WACH Report...Are you ready?
Good morning guys:
It is hard to believe but most of us who are doing fly out hunts should be in the final stages of prep for our fall hunts.
I am winding down the Gu;kana River/summer phase and I will start prepping for my fall clients out of Kotz. As is customary I write these silly WACH Reports as we lead up to and begin the hunt. Today I am just tossing out some ideas and suggestions that should make your prep a bit easier. I have already sent out prep lists and how to links to all of my guys and I hope all of you are about ready to go...
Pre sending gear and non-essential:
Because Alaska Airlines charges an arm and a leg to bring gear to places like Kotz I have most of my groups mail a few boxes of non-essential items up early. Check with your outfitter or flight service as most will allow you to store a few boxes/items in their hangers or conned. The type of things that you want to send early can include dry foods, extra clothing, stay dry gun boots, cooking/kitchen items, emergency repair kit, water filter, bathroom needs, parachute cord, duck tape, extra tarp and your first aid kit.
Most of these items are critical items but can be replaced locally if the box does not arrive, The USPS is fairly low cost when compared to airlines but SLOW! Ship these items 3 weeks in advance because mail in Alaska dies not arrive on time very often!
Fly Out Weight:
Be sure that you know exactly how much weight your pilot is allowing you. These weights are not arbitrary because each type of aircraft has a maximum load it can haul and that is affected by weather and fuel load. Don't ask your pilot to over load his plane! Your safety is dependent on his ability to safely fly that plane. The pilots I use fly 206 air craft which have a 800 pound limit which can be tight.
Get together with you're hunting group and lay out all of your gear, weigh it and get rid of duplicate items. A group of 3 can share many items and lighten the load. Talk to your outfitter and know the weight of his gear. All of my groups know exactly what my gear weighs. When they are over the weight limit I suggest what from my gear packages could be dumped and exactly how much weight it will save. It is just simple math! My raft packages weigh between 142 and 158 pounds, my camp packages weigh 125 pounds and things like cots tip the scale at 18 pounds each! I often times dump the cost if weight is an issue because they are heavy! Planning is the key!
Think about worst case sentries when you are buying gear. DON'T buy or use low budget gear! We use Cabelas Guide Model Tents because it is very common to be pinned down in your tent with 45 mph winds and heavy rain in NW Alaska for a day or 2 during your hunt. If you are using a low budget tent your safety will be tested! Plan on how you will repair gear if something breaks. Things get broken so your ability to improvise in the field is very important. Take 150 feet of good parachute cord with you. The stuff is so useful and takes up very little space! Take some duck tape!
Camp fuel : Understand that shipping fuel on any plane (not Bush plane) will cost you $25 Haz-Mat. It is often times cheaper to buy it in places like Kotzebue and remember that not all fuel types are found in places like Kotz!
First Aid: Take what you need so you can fix yourself in the field. Field dressing game is a common place when guys get cut. Many years ago I dropped a moose who decided to die in the Noatak River. I had to cut that beast up in the river and I was cutting blind and you guessed it, cut the crap out of myself. You are going to be a long way from a clinic boys!
Water filters are your friend. We have lots of protozoans up in unit 23 and they will make you sick!!
Shipping meat out of Kotz:
How are you shipping meat? Don't assume that you can buy meat boxes in places like Kotz. Unless your outfitter has boxes set aside for you may be out of luck! I provide waxed meat boxes to my clients but only on request. My guys have to let me know ahead of time so I have what they need. Alaska Airlines will only ship meat in waxed boxes. What are you doing with your meat after you leave your hub? We have 2 or 3 options for our groups that are easy to deal with flying out of Kotz. If you need ideas or suggestions please send me a PM.
All backcountry trips should have an emergency plan incase you don't make it back on time. Your emergency plan should be a document that has all emergency info on a single page for each member of your group. You should have 2-3 contact numbers that can help out if you don't make it back on time. Example: Your wife should be able to call the flight service if you are late.
Bring your meeds!!!
Do you need one? Better make arrangements to have one. It is tough to contact your flight service if you have an emergency without one..No Cell Service out of Kotz guys!! I started renting cell phones this year. Take one!
Ok...That is plenty for now. I will follow up in about a month with another WACH Report. Keep in mind that your outfitter and pilot has no idea where the caribou will be in September this time of year. I talk with mu hunters and tell them where the Bou normally are but those darn caribou are weather driven critters. If the weather is warm they may be late in coming over the mountains. Most pilots do not pre-select where they are putting you until the week before you arrive. They have the real time knowledge of where the animals are moving and make adjustments as needed. Be flexible but communicate with your pilot.
Take care and if you need any gear or advice shoot me a call or PM.
Northwest Alaska Back Country Outfitters
Float hunts, drop camps
Why do I always see the same gear weight limits specified for 300# hunters when I only weigh 150#?
Originally Posted by TimH
Because "bigger is better"???????
The weight limits are made "In General" and are 100% dependent upon the aircraft. One of my flight services has 2x 206 at 800 pounds each and a single 185 on floats which comes in under 700#. If your flight service is using a Super Cub...Well that is a whole lot less.
Rule of thumb is the flight services that are selling you a package flight will set your limit where a service which is selling yo a service per hour is selling you the entire plane. You pay per hour and the load is yours to toss in what ever you want, up to the weight limit.
I base all of my Float Hunts on 2 hunters per raft and that really comes down to how weight the raft can handle. My moose hunters are dealing with a different formula than caribou hunters based upon the expectation that the moose will come in about 800+ pounds and a boo is 175. 5-6 years ago 3 guys booked a float hunt and when I asked the weight of each member one guy came in at 360+...He had to rent his own raft!