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Thread: Planning a hunt out of Kotzebue?

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Planning a hunt out of Kotzebue?

    Hi guys:

    I wanted to drop you a quick note in regard to your up coming 08 hunting trip to NW Alaska.

    This time of year it is very important that you get all of the details worked into your hunting plan. Many of you will ship some of your gear to your outfitters or flight services and that is a very good idea. Shipping gear up early will allow you to lighten your load on Alaska Airlines and reduce costs. It will also guarantee (almost) that your nonessential gear arrives before you and does not get lost by the airlines. Mail up to Kotz is VERY slow so 5 weeks is the minimum time you will need to ensure that gets here on time.

    Things you should be shipping up include:

    Dry food, hunting clothing, Tarps and extra rope, Game Bags (Very important to keep your game dry and bug free) Citric Acid for meat preservation, Meat packing boxes and plastic bags for shipping. These can be purchased and shipped up flat; the meat boxes cost in excess of $10 each if you can find them in Kotz.

    The NPS has just released a DVD is very helpful to you in your hunt planning. It is very important that you learn as much as possible about this region before you come. We have many local customs that many outsiders do not understand and they run into problems with the local population. Remember that NW Alaska is about 89% native and this is a different culture up here that we need to respect. Plan on how you are going to transport your meat and racks back home. Contact Alaska Air at 800-252-7522 or Northern Air Cargo at 800-727-2141. There are 2-3 meat processing plants in Anchorage and many guys get their meat processed there and they have airport pick up in Anchorage. Remember meat donation in Kotzebue has been a hot topic in the past few years and this is where many guys get side-ways with the local folks. If you pull the trigger, you should take the meat home and enjoy it all winter, I do. Plan on 1-2 extra days on the end of your trip to process your meat! Also; the weather can prevent or slow down flight services so expect some delays getting out or returning to Kotz. The weather is very change-able in the fall and it can get very bad. 2005 was a good example of how bad weather made a mess of many hunting trips including mine. Weather in NW Alaska has been warmer than usual in the past few years and meat spoilage can be an issue, plan on how you will protect your meat and donít be too quick to drop the first bou you see. When youíre on a 7 day hunt and the temps are in the 50ís meat can and will spoil rather fast. Keep in mind that we have a huge herd up here and the chances are good that you will see plenty of caribou while youíre up here.

    Enough is enough! If you have any questions please drop me a line and I will do my best to assist you in developing a successful hunt. The most successful hunters in NW Alaska are the guys who come prepared and educated. Make sure that you are all set with your flight services. Make sure you and your pilot have discussed drop and pick up options. Also keep in mind that you should have some input in where you are going to hunt. Donít arrive uninformed and assume that the pilot will just put you down in front of the migration. Unit 23 is larger than Indiana and there are lots of fantastic places to hunt so donít accept being dropped in an area that has other camps. We have 3 rivers that see most of