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!