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Thread: Kodiak questions

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    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    Default Kodiak questions

    I'm planning a kodiak diy blacktail/caribou combo. I will have one guy along that's not in the best physical condition and also an 10 year old child, I don't want to make it too difficult for them (no August hunt when the deer are high). The main goal is to have a decent chance to hunt decent blacktail with caribou as a bonus. If anyone has insight on what the best time of year to do this would be, I'd greatly appreciate it. Pm of you don't want to post it publicly. Thanks in advance!


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    Quote Originally Posted by elkmasterwyo View Post
    ...caribou....one guy along that's not in the best physical condition....
    That's a difficult combo most times. Often the reindeer are far from the closest place you can land a plane. They move around a lot, so you might get lucky.

    My approach would be to talk it over with your air charter, fly the area to spot the nearest to a landing spot, then decide whether they're within reach of your party. Meanwhile the deer hunting prospects are very good down on the south end of the island with some climbing. The reindeer might be a low percentage possibility of they're not within foot range, but the deer should oblige.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    Thank you sir for the response! The deer are definitely the priority, if the bou come close that's great, but if not no big deal. Do you have a time that you think is best? Just an all around best time (weather/deer movement/hunting pressure, etc.)

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    Pretty wide open down there in terms of hunting ops once you pass September. But that's when the weather can really go south on you, too. I'd go prepared for wind and rain, with cold much more likely as you leave October behind. Whenever we go down there we carry twice as much food and fuel as we'll need for our planned stay, because often pickups are delayed by weather. Our worst was a 4-day November trip that lasted 13 days..... Then there were the trips that kept us in town for days waiting to fly out. Earlier (September) is definitely better if you're fairly restricted for time, but there are still lots of leaves on the brush.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Ya, not all the deer will be up high in Aug, but the weather is definitely much better the earlier you can go. Even in Sept you can get hammered here.
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    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    My main concern is getting my son(the 10 year old) and my father in law (probably can only walk 2-3 fairly easy miles/day) on some nice deer. Is that realistic in august /Sept or would it be better to chance the weather and wait till oct/Nov to maximize their chances?

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    Quote Originally Posted by elkmasterwyo View Post
    My main concern is getting my son(the 10 year old) and my father in law (probably can only walk 2-3 fairly easy miles/day) on some nice deer. Is that realistic in august /Sept or would it be better to chance the weather and wait till oct/Nov to maximize their chances?

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    I'd go for mid-September through mid-October. It's gorgeous down there with the color change in the veggies, and there are plenty of deer this year. If your FIL can walk 2-3 easy miles a day, he can climb most any hill I've had to climb down there. Just take your time with rest stops. Once you leave the bottomlands, the brush is mostly low too. Great ops for spot-and-stalk, which adds to the enjoyment for young and old. Just know that the closer you get to Halloween, the more likely you'll see some snow. Even in late September most years the water will be freezing in puddles overnight at higher elevations.

    You didn't ask about it, but I'd sure put in a shotgun with plenty of ammo. The willow ptarmigan will be changing colors so easy to spot, and they spend a lot of time down in the lowlands as well as in the berry fields up on the hillsides. Any time I've gone down there without a shotgun, I've really regretted it.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    You might want to consider trying to get into a higher elevation alpine lake to hunt out of. If you do decide to go in Sep. and you're able to get into a lake at around 2000' you won't have any issues with brush, the deer should be all around you, and the bears will mostly still be down low in the rivers and near the salt chasing salmon. If you decide to wait and go on Oct. you probably won't want to mess around too much with the 'bou hunting as the meat starts turning in Oct. due to the rut, and is not fit for consumption.

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    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    You might want to consider trying to get into a higher elevation alpine lake to hunt out of. If you do decide to go in Sep. and you're able to get into a lake at around 2000' you won't have any issues with brush, the deer should be all around you, and the bears will mostly still be down low in the rivers and near the salt chasing salmon. If you decide to wait and go on Oct. you probably won't want to mess around too much with the 'bou hunting as the meat starts turning in Oct. due to the rut, and is not fit for consumption.
    I really like the sounds of this! Do these lakes typically have fish in them?

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elkmasterwyo View Post
    I really like the sounds of this! Do these lakes typically have fish in them?

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    I don't know, I've never tried fishing the higher elevation of lakes. I don't recall ever seeing any signs of fish activity on any of the higher elevation lakes that I've flown into. If you do decide to go that route, I would contact fish & game and see if they have any information regarding fishing on the particular lake that you're looking at hunting out of.


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    Member smarion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    You might want to consider trying to get into a higher elevation alpine lake to hunt out of. If you do decide to go in Sep. and you're able to get into a lake at around 2000' you won't have any issues with brush, the deer should be all around you, and the bears will mostly still be down low in the rivers and near the salt chasing salmon. If you decide to wait and go on Oct. you probably won't want to mess around too much with the 'bou hunting as the meat starts turning in Oct. due to the rut, and is not fit for consumption.

