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Thread: Planning 3 week solo backpack hunt. first timer/ need advise

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    Question Planning 3 week solo backpack hunt. first timer/ need advise

    i am planning a 3 week solo backpack hunt for fall of 2015. primary hunt for caribou , then moose and black bear. not looking for trophy size just looking to explore and experience the great state. would rather not be around other hunters/ high traffic area mostly for that middle of know where adventure feeling, and would like to get to see boreal forest ares at some point during the trip. so was considering fly in/ drop off style. been looking at unit 25 alot and 25a specifically, as well as that general area. looking for advice wether I'm looking in the right area based on what i stated, and any advice in general for a first timer to alaska. any advice would be greatly appreciated as well as your time. thanks again

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    How are you getting your meat out on this "solo backpack hunt"? You need a plan for that... Boat, plane/fly or 4wheeler the meat out to salvage...

    "See the Boreal Forest" walking around in Alaska's Boreal Forest can be a chore...very swampy and buggy...you would be smart to avoid the lowlands.

    There are some beautiful areas to hunt in up here. Most people fly in and hunt out of a camp or boat in and hunt. Caribou migrate through areas, get dropped off ahead of them and arrange for the meat to get picked up.....or just go backpacking and forget the hunt. Trying to combine a backpacking trip from point A-B with a hunt is not a good idea....too much to deal with with meat and all (bears).....

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    Perhaps, like pipercub mentioned, it would be best to divide you 'big goal' into two or three smaller ones.

    I would start with a 7 or 10 day caribou hunt or perhaps kodiak deer hunt. See how you do on that. Learn how to hunt and deal with Alaska's wildlife, climate and terrain.

    Good luck on your ventures!
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    First off.....if you've never been to AK. or ventured out into the bush and seen what it's all about, I would suggest not going alone. But if you just have to, then a float hunt would be advisable. If you want to be in the "middle of nowhere," which you surely can, and want to take 3 animals, you still need to get the meat out. A float hunt is a pretty good way of doing that. But still, 3 weeks is a pretty long time to keep meat from spoiling if you happen to kill one early on.

    Other than that, if you can afford it, fly in someplace and make arrangements to have the pilot come back in and check on you and pick up your animals. But be advised, fly time and be pretty darn expensive.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Your getting really good advise it looks like to me. I would just ad a few things, the planning is everything. Right down to what color shorts your gunna wear. Pick your area and study it, maps, google earth and people's personal knowledge of your specific area, which you should be able to find here. unit 25 and 25a is not specific, you need to figure out which mountain, which stream, which drainage, and formulate a plan. Also make sure you have communication,..sat phone or at least a SPOT to let people know your ok or if you need help. If you have never done a moose solo, you might want to look into that one real careful. If your really strong and and in great shape, depending on the terrain, I would say 1 mile max to 100 ft. on carrying it to some sort of transportation. 1 hind quarter will be 150 to 200 lbs. . Sounds exiting, solo hunting is awesome, good luck and be very careful.

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    Thank you all for your advice and time. I was planning on having a pilot drop me off and periodically check on me. Keeping a sat phone on me and getting a pilot to pick up the meat if I make a kill early on. Planning for it to be a caribou hunt. Maybe break the hunt up into 2 parts and if successful with caribou then do a moose hunt but the amount of meat when taking a moose is a concern ESP solo. Been think around artic village or north of there. Also been looking at the Coleen river and sheenjek. Doesn't anyone know if these are popular or high traffic areas? Any tips on narrowing down to specific areas?

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    The only two challenges (if you are following your own musings), will be trusting your pilot to take care of the meat properly, and are there areas to land a plane conveniently close to you. If that is a go, then you should be good. Start checking for guides and flying services to see who'll drop you off, and more importantly, who has cold storage facilities and would accommodate your request. I think it will cost you $$$ too so be sitting down when you call around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    check the link out. really helps bring it into perspective. i like to think i am young, strong, and tuff….. but smart as well lol. actually possible and realistic are two very different things esp for a first timer. thankx for the help.

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    Tell a trusted friend or family member where you are going and the name, address and phone number of who ever is flying you in and when you will return. That way if your not back on time they can find out why. Take a bunch of baby wipes and toilet paper and avoid beaver fever by having a way to get clean water. Basic hygiene items to include chap stick and a small container of that baby powder. Take extra food and a good first aid kit with a small mirror, twizzers and mole skin. Pack and repack your pack as some stuff won't be needed. Put a rod on your pack so you can clear a fouled/blocked bore and an OTIS cleaning kit. Any pain pills you can talk a doctor or dentist out of, you can always throw them away after the hunt if not needed. How many bullets would you need if you need to zero the scope again or do you have back up iron sights zeroed in and can hit an 8" paper plate with them at 300 yards? Have fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    First off.....if you've never been to AK. or ventured out into the bush and seen what it's all about, I would suggest not going alone.
    From one (former) Floridian to another Floridian...I can second this advice strongly enough. Much of what I knew from my south land experience had to be relearned when I came north, and only a little of it was particularly useful up here. Additionally, I had to replace virtually all of my gear in the first year. Equipment that does well in FL is often worth less than worthless in Alaska. Do your research on what works well up here and what doesn't. Lastly, this isn't a National Park up here. Be prepared.

