Haul road hunting ?s
I would like to try this sometime and was wondering if there is a best time of year or area for caribou? Is most of the land along the highway public? Are access permits required? What game besides caribou might be available, black bear or small game? Weather in mid to late September? Any information would be great. I realize this is not a high success type of hunt but love to stalk game with a bow and have never driven the Haul Road.
Greg- There isn't really a best time of year, as the caribou can be here today and gone tomorrow. They are always on the move, but generally move south along the corridor as fall approaches. I hunted it in mid-August last year and had lots of animals to stalk, but I heard the week before was absolutely dead. You just never know...
As for best area, just drive until you find the caribou. There's no sense in having a pre-determined spot, as the herd location will determine where you hunt. It's nice when they're up in the hills (as opposed to up near Deadhorse), but really there's very little cover wherever you go.
Mid-Sept. is a good time to hunt them, but it's pretty likely that you'll get snowed on by then. We were getting frost at night in August, so Sept. is certain to be cold. But hey, it'll knock the bugs down! Once you get north of the Brooks Range there won't be much else in the way of other big game. There are musk-ox (closed) and Grizzly Bear (drawing permit only in the pipeline corridor), but only caribou and the occasional wolf to hunt. Lots of grayling to be caught, though, so bring along a fly rod or a light spinning outfit.
There isn't a need for access permits up there, but you do need to be cognizant of the pipeline right-of-ways. Don't park in the way of their access gates (though you can use the gravel pull-offs if you don't block their way).
The best advice I can give you is to spend a few hours looking throug the old archives here. There is lots of wisdom concerning this hunt that has been shared over the years that is worth reading as you plan this hunt. Also, be optimistic! Although I wasn't successful last year, success rates are generally pretty high up there if you're patient and well-practiced with your bow. Good luck to you!
Go between Pump station 3 and 4 for your bou!