishment would be unreal!!!!

    For you bowhunters that have pulled it off, what did the shot ranges look like??? I had a guy tell me on the phone yesterday to be able to shoot out to 100yds. Targets at that range, no problem. But I would never shoot at a live animal that far. Not saying it can't be done. Old Freddie Bear made a living at it. But IMHO, its not ethical. What the hunting shows don't show you is all the animals running around with arrows in their asses because bozos are launching haymakers at anything that moves. Just not my bag.


    Thx for the info and the advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa 5-0 View Post
    Thx for the info sir. On the other side of that coin, I keep having this quick dream of me curled up in a ball in the corner of a tent, wearing my lacrosse helmet, sucking my thumb because a 40"er walked by at a 100yds and my rifle was in PA. LMAO!!!
    I'm sure as an avid bow hunter you've run into that before though haven't you?.......meaning a few monster bucks just out of bow range? I realize the $$$ thing has got you thinking, but understand, as I'm sure you do, you're not paying to kill a ram, you're paying for a hunt.....hunting in AK..... being out there in it, and having a great time. Hard to put a price on just that sometimes.

    I guided a bow hunter from WI. for a combo moose/bou. I called in 7 bull moose for him and he blew it on 3, 60-65" plus bulls.....never took a shot....(guy was a stand hunter and didn't know how to stalk.....long story). We were in range of a few caribou too. But after all that money he ended up not killing a thing. But that guy told me he had the time of his life, and would love to do it again. I had a lot of respect for him after saying that for sure....

    BTW......I offered him my rifle many a time, but he declined......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa 5-0 View Post
    Thx for the info sir. On the other side of that coin, I keep having this quick dream of me curled up in a ball in the corner of a tent, wearing my lacrosse helmet, sucking my thumb because a 40"er walked by at a 100yds and my rifle was in PA. LMAO!!! It's all good though. Like you said, its only money and the wife and kids sure ain't gonna put it in the box with me. And the sense of accomplishment would be unreal!!!!

    For you bowhunters that have pulled it off, what did the shot ranges look like??? I had a guy tell me on the phone yesterday to be able to shoot out to 100yds. Targets at that range, no problem. But I would never shoot at a live animal that far. Not saying it can't be done. Old Freddie Bear made a living at it. But IMHO, its not ethical. What the hunting shows don't show you is all the animals running around with arrows in their asses because bozos are launching haymakers at anything that moves. Just not my bag.


    Thx for the info and the advice.
    Pa not tryin to sound harsh here and certainly dont want to come across wrong.. You are paying for an experience with a reasonable chance of harvest. Its up to you to decide within yourself as to what you want to do with it.. You know how bow hunting is so I say this as a working man myself...dont let the money dictate your choice.. If you are truely after a sheep with a bow then this sounds like the hunt for you and the cool thing about the corridor is you dont have to worry about a gun hunter shooting one out from under you.. Sheep hunts are tough enough so I dont suggest trying to break up your hunt into smaller chunks as you may screw yourself in the end.. If you still want to have the gun back up thing and I honestly see nothing wrong with that then just ask your guide to carry your rifle or shoot his.. Anyone telling you to shoot a sheep with a bow at a 100yards is a moron.... the world record fita group IIRC is barely the kill zone size of a sheep...just sayin I would keep your shots within your comfort range....

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I'm sure as an avid bow hunter you've run into that before though haven't you?.......meaning a few monster bucks just out of bow range? I realize the $$$ thing has got you thinking, but understand, as I'm sure you do, you're not paying to kill a ram, you're paying for a hunt.....hunting in AK..... being out there in it, and having a great time. Hard to put a price on just that sometimes.

    I guided a bow hunter from WI. for a combo moose/bou. I called in 7 bull moose for him and he blew it on 3, 60-65" plus bulls.....never took a shot....(guy was a stand hunter and didn't know how to stalk.....long story). We were in range of a few caribou too. But after all that money he ended up not killing a thing. But that guy told me he had the time of his life, and would love to do it again. I had a lot of respect for him after saying that for sure....

