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Thread: Haul Road Caribou Logistics

  1. #1
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    Default Haul Road Caribou Logistics

    So, I have a haul road caribou hunt planned for some time in august 2015. I am 23 years old and will be hunt with my friend of the same age and my 53 year old father who is in good shape. We are willing to work harder than 99% of the hunters on the haul road to ensure we have the best chances possible of each getting a bou. My initial plan would be to hike the 5 miles out (and yes, I have heard this is a death march) and camp just about on the border. Therefore, any caribou spotted the opposite direction of the road we could go after with firearms, and caribou spotted towards the road we would pursue with bows. I have not heard of anyone else using this strategy on the haul road before, and then it dawned on me--is there any terrain where a camp could POSSIBLY be set up in that region that isn't right off the road? It seems as though it would be a waste of time to camp on the road and hike out the five miles every day to chase bou with a gun. Any information or advice that would help us plan the most productive hunting logistics would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Zach

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    First, you are gonna hike a gun and bow 5 miles? If you are going to do the hike, just commit to the rifle hunt. If you want to get away from the road and bow hunt, just hike a mile or two.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've heard of groups doing the mixed weapon thing...don't really know how that worked out.

    If you're willing to put in the 5 miles....just take the rifle, getting within rifle range is generally simple enough, 5 miles out you'll have little competition and if the bou are in the area, they'll be there. I'd pack the bow along so you could hunt on the drive up and if you change your mind and want to camp nearer the road.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    If you give yourself at least a week to hunt hard and the bou are around you will find opportunities from the road. The five mile march will limit you to one side of the road for a lot of prime country unless you have a boat to cross the sag river. I just couldn't sit on one spot that far out when I went, drove 100 miles a day most days scored on one cow and in 2 years between the wife and I, had about 30 stalks most without another person in sight.

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    Member shimano 33's Avatar
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    I was presented with this same situation last year. Only difference is my dad, friend, and his father-in-law were along for the ride.

    My first Haul Rd trip was the year before this and only my friend and I went. We took both rifles and bows thinking we would probably score with the stick and string and not need to do the death march. Long story short..we had to do the death march after not tagging a bou with a week of hunting on the books.

    I would consider myself to be in excellent physical condition as I am only 23 and grew up doing long distance running. My friend coming in at 27 and with a wrestling background is no slouch either. We ended up shooting 2 bou 5 miles out and it took us 2 days, 2 trips and 20 miles to recover meat/horns. I would NEVER attempt this with my father. I brought him up the following year (as mentioned above) and we all pitched in our pennies and flew in off the Dalton. Now I would take him up the Haul for a bow only hunt, but never a death march.

    To sum it all up, I would either do a strictly bow hunt with your father and friend, fly in, or 2 of you shoot bou with bows and then if the third guy can't get it done with the bow…only then…would I take on the death march with your dad. As 1 bou between 3 guys is doable in only one trip from 5 miles out.

    And to amp you up-here are some pics from the country you will soon see..




    Year 1, 20 Mile Death March (5 in 5 out-repeat next day).




    Year 2, Fly in with Dad.



  6. #6
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    The Biggest problem hunting the haul road is that the Caribou are UNPREDICTABLE.

    Just when you Know they are going to go one way they end up going another.

    I have hunted close to the road & also harvested a few bulls past 5 mile .

    By the time the caribou start filtering across the hyway, ( about the second week of August) they are spread out all over the place & NOT in heards of hundreds until it snows.

    There also might be Caribou all over the road & NONE out 5 miles for days & vice Versa.

    a couple years ago we were seeing caribou on the road but we had a Jet boat so we went up the Ivishak & never saw a Bull for 4 days.

    We left the Ivishak & camped along the road & got a couple.

    The Other problem with a Past 5 hunt is trying to keep your meat from Spoiling.

    It gets WET by the fog & rain then dries in the wind & sun. Then the dang flies show up.

    after a couple days you are pushing it if you cant get your meat out of there. Also the bears up there like seeing camps with meat & everybody is gone hunting.

    As for you putting out more than the other guys up there, a lot of the guys running the road are doing it because they already have blistered soar feet & backs from being out there where you are planning on going ahead of you.

    Not very many folks can get Caribou up there without having to put some sweat into it.

