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Thread: Hello all

  1. #1
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    Default Hello all

    First let me say I like your site. Second, let me say I love Alaska. I've been there twice and if I could afford it I'd go every year.

    I am in the initial stages of planning a bou hunt and wanted to throw it out here and solicate (sp) any advice. Here is what I'd like to do.

    I plan on driving, along with 2 friends to AK. We would be bowhunting caribou, possibly ML also. To save on cost we would prefer not to fly in. So driving to some point and hike in and out is what I am thinking. Or hike in for two or three days then back out. We plan on a week to 10 days. Thats basically it. I know thats not alot of info but at this point we are pretty flexible. As I mentioned, I've beeb to AK twice. Both times were a flyin hunt in the lake Clark area. They were not guided but I was with a friend thats been to AK over 20 times in the bush so he is quite knowledgable. At least I think he is. The first time we packed out 3 caribou about 2 miles and 2 moose almost as far. Second trip was not as successful as far as animals but I did climb a mountain for a black bear. Both trips were about 15 days in the bush. I say this only so you know that I do have a good idea what to expect. I don't concider myself a wilderness expert but I do have enough skills and confidence to handle a fews days at a time. I have a bunch of questions but should only ask a few at a time. Here is the 1st:

    What I would like to know to start with is in your opinion, what areas should I be looking at for a DIY hike in Caribou bowhunt that gives us a decent chance for success?

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Given the fact that you want to drive/hike, your best (only?) option would be a Haul Road (Dalton Highway) caribou hunt. Success rates are generally high up there for those with time and patience, and the country is truly spectacular. There are complaints every year about the crowding up there, but if you're willing to walk a mile away from the road you will be all alone. There are plenty of folks up there who just drive up and down the road looking for caribou, but I never saw another person once I walked away from the road.

    If you do some searches through the archives for info on the Haul Road, you will find hours of reading that should give you a very good idea of what to expect from bou numbers to highway conditions.

    Again, don't buy into the negativity of some who don't like this hunt - it can be great for those willing to walk a bit.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Haul Road Caribou

    Whitetail,

    For starters, welcome to Outdoors Directory! You're gonna love this place.

    One of your better options in terms of success rates would be the Dalton Highway (we call it the "Haul Road"). It's a very long drive, but bowhunting is allowed in the corridor and if you hike outside the pipeline corridor, you can hunt caribou with a rifle.

    Have a good look at the Alaska Hunting Regulations for more detail on this area, and especially look through the archives here in this website. A LOT has been written about haul road caribou hunts. It is not easy! Also, the road is maintained with the primary purpose of allowing materials to be trucked to Prudhoe Bay. It is not maintained as a recreational highway! Therefore, pull-outs are very limited. We have had lots of trouble with hunters parking on the shoulder of the road, but not far enough off the road to allow trucks to easily pass. At least one report came out of some hunters' windshield being smashed in, allegedly in a deliberate act by a pilot car driver. Goods and services, including fuel for your vehicle, are very limited. You must be totally self contained. Lots more to say about this, but I know others will chime in. Some of what they have to say will be negative, and even perhaps discouraging of you going up there. But road-based caribou hunting opportunities for non residents are very limited in Alaska. This is probably your best shot.

    Beware, and use good sense up there!

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  4. #4
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    Default Also

    I would like to add to what Mike had to say about the dalton highway. First I found the trip last year was not bad at all, because they are paving more and more of the roads every year and they do a great job of maintaining them. Second, it is a beautiful drive with great grayling fishing along the way. If you fill up in fairbanks, coldfoot and deadhorse you wont need any extra fuel, except maybe 5 gallons for cook stoves or to help someone out. Have a CB and many of the truckers will let you know were they are seeing bou and if there is an emergency you can spread the word. If I don't sheep hunt this year I will be heading up on around the 15th of Aug because the horns are pretty much hard and the weather is still normally decent(alaska decent). Also once you do get off the road a couple miles for bow hunting, you should be alone. The five mile hike in aint bad if you take your time, hunting along the way and keeping your load down. The bou are not that big body size and easily can be taken out in two trips. There are many options, just know your capabilities and good luck.