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    To answer your question about the Coleen and sheenjak being popular rivers.. If it's accessible by plane, atv, boat, or road it's going to be a popular spot for hunters. You probably won't be the only one in the area. That being said though the "average joe hunter" is lazy. Get off the river system and away from landing strips any you increase your odds of being "alone". Flip that coin around and shoot a moose far away from a pickup point and now you've got yourself a VERY daunting chore. As stated before hind quarters can weigh over 100 lbs. just the antlers and skull of a "nonresident legal" moose can weigh 50-100 lbs. Combine this with the swamps and tussocks you're sure to encounter.... You can see where I'm going. Sounds like fun. Maybe not the greatest idea for your first time up here though. Remember the troopers don't take kindly to wasting game meat up here either. Just to keep that in mind. Meat care is utmost importance.

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    Thanks everyone for your time and advice. I will be stating from scratch when it comes to gear. In fact just order a 338wm sako, I see it's popular in Alaska. Been following a lot of the gear threads and checking it all out. Lots of brands/ styles and types but some really good stuff. Mostly I am planning a solo hunt because no firm commitment from buddies. Been wanting to make the trip for awhile and now gonna make it happen. Any advice on what Lina temps/ weather to expect around artic village in sept???

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    Quote Originally Posted by DestinBoyz View Post
    Thanks everyone for your time and advice. I will be stating from scratch when it comes to gear. In fact just order a 338wm sako, I see it's popular in Alaska. Been following a lot of the gear threads and checking it all out. Lots of brands/ styles and types but some really good stuff. Mostly I am planning a solo hunt because no firm commitment from buddies. Been wanting to make the trip for awhile and now gonna make it happen. Any advice on what Lina temps/ weather to expect around artic village in sept???
    Dotn worry about brands or styles. Terrible idea. Go with types of clothing. Base layer: Polypropolene, next layer, fleece. third layer; wool. Shell; if you're going to backpack will depict this. I go with helly hansen raingear, but thats for a lot of sitting and glassing. It's rubber, so hiking can be hot.

    Shed layers as you hike, add as you sit. I bring 2 of the first 3 layers. That way one can dry out while the other gets wet. Boots, boots, boots. They're hugeeee importance. The boots you have are no good, just go with that. Florida boots you have wont work. Get new ones and wear to work, wear to play, break them in.

    Do not do a solo trip here for your first trip, whether someone can make it or not. Go with someone who has Alaska experience. I dont care to read about you in the paper.
    Grab a friend, a rifle and go hunt.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    +1 on not going alone. Very risky and unsafe in Alaska.

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    Commuting to work in a big city is risky too, but folks do it every day. Solo just means conservative decisions, taking your time, and limiting your distances at which you harvest an animal. If you want to try it, read up, gear up and give it a shot. Even if big plans turn into a week at a sweet spot you found to hunt, you still will likely have a great experience. Make sure your clothing is up to snuff, and a decent tent and footwear and pack. In the fall, food can be found in most areas in berries, small game etc. and of course if you connect on big game.

    My only concern for you is meat care, without some way to float it, fly it etc. to a proper facility to wait for you, there's no point in pullin the trigger in the first place. A multiple species hunt would be even worse, or just super expensive, (in flights or fines depending on how you do it). You figure that part out, or tone down your shooting ambitions, and you will be fine.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Since you're in Florida...

    Consider making a few trips up I-95 to North Carolina and get some rafting experience--not just a couple of day trips but a weekend/multi-day camp-as-you-go sort of trip. Let the raft/guide service know you're gearing up for an Alaskan trip and see if they'll let you get some time on the oars.

    I suggest this because the best way to do a solo trip is to do a solo raft trip on a Class I/II river. Assuming you 1) have experience with longer duration solo trips and 2) are a competent woodsman otherwise; 3) do your Alaska homework; 4) bring the right gear; and 5) proceed with caution it should be one hell of an adventure.

    Be careful about the villages of Arctic Village and Venetie (Vee-na-tye). Those folks don't cotton to outsiders hunting "their" game. (in all fairness that's the reputation, not my personal experience)
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Good luck with the idea of finding any sort of warm reception in Arctic Village. The Coleen and Sheenjek are great areas but are also very expensive places to access. You might want to look into the western end of the arctic out of Kotz. It might be a little less expensive (you can fly AK Airlines directly there) to jump off from, but you'll probably encounter more people also. That being said, it still pretty big country and for what you want to do would probably work just fine.

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    Thanks for the heads up about artic village. I want to be respectful of locals since I'll be a forigner in yals back yard. Does anyone have experience or an opinion on plastic vs leather boots? Never used plastics and was curious if there was a benefit to them an if there is any manufacturers yal might recommend???

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    Quote Originally Posted by DestinBoyz View Post
    Thanks for the heads up about artic village. I want to be respectful of locals since I'll be a forigner in yals back yard. Does anyone have experience or an opinion on plastic vs leather boots? Never used plastics and was curious if there was a benefit to them an if there is any manufacturers yal might recommend???
    Plastics are usually worn by sheep hunters because of their rigidity, BUT......some swear by using them for all hunting. They are nice because you can take the liners out and cross a creek/river/swamp, put them back in and off ya go.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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