    I agree 100% with this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    You might want to consider trying to get into a higher elevation alpine lake to hunt out of. If you do decide to go in Sep. and you're able to get into a lake at around 2000' you won't have any issues with brush, the deer should be all around you, and the bears will mostly still be down low in the rivers and near the salt chasing salmon. If you decide to wait and go on Oct. you probably won't want to mess around too much with the 'bou hunting as the meat starts turning in Oct. due to the rut, and is not fit for consumption.

    Spot on AK Troutbum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    You might want to consider trying to get into a higher elevation alpine lake to hunt out of. If you do decide to go in Sep. and you're able to get into a lake at around 2000' you won't have any issues with brush, the deer should be all around you, and the bears will mostly still be down low in the rivers and near the salt chasing salmon. If you decide to wait and go on Oct. you probably won't want to mess around too much with the 'bou hunting as the meat starts turning in Oct. due to the rut, and is not fit for consumption.

    This is what we did the second week of September last year. We had a resident with us that had a goat tag, which is what really influenced us landing on a higher lake like that. We saw lots of deer the first day and managed to shoot a really nice billy and a a buck that basically stood in our path between us and the goat. Then we got pounded by weather for the rest of our trip. So know that you will be running the chance of getting weather, but deer will be all over the place if the weather is nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Okbow87 View Post
    Then we got pounded by weather for the rest of our trip. So know that you will be running the chance of getting weather, but deer will be all over the place if the weather is nice.
    Know that if it cools off and a skim of ice forms on the lake while you're there, it's a long, long hump downhill with your camp to the next place a plane can land. I've dodged the bullet with the ice clearing the next day (this was late September), but friends tell horror stories of their 3 or 4 days of packing just so they could get picked up. Take a long, hard look at the weather forecast and talk in detail with the air charter before plopping your 1,000# of gear and people on a high lake. And be mentally prepared to do it if you have to.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    I did that hunt last year with a buddy. if you have a 10 year old and a guy not in great physical condition i would significantly rethink your expectations. the terrain you will be on is difficult when you don't have a loaded pack. If you wait till the deer are lower the reindeer will be getting close to dropping or already dropped their horns. the areas where the bou are at the mountains are a max of 1600' tall so that shouldn't deter you. the mountains are actually the easiest place to walk. bottoms are like a hairy waterbed with bowling balls in it. not fun walking. i would look at going later so the deer are lower. in the lower 48 we've hiked 10-15 miles a day easy. 2-3 miles on the south end of kodiak was every bit as hard as that! good luck. PM me if you have any specific questions i'd be happy to share what i know.

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    If the budget allows, with your hunting partners I'd look at a lodge-based operation that takes you out each day. Something like Kodiak Combos or another operation would be pretty sweet. As an added bonus, if physical limitations necessitate a rest day, some of those operations can take those who want to fishing for the day, duck hunting, or just hanging at the lodge. A different experience for sure, but seems like it would be a good fit for your crew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    You might want to consider trying to get into a higher elevation alpine lake to hunt out of. If you do decide to go in Sep. and you're able to get into a lake at around 2000' you won't have any issues with brush, the deer should be all around you, and the bears will mostly still be down low in the rivers and near the salt chasing salmon. If you decide to wait and go on Oct. you probably won't want to mess around too much with the 'bou hunting as the meat starts turning in Oct. due to the rut, and is not fit for consumption.
    Yep, spot on all the way.
    Proud to be an American!

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    What kinda budget are you looking at for a trip like this?
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    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    What kinda budget are you looking at for a trip like this?
    There will be my dad, my father in law, my son and myself. I'm trying to keep it under the $8-10k range(not including commercial airfare)

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    A 2k per person budget leaves you shy of most commercial outfits for unguided hunters. I agree that mid November would be a much better time frame. I only hunt deer in November. Kodiak can be a riot of a hunt, one of the best hunts in the state by far! Your looking at two beaver loads for four people and comfortable camp set up. I'd recommend talking to Dan at kodiak camps, a zodiac raft would be fun addition for your group and still be in your budget.
    Often times planes can fly the east side of the island while they can't get to the west side. Figure out what you can spend on air taxi and then call them up, tell them your budget and ask about access points that are in that price range. Some beaches are no good, some work in most tides, while other bays turn into a two mile mud flat when the tides out. There's more to it than pointing at water on a map. Deer numbers are doing awesome, they are all over the island. Get a few access options from your air taxi, then call john crye or Nate at kodiak fish and game and ask about those places. They will have first hand info about those general areas. Next....write a check.
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