    Terry

  5. #5
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Dalton (Haul) Road

    Yep Yep good data.

    Couple of the ins and outs concerning the walk in and the Haul Rd. and I am sure others or hopfefully others will provide some great data.

    Depending on the time of the year you wish to accomplish your hunt you will find Caribou in several locations some more than others. Funny thing about Caribou is they move move move all the time and depending on the weather you might find better hunting up towards Pump Two or all the way back to Slope Mountian.

    When your accomplishing your research i.e. readng all past post and future responses keep in mind if your willing to do the required work you imporve your chances of harvesting an animal. You will find that some people just hunt the road and hope to shoot something and it can be a little cut-throat along the road i.e. hunters cutting off other hunters while attempting a stalk.

    Also keep in mind that walking in the Tundra can be easy to harsh and different locaitons on the road have different walking conidtions. If you choose to hunt aournd G-Lake the ground tends to be a little more forgiving same goes for some of the walking around Slope Mountain however if the Bou have not migrated in numbers in those areas depending on when you wish to hunt you may find slim pickens if you know what I mean.

    Food For Thought: Keep your options open to include the possible use of a small inflatable to cross the Sag by Franklin Bluffs again depending on the time of year and weather conditions it might be a great option to get away from other potential hunters working the road system.

    I know Ramble Ramble sorry.

    Any Who Welcome to the Forum! Enjoy the New Year and feel free to P.M. if you wish more detailed data after 25 trips up that lovely road I might be able to provide some insight that helps.

    Bets Wishes

    Blue Moose

  6. #6
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    Default

    Thanks for the reply's so far. I hav'nt waded through many of the old post's yet but I did read the one about the smashed window. That concerns me a bit but I assume something like that happening is not the norm. Every now and then something stupid happens here in Iowa but it's not the norm either. I do have a few more questions though.

    From Faibanks, how far (miles or hours) are we talking to say pump 2, Slope mountain, G-Lake, Franklin Bluffs, Coldfoot, Deadhorse or others mentioned. I hav'nt located my AK TOPO map yet and don't own a decent map with locations or miles.

    I will not be road hunting. I don't do that here and I'm not spending all the time and effort to travel 2500 miles and road hunt in AK. We already plan on packing in to the animals, we just need a good jumping off point.

    Thanks again for your responses. I appreciate them very much.

  7. #7
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Haul Road Info

    I've got a lot of haul road info at my fingertips, so let me share some with ya.

    A couple points. You really NEED a CB radio in your vehicle. All the truckers use them and there will be chatter about road closures/hazards and the oversize loads with pilots will tell their positions frequently. When you hear them talk about "4 wheelers" they are referring to private vehicle traffic (i.e. your little truck has 4 wheels while theirs has 18). If you have an emergency, you can usually raise somebody on the CB and info can be relayed up/down the road as needed. If you're within radio range of one of the pump stations, the security guards monitor the CB channel that corresponds with their station number (i.e. channel 4 for Pump 4, channel 5 for Pump 5, etc). They may not be able to help you directly, but they do have a phone and will make calls as needed.

    When you're on the Dalton Highway, yield to all trucks. When you have trucks oncoming, slow down and pull to the right shoulder to give them plenty of room. If trucks come up behind you, at the next spot where there is enough visibility, pull to the right and let them pass you. You'll get lots of respect back from the truckers if you let them have the road. A little bit of courtesy goes a long way. And never stop on the roadway. Find a pull out if you need to stop for anything.

    Mileages are as follows:

    Fairbanks to Pump 7 is 51 miles
    Pump 7 to Pump 6 is 80 miles
    Pump 6 to Pump 5 is 82 miles
    Pump 5 to Pump 4 is 132 miles
    Pump 4 to Pump 3 is 41 miles
    Pump 3 to Pump 2 is 47 miles
    Pump 2 to Deadhorse is 56 miles

    Total mileage from Fairbanks to Pump 2 is about 433 miles.

