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Thread: Chicken Caribou

  1. #1
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    Default Chicken Caribou

    Howdy,
    Now I've never hunted Chiken during the opener (Aug 10) for the Registration Caribou hunt but I do hunt in the general area (within 80 miles) for moose. I've also worked several SAR missions doing MEDEVACs for folks injured during this hunt (various causes for injuries ). I would however like to take the wife up there this year for the Caribout opener and have a few questions for those of you who have done this hunt (at that time).
    1. Do ya pretty much have to be there within the first few days of the opening, or is it hit or miss for a few weeks?

    2. Is Chicken ridge the best bet, or are there other areas? I know of a few other spots (Taylor MTN, Past Boundary Cutt-off) but have always heard that there's always Bou on the ridge. I heard something about American Summit as well.

    Again, my biggest concern is due to working a few missions where folks were injured on the ridge from a combination of wild activities, 4-wheelers and alcohol. Not making any judgements just my observations/experience while doing the "SAR thang".

    ANyway, any info would be appreciated. This will (hopefully) be the wifes first big game animal and I want to do my best to make sure she has a great experience.

    Thanks,
    Sal

  2. #2

    Default great experience go...

    elsewhere other than Chicken Ridge. It is a zoo and is not what most people call a "hunt". There will be hundreds of atv's zooming around ready to shoot the first caribou that moves. Good luck, but I would choose another place to take your wife.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Gotta agree with northway. I used to park at the mosquito fork and hit the ridge but now its as busy as a walmart parkinglot. Between the firecrews making a nice wide road and taylor mtn being closed, everybody is funneled up the trail. I'd definitly go to a different spot. To many numbskulls hunt the ridge for me to be there comfortably.

    I would get up there on the opener. its been closing pretty quickly lately.
    Last edited by Blink; 07-05-2007 at 17:23. Reason: typo

  4. #4

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    Chicken will be a major hunt this year.Watch out.

  5. #5
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Default Where

    I too am looking for a place to take the wife for a Bou hunt. If not Chicken then where? We donít mind work for hunt Ė in fact that is the best part. Are there any good places to get to by air? I know everyone likes to keep their own honey hole and I donít need that but we love for her to get a fair bull. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Drew

  6. #6

    Default by air

    Toddler,

    Call 40 mile air, but I am sure they will be booked already. They have some good spots. You might try a little later in the season for some of the areas that are out a bit further that 40 mile can drop you off at.

  7. #7
    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default Dennison River

    Is the Dennison River floatable? It looks like you can put in at Chicken and take out on the Taylor. Does the Taylor get much walk-in pressure or would a guy need an ATV to hunt this area?

    Tim

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    Tim, look into teh regs on the dennison. I believe part of it is considered off limits due to a recreational area or something like that. I know guys who float the east fork, and run into restrictions when they get near the west fork. I'd look into it. I've never floated it, just going by second hand from folks who have been hunting the area for many moons.

    I wouldnt discourage anybody from hunting the taylor, I've seen bou anywhere from logging cabin creek (around mile 40) to up past the DOT shop at southfork. Theres alot of trails to go on. I would just avoid the ridge and go on the opener.

  9. #9
    Member Ak Fireman's Avatar
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    Default

    I spoke with one of the gift shop owners in Chicken while moose hunting last year and he said there was over 400 vehicles parked up and down the road and most came with two 4 wheelers. He said there was something like 3 or 4 medevacs off the ridge from people wrecking there wheelers. He also stated that people were having "Ridge Rage" and were driving there wheelers over other hunters tents while they were out.

    I dont know if there is any truth to it but I was told that there was an article in some type of Fairbanks military news paper that painted the ridge to be a great place to hunt caribou from a wheeler and this was what started the great caribou rush of 2006!

    Then there was the idiots that shot the two moose and claimed they thought they were caribou and blamed it on a scope lens that had fogged. Atleast that was the version I heard up while up there. Thankfully it was a couple of moose and not a person.

    My predicton is if we have a few more years like 06, the ridge will get shut down to ATV's during bou/moo seasons.

    My vote would be to take the wife to Chicken, get her panties shot out of the cannon and then go up the ridge and run with the bulls.

    Unless you ever want her to go hunting with you again.

  10. #10
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    Fireman, actually north of chicken east of the road is already restricted during the fall season to ATV's (heads up to those going up, check the regs).

    When I used to park at the mosquito fork, there would be about 5-6 trucks parked there. I would usually leave about 15 gallons of gas in cans as a reserve in the back of my truck and they would never get touched. 3 years ago The wife and I drove up and I seen so many people parked there I just kept on driving.

