Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 39

Thread: Brooks Range Caribou 26B/C, 25A...advice and opinions please...

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default Brooks Range Caribou 26B/C, 25A...advice and opinions please...

    I am putting together a hunt for a group of friends. We are looking to hunt up in the Brooks Range Region, very possibly 26B, C or 25 A GMUs. Target species will primarily be caribou, possibly other opportunities depending on GMU specifics and regs...wolf/bear, etc. I have been doing quite a bit of reading, and it does help narrow things down quite a bit. Group size is going to be in the neighborhood of 5-8 hunters. Most middle aged, reasonably fit or will be prior to arrival, motivated, experienced hunters with good woodsmanship and outdoor living experience. Most of us have hunted different species, not just the lower 48 deer camp guys I am sure hit you fellas and ladies up for advise. We are all quite content and comfortable operating in desolate areas and around apex predators. That being said, here are some specifics I can identify beyond the above mentioned.

    We are looking at 2018, August/Sept.
    Going to need an air taxi/charter for the above mentioned units.
    Stay afield we are estimating at 7 days in country, probably two days on the front side and back for cushion and wrap up.
    Mixed group...archery/firearms hunting.
    May elect to rent camp equipment, due to expense coming from the lower 48.
    We have an approximate per man budget for the total trip and have an idea of what we can afford for air taxi services...
    We are not interested in guides, drop camp serviced via air taxi.
    Will require a meat run/antler pickup mid week, I am going to assume moderate to good success.
    Not ruling out a possibility to have a guy or two trying to get a moose, if it can be accomodated...thus why we have included 25A GMU...if it's doable.

    I have been in contact with Arrowhead Outfitters some, and so far I am happy with the response and what we have seen. However, I am struggling to find others whom operate in the same vicinity to compare service rates and services. I also am having an issue finding anyone who specifically operates in 25A.

    Is it reasonable or feasable to have a moose hunt ongoing, concurrent with succesful caribou hunting....say unit 25A? Trying to keep everyone happy and ensure a hunter or two will throw in with the party, and everyone have a good chance at succes.

    Of course we are looking for good animals, but mature representative animals in good shape in good numbers are more important than specifically looking for 'book' animals. Most of us in the group, this will be our first trip to Alaska, looking for a quality experience and trying to match and temper that with reasonable expectations.

    Thank you for your time.

  2. #2

    Default

    You'll likely get the same responses from others but Google "Alaska Outdoor Forums Brooks Range Caribou hunt" and you'll have 2 days worth of reading material.

    Coyote Air - out of Gailbrath Lake
    Bushwacker Air
    Deltanna Outfitters operates out of Happy Valley
    Arrowhead Outfitters
    Seventy-North

    Read up....
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php/70152-Happy-Valley-Deadhorse-Air-Taxi-Rec

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,392

    Default

    When you say you intend to have a meat run mid-week, consider that most air taxis do not have meat coolers available for their hunters, nor do they have the time to deal with your meat on the other end. I appreciate your concern for proper meat care, but sending it out without someone else on the other end to deal with it might not be a feasible option. That said, with proper meat care practices, you shouldn't have a problem caring for meat for up to a week in camp.

    You'll also need to consider how you're going to get to the start point for your hunt. Getting 5-8 non-residents up to Happy Valley or Coldfoot is not small undertaking. Most rental companies do not allow their vehicles to be driven on the Dalton Highway (Haul Road).

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default

    We have that covered already, with respect to transportation up Haul Road.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dhosera View Post
    You'll likely get the same responses from others but Google "Alaska Outdoor Forums Brooks Range Caribou hunt" and you'll have 2 days worth of reading material.

    Coyote Air - out of Gailbrath Lake
    Bushwacker Air
    Deltanna Outfitters operates out of Happy Valley
    Arrowhead Outfitters
    Seventy-North

    Read up....
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php/70152-Happy-Valley-Deadhorse-Air-Taxi-Rec
    Thanks for the air taxi info. The reason why I asked was to get to what I am looking for and not wade thru 2 days worth of reading.

  6. #6
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,159

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by soggybtmboys View Post
    Thanks for the air taxi info. The reason why I asked was to get to what I am looking for and not wade thru 2 days worth of reading.
    And so ends the online help for someone not willing to do basic research. These pages are loaded with info but you will need to do a little wading.

