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Thread: Float Hunt Cost Breakdown

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Float Hunt Cost Breakdown

    Hi folks,

    A lot of people are putting their float hunts together right now, and I thought a thread concerning the costs of an Alaska float hunt would be a good thing, and it could help some people gain a better understanding of what's involved on the financial side. To sort of streamline the discussion, I would like to focus only on the in-state costs, rather than including the costs of transport and shipping to and from Alaska. Let's break it down by general categories: Air charter, food, raft rental, camping gear rental, lodging, meat processing, trophy expediting, etc.

    How about it?

    -Mike
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 02-01-2015 at 18:54.
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Hi folks,

    A lot of people are putting their float hunts together right now, and I thought a thread concerning the costs of an Alaska float hunt would be a good thing, and it could help some people gain a better understanding of what's involved on the financial side. To sort of streamline the discussion, I would like to focus only on the in-state costs, rather than including the costs of transport and shipping to and from Alaska. Let's break it down by general categories: Air charter, food, raft rental, camping gear rental, lodging, meat processing, trophy expediting, etc.

    How about it?

    -Mike
    Can we get a little more specific Mike? Big differences in cost here. If you are talking a simple float for caribou or moose down the Gulkana River the cost could be less than $100 in gas and food. But if you are talking about a fly out hunt into the Brooks Range or Western Alaska you could be talking several thousand dollars. It really all depends. I would say the brunt of the cost is always the transportation into and out of the field. Of course the beginning float hunter will always have the initial cost of purchasing all the necessary equipment.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Can we get a little more specific Mike? Big differences in cost here. If you are talking a simple float for caribou or moose down the Gulkana River the cost could be less than $100 in gas and food. But if you are talking about a fly out hunt into the Brooks Range or Western Alaska you could be talking several thousand dollars. It really all depends. I would say the brunt of the cost is always the transportation into and out of the field. Of course the beginning float hunter will always have the initial cost of purchasing all the necessary equipment.

    Fair enough. Here are some additional parameters:

    1. 2-person float hunt for moose and caribou (caribou optional).

    2. The group does not have rafting gear and will have to rent.

    3. The group may not have the proper camping gear and will have to purchase or rent.

    4. All options are fair game:

    a) fly-out
    b) fly-in and float out to a road
    c) jet boat or air boat in and float out
    d) bridge-to-bridge road-based hunts
    e) ??

    5. Group may contain residents and nonresidents, but specify, as nonresident tag fees must be included in.
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Fair enough. Here are some additional parameters:

    1. 2-person float hunt for moose and caribou (caribou optional).

    2. The group does not have rafting gear and will have to rent.

    3. The group may not have the proper camping gear and will have to purchase or rent.

    4. All options are fair game:

    a) fly-out
    b) fly-in and float out to a road
    c) jet boat or air boat in and float out
    d) bridge-to-bridge road-based hunts
    e) ??

    5. Group may contain residents and nonresidents, but specify, as nonresident tag fees must be included in.
    I'm just going to throw out some ball park figures so I might be way off. You would know way more than most of us since this is your business, but here goes nothing.

    To rent a raft for a ten-day hunt (10 days x $100 - $150/day) = $1500

    To rent camping gear (tent, stove, chairs etc.) rough estimate (10 days x $100/day) = $1,000

    Average cost of a fly out hunt (roughly $1200 - $2,000) = $1600

    Average cost of a fly out and float to the road ($700 - $1200) = $950

    Average cost of a jet boat or air boat and float out ($500 - $1000) = $750

    Average cost of a bridge-to-bridge road-based hunt ($100 - $500) = $300

    Non-resident tag fees (estimate since I don't know off the top of my head) = $500

    So, just a ball park figure using those parameters would give a price range of anywhere between $3,300 for the budget based hunt and $4,600 for the more expensive fly out hunt. And those were some very conservative estimates. Probably on a more expensive fly out hunt you might have to add an additional $2,000 to $3,000 to that estimate. That's my guess anyhow.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Hi folks,

    A lot of people are putting their float hunts together right now, and I thought a thread concerning the costs of an Alaska float hunt would be a good thing, and it could help some people gain a better understanding of what's involved on the financial side. To sort of streamline the discussion, I would like to focus only on the in-state costs, rather than including the costs of transport and shipping to and from Alaska. Let's break it down by general categories: Air charter, food, raft rental, camping gear rental, lodging, meat processing, trophy expediting, etc.

    How about it?

    -Mike
    i've spoken to three different transporters and was given a price of $600 per hour give or take on chartering a flight.
    Food-$30 per day.
    Raft rental? Not sure what going rate is.
    Camping gear rental-going rate.
    Lodging-$100 per day in town.
    Meat processing-going rate
    trophy-?

  6. #6

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    In general price quotes to get folks in the ball park:

    $2500-$3000 per person for caribou flights IN and OUT with game and gear
    $1500-$2000 for a drop off by air and take-out by road for caribou (less in some cases)

    $3500-$4800 per person for a moose float bush flights IN and OUT with game and gear.

