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Thread: The Great Alaskan Float Hunt 2016

  1. #1
    Member alaskankid13's Avatar
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    Default The Great Alaskan Float Hunt 2016

    Hello all,

    I am in the planning stages of said float hunt and just trying to get some advice or should I say guidance from those who have more knowledge than I.

    Work/Research I've done thus far: Let me say I have gone to the very beginning of the float hunting thread and read many of the interesting and helpful topics dating clear back to 2009, trying to glean some infromation on rivers to avoid, rivers to look into more ,and just get some more ideas. Well of course anyone with success on a river did not say where they went naturally which I am okay with.
    I have also read Mike's, "Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers" and Larry's, "Float Hunting Alaska" both of which provided me a wealth of extra insight and helped me look into rivers I didn't even know exsisted.

    After all this reading I see that I need to figure out where I am going and fast so I can book an air charter to get my first or second picked river.

    Group: There will be 4 of us as far as I know on this trip. My father and I(residents) and my cousin and his buddy(non-residents).

    Budget: I am trying to get this to be a dream trip for my cousin and a very memorable one for my dad as he is getting older and this will probably be one of his last big expeditions. So we are willing to spend to make this the trip of a lifetime. Our budget is currently right around $5,000-6,000 per person.

    Timing: We are still very flexible as to when we should do the float, but will be able to spend 10+ days on the river if needed.

    Target Species: Main target will be Moose, with Caribou second, and bears and wolves were mentioned in their list, but I know how elusive wolves are and that its usually just being in the right place at the right time when you get one. I also know that prime moose habitat is also far from prime caribou habitat usually?

    Rafting Experience: I have done a fair amount of rafting as well as trips such as the Gulkana and feel comfortable rafting up to class IV, but who is really rafting class IV when floating with a raft full of moose? Others in the group also have rafting experience so we should be prepared there.

    Current Prosepcts: Currently I'm looking at rivers such as the Sheejek, Chandalar, and Coleen. I know and have read that the Sheenjek has gotten quite a bit of hunting pressure since the launching of Buck's video about floating this river. People also say that this river would not be good for moose hunting, however when reading reports of non-hunters floating the river they speak of finding dozens of moose sheds.
    Whereas the Chandalar sounds like it could be "float dragging" instead of actually floating all depending upon the water levels of the year.
    The reason I have looked at these river the most is because honestly the Sheenjek has always caught my fancy for one, but they also seem to offer the oppertunity to float through good caribou country in the upper streches and the float into better moose habitat. Am I wrong here?
    These rivers also reside in Unit 25A where the regulations are pretty plain and clear and non-residents do not have to draw a permit to hunt the area.


    Thanks for taking the time to read this all if you did. Tried to put everything out there that one might need to help. Currently just super stressed about which river to choose as I dont want to mess this one up for everyone( trip planner here).

    Thanks for your time everyone!

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    It would seem that you are on the path to a great hunt. My only advice would be use the raft as a means to get to an area to hunt and not so much hunting from the raft.

    Also since moose drop their antlers in the winter, that does not always equate to where they will be during the fall during hunting season.

    Very hard to find a camp to hunt 4 hunters, I like to hunt in teams or have shooters identified and others to assist then change out, or take turns and spit into 2 teams and meet up at camps along the river or meet up at the takeout.

    Be safe and have fun.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    The air taxis that serve the 3 rivers you mentioned book early for the few slots they make available. All of them self-limit the number of hunters they take in. Pick a river and book now if it is not too late already for 2016.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Also since moose drop their antlers in the winter, that does not always equate to where they will be during the fall during hunting season.
    I'll second that based on my experience in the Brooks. While sheep hunting we found no fewer than 75 sheds (probably over 100) and did not see a single moose. It was obviously a preferred wintering area, but they sure weren't there in August and I wouldn't expect much different in September.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Our moose in some places in the Brooks range will migrate 100 miles or more between summer and winter ranges. Lots of hunters are not aware that moose do not always summer and winter in the same area, but migrate out and back. I have read that a substantial migration also happens in and out of Canada. You can always tell if it's a Canadian moose by its call. Alaskan moose make a sound like "Errrough!", but Canadian moose just go "Eh!"

    -Mike
    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.
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    Member alaskankid13's Avatar
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    I guess I should clarify. We are not all looking to take moose, and for that matter probably only 2/4 of us will be shooters.

  7. #7

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    i've always found canada moose to be a bit snobbish anyway. Good for you. Good luck on your trip regardless of what you harvest.

  8. #8
    Member alaskankid13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Our moose in some places in the Brooks range will migrate 100 miles or more between summer and winter ranges. Lots of hunters are not aware that moose do not always summer and winter in the same area, but migrate out and back. I have read that a substantial migration also happens in and out of Canada. You can always tell if it's a Canadian moose by its call. Alaskan moose make a sound like "Errrough!", but Canadian moose just go "Eh!"

    -Mike
    I'll be sure to watch out for those pesky Canadian moose border hoppin!

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    i've always found canada moose to be a bit snobbish anyway. Good for you. Good luck on your trip regardless of what you harvest.
    I shoulda mentioned the occasional Northern Minnesota moose we get up here. I've encountered one in the Fairbanks area and that particular "Mousse" sounds a lot like the Canadian moose with that "eh" sound, which he repeats at the end of most calling sessions... I have heard that he has migrated Outside for the time being, but will be back in the Fairbanks area next summer, eh?
    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
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    I shoulda mentioned the occasional Northern Minnesota moose we get up here. I've encountered one in the Fairbanks area and that particular "Mousse" sounds a lot like the Canadian moose with that "eh" sound, which he repeats at the end of most calling sessions... I have heard that he has migrated Outside for the time being, but will be back in the Fairbanks area next summer, eh?
    I trust this Mousse is doing well, eh?

