Ok guys here we go!
This report is for you guys who are headed up to unit 23 so you poor guys who are going to unit 13 your on the wrong page. Ha....
I have been speaking with the pilots that fly mu groups out and the early reports are promising. The North Slope is seeing temps at the freezing mark which gets the Bou moving and starts to kill the bugs. As the temps drop in the next 2 weeks we can expect to see the animals band up into traveling groups in anticipation of the migration south. If you are hunting before Sept. 10th expect to be hunting in the upper Noatak, above the Nimmi. This area (quite lathe area) is where the early bow come down first and end up below the village of Ambler. Onion Portage sees most of the early animals so you guys who are hunting on the middle to upper Kobuk will be filling tags first. There is a huge group of animals milling around north of Kivalina but don't appear to be in any hurry to cross the mountains into the Noatak drainage. This is a bit different because that Kivalina group are normally well under 3,000 animals and not part of the main band that drops calves up near Wainright.
A thing to consider when you early guys head out... wait. Many of the early animals tend to be cows, calves and jr. bulls. The larger bulls tend to lag behind the early bands and a bit of restraint will yield a larger bull many times. Spend some time glassing and getting use to the size of the country in unit 23. Many times you will be able to see 2-3 groups of caribou at a time. Don't stalk those critters, intercept them! Good optics make all the difference in the world. Nothing stinks worse that spending hours getting range of a band of Bou only to find that they are cows, calves and 2-3 year old bulls. Be choosey.
We are shipping our last load of gear up to Kotz this week. I use the 3 week rule. Everything needs to be shipped 3 weeks before you need that gear. NAC, Everett's and Lynden all will tell you that it will arrive in 4-6 days but last year my gear was stuck in Anchorage for almost 3 weeks due to getting bumped and mechanical issues. If you have any questions about shipping gear up to Kotz shoot me a PM and I will tell you who I ship with and why.
Get ready boys....Its time!
Northwest Alaska Back Country
Drop Camps and Float hunts