    Raft rental for 10 days = $1200 split two ways usually.

    $1000-$1500 per person for Misc costs for tags and license, lodging, commercial airfare, food for trip, shipping antlers and meat, and rental car, etc.

    Rough estimates per person door to door from Lower 48 is about $4500-$5000 for caribou and $6000-$7000 for moose float hunts. Those figures assume hunters will bring their own camping gear and rent a raft.

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    The float hunt I do every year now is for 2 people taking one moose. The river I float is in western Alaska...

    Airline tickets to commercial hub= $460.00 per person.
    Charter in a 185 to village= $75.00 (used to be X2 when shipping the raft but now I leave the raft and some gear in the village)
    Charter to run 75 miles up river to drop off= $300.00
    Food & Booze for 2 people for 10-13 days= $200.00
    After the trip...
    Charters (X2)back out of village with one moose= $150.00 (used to be X3 W/raft)
    NAC shipping back one moose= $300.00
    One big fat dinner & drinks for two people at commercial hub $125.00
    Processing meat (do my own) bags & suet= $100.00
    Antlers put on a board= $300.00
    Memories= priceless...

  8. #8

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    Sitka clothing -top to bottom $2000 (requirement for city folks)
    European optics -$2000 + more if a spotting scope is required
    Satellite phone to call home - $500?

    Prices vary...

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Larry,

    What are you getting for your raft rentals these days? I know you have several different boats for rent. Could you give a breakdown, and what is included?

    Thanks!
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  10. #10

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    We typically charge $120/day for a raft pkg like the Levitator, complete with PFDs, two cargo platforms, oars and Oar Saddles with straps, air pump, repair kit, bow line, and two clip in seats.

    Pioneer X-stream Canoes average about $100/day in hunting season if rowing pkg is desired, or $90/day with paddles, along with the accessories mentioned above.

    PR-49 rental is about $50/day with everything including PFDs.

    Legend canoe average is $75/day with paddle and other accessories mentioned above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    To rent a raft for a ten-day hunt (10 days x $100 - $150/day) = $1500

    To rent camping gear (tent, stove, chairs etc.) rough estimate (10 days x $100/day) = $1,000
    I don't want to step on any bodies toes that is renting the above gear, but people should be aware that both of the above line items present a wonderful opportunity to purchase gear instead of renting. If you don't get creative, I can see the advantage of renting the raft (rental rate is about 33% of the new price and 75% of the used price), but for a ten day trip I have a hard time justifying renting camping gear, unless you are doing the wall tent with a wood stove approach.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    I don't want to step on any bodies toes that is renting the above gear, but people should be aware that both of the above line items present a wonderful opportunity to purchase gear instead of renting. If you don't get creative, I can see the advantage of renting the raft (rental rate is about 33% of the new price and 75% of the used price), but for a ten day trip I have a hard time justifying renting camping gear, unless you are doing the wall tent with a wood stove approach.
    Yes, the "buy" versus "rent" question is certainly on the table for anyone planning repeat hunts. The biggest issue with purchasing is that you are locked in to a particular boat that may not be suitable for some river systems. There is no "one size / type that fits all" scenario when it comes to boats for float hunting. I usually don't discuss boats until we know what river we're floating; "let the river choose the boat". Renting gives you that capability. Another factor some might not consider involves renting from an outfit in the same town as your air charter. The rental guys will often deliver to your charter, saving you lots of money in transport costs that you would have if you purchased a boat. I have a client right now who is shopping for a boat under 100# because he wants something he can fly on the airlines with (100# is the maximum allowed load in checked baggage). He intends to use this boat for all his future float hunts in Alaska. Good luck with that! I know other hunters from Outside, who just leave their boats in storage up here to get past that weight restriction, then they air freight it out to the village. Lots of ways to work it.
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  13. #13

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    I agree with Hiker Dan. I tell my repeat customers that if they were to rent a raft for 3 trips of 10 days each...they've paid for the cost of a new rig to use in the future.

    If you're serious about the river and plan to do a few trips within a couple years, it's worth the investment to buy vs rent.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    I don't want to step on any bodies toes that is renting the above gear, but people should be aware that both of the above line items present a wonderful opportunity to purchase gear instead of renting. If you don't get creative, I can see the advantage of renting the raft (rental rate is about 33% of the new price and 75% of the used price), but for a ten day trip I have a hard time justifying renting camping gear, unless you are doing the wall tent with a wood stove approach.
    Hey HikerDan, no worries at all brother. You aren't stepping on anyone's toes. I totally agree with you. I personally own all my gear, I was just providing an estimate for Mike S. because that is what he requested. I would never even think to rent a raft and all that gear for a hunt. Not unless I was an out-of-stater and it would actually cost more to ship all of my stuff up to AK.

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    I'm from out of state and this is budget i figured for 3 people to fly out moose / caribou hunt and raft to pick up point where i will leave truck . We are going with drive up plan for financial reasons , only drawback is 3 days drive there and 3 days back . Have always used rule that when i pick area to hunt it takes 3 years to learn area so will have to repeat hunt so looking onto purchase of used rafts . Also if making hunt with outfitter price for this hunt is 12 to 16 thousand , so can make 3 hunts for price of one outfitted .

