Once again I drew a big goose egg for tags this year so decided to cook up something else. I have a couple of uncles who have been talking about hunting caribou in AK for about 30yrs and I finally told them it was time to make the motion. There will be 4 of us, my dad, myself, and Dad's two older brothers. I am honestly glad now that I didn't draw anything because I live for trips with these three guys and cannot wait for go time.
We got our deposits payed and contracts signed with Dan Sailors of Husky Aviation and are slated to leave Happy Valley on the 26th of August and return on the 3rd of September, weather willing of course. I have heard great things about Dan and Brett and after talking with both of them am confident in my decision to fly with them.
Even after picking both of our pilots' brains I still have a couple questions. First is footwear, I've never been up to the Arctic and am unsure on which boots to pack. We will likely be somewhere around the Canning river or the Hulahula. The notion of tundra tells me that hipboots are in order but I've heard the north slope referred to as an arctic desert and I'd hate to be stuck out there in hipboots for no reason. Thinking maybe my Lacrosse Burlys would be a good compromise, but I'm just not sure.
Next is a tent. I'll be bumming a buddy's 8x8 bombshelter which is my favorite tent I've ever used. Unfortunately we will need 2 tents for the 4 of us and I cannot afford a bombshelter unless I find a smoking deal on a used one and believe me I'll be looking. So I'm looking at buying a tent that we can rely on should the winds get crazy, but I'm just leery of less expensive equipment that I don't have experience with. Suggestions would be welcome.
Third and I guess not so important is fishing opportunity and ptarmigan hunting up there. One of my uncles is first and foremost an upland bird hunter, though he is looking forward to shooting his first bull caribou. I promised him I would toss in a lightweight shotgun and a box of shells so he could chase some ptarmigan around if we all tag out. Season won't be open until the last couple days of our trip but that's how we planned it. Hope we can get him into a few birds, he'd be more likely to get a pair of them mounted than a big bull caribou! I always take a fishing rod along on my flyout trips, some times we've used it sometimes not but it's light and great to have if there are fish to be caught. Helps wile away the midday warm hours and is fun after the tags are punched and the meat is taken care of. Is there fish to be caught in these river systems this time of year? If so what kind of tackle should I pack?
Thanks in advance guys