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Thread: About rifle hunting for haul rd caribou in mid-march

  1. #1
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    Question About rifle hunting for haul rd caribou in mid-march

    Some buddies and I are planning the five mile hike in from the Haul rd. in mid-March for caribou. Two friends are looking for their first AK big game animals and I am a meat hunter, so I wonder about the meat quality at this time of year? Native friends of mine down south say they don't start eating whitetails until the fireflies come out in spring because at the end of winter the deer are breaking down their own muscle for energy and the enzymes taint the meat. Any idea if there is an AK version to the story? Are March caribou as good as the one I've been eating since December? We have lots of questions. Any suggestions would be appreciated:
    - Where to go?
    - We will have at least two nights out. Any recommendations for decent hunt/camp areas with wind protection or wood that are five miles in?
    - Snowshoes or skis? Both?
    - Best human-pulled sleds for hauling gear and caribou? Useful configurations?
    - Places to park away from the Haul Rd? Access roads etc. to get further in?
    - Practical advice or any tips?
    I've read about the truckers on previous posts but wonder if their observations would matter when we're five miles in.
    Thanks

  2. #2

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    I typically wait until early to mid April for Dalton boo. I bring skis and snowshoes. The skis work great in the morning and evening when the snow had a little crust, but during the middle of the day when the snow goes soft, snowshoes work better. It is a lot of fun being out on the tundra at that time of year, and I think spring caribou are quite tasty!

    Hard to tell where the caribou will be, so camp locations will be dependent on the caribou. I wouldn't plan on finding any wood....Probably the best thing to do is to plan on spending your first day driving from Galbraith to Pump 2 and back. Look for tracks, caribou, etc. and find the area with the highest density. If you are seeing caribou from the road, then there will likely be caribou 5 miles off the road as well. With caribou, it's hard to plan in advance exactly where to hunt them. If you are in decent shape, its not that hard to ski in 5 miles, hunt, and ski back to your truck at the end of day. That way you can limit the amount of gear you are hauling behind you in a sled. I usually just sleep in my truck each night.

    I just use a 5 foot plastic sled with a homemade "harness". 1/2" PVC works pretty well to keep the sled off your heels...I connect the PVC to a ski-joring harness that I wear around my waist.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Smile gracias

    Thanks for the info. I'll have to talk with the fellas and see what they think. We know it could be brutal cold and windy, but won't push ourselves into a bad situation.

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    Default We will be there

    Some buddies and I are going to be up there around that time too. I shot one off the road with my bow last year and it was soo tender. Almost too tender. But some of my friends don't bow hunt and want to shoot bou's. So we will be skiing out. We are going to stick to the mountains as that was where we say all the caribou last year. Mid March can get cold though so keep that in mind. April is much warmer usually. Also keep in mind most bulls have dropped their antlers so trophy hunting is out. I thinking skiing is the way to go as you can go 5 miles in no time. Should be a lot of fun.
    Carl

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    Default Best of Luck

    Thanks for the info. Have a great hunt.

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    Thumbs up Carl

    I sure hope you and all your friends get one of these fine animals.....

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    Default well-wishes appreciated

    thanks. Let's hope for some not-too-extreme weather.

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    I've always used a military ahkio and harness when I hunted up there.
    Now what ?

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    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    april would be better, more daylight! AND WARMER
    we had -20 WEATHER IN MID APRIL. LAST WEEK WHEN I WAS UP AT WORK WE HAD -40 WEATHER , WINDCHILL IN THE -60'S
    MEAT IS GOOD BUT DON'T BE FREAKED OUT BY BOT FLY LARVA IT DOES NOT AFFECT THE MEAT.
    HAVE GPS AND PUT MULTIPLE WP ALONG ROAD YOU WILL THINK YOU ARE 5 MILES OUT WAY BEFORE YOU GET THERE. FUR AND FEATHERS ARE DOING SURVEY'S UP THERE SO THEY ARE FLYING AROUND UP THERE.
    GOOD LUCK ON FINDING 'BOU
    YOU CAN DRIVE FOR 50-100 MILES AND NOT SEE A CARIBOU SO I HAVE NEVER FIGURED OUT HOW TO PICK SPOT TO WALK OUT 5 MILES AND FIND 'BOU?????
    ONLY PLACE, I KNOW OF, TO GET OUT AWAY FROM ROAD IS TO WEST OF GALBRETH LAKE.....IF PLOWED I THINK IT WILL GET YOU COUPLE MILES FROM ROAD.
    A SET OF TIRE CHAINS WOULD PROBABLY BE VERY GOOD IDEA AND LOTS OF EXTRA FUEL FOR VEHICLE. SHOVEL, TOW STRAP,
    THERE IS A COUPLE GRAVEL PITS TO WEST OF ROAD JUST SOUTH OF PUMP STATION 2 FROM THERE YOU CAN SEE TO WEST A LONG WAYS......MIGHT BE ABLE TO SEE CARIBOU WITH SPOTTING SCOPE WAY OUT THERE??????
    GOOD LUCK BE SAFE
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

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    Default great info

    Thanks for the info. Good stuff. I have a nice sled to hook up to a waist belt from an old hiking pack (I'll probably use pvc or the like), but I'm wondering what these military harnesses are. Do they have them in Fbks?

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Badfeather View Post
    Thanks for the info. Good stuff. I have a nice sled to hook up to a waist belt from an old hiking pack (I'll probably use pvc or the like), but I'm wondering what these military harnesses are. Do they have them in Fbks?
    You can probably find them at a surplus store or DRMO out at Ft. Wainwright (Badger Road) when they are holding a sale.
    Now what ?

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    Default Heading out Sat.

    Thanks for all the advice. We're heading out Saturday. Hopefully the forecast will remain true. It doesn't look too bad up there.

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    Smile success!

    Thanks to everyone for all the knowledge and advice. My friends each got a cow; we couldn't manage any shots on the more skittish bulls. Hopefully the meat will last us awhile since fall seems like a long way away, but I am already looking forward to moose season. This forum is a great resource.

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Let's see some pics!!!

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    Default Two Happy Hunters: caribou pics

    Here you go...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default

    Badfeatehr,

    Congrats on ya'll getting some bou. If you wouldn't mind, could you give some details. Like about what area, snow depth, how was the walk, did you use ski or snow shoe, etc. Thanks.

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    We would also love to hear the details. My friends and I are leaving Saturday and planning on skiing, but also have snowshoes. 3 guys pulling and ahkio. Wind, snow, temperatures? Oh, and something else too...oh yeah...WHERE WERE THE BOU!!!

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    Had a few guys go this past weekend....Bou stacked up around the pass and a few north of coldfoot. As always this time of the year they are spooked easily and bedded all day long. Temp was around 27 below with some wind. They are humpin in 5 miles this weekend.....good luck to all

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    Default bring some extra supplies

    i went up a couple years ago in mid march and things got nasty. 6 miles back, getting stalked by wolves and not enough gear. have fun, but prepare well, there is no room for error

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    Default bou location

    Plenty of caribou between Atigun and Galbraith. We hunted the hills just on the north side and found a valley-full to the west. I don't know if they are still there.
    We skied the whole way. Pulling the loaded sleds back was rough. They did more plowing through the snow than riding on top. Hopefully, a hard crust will have formed, in which case, sleds should be easy to pull, even loaded with lots of meat
    Be sure you know where you are at in relation to the highway. Get a USGS map and a compass and draw your line 5 miles parallel to the road.
    Take snowshoes just in case and don't forget sunglasses and sunscreen.
    Best of luck to all the spring hunters!

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