    Fly to Fairbanks Drive up
    Plane ticket $1000
    Motel $125 $125 (Bring my LQ with generator & freezer in it won’t need )
    Truck Rental $425
    Food traveling $125 $250
    Food in camp $125 $125
    Boat $700 $700 ( bring our own or buy may be cheaper )
    Tent $300
    Hunt Planes $3300 $1000 (1 of us bring truck to where rafts come out to save 3 plane trips )
    License $950 $950 ( all small game & fishing $230 each , ! duck stamp $5 , 1 salmon $50, 1 wolf $30 , 1 wolverine $175 , 2 moose $400 each ,2 black bear tag $225 each , 4 caribou tag $325 each )
    Process meat $425 $425
    Shipping Meat $850
    Shipping Horns $300
    Phone $40 $40
    Gas $100 $600

    Total $8765 each $4215 each

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    At the lower end....
    Gas $150
    Lodge the night before $150
    Jetboat transport $300
    Food pre/post hunt for my wife and I $80 (including Tok Thai Food...yummy!)
    Food for 3 day hunt $60
    Hunt/Fish License $48
    Caribou Draw Tag $5
    indian Valley Meat for sausage, bratwurst, cut & wrap other than what I did myself $225
    1 x .300 WinMag cartridge $2.50
    A few days alone with my wife & a freezer full of 100% natural, free range caribou....PRICELESS!


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    Quote Originally Posted by D-RAM View Post
    I'm from out of state and this is budget i figured for 3 people to fly out moose / caribou hunt and raft to pick up point where i will leave truck . We are going with drive up plan for financial reasons , only drawback is 3 days drive there and 3 days back . Have always used rule that when i pick area to hunt it takes 3 years to learn area so will have to repeat hunt so looking onto purchase of used rafts . Also if making hunt with outfitter price for this hunt is 12 to 16 thousand , so can make 3 hunts for price of one outfitted .

    Fly to Fairbanks Drive up
    Plane ticket $1000
    Motel $125 $125 (Bring my LQ with generator & freezer in it won’t need )
    Truck Rental $425
    Food traveling $125 $250
    Food in camp $125 $125
    Boat $700 $700 ( bring our own or buy may be cheaper )
    Tent $300
    Hunt Planes $3300 $1000 (1 of us bring truck to where rafts come out to save 3 plane trips )
    License $950 $950 ( all small game & fishing $230 each , ! duck stamp $5 , 1 salmon $50, 1 wolf $30 , 1 wolverine $175 , 2 moose $400 each ,2 black bear tag $225 each , 4 caribou tag $325 each )
    Process meat $425 $425
    Shipping Meat $850
    Shipping Horns $300
    Phone $40 $40
    Gas $100 $600

    Total $8765 each $4215 each
    I think you are little low on your estimates there D-RAM. Some that stick out are the food in camp, boat, processing the meat and shipping the antlers. The motel seems a little cheap too but if you are here mid Sept you might get cheaper rates...

  18. #18
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    I have probably done ten or twelve of these DIY hunts from out of state so i will bite.


    $3500-$4800 per plane for a moose float bush flights IN and OUT with game and gear.

    Raft rental for 10 days I bring my own. Cost--as cheap as I can con LB into selling me one

    $1300-$1600 per person for Misc costs for tags and license, lodging, commercial airfare, local ground transportation.

    Trophy antler freight--nothing I will be giving all my moose antlers to MT

    Meat processing and frt to home--$1000.00

    And this is a DIY cost...yea I sure wish the NR tags cost more.

    Of note is a large portion of this money spent gets left in local business. The commercial airfare, tag fee, and meat freight are the only dollars not spent and left to small businesses in Alaska.






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    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FinFever View Post
    Sitka clothing -top to bottom $2000 (requirement for city folks)
    European optics -$2000 + more if a spotting scope is required
    Satellite phone to call home - $500?

    Prices vary...
    Satellite phone rental - $80/week + $1.50/min.
    Calling for help or calling buddies back home when you get a 65" bull - $$$Priceless
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

  20. #20
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    Gosh Mike....I would hope most folks have that process all finished by now! Most of the folks that we book are 18 months out for moose and 10-12 for Bou. From my experience you may be too late if your not 100% set up by now! 2014 we were 100% booked by mid January. This year we are about 75% booked. I always hold 2-3 rafts back for moose hunters who are not sure before the draw whether they are hunting or not.

    This is what Northwest Alaska Back Country Outfitters charges:

    14 foor raft package $115 per day
    3 man camp package $85 per day

    I work with 3 flight services and each are flying 206 aircraft and are charging $800 an hour for the entire plane.

    Larry was very close in his estimate cost per hunter. We tell our guys that they should expect $2,200-$2,600 per hunter for a caribou hunt.

    Moose hunts cost a bit more because every time a moose from unit 23 hits the ground that is a meat haul at $800 an hour.
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