  11. #11
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Smile

    You guys are killing me! I think it may have been my brother and or Uncle Dan they have been known to travel back and forth from time to time. I recently migrated to Montgomery Alabama darn Job but made it back post rut about took my lungs away when I stepped off the plane.

    Good Stuff!

  12. #12
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Okay, I'll quit playing around and toss some stuff out there.

    Looks like you have already made a pretty good dent in it, but here are some things that might be of use.

    FLOAT HUNTING ALASKA'S WILD RIVERS

    You mentioned that you have a copy of my float hunting book, "Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers". If you read the river writeups in that book, you will notice a pattern that repeats itself in each of the writeups. Each one follows the same pattern, and includes the following components:

    1. Map, showing GMU and subunit boundaries, controlled use areas, major landmarks, access points, major tributaries, etc.

    2. Quick-reference chart that covers all the non-perishable information (region, GMU, suggested experience level, whitewater rating, length, gradient, closest available charters, available species, recommended boats, land managers, ADFG biologist office for that area, and the maps you need for that river).

    3. Description of the river. My intent here was to paint a picture of "what it's like" there.

    4. Hunting opportunities, including how to hunt that river for the various available species.

    5. Known hazards. This section discusses whitewater, wood issues (sweepers, strainers, logjams, etc.), shallow water, braiding, etc.

    My intent in writing each river that way was to provide a template, repeated fifty times (once for each river), that you could use for researching the non-perishable information for other rivers elsewhere in the state. Almost all of the rivers in that book had been written about elsewhere prior, or were already known to the float hunting community at large. None of them are "secret spots", and in no case did I attempt to delve into the quality of the hunting on any of those rivers. The reason I steered clear of that, is because species counts, calving rates, migration paths / patterns / timing, hunting pressure, guide pressure, water levels, habitat quality, wildfires (and much more) constitute what I call "perishable" information. In other words, that kind of information has a relatively short shelf life, and may be invalid in two or three seasons. In contrast to the "nonperishable" information, that can be stored almost indefinitely and still be mostly accurate.

    Soooo.... when you are researching for a river, take note that you need BOTH kinds of information. You can collect the non-perishable information from a variety of sources, including books, DVDs, maps, etc. Collecting the perishable information requires a lot more work and even finesse. You have to listen with both ears, and really engage the old noodle. I also addressed that in the book, and on the pages of this website, in our Hunt Planning Section.

    MASTER RIVER PAGE

    There's a little hidden jewel on this site that took me a long time to assemble, but you might want to bookmark it as a resource for non-perishable information. It's our MASTER RIVER PAGE, and it includes an alphabetical listing of literally hundreds of river systems that are discussed in print, map or DVD form. We have assigned two-letter codes to each of the resources (we have all the ones that are still in print in our store, and the two-letter codes link directly to those products in our bookstore). You will notice that some of the resources are no longer in print, and in those cases you may be able to find them on Amazon. Finally, remember that some of the resources offer only a superficial mention of some rivers, and so they may not be of use to you. We simply included ALL the resources we could find, that made mention of that river, on the chance that some folks are as crazy as I am and would want everything available.

    ALASKA RIVER LOGS

    This site also hosts all of the Alaska River Logs. I simply got tired of going down to the BLM Public Lands Information Office to obtain hard copies, so I asked for copies of all of them, and scanned them to PDF and we loaded them to our site. You can find them AT THIS LINK, together with a description of what they are, and their relevance to the hunt planning process. Keep in mind that some of those rivers are at least partially in national parks, where hunting is prohibited.

    ALASKA FLOAT HUNTING SECTION

    I wrote this section some time ago, and you might find some of it useful. It's mostly academic, but it has been my experience that there is no such thing as not being able to learn from basic information. There is almost always something in there that you don't know, and will help you in some way.

    ALASKA FLOAT HUNTING RESOURCE SECTION

    Did you know we have a bookstore? YES! We have what I believe to be the largest online collection of books, maps and DVDs focused exclusively on the Alaska outdoors. We've got hundreds of titles in there, grouped conveniently by category. You might check out our Float Hunting Section, which contains not only river resources, but a number of other products of use to float hunters.

    ============

    One final tip: If you intend to hunt a particular river in Alaska, it's generally a good practice to avoid naming that particular river on a forum like this. There are a lot of hunters out there who have not done their homework and will take your mention of a certain river as the latest "hot tip", and you could have company. And yes, I am aware that I am opening myself up to getting beaten up for the umpteenth time because I wrote about fifty rivers in my book. But that's another story for another day...

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    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 can't give you any more area-specific information, but it looks to me like your planning, rafting ability, and experience are good. If you have never packed/boated a Moose (or more than one), don't underestimate the logistical difficulties of handling such a large animal. My first Moose was one of two that my partner and I killed at the same time while two bulls were fighting. It took us 48 hours to pack them the mile and half to our boat. I sweated off about 20 pounds, and was more exhausted than at any other time of my life. (Still, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life)

    The boat was loaded so heavy that we couldn't get it on step going downstream

  14. #14
    Member alaskankid13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grantspastor View Post
    I can't give you any more area-specific information, but it looks to me like your planning, rafting ability, and experience are good. If you have never packed/boated a Moose (or more than one), don't underestimate the logistical difficulties of handling such a large animal. My first Moose was one of two that my partner and I killed at the same time while two bulls were fighting. It took us 48 hours to pack them the mile and half to our boat. I sweated off about 20 pounds, and was more exhausted than at any other time of my life. (Still, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life)

    The boat was loaded so heavy that we couldn't get it on step going downstream
    I've got a few gnarly moose packs under my belt now. Figured at least with a float hunt these one should hypothetically be a downhill pack or so I hope

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