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Thread: Float Hunting for Caribou & Sheep in NE Alaska

  1. #1
    Member Cody77's Avatar
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    Default Float Hunting for Caribou & Sheep in NE Alaska

    If you had to choose a river, which river would you choose, the Wind River, The Kongakut, the Canning, the Hulahula, the Aichilik, or the Sadlerochit river.

    Thanks, these rivers interest me for a trip in the fall of 2010.

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Default Rivers

    If I told you then you'd know where I'd be going this August!...And I really don't feel like lying right now.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Brooks Range rivers for float hunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Cody77 View Post
    If you had to choose a river, which river would you choose, the Wind River, The Kongakut, the Canning, the Hulahula, the Aichilik, or the Sadlerochit river.

    Thanks, these rivers interest me for a trip in the fall of 2010.
    Cody,

    There are actually several questions here, but this is a great point at which to begin! At least you have some locations in mind, which is great. Here are some things that may help focus this a bit more.

    AVAILABILITY OF GAME
    This is a point that should be researched well. I would start with the area biologist Beth Lenart in Fairbanks 1 (907) 459-7242. She has GMU 26B and C and should be able to provide details difficult to obtain otherwise. You might also have a look in the Boone and Crockett records books if you are interested in establishing trophy genetics for specific areas. If it were me, I would look at 25 year trends, and then narrow it down to the last five years or so to see what's been happening lately. I did hear a report a few years ago that some young men out of Barter Island went into the Hulahula, Jago and a third drainage I cannot remember now; they killed 100 rams in one winter for subsistence purposes. You might ask Beth Lenert if she knows something about this, as the impacts of that could still be an issue in that area.

    RIVER QUESTIONS
    I do know that the Kongakut and Canning are both floatable in the fall, but cannot speak for the other ones. Finding solid whitewater classification info on many remote rivers in Alaska is difficult or impossible unless someone has written about the river in question, or unless you have been there and know how to quantify it in terms of the Whitewater Scale. If your research comes up with a blank in that area, and you cannot find someone who has floated the remaining rivers, I would proceed with extreme caution. If you have access to them in Anchorage or Fairbanks, have a peek at the BLM high altitude Color Infrared (CIR) photos of the area. Look at them under magnification if possible. Following that, if you still cannot be sure about river depth and width, hazards, and so forth, you should fly the whole thing all the way from the put-in to the take-out. If you still have doubts after that, go with a backup plan and hit the Kongakut or the Canning instead.

    YOUR SKILLS
    The Kongakut has some Class III water, and the Canning runs up to Class II. I don't know what your experience level is, but you need to be sure you can handle those conditions. If you don't have that kind of experience, recruit someone who does, so you can learn the ropes from them.

    FLOAT HUNTING FOR DALL SHEEP
    Using a raft to access sheep country is still relatively uncommon, and brings some interesting dynamics of which you should be aware. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is that in most cases you will have to abandon your boat and base camp for several days while you hike in to where the sheep are. This could put your gear at risk of the destructive habits of grizzlies or, (hopefully not) theft by other hunters in the area. For the former you might consider an electric fence. For the latter, the only remedy I know of is to leave someone in camp.

    Lots more to say here, it should be interesting to see if folks have any info on those other systems, that they would share.

    Good luck on your hunt!

    -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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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Thoughts...

    Here is a link with some insights into the rivers...

    http://www.equinoxexpeditions.com/rivers.php

    That is Karen Jettmar's site. She has written a very popular book "Alaska River Guide" that is hard to get. There is a new edition coming out very soon. You could get an older copy online or pre-order the new copy at Barnes and Noble or Amazon. That book would be valuable for river specific information. All my time has been in NW Alaska so I am not of much help. But thought I would mention this book to you at least.
    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.

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    Member Cody77's Avatar
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    Default

    Awesome, thanks for the information gentlemen. The last link has a lot of great descriptions of the area. I'm wondering how much hunting pressure this area of the state and these rivers get???

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cody77 View Post
    I'm wondering how much hunting pressure this area of the state and these rivers get???
    The rivers you mentioned cover a good sized chunk of the eastern Arctic and some of them are hunted very heavily and see a lot of non-consumptive use as well.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default right...

    And I would bet that you could float several of those rivers without seeing another single person.
    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.

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Wind River: no personal knowledge of this river and don't recall the guide's name that works this area, it is an area I don't hunt
    Hulahula River: the guide for this river has his base camp directly on the river (Julian and Cavner), by the time the river is deep enough to float, say one foot, you are out of or almost out of sheep country
    Aichilik River:too shallow to float where the sheep would be but which are essentially none existent in this drainage (Dan Sailors is the guide on this river)
    Kongakut River: John Peterson is the guide that floats this river for sheep
    Sadlerochit River: no knowledge of this river or even if there are any huntable sheep populations

    OF ALL THE RIVERS TO FLOAT HUNT FOR SHEEP MY CHOICE WOULD BE THE WIND BASED ON WHAT I KNOW OF THE RIVERS MENTIONED

  9. #9
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default "subsistence" slaughter

    "they killed 100 rams in one winter for subsistence purposes"

    It is more than "just a story". I have seen the one room shanty they towed in on skis with the huge propane tanks bolted onto the rear for heat and cooking. They left it near the headwaters of the Hulahula (actually a mile or so up the East Patuk in a small draw). I actually had to walk right by it. The ground was covered with old sheep hair, some bones, and a lot of cigarette buts, beer cans and garbage. The reports I got were that the participants said it was no big deal since they mostly shot ewes.

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