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Thread: Caribou hunt on north slope of brooks range

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    Default Caribou hunt on north slope of brooks range

    Hey everyone,
    I'm doing my first Alaskan hunt this year for caribou on the north slope of the brooks range aug 19-29. I'm going to rent a vehicle in fairbanks and drive up the Dalton highway almost to Prudhoe bay and I have booked arrowhead outfitters to fly me in and out (the reviews I read about them prior to booking looked pretty solid). Anyways if any of you guys can give me advise about the hunt Id really appreciate it. I'm really concerned with proper meat care and how to effectively keep the meat cool on the 10 hour drive back to Fairbanks. Also I've been researching meatpackers in Fairbanks and the only good reviews Ive read have been on Delta meats (100 miles south of Fairbanks). Also i was wondering if you can set it up with the packer in advance for them to ship your meat back to u when they finish processing?
    Everything I've read says caribou meat is delicious and i want to do everything I can to take good care of the meat and respect the animal if I'm lucky enough to harvest one. For a veterinarian who owns his own hospital and never gets to get away this is a lifetime dream to get to hunt Alaska so any advise is greatly appreciated!
    Thank You!

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    Awesome! I believe there is a guy who will truck your frozen meat, cape, and antlers on his back haul. I am sure someone here knows his contact info.

    Good luck on your hunt!
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    Keeping meat cool can be tough up there. You might contact the camp at Happy Valley or Arrowhead and see if they have short term cooler space available or some bags of ice you can purchase for the return trip. You can also submerge quarters in heavy contractor plastic bags in a stream to get the internal temp down quickly. Once the inside temp is down the quarters can go for quite a while before spoiling. Most of the flowing surface water is 35F or so and will chill a hind quarter to the bone in just a few hours.

    Delta Meats does some pick up and drop off in Fairbanks. They will ship your finished products out if you'd like. I've used them several times and they do a very good job. You could contact them for particulars since Aug is their busiest season.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Keeping meat cool can be tough up there. You might contact the camp at Happy Valley or Arrowhead and see if they have short term cooler space available or some bags of ice you can purchase for the return trip. You can also submerge quarters in heavy contractor plastic bags in a stream to get the internal temp down quickly. Once the inside temp is down the quarters can go for quite a while before spoiling. Most of the flowing surface water is 35F or so and will chill a hind quarter to the bone in just a few hours.

    Delta Meats does some pick up and drop off in Fairbanks. They will ship your finished products out if you'd like. I've used them several times and they do a very good job. You could contact them for particulars since Aug is their busiest season.


    Thank you guys for the advise. Very cool to see other hunters helping each other out. More than anything I cant wait to see and enjoy Alaska. I wouldn't be upset at all if I didn't get a Caribou, going for the experience as much as anything, but if I do I want to take the best care of it possible.

    I found a trucking service called Alaskan meat express that will pick up your meat from processors in anchorage or fairbanks and take it to the lower 48 but I live all the way down in florida and they wont come that far so Ill have to have it flown. Is there any type of truck hauling that brings frozen meat down the Dalton highway??

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogdoc1 View Post
    Thank you guys for the advise. Very cool to see other hunters helping each other out. More than anything I cant wait to see and enjoy Alaska. I wouldn't be upset at all if I didn't get a Caribou, going for the experience as much as anything, but if I do I want to take the best care of it possible.

    I found a trucking service called Alaskan meat express that will pick up your meat from processors in anchorage or fairbanks and take it to the lower 48 but I live all the way down in florida and they wont come that far so Ill have to have it flown. Is there any type of truck hauling that brings frozen meat down the Dalton highway??
    Alaska air lines in Deadhorse has a cooler/freezer they'll store your meat and fly it out to FBX or ANC the have boxes and everything for ya, it Int cheap though from what I'm told.

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    Okay, I'll second the garbage bag in the water to cool. I've done it with the meat and cape. Once cool, you'll need some game bags, http://www.biggamebags.com/, and a tarp to cover it and keep it dry. Then, I'd get two 40 lb pound fish/meat boxes (any big grocery store - Fred Meyer) and, once out of the field, I'd bone out enough meat to max out the weight of each box to 50 lbs and then I'd have it frozen at least overnight at a meat processor or hotel. Tape and bring back as checked luggage. I guarantee, to ship otherwise will cost you $300 per. Whatever meat is left over, I'd give away. Keep it in good condition and pick a hotel staffer or waitress, or some other helpful person, and you'll find a good "home" for the extra meat. I've done this with fish, bear meat, etc. with never a problem as long as your return flight doesn't go over 24-36 hours. You also can do this with your cape if want to bring it down for taxidermy work. Similar to the meat - flesh, salt, drain, resalt, seal/pack in a plastic bag, box, freeze, bring as checked luggage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redlander View Post
    Okay, I'll second the garbage bag in the water to cool. I've done it with the meat and cape. Once cool, you'll need some game bags, http://www.biggamebags.com/, and a tarp to cover it and keep it dry. Then, I'd get two 40 lb pound fish/meat boxes (any big grocery store - Fred Meyer) and, once out of the field, I'd bone out enough meat to max out the weight of each box to 50 lbs and then I'd have it frozen at least overnight at a meat processor or hotel. Tape and bring back as checked luggage. I guarantee, to ship otherwise will cost you $300 per. Whatever meat is left over, I'd give away.
    Redlander gives good advice and might be better advice than I have, but here's a slightly different perspective.