    My buddy used to own the bar in chicken back in the early 70's and he wont even go near chicken anymore (he lives in south central now) during fall season.

    Its getting crazy but luckily its abig area and there are plenty of areas to hunt up there.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak Fireman View Post
    I dont know if there is any truth to it but I was told that there was an article in some type of Fairbanks military news paper that painted the ridge to be a great place to hunt caribou from a wheeler and this was what started the great caribou rush of 2006!
    Those dang military guys, screwing everything up again, I say we kick their butts outa here.

    I dont know if there is any truth to it If thats the case why would you even repeat such crap.

    This forum is as much to blame as any other person/medium for overcrowding of areas. Just mention or ask about an area on here and you can be sure you will have company there. But it's easy for the ignorant to blame everything on the military.

    I advocate that all the military land in the state be set aside and only military can hunt them, that way you won't have to worry about them screwing everything else up. Let me see, that would include the Yukon Training Area, a large portion of the Tanana flats, FT Greely and all its training area, and quite a bit of other areas in the state.

  12. #12
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    Default Yeah..

    AK Fireman,
    This ain't my first rodeo up there. I knew about last year mainly since I kinda worked the 3 MEDEVAC missions. The one dude was freakin out when the medic on the Helo tried to IV him...he thought he was going to kill him or something (lots-o-alcohol). Also heard about the yahoos running over tents and the dude who shot the two moose.

    Oh yeah we've known Chicken Sue for quite some time (helped her find her horse one time). And the wife has already done the cannon deal (are they still doing that?). We used to also take part in the "hunting in comfort" club's annual crab feast (have several of the anniversary t-shirts). We usually contributed 10 lbs of butter and always asked Sue if she needed anything brought in from town.

    I knew it got crazy up there on the ridge and has been that way for longer than last year. I was just looking for confirmation from folks since I never actually hunted the ridge for the Caribou opener. I hunt the area (loosely defined) for Moose and have gone up there for winter Caribou. Last winter saw a bunch but it was in the beginning 35 miles or so that was closed due to Nelchina Boo mingling.

    Without asking for anyone's hot spot I guess I was asking if it was worth it to hunt any of the other spots maybe above the treeline like Mt Fairplay, past the Boundary cutt-off befre the drop down to the 40-mile, American summit area or even around Taylor MTN. Speaking of Taylor MTN, I thought the closure was just for the construction of the radar site up there? How can they keep that RD closed? And even if they keep the site closed (understandable) you can't close the whole dang MTN can you?

    I do appreciate the comments/info

    Sal

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    Default Oh yeah...

    ..and just for the record all three MEDEVACs were done by US Army Helicopters and all of the victims were civilian. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

    I too get very tired of the "**** military" threads.

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    Sal, I didnt make it up there last fall so I didnt look into it, but this spring I was griz hunting up behind fairplay with a guy who works on the taylor and he mentioned that it was closed.

    I was gonna verify it when I turned in my baiting permit but I spaced it. Northway maybe can shed more light on the subject

  15. #15
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    I was there last year and probably know "Sal" because I was at 2 of the medevacs. Stabilized the guy and setup a landing strip for night landing on the first civilian and watched them take a AF guy out on the second one. I sure appreciated the air evac guys...professional as hell and **** good people. I'm military too and teach SAR for a living and I can say these guys are top notch!

    It was INSANE last year. We pulled into the ridge (25 miles back in from Chicken) on the 8th and there were just a few people back in there. By opening day there were at least 3-400 people back in there. People would pull up in the middle of the night right next to your tent and run their ATV's and yell at each other over the racket. I wanted to pull my hair out.

    I too am taking my wife caribou hunting this year down that way...and she'll be 5 months pregnant when we go. I don't think we are taking the big trip back in to the ridge, but we'll take the ATV and try for something a bit closer. We'll see how it goes

  16. #16

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    Get someone to fly you to the old Herc strip at the mine on Molly Creek. It is located just north of Tok, on the Mosquitoe Flats. From the strip, it is only a short walk up the hill to the ridge where all the caribou hang out. They pour in there in droves to get away from all the other action to the east. It is a real easy hunt and one that one's wives will enjoy. If you use a 206 or bigger, you can even haul in a small atv.

  17. #17
    Member Ak Fireman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKJD View Post
    Those dang military guys, screwing everything up again, I say we kick their butts outa here.