    There are also TONS of military As well as Non Military guys up there that do walk the 5 mile hike every day & Most do not carry bulls back with them.

    & then when the troopers see someone walking in from way out they wait to catch you on the road to see if you have every little scrap of meat from the caribou you harvested.

    Or they just land the chopper on you in your spike camp & they want you to account for every piece of meat. Then they will try to fly to your carcasses & check them for any bullet damage ( IF IN THE 5 MILE) or to see what the carcass looks like.

    & good by caribou if you bring out the antlers before the meat. They WILL take it away from you.

    I witnessed that 3 years ago.

    A young military guy that is a friend thought he would be ok doing it that way but they waited till he arrived at his tent at the Kapuruk before approaching him.

    Then he had to retrieve the rest of the meat from the field & take it to the trooper station in Happy valley or they were going to write him up for Wanton waist.

    It is still an adventure that most of us LOVE to do even though some times it sucks so bad at the time, we want to go back the next August.

    That is hunting !!!

    RJ Simington
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    Quote Originally Posted by protaxidermy View Post
    There also might be Caribou all over the road & NONE out 5 miles for days & vice Versa.

    a couple years ago we were seeing caribou on the road but we had a Jet boat so we went up the Ivishak & never saw a Bull for 4 days.

    We left the Ivishak & camped along the road & got a couple..
    See, my experience is that if they are at the road they are also milling around 5 miles off the road. I can set my watch by the consistency of that statement. You might have just been unlucky that one time.


    Quote Originally Posted by protaxidermy View Post
    The Other problem with a Past 5 hunt is trying to keep your meat from Spoiling.

    It gets WET by the fog & rain then dries in the wind & sun. Then the dang flies show up.

    after a couple days you are pushing it if you cant get your meat out of there. Also the bears up there like seeing camps with meat & everybody is gone hunting.
    Definitely agree with this statement. I've smelled my share of sour meat in the Soudough Parking lot. My principal is that if the weather isn't conducive to storing the meat I can have my 'bou in my freezer in Fairbanks 72 hours after shooting it. I've never had sour meat. I've certainly watched people make decisions up there regarding their meat care that make me wonder how much of that animal gets eaten. It's not generally a hunt that is conducive to holding your meat for a week.

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    Knock on wood, we haven't lost any meat from hunting up there either, but after our last hunt up the Dalton, we bought a small Freezer & a GOOD generator.

    This year we are taking atleast one of our Airboats so we can take the freezer & generator to Camp with us.

    Then as soon as we get the meat back to camp it is processed & less chance of loosing any.

    Like I said I Like hunting up the Dalton but getting good tasting meat home is the most important thing for my family.

    Of coarse having a running Generator in camp, I will not be camped by any other hunters so I don't disturb them either.

    RJ Simington
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    Quote Originally Posted by protaxidermy View Post
    Of coarse having a running Generator in camp, I will not be camped by any other hunters so I don't disturb them either.
    How the other half lives. *grin*

    Don't worry. If I hear your generator from my campsite, I'll hike down to the river to get some ice for my whiskey.

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    You Know , That's the flip side of having the freezer in camp too.

    Lots of room for Goodies & fresh food instead of Freeze dried.
    Custom Taxidermy, Experience the difference !!

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    Thanks for the info, all is appreciated. I'm thinking maybe start the week with honing in on the caribou from the road and bow hunting. Then, if we cannot find success with this method, ditch the bows and head in the five miles with guns. But again, does anyone know if there are campable surfaces out past the 5 miles? I think spike camping would make more sense than hiking in and out 5 miles each day...

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    Spike camping is the way to go. You'll spend several hours doing the 5 mile hike each way, it's not like walking on grass. Walking on tundra is like walking on bowling balls covered with wet sponges and the occasional swamp here and there. It's kinda like walking up stairs for 5 miles and almost rolling your ankles the whole way.

    I'd look into the sheep hunting threads to kinda get an idea on the type of gear you'll want for that hike. Go as light as you can, and don't take anything you don't absolutely need. The most important thing is get some boots with good ankle support.

    Good luck with the hunt, it's a lot of fun, but expect to put a lot of work in for your caribou. I've done the 5 mile hunt a few times, pm me if you have any questions.
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    Look for any high spot to spike camp. Not only will it give you a great glassing spot but it will be quite a bit drier than anything lower.

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