river access for moose or caribou/hunt partner for 2014.
So, to start off, I know none of you are going to give GPS coordinates or any super secret spy stuff, and that's not really what I'm looking for. It's time for draw permits for next year, and I'm hoping to find enough information to at least know which permits to put in for.
I want to plan a solo float hunt next year, but I really don't know the rivers in Alaska. Last year I drew permits with a friend and depended entirely on him and his local knowledge. He flaked completely out, refused to even discuss planning the trip, then left for Wyoming to hunt Antelope. I didn't even get to hunt...at all. This coming year, I'm doing it all by myself. It has to be a float hunt because I don't own any 4 wheelers/ATVs/Motorized vehicles.
What I'm looking for is a river that will get me into an area that will give me at least a reasonable chance of success for either Moose or Caribou. It has to be a river I can run in an aluminum Grumman Sport Boat (15') with a 9.9 outboard and that I can access by road. I can't afford a fly in hunt and probably never will. I'm a pretty experienced small boat handler, but I don't have any white water experience, so I'm not up to running rapids and such. (And I'm going completely solo and would prefer to return in one piece.)
Are there any rivers in Alaska that fit this description? It's virtually impossible to tell from looking at USGS maps what the actual river conditions are.
Lastly, if there is anyone with significant local experience who would like to go with me, at my expense, and who lives in the Anchorage/Mat-Su area (so we can get to know each other and see if we're compatible prior to fall) then I'd be happy to have another person along. We can go in my truck, use my boat, and I'll buy all the fuel, etc. (I may start a separate thread on that idea at a later date.)
How are you? You'll get plenty of information here if you keep at it. Try also the canoe forum. Have you ever hunted moose by yourself? It can be pretty challenging. It can certainly be done, but you need to be prepared. What is the load capacity of that boat? I googled it.. didn't find the numbers. You'll need to be able to transport 600 pounds of meat plus your gear, and you. There are several rivers that meet your needs, but as soon as you get into road to road access you will not be alone unless you get creative... it might take a few years to find your niche... or maybe you get 200 yards from the put in and there stands a 60 inch bull on a pristine gravel bar.. I've heard that happens.
Hey, how's it going. Yeah I got "tons" of info lol.
Originally Posted by anchorrivercrowds
The boat is rated for 1k lbs, but that is under the old, pre 1972 rating system. After 1972, the Coast Guard changed the requirements to be floats level when swamped, which is why all the newer Sport Boats are rated at 750. As I figure it, I don't much care if the boat floats level when swamped. How deep is a creek anyway? I've put 650 in it (me, kid, dog, motor, fuel) and had miles of free board left.
No, I've never hunted moose by myself. I've never hunted moose. Last couple years I've tried to rely on others to help me "break in" to it, but always for nothing and one season after another went by-wasted. I really don't like the idea of going along (safety more than anything else, AK is not like FL), but I've realized that if I'm ever going to do it, and in a few years I'll be too old to do it, then I have to do it alone. So I've got my boat and my HF ham radio to call for help lol.
The sport boat will haul a good load. I don't know about inviting another person though. I would invite someone with their own freighter canoe to go along. Two boats and motors is a good thing. You could spend the rest of your life hunting different lakes and rivers up here. It is hard to getaway from the big horsepower type hunters. Airboats, jet boats... They can all get into skinny water and scare everything away for miles...
You ever read any posts on here by a guy using the handle mainer in ak? Or maybe another guy family man?
Both those guys have published about a million dollars worth of info you are looking for. In text and with photos. With river names as well.
First off, solo hunting is completely doable, just don't shoot it a mile off the river.....and don't drop it in the water. I did my first two solo and while it was a lot of work, making good decisions on distance and terrain, playing it conservative in all aspects, and pacing yourself getting it cut and packed are key to it being an enjoyable accomplishment.
Second, your weight limit is gonna be tight, a mature bull is about 400 lbs of finished meat, bone in you could estimate it at 500-600 (with head) to be conservative so factor that in to what you can bring etc. However I am not an experienced canoer so you would know better how much you can fudge those weight limits and still run safely.
