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Thread: Caribou Report Unit 23

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Caribou Report Unit 23

    I just finished up talking with a law enforcement friend of mine who has spent the last week flying patrols in the upper Noatak. He tells me that there are large group of primarily mature bulls coming through the Hunt River and through Howard Pass. Now this is way up the Noatak up near Gates and it is unusual because it is early but the groups were not the main herd by any stretch. The word is that there are groups of 25-35 animals in the upper passes (Howard Pass) and groups of 75-100 down near the Hunt and the Nimmi Rivers.

    This is good new for any one who is heading up there. Most of the guys who come to hunt out of Kotz find themselves funneled into the Eilli, Kelly or Aggi Rivers where the numbers of animals are usually good but the numbers of camps are increasing. This places a lot of hunters, hunting right on top of other groups. My recommendation is to pony up for the extra trip and have your pilot take you above the No-Fly zone and you will have a better hunting experience. The fly time to get above the Canyons will be around 2 hours 1 way, meaning you will pay for 4 hours of flying time but your hunting experience will be better because there are far fewer hunting groups up there.

    I will keep you posted as I talk to the pilots and keep in mind that when you hire a transporter you are paying the bill and should choose where you want to hunt. (Safety first though!) If you are leaving it up to the pilot to put you down in front the migration you are asking to get dumped on top of other groups. Do your home work and ask lots of questions. Being an educated hunter allows you to have a safer and more successful hunt.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Your best bet in rafts, canoes and camp rentals in all of NW Alaska
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  2. #2
    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    Default Excellent Information!

    I won't be among the lucky many to hunt up there this year, but I know great advice when I see it!

    Taylor

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Yes, good advice...............but................don't expect a transporter that is using an airplane to be able to put you "down" where you say so. First priority is safety. Most transporters have favored spots they take hunters. This is largely due to safety, as well as economics. Work with the transporter, but ultimately, the decision on where to land is his.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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    Thumbs up Martentrapper:

    I agree with what you are saying in regard to safety and the pilot being in charge with the decision on where to put you down. My issue is too many hunters allow the transporter to put you down in his favorite spot and too many times that is a favorite spot for more than one group. There is alot of places that don’t see many hunters up here and more guys need to start looking at some of these less traveled spots. This will make for better hunting all around and take the pressure off of the heavy impact areas like the Noatak Flats area.

    What I am advocating is that the hunter works with his transporter to choose a suitable and safe spot. This places a lot of responsibility upon the hunter to do his home work in regard to where he is hunting. I fly with 3 different flight services up here in NW Alaska. Any time I am planning a float trip I sit down with the pilot and outline what I want to do and then I ask where he can land in that area. I have an advantage in know many of the suitable landing strips up here and I also know all three of the pilots I work with very well. I never insist upon being “dropped” right here but I never leave it up to the pilot. The pilot will let me know where he can put me down based upon his experience, the planes ability and the weather and conditions. I always have a back up plan so if we fly up on the Kugg, the river has risen and the gravel bar is now unsafe we have a second or back spot in mind.

    The last thing I want when I am out on a river is to be bumping into other groups. This is NW Alaska not the Kenai for god sakes!

    The hunter needs to take some responsibility for his hunt and do his homework! An educated hunter is a prepared hunter. If a transporter will only put you in his favorite spot and is not willing to work with his client it’s my belief that the client should shop around, the client is paying the bill! But safety is first and that is the transporters first responsibility.


    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Your best bet in rafts, canoes and camp rentals in all of NW Alaska
    www.northwestalaska.com

  5. #5
    Member AkGreg's Avatar
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    Default Keep um comin

    Thanks Walt,

    we are coming up on 14 Sept for a week float.... we are getting dropped above the limit above Sapun crk and floating for a week or so.....

    Any info or intel you get please keep it coming... we are checking everywhere we can.... thanks again.

    Greg

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    Default AKGreg

    And are you getting your gear from me??

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    Member AkGreg's Avatar
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    Default

    no, I think we are going with the set up from Jim.......

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    Default Above the No Fly Zone

    I'm with AKGreg and we are wondering if there are 'better' places to put in than Sapun Creek. Is hunting better farther up stream? Are there good places upstream a pilot would be able to put us in? What is the speed of the river up that way? We are trying to plan our hunt, knowing we want to be above the No Fly area, but not sure how the hunt will play out with a week on the water. If we put in at Sapun Creek, will we find ourselves at the mouth of the Noatak after the week or just a few miles downstream having to row like madmen to make headway?

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    Smile C-Biskcuit

    A lot will depend upon when you are coming up. There are lots of landing strips above Sapun Creek if the water levels are low enough. I would look at the total time you will be up here and then look at where you want to take out. Getting put in at Sapun will limit where you can be picked up because of the No-Fly zone.

    One suggestion is look at going in at the Nimmi and take out near Sapun Creek. I have a group of guys who are float hunting the Nimmi in early Sept and the hunting should be great. There are fewer people up there and it is a major corridor for caribou headed south. Another option would be dropping in at the Cuttler and floating down towards the Nimmi. The Cuttler has lots of big animals and is under used. Option 3: Feniak Lake but this is a drop not a float. Also look at The Omhar River, head up to the pass, as there are lots of camps up there. It late to be doing many changes and that is why I encourage guys to begin this process early.


    What most people don’t understand is the service you get when you rent from me is assistance in selecting a drainage that will fit your needs. I make my money of the gear but the process is what helps the client the most because so few have experience up here. The river is slow and steady. I would more afraid that you will be at your pick up point too fast. 10-15 miles a day is normal river travel up here but many days will be hunting out of a camp site and not floating.


    Good luck and enjoy your time in Paradise.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Your best bet for Rafts, Canoes and camp rentals
    www.northwestalaska.com
    907-442-3944
    Kotzebue, Alaska

  10. #10
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska View Post

    The last thing I want when I am out on a river is to be bumping into other groups. This is NW Alaska not the Kenai for god sakes!
    Sorry Walt, but that statement gives folks not familiar with hunting in Alaska the WRONG idea. Doesn't matter if your in NW alaska, the Kenai, Interior, or anywhere else in this giant state. Every corner of this state has heavily hunted areas.
    Weather, safe landing areas, animal concentrations, land issues, guides in the area, etc. all contribute to limit places aircraft can drop hunters, either for a float or a drop. With the concentration of guys going out of Kotz, there is absolutely NO WAY all of them can get out somewhere that they will never see another hunter. In my opinion, very few will actually have a trip with NO other hunters in the area.
    Many guys hunt NW alaska. Plenty of resident hunters in their own plane, or guys with buddies in the village. Some locals get out in boats pretty far. Spend some time in a little plane flying around remote areas of Alaska during hunting season and you'll see that what is a large state with many remote areas gets pretty well covered during hunting season. Sure, some places don't see much pressure, but that isn't the norm. If you can safely land a plane, drive a boat, or motor a 4 wheeler into an area, someone else is there too.
    Help them find those quiet spots, Walt. But don't give us the idea there's enough of those spots to go around.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  11. #11
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    Default

    any new reports........i will be up that way around the 19th of sept...

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