    I dont know if there is any truth to it If thats the case why would you even repeat such crap.

    This forum is as much to blame as any other person/medium for overcrowding of areas. Just mention or ask about an area on here and you can be sure you will have company there. But it's easy for the ignorant to blame everything on the military.

    I advocate that all the military land in the state be set aside and only military can hunt them, that way you won't have to worry about them screwing everything else up. Let me see, that would include the Yukon Training Area, a large portion of the Tanana flats, FT Greely and all its training area, and quite a bit of other areas in the state.

    WOW! I must have touched a nerve. I was blaming the publication of a location, not the military.

    I heard about this from three different people. I have not seen the article for myself, so I can only offer it as hearsay. If you can rebut this with a more accurate account of what caused a unusualy large number of people to hunt caribou on the ridge, then please do..

  18. #18

    Default Could be that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ak Fireman View Post
    WOW! I must have touched a nerve. I was blaming the publication of a location, not the military.

    I heard about this from three different people. I have not seen the article for myself, so I can only offer it as hearsay. If you can rebut this with a more accurate account of what caused a unusualy large number of people to hunt caribou on the ridge, then please do..
    People need to get their facts straight, before pointing fingers. I think there are multiple causes for the increased pressure at specific locations. There has been a steady influx of military personnel, a steady influx of civilian population, better communications among all e.g. internet forums, newspapers etc. ADFG has severely restricted a number of locations that used to be accessible and now they are closed entirely or restricted the access. The few remaining spots hunters can access the field are now inundated to the max. especially from the road system. So a simple article in a military newspaper is not the real reason for heavy impact. It is being cleverly designed and situated where the masses can best be managed.

  19. #19
    Member akndres's Avatar
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    Default

    I think hunters, in general, need to put Chicken Ridge into perspective. This is a hunt to take "X" number of caribou from the herd. It's a mangement tool, and it's effective. It's an easily accessible hunt. It's cheap. It's convenient for road hunters. It's the perfect tool for ADF&G to keep the population in check. It's may have been a "best kept secret" in the past, but not anymore.

    If you want a quality Alaska backcountry hunt.... THIS IS NOT IT.... Those folks that go to Chicken for that reason are unquestionably disappointed...if not totally pissed off. If you want to get away from the crowds, you have to press back in. Most of the hunter's up there (that I've seen) drive the first +-25 miles on their ATV's looking for that caribou that wondered the wrong way. This is the most conjested part of the trail. It's totally rediculous. People setting tents up on top of other hunters. It's a no-holds-barred un-sportsmanlike free-for-all. I stay away from it.

    You can still have a successful hunt in Chicken. You just have to press. You have to go in for the long haul, not the daytrip. Don't take first time hunters to Chicken.... they will only be disappointed and have a bad impression of hunting (or at least hunting in Alaska).

    If you go to Chicken with the right mindset, and not expecting more than what it actually is, then it isn't that bad.

    As far as, those **** military guys.... I'm used to hearing it. If it isn't Chicken, it's Circle, if not Circle, then it's the Haul Road, if not the Haul Road, then it's the Rex Trail.

    This is my bou from last year.....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

  20. #20
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    Default clarification on Akndres' post

    Just wanted to clarify that the Fortymile herd hunt right now is not being done at all as a "management tool." Those types of hunts, like the Nelchina, are designed to keep populations in check so they don't overbrowse their range. Right now the state is trying to boost the Fortymile herd via pred-control to 50,000-100,000 animals, with the goal leaning toward the higher figure. The herd size is estimated to be around 42,000 now.

    Many here know that I have opposed the Intensive Management scheme for this area because I feel that we already have too much atv abuse and overcrowding. Right now about 3,000 hunters are taking about 900 caribou annually from the Fortymile herd. The pred-control program and the ensuing harvest goals call for a median harvest objective of 8,000 caribou annually. If you think this hunt is crowded now, think of how many hunters it would take to harvest 8,000 caribou annually. I have seen the trails expand out there off the Taylor...and each year hunters are going farther and farther and each year it's getting worse. Even the Fortymile Miner's Assn is getting fed up. It's a fine line between atv use and atv abuse, between a hunt that has good access and a hunt that devolves into too much access by those who would ruin it for us all and make it yet another controlled use area.

    Again, I want to reiterate that the Fortymile herd hunt has absolutely nothing to do with "keeping the herd in check." Akndres, good to see you on here, agree it has nothing to do with military; nice bou you got last year.
    Good luck to all,

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