Powerboat hunters do not scare everything away, perfect example is the Nushagak.....most folks run and gun, but all the buddies I have that walk a whopping quarter mile into the bush do just fine....well even. Lining your canoe up a trib will open up plenty of area that the others will have to hike hard to mess with you. Most river hunters do not stray all that far from the boat.....and rarely have to if they did indeed choose to do so.
I have no tips on location off the road, but Mainer is definitely one of the more prolific posters on the topic and can put you in the right direction for gear, technique and safety.
Good luck, and enjoy the planning and the hunt itself. Just remember, the cuts on a moose are the same as a deer or caribou.....they are just much bigger.
ps, sorry to hear of the flake out, way too many of those folks out there, when you find a good hunting buddy, appreciate it. I can fish with most anyone but when it comes to hunting I am rather particular, thus plenty of solo hunts.....which I think are good for the soul just as much as good camp comraderie.
I have been doing something like, and you're right, there is a lot of data mining to do there. I know those two to be very knowledgeable in this area.
Originally Posted by AK Ray
Well this is my first square stern, but I grew up with small boats on small water. Yeah the weight issue is in the front of my mind as I go into this. But I've also done a bit of long distance backpacking (Appalachian Trail) and have a lot of light weight gear that will transfer over to float hunting nicely. I could truly stand to lose a few pounds myself.
Originally Posted by Catch It
Yeah, at first I was pretty upset over it, but I realize it's my own fault for depending on someone else. I just saw him last week and I didn't even mention hunting or signing up for draw permits together. But I agree, 50 miles into the wilds of Alaska is not a good place to find out your partner is a flake.
Originally Posted by Catch It
A lot of guys want to go hunting because it a “guy thing” and have no intention of putting in any effort to hunt before or during the hunt. Buy going out together it will not take long to find out if he or for that matter you are a hunter or prefer camping.
The only way I know how to find out if a person is not a flake is to check out hunting areas before hunting season with a partner. If he can't go keep looking, this will also help to tune your hunting and camping skills, and find out when the weather is bad and everything is going to hell you will not kill him or he will not kill you. LOL
On a marginally related note, since this is the float hunt forum, and I don't want to start yet another thread, for those of you who carry a chainsaw in canoes, what length bar do you use? I'm thinking 14 or 16 just for storage space issues.
I have a husquvarna 14 inch arborist saw......the thing absolutely rips for a small saw and fits about anywhere. Three years on it and all it does it make pretty strips of sawdust. If you are inclined, it's got enough snot to do plunge cuts, I normally just go for smaller trees and branches.
I'd go with the 16 inch bar husqvarna model for a canoe, it weighs 10 lbs(without bar). Bout $200 at AIH. For years, I carried a handsaw and an ax, but I'm getting older, and a bit less vigorous. On this last hunt in a section where the river forks left, right and center, a couple older fellas and I ran river left. They grounded out hard in the aluminum jet boat, I chose river braid center. Nice fast chute through a tall stand of white spruce. All was well until about two tons of sharp, splintered wood pile up, followed by a massive white spruce across the whole chute. That man-killer of a wood pile up lay in a 10-12 ft deep hole. The current bubbled right into it. Barely had enough width between the fast chute to turn the boat around last second, and drive the bow up onto shore with a whole bull moose in the canoe.
Took those two hunters and I all we were worth to pull their jet boat off the rocks. They were loaded down with moose meat. Next, in exchange for my help, he pulled out a little ultralight chain saw. We had to walk out on the woodpile, and I held his life preserver while he stood on the slippery log and cut it. The little chainsaw had all of a 12" bar. We were both extended as far as we could reach. Once the current caught the cut log, it blasted out of the way.
One thing of advice..........you see a nice deep creek to get off the main river, pull the boat over the first 300-400 yds of wood. Leave it there, so as not to be observed by other boaters. If you get a moose, cut the last 300 yds on your way back out. Be sneaky.....like an Indian.
You and me both, brother. Of course, I was getting old when I was young. LOL
Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak
That's funny. (A really good idea, but funny none the less.)
Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak
I wasn't thinking as much about the saw brand as I was the bar length because I have an older Poulan/Crafstman with a 20" bar in basement. It needs a trip to a repair shop, but since I already have it, figured I might use it. If it's dependable enough.In any case, it was a "free" saw (in a trade) so, if I lose it or whatever, it's no big deal.