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Thread: Planning an October Caribou Hunt on the Dalton (Rifle)

  1. #1

    Default Planning an October Caribou Hunt on the Dalton (Rifle)

    The title says it all. We'll be heading up that way on October 7th. Planning to go over Atigun Pass. I don't really know what I need to know. I have a 4-wheel drive, chains, and winter camping gear. Would it be feasible to mush or jor when hunting bou? Or should we just ski? (I pray there is snow and not freezing rain.)

  2. #2
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    Why would you kill a caribou in October ? Their in rut then, can't be eaten, least I won't.

  3. #3

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    Maybe they want to shoot a cow or two for meat....

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    I've shot two bulls in the first week of October and both were perfectly edible. That said, I watched them for awhile and verified they weren't rutting.

    I've had anywhere from almost no snow to completely covered in October. One year I brought a sled for hauling meat and it was useless because the ground was dry. Skiing is a great way to cover the distance if you have decent backcountry skis and there's enough snow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesalchakid View Post
    Why would you kill a caribou in October ? Their in rut then, can't be eaten, least I won't.

    Beware of big bulls. As in don't shoot them. They won't be edible. First hunt I did for bou we did the same time frame shot 3 bulls. The only one we could kind of eat was small. He still smelled bad. The taste on the big ones was something I won't forget. One of them we marinated for 2 days to try to get it to taste different. Still terrible. Some we tried as jerky. That was even worse. Tasted rancid from the get go. As far as snow and cold it was hovering around -10 that year and about 8" of snow. I wouldn't wasted time again in October up there.

  6. #6

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    No rutting bulls. Check. Thanks for the heads up. I generally hunt cows/does whenever it's an option anyway. I'll pick a different time to go out next year.

    Could anyone give me a better picture of the mechanics of the hunt? My understanding is that most hunters leave from one of two places. I'm worried about multiple-day parking, cold weather water crossings, and, of course, finding game. Anything special I should bring?

  7. #7

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    I would read the threads over on the bowhunting forum about hunting the haul road. There is some great information about road conditions and what sort of emergency equipment you should bring for your vehicle. There are plenty of pullouts for multi-day parking, just don't block any gates/access roads. Hope for snow cover so that you can ski in/out and pull a sled with your gear. You can bring a packraft or canoe to cross the Sag or plan on hunting the other side of the road with no rivers. Hope that helps a bit.

  8. #8

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    You can search this site pretty well on Google by searching for
    HTML Code:
    site:outdoorsdirectory.com haul road
    or similar search terms. There's been a lot of discussion about it. Read as much as you can on here and make sure you know exactly what you're getting into... it's not a place to mess around.

    People hunt up there with dog teams in the spring, but October may be kind of early for any kind of snow-based travel, skiing included. I've just been there once in early October and many places didn't have enough snow to ski or snowshoe, and the snow we did have was too light and fluffy for that anyway. I don't know what it's like this year.
    Jason
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    http://www.daltoncorridormap.com -- Exact 5-mile Haul Road corridor boundary for GPS & Google Earth

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    Member northernalberta's Avatar
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    Will they still be on the north side of Atigun by that time of year?

    I hunted near Galbraith Lake in the 3rd week of september one year and I think I could have counted all the caribou I saw on one hand... all too close to the road for a rifle.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernalberta View Post
    Will they still be on the north side of Atigun by that time of year?

    I hunted near Galbraith Lake in the 3rd week of september one year and I think I could have counted all the caribou I saw on one hand... all too close to the road for a rifle.
    I was wondering the same thing. I'm more interested in finding legal, edible bou than I am in hunting a specific location. The time frame I cannot change.

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    It changes year-to-year, but I do know people who have gotten caribou north of the pass in October. Also, there are separate herds or at least groups of caribou that don't migrate north of the Brooks at all, and they can be found south of the pass even this time of the year. Note the folks who mentioned seeing caribou near "Beaver Slide" last month on the Haul Road thread in the bow section. Beaver Slide is south of Cold Foot. Finger Mountain is another area where you can find a caribou or two this time of the year and perhaps in October too. I don't know anyone who has capitalized on a caribou from this region, but I'm sure there are those out there.

    I would agree that there will probably not be enough snow to mush or ski in October. That region doesn't get that much snow period, and unless it is quite an anomalous year, there probably isn't enough snow to cover the features of the land until well into November or even December. Good luck, and be sure to tell us how it went when you get back! -Gr
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    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    As another follow-up to one of your earlier questions: every time I have done this hunt, I have left a good deal of gear right by the road (in pull-offs and lots, not just on the shoulder), and I have never had any problems. We usually leave our big tent set up by the road for several days at a time without going near it. We do that so we can just crash when we return from our spike camp. Never had anyone mess with it at all. I'd hate to tell you it's all good and have you lose your stuff to some low-life, but I know I'm comfortable enough to leave stuff out, and I know others leave things sitting out as well. I don't think vandalism and theft are a big problem up there, but I'd actually like to hear if others have had issues with this.
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  13. #13

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    Hey just a heads up I've been making this hunt for the last 13 years. I go every year I'm October. Many people don't like it during this time but it's my favorite. Pm me if you want some details. I'll be happy to share it with you. We rifle hunted last year for my brother. The 5 mile trek was rough but we made it fine. I'm just more out of shape than most. Message me and I'll give you some details on where to park and go in.

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    Member WallHanger's Avatar
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    Pm me AK Matthews I am.doing the same trip in two weeks

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_mathews View Post
    Hey just a heads up I've been making this hunt for the last 13 years. I go every year I'm October. Many people don't like it during this time but it's my favorite. Pm me if you want some details. I'll be happy to share it with you. We rifle hunted last year for my brother. The 5 mile trek was rough but we made it fine. I'm just more out of shape than most. Message me and I'll give you some details on where to park and go in.
    I sent, or at least tried to send, you a PM. I can't see it in my sent folder so if you didn't get it let me know and I'll give it another try. And thank you very much. Really appreciated.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr is for Greg View Post
    It changes year-to-year, but I do know people who have gotten caribou north of the pass in October. Also, there are separate herds or at least groups of caribou that don't migrate north of the Brooks at all, and they can be found south of the pass even this time of the year. Note the folks who mentioned seeing caribou near "Beaver Slide" last month on the Haul Road thread in the bow section. Beaver Slide is south of Cold Foot. Finger Mountain is another area where you can find a caribou or two this time of the year and perhaps in October too. I don't know anyone who has capitalized on a caribou from this region, but I'm sure there are those out there.

    I would agree that there will probably not be enough snow to mush or ski in October. That region doesn't get that much snow period, and unless it is quite an anomalous year, there probably isn't enough snow to cover the features of the land until well into November or even December. Good luck, and be sure to tell us how it went when you get back! -Gr
    Thanks for the info. And everyone else, too. I've appreciated all the response to my post. It will really help me out.

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