  7. #7
    Member Roger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sunshine Alaska
    Posts
    2,049

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    And so ends the online help for someone not willing to do basic research. These pages are loaded with info but you will need to do a little wading.
    You should know by now all non residents know everything about hunting Alaska and we don't know squat
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    81

    Default

    Yep, you pretty much shot yourself in the foot by stating you were not willing to research the incredible resource found on this website...for those willing to spend a little time "wading"!

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Sometimes there can bee to much information and it becomes difficult to ascertain what is pertinent to specifics. But by all means pile on for asking a question(s) in hopes of narrowing down the search. I don't mind reading, and have done 2 weeks worth prior to posting, thus why I asked the question on specifics.

  10. #10

    Default

    A group size of 6-8 people is NOT the way to hunt AK for moose in the above mentioned GMUs. Arrowhead might service a group that large, but certainly without any consideration to the impact such a group has on moose densities on any stretch of river they drop you.

    I would pare down your expectations with number of people per team to be no more than 2-3 guys (4 max), and then only expect a success rate of 50% for moose and 75% for caribou. If you stayed in a group of 6-8, your success will likely resolve to less than the above average...more like 50-75% for caribou success and <30% for moose.

    But, your challenge might be finding a reputable service provider to allow 6-8 people for a moose hunt. For reference, I wouldn't agree to such terms if I were planning the adventure. Your success potential will suffer and so will the landscape used by such a large party in one cell of usage. You might consider breaking your party into 2-man teams and pursuing 2-3 different routes (if floating) or locations (if drop camp style). This spreads out your impacts and increases your odds for harvest success.

    larry

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    A group size of 6-8 people is NOT the way to hunt AK for moose in the above mentioned GMUs. Arrowhead might service a group that large, but certainly without any consideration to the impact such a group has on moose densities on any stretch of river they drop you.

    I would pare down your expectations with number of people per team to be no more than 2-3 guys (4 max), and then only expect a success rate of 50% for moose and 75% for caribou. If you stayed in a group of 6-8, your success will likely resolve to less than the above average...more like 50-75% for caribou success and <30% for moose.

    But, your challenge might be finding a reputable service provider to allow 6-8 people for a moose hunt. For reference, I wouldn't agree to such terms if I were planning the adventure. Your success potential will suffer and so will the landscape used by such a large party in one cell of usage. You might consider breaking your party into 2-man teams and pursuing 2-3 different routes (if floating) or locations (if drop camp style). This spreads out your impacts and increases your odds for harvest success.

    larry
    Thank you, this was the kind of opinion I was looking for with respect to trying to accomodate a large group with potential for multiple offerings on game. Moose will be out, and we will be focusing on caribou only and if the group holds to this size, will be splitting into two parties. This helps us rule out 25A GMU.

    26B and 26C- what are some significant difference between hunting the 2 units, success wise and numbers wise? Would it be ok to assume that fishing in both units are decent if we find ourselves with time, post success on bou?

    Thanks in advance

  12. #12

    Default

    Coyote Air out of Coldfoot. Dirk and Danielle will take care of you. He's running a Beaver. Drive up from Fairbanks. 3 of us did the trip in 2010 and mailed our gear up ahead of the hunt, and drove it back with our caribou on the return to Fairbanks.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Romo View Post
    Coyote Air out of Coldfoot. Dirk and Danielle will take care of you. He's running a Beaver. Drive up from Fairbanks. 3 of us did the trip in 2010 and mailed our gear up ahead of the hunt, and drove it back with our caribou on the return to Fairbanks.
    Do you happen to know the payload weight and passenger availability of a Beaver?

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Their two Beaver's are rated for hauling 1000 pounds.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheech View Post
    Their two Beaver's are rated for hauling 1000 pounds.
    Great, thank you.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Gakona Ak
    Posts
    1,493

    Default

    Lots of great questions:

    I have just started working with Bushwacker Air and will be doing most of Jeff's outfitting both camps and inflatables. With the issues in unit 23/Kotz we will be adjusting our operation out of Kotz until the mess works itself out. We will still work with Moose hunters but I see unit 26 A and C as much better options.

    What is really nice about 26 A and C is you can hunt the same group in August on the north side of the Brooks and then target them in September depending on your needs. The ability to get an over the counter moose tag is also huge.

    Look us up at www.northwestalaska.net or give me a call if I can help..

