Freighter canoe vs a Zodiac Dinghy type for river hunting
Does anybody have any experience between the freighter canoe vs a Zodiac raft for river hunting? Or do you have a preference between eh two and why? I am currently researching something that I could use to get around the streams for camping/fishing and fall hunting.
I have used a 19 ft Grumman w/10 hp outboard and I have used a 12 ft Achilies w/15 hp outboard, both on the Yukon river. I will take my Achilies or any Zodiac style over a canoe. The inflatables are more stable and comfortable imo. Plus, you can get them in a floatplane, unlike the canoe.
If I were a bushrat living on a tributary or slough, I'd would likely opt for the canoe, but I don't. I've used my inflatable in numerous places of the state, and always on remote hunts from a beaver.
I've used both extensively and IMO it depends on how much travel you intend to do. An inflatable is hard to push relative to weight and a heavily loaded inflatable is really hard to push.....so if you want to haul a moose and gear upstream for many miles, you would need a lot of time and fuel....a LOT!
The freighter type canoe has the advantage for fuel efficient load carrying especially when moderate power is used. They are not water ski, planing hull boats but an honest 15mph hull speed can be easily achieved while packing the load and sipping fuel. For this purpose, they really shine.
The smaller 15'-17' canoes are fine for hunting lesser waters but lack the stability of the larger canoes and usually can't be driven to the speeds of the freight canoes. There are a couple brands of 17'-18' wider bodied canoes that would be a great alternative for most uses but if moose hunting on big rivers is planned, the 19' Grumman would be my minimum choice with a strong leaning to a canoe of Hudson Bay size or larger.
And if I were younger, I'd go to Palmer and lay out my requirements for a new freight canoe with Mainer.
I have no bias, but I think you should get ah zodiac. They are far better boats for anything and everything. They are especially useful for neature walks, whereas a freighter is not.
I would say it really depends on what types of rivers you are intending to use it on. Bigger, deeper rivers, I would say the raft is likely a good choice. You will need a sizeable raft to match the carrying capacity of a freighter canoe. For smaller rivers/creeks with lots of rocks, I would want something that doesn't go flat when you hit a rock and you don't mind dragging over rocks/gravel.
If you are looking to power back upstream, especially in a smaller river/creek, a raft can be troublesome. With a freighter, you have the ability to outfit it with a lift that can make navigating shallow water much easier. Also, dragging a canoe upstream is going to be simpler than a raft.