    When you go north out of Fairbanks, you'll pass through Fox after about a dozen miles. At Fox you are now on the Elliott Highway at milepost 0 (zero). I don't have the milepost, but the last chance for fuel is at Hilltop a few miles later. It is a truck stop. You'd be best to fuel up in Fairbanks though. The pipeline Pump 7 is about Elliott milepost 43. A bit later you'll pass by Livengood and see Manley Hot Springs Road. This is the end of the Elliott Highway and you now start on the Dalton Highway and welcome to the gravel haul road. The mileposts start over at 0 (zero) here.

    There are a couple sections of road that have been "improved" in recent years and have been paved. So you'll go from gravel to pavement to gravel a couple times south of the Yukon River. There is pretty much nothing along the section of road from Livengood to the Yukon River. At about Dalton milepost 54 you'll pass Pump 6 and start down a long hill to the Yukon River a couple miles later. The bridge is on a steep incline, so if you have truck traffic coming up the bridge, it is best to stop at the top of the bridge and wait for them to clear before starting down yourself. Don't stop on the bridge for any reason or the pipeline security guys will decend upon you like you're Bin Laden himself. On the north side of the bridge is a visitor info site and restrooms. There is a small lodge that is open during the summer, though I heard a rumor that it was sold, so I'm not sure of the current status of that place.

    Again, there isn't much on the road for a long ways. You'll pass Pump 5 about milepost 138 and then around milepost 175 you'll be in Coldfoot. It's a small community but you can get fuel and such. There is also a State Trooper stationed there who can respond to emergencies. After this, you'll start a very long run up into the mountains and over Atigun Pass. A while after cresting the pass, you'll pass Pump 4 at about Dalton milepost 269. You're into Caribou Country now. Pump 3 is about milepost 312 and Pump 2 is about mile 359. The end of the road is the town of Deadhorse at Prudhoe Bay. There are some services and fuel available here also. You'll need lots of cash though.

    Take plenty of time to plan out such a trip. This country is unforgiving to the ill-prepared. There is no cell phone service once you leave Fairbanks, so you're on your own after that. The majority of the road does not have any kind of emergency service. If you get into a wreck, there is no ambulance to save you. If your truck catches on fire, there is no fire department to put it out. Many people find these things out the hard way every summer.

    Good luck.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  8. #8
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Sat phone...

    Some knowledgable people have chimmed in and told you more than I could. I just wanted to throw out an idea. Rent a sat phone. Irridium has a good reputation in Alaska and can be rented online. My buddy rented one for two of our recent float trips in NW Alaska and they mailed him the phone a week before the trip and he mailed it back after the trip. Just that easy. It was cost effective insurance at $25/week. Hopefully you will not need it, but it would be wise to take one. I am pretty sure the below link is where he rented his.

    http://www.satellitephonestore.com/
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Agreed on the sat phone suggestion, but I'd go with the local guy. Greg at The Surveyor's Exchange is our local sat phone specialist. They carry multiple phones and will be able to tell you what will work best based on your needs.

  10. #10
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    You can also rent sat phones at Radio Fairbanks here in Fairbanks but call ahead to reserve one. They only have so many and are very popular during hunting season. I think they rent for 75 bucks for 7 days. 2 bucks a minute for calls I think. Small light weight phones. Not sure of the name. Iridums maybe. http://www.radio-fairbanks.com/
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  11. #11
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Bump

    Just bumping this thread to the top as these questions are coming up again.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=36630
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  12. #12
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    Default Considering A "Haul Road" Hunt...

    Hello All... I've been researching a Haul Road hunt and would be flying into Fairbanks, can anyone recommend a rental agency in Fairbanks? I'd like to rent a pickup w/camper in back. It will be two of us making the trip.

    Thanks... Fred

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