    BTW......I offered him my rifle many a time, but he declined......
    That dude sounds like he is serious about the stick and limbs. With $20k on the street(hunt, gear and travel) I truly don't know if I would have the same fortitude. And yes, unfortunately I am super familiar with big Midwest bucks and RM elk being WITHIN bow range and not releasing an arrow. 15+ years in the Midwest and I could tell ya stories for days about legit Booners that I had the privilege of having a sub 20yd encounter with. Can't tell ya how many ran right under my tree chasing a doe. It's a killer rush seeing your dream buck run in and out of your life in ten seconds. Dozens and dozens of encounters and I have only released one arrow on a true Booner. And missed. All those years, I only went out there once with a shotgun and killed the buck in my profile pic. I had countless encounters with him and his twin brother over the course of three years. I was losing that lease forever and I had just had my second child so hunting time restrictions were coming. Shot him on opening day of gun season after chasing him for another 7 days with the bow. Only gun kill I ever mounted. Not a day goes by I don't look in my gun room to check him out. Long winded point being: Archery is a passion and addiction short on mounts, heavy on memories. I am sending the deposit check tomorrow. With the help of the guys on this forum, I will work on mustering the balls to totally commit to the bow. I greatly appreciate your advice and thoughts.

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    Pa not tryin to sound harsh here and certainly dont want to come across wrong.. You are paying for an experience with a reasonable chance of harvest. Its up to you to decide within yourself as to what you want to do with it.. You know how bow hunting is so I say this as a working man myself...dont let the money dictate your choice.. If you are truely after a sheep with a bow then this sounds like the hunt for you and the cool thing about the corridor is you dont have to worry about a gun hunter shooting one out from under you.. Sheep hunts are tough enough so I dont suggest trying to break up your hunt into smaller chunks as you may screw yourself in the end.. If you still want to have the gun back up thing and I honestly see nothing wrong with that then just ask your guide to carry your rifle or shoot his.. Anyone telling you to shoot a sheep with a bow at a 100yards is a moron.... the world record fita group IIRC is barely the kill zone size of a sheep...just sayin I would keep your shots within your comfort range....
    Appreciate the thoughts and advice Bear. Maybe after I make all the payments to the outfitter, I can get over the money thing. Til then, I just have to choke it back I guess!! Until then, I will be hiking and shooting my arse off. Thx again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa 5-0 View Post
    Appreciate the thoughts and advice Bear. Maybe after I make all the payments to the outfitter, I can get over the money thing. Til then, I just have to choke it back I guess!! Until then, I will be hiking and shooting my arse off. Thx again.
    Just remember you will be doing one of the top things on the bucket list for many a hunter,and most will never get a chance and for them it will always be a dream. And a lot of Alaskans may sometimes take sheep hunting for granted but it is one of the greatest hunts in the world as far as I am concerned. I wish you nothing but the best of luck...listen to your guide...get in shape and remember quitting is not an option

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    Pa 5-0 I wouldn't worry. Miller knows what hes doing. He runs a small outfit and you will have a good opportunity. Presently he his living and renovating our old homestead house. Just make sure your boots are broke in and you are doing stadiums with your pack to get ready. Also work on shooting and prepping with both weapons systems. Best.

    Thomas

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    If you wanna commit to doing this with a bow, don't don't don't bring the rifle. I guided quiet a few bow hunters and all the ones that brought guns used them the ones that didn't wounded and lost all their animals. It kinda blows my mind that bow hunting is still legal.... Based off what I've witnessed. But that's for another thread. (I know rifle hunters loose stuff too)
    When I prep to now hunt I shoot 80 yards a lot just to be comfortable with 50. Practice at 100 and just see what happens but it'll make those mid range shots seem like cake!! The best shape you can be in will make or break your trip. Have a great time up there.... I miss it!
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    The only thing I would be a little concerned about would be only giving yourself 2-4 days.
    I agree. I f I only had a few days, I would opt for a single method. A couple days with the bow is not nearly enough time to talk myself into the boom stick. I've had this dilemma with Haul Rd. caribou, too. After seven days of unsuccessful stalks, my buddy and I still left the rifle in the truck and bow hunted the last couple days, coming home empty handed. We all want to kill an animal, especially on these expensive trips, but that's bow hunting. I'm not a bow hunter because it is the most efficient method of killing game. I do it because the last 50 yards of the stalk are way more exciting than stopping 200 yards away and saying, "boom."

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    Member honeybadger's Avatar
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    If youre not already committed I would consider checking out one of the horseback outfitters that go into the Alaska Range from Healy... And start getting into "sheep shape" now. The Brooks west of the Haul Road has some great opportunities and I didnt see a single hunter in the 10 miles out that I trekked last year, however I flew in and I definitely wouldn't consider walking in from the Dalton (thats not an easy walk and it would have been a much longer hike had I attempted that!). I know quite a few bow hunters that walk in around Atigun pass trying to arrow a ram, and that leads me to believe there are alot more that I don't know that have the same game plan. Just my two cents, either way good luck and I hope you have a great trip.

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