    I've never done anything to cool my meat in August on the N. Slope, and it's always excellent. Find a way to keep it in the shade (sometimes I prop up a space blanket with my trekking poles to provide shade) and to keep the outside of the meat dry (I don't take the meat out of the bag to form a crust, but I do keep the game bags off the ground and keep rain off of them if I can) and get it back to Fairbanks to a cooler in 3 days or so. You should be fine. Hopefully you have a pickup truck with a topper so that the meat can be cool in the back rather than warm in the main cabin.

    If you bone the meat out and leave the cape and antlers in the field you should have no trouble putting all you meat in two coolers, 50 lb each for the plane. If it's a monster caribou you might need to give away 50 lb at the most, after removing most of the bones. You are going to have trouble getting Delta Meats to turn your animal around quickly, so you might need to take unprocessed meat back home, and cut it up in your kitchen. I definitely agree that if you could leave the meat in a freezer overnight or longer before packing it in the coolers and sending it home as luggage that would be a good thing.

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    In case you haven't already, make sure to get the rental vehicle part taken care of quickly. The last I heard, there were only one or two places that would rent vehicles to drive the haul road. The normal car rental places typically do not allow their vehicles up there. I think I recall Airport Equipment Rentals being one, but not sure if there is another option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    In case you haven't already, make sure to get the rental vehicle part taken care of quickly. The last I heard, there were only one or two places that would rent vehicles to drive the haul road. The normal car rental places typically do not allow their vehicles up there. I think I recall Airport Equipment Rentals being one, but not sure if there is another option.
    I think that I have rented pickups for the Haul Road from Arctic Rent A Car as well, although it's possible that they just were handling Airport Equipment Rentals passenger fleet. I think they were wholly independent from Airport. Like Airport, they are a local shop, which is nice.

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    I flew with Arrowhead Outfitters last August. They dropped us right in the caribou. we had to wait till the next day to hunt. Once it was legal to hunt we had two trophy bulls on the ground in 3 hours of hunting and they got us out that day. We used my tool box in my truck as a big meat cooler and got ice in coldfoot. If you have a big hunting party call howard and deb on sat phone and let them know you have a caribou down and they will try to organize a flight to swing by and pick up the meat since they have a big deep freezer at base camp. just make sure to put your name on the meat bags.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    I've never done anything to cool my meat in August on the N. Slope, and it's always excellent. Find a way to keep it in the shade (sometimes I prop up a space blanket with my trekking poles to provide shade) and to keep the outside of the meat dry (I don't take the meat out of the bag to form a crust, but I do keep the game bags off the ground and keep rain off of them if I can) and get it back to Fairbanks to a cooler in 3 days or so.You should be fine.
    Hmmmmm....that's interesting. As per my experience.....when you get the meat cooled down and get a good crust on it, it can stay good for quite a few days in even very warm conditions. Again, per my experience, it's when the meat doesn't crust over is when you take a chance of it spoiling when it's fairly warm out.....
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    Have you checked into cost of just flying into Prudhoe and renting a vehicle from there? Also you can get ice and freeze it and just fly it back from Prudhoe. Save a few days of driving. I work up at Prudhoe, so if you need phone numbers or info pm me.

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    Alaska airlines if booked early is just over 400 each way

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    At least that was the price I saw today for a flight in September

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    $800 round trip from ANC to Prudhoe and back is the going rate.
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    Thanks for all the great feedback, I really appreciate it! I was wondering what you all thought about hip boots for up there on the north slope. Ive got a food pair of light weight hiking boots and have been looking at getting the neos river trekkers to go over them. They are a little heavy and more expensive than the wiggys waders or other cheaper versions. If its common to have to slosh through lots of water up there when hunting then Ill go with the neos, but if you just need them to cross the occasional stream I may go with the cheaper lighter models. Any thoughts???

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    We wore Breathable Wading pants and they worked well for your rain gear and hiking pants. I used Simms Guide G3 and My pops used some Reddington Sonic Pro ones. Both were great but the sonic pro were far less expensive and I didn't see a huge difference at all. We bought high quality Wading boots with the BOA Laces (Cables) and they were awesome. I hiked 14 Miles the one day getting meat out of the mountains to the river and never had a problem.

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    Check Arrowhead Outfitters website. They have detailed information on how to care for game and just about any other questions you need answered. I'll be with them August 11th myself. Very reputable and informative company.

    http://www.arrowheadoutfitters.com/

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    Another question I have for you guys is bear precautions while tent camping in Alaska. I know not to put any food/meat inside or in close proximity to the tents but do any of you have any experience using the UDAP bear fence and if so do you think it is worth using? Any advise is greatly appreciated

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