    We will be retooling our web site this June so check out the new look.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Outfitters
    www.northwestalaska.net
    907-259-4290
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gulkana Rafting View Post
    Lots of great questions:

    I have just started working with Bushwacker Air and will be doing most of Jeff's outfitting both camps and inflatables. With the issues in unit 23/Kotz we will be adjusting our operation out of Kotz until the mess works itself out. We will still work with Moose hunters but I see unit 26 A and C as much better options.

    What is really nice about 26 A and C is you can hunt the same group in August on the north side of the Brooks and then target them in September depending on your needs. The ability to get an over the counter moose tag is also huge.

    Look us up at www.northwestalaska.net or give me a call if I can help..

    We will be retooling our web site this June so check out the new look.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Outfitters
    www.northwestalaska.net
    907-259-4290
    Thanks, but we have decided to drop Moose from our itinerary due to the size of the group. Float trip sounds fun, but not this trip. We are specifically looking to drop cam for a period of time via a bush plane. Preferably in GMU with good numbers of bou and good success rates, with the option to take 2 bou. 26 A, if I am correct is a single caribou unit. Unless the group wishes to change directions on this point, this is where we are at for now.

  18. #18
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Woodland, Washington
    Posts
    866

    Default

    I know that for several years, Coyote Air in Coldfoot was not accepting new hunting clients. Has that changed?

    In August and probably even September, I think you're going to find many many more caribou on the North side of the Brooks in 26b and 26c than you will on the southside. If I was going after caribou it would for sure be on the north side. Also consider too if you want a velvet caribou or hard horned. For some, this is a factor in when they go. For cooler weather (better meat care), way fewer bugs and hard horned bou, I'd go mid-September. Expect flight delays though.

    I know you said you nixed the moose plans and that's a good idea. It's been said to me before... either hunt for caribou or moose, but not both. They are typically two different hunts and if you try and do both, your success will likely be lower.

    Good luck!

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Thank you very much! I have not spoken with Coyote Air, but one of the guys got an email from them about a float hunt on the Ivishak and there was no mention about not taking new people, so I don't know. We are going to cushion the trip duration with a couple of days on either side for potential weather issues, and we are starting to look hard at which weeks we are gonna pencil in, I think we have it boiled down to the 3rd or 4th week in August. I appreciate the info and reinforcement on 26b and 26c northside of the Brooks, those are the two areas that looked like best odds. Velvet bou would be sweet, and so would hard horned, but I don't think going either way is a make or break deal.....primary concern is hitting bad weather on the north side of the brooks during Sept. Arrowhead stops operating first week of Sept there and I am surmising it is because of unpredictable/hazardous weather. As I said, we are planning cushion time on either side of the trip, but we cannot get pinned in for more than a few days, wife is already having anxiety with her daughter going with us lol.

    Is there anything specific to prepare for being on the northside of the Brooks, something that may get over looked or glossed over but is important, or something to leave home that may get unnecessary attention?

  20. #20
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Woodland, Washington
    Posts
    866

    Default

    Weather is definitely a concern in September, but the flight services on the north side seem to still work. At least the guys out of happy valley.

    Your last question is a tough one to answer, there are a lot of things to consider. I'd talk with your pilot and do a search for peoples hunting experiences right here on this forum. You could get up there and have nothing but sunny days and very warm days or you could get rain, fog and snow. It's impossible to say.

    Boots are important the terrain can be very boggy, lots of water. Gaiters are very nice to have, and so are trekking poles. My poles always went with me up there.

    Bugs will likely be an issue in August so I'd bring some clothing that they can't bite through and a head net. The bugs will bite right through merino or synthetic base layer type clothing.

    Get two tags if the regs allow. It's a long way to go to shoot a single caribou. And there is often ground shrinkage with caribou. They always look big when they're standing there, especially when you've never hunted them. I'd try and read as much as you can about judging them, if taking a good one is important to you.

    I'm not sure if the reputation of the outfit you're looking at has changed, but if it hasn't I'd look hard at the outfits flying out of Happy Valley. There are some good ones there. 70 north has had a good rep over the years and there's a couple smaller outfits there that I can't recall the name of. Someone else might be able to help hear. Do a search on this forum for different outfitters and you can find some good info from guys that have used them.

    Good luck! And no matter what happens, come back and share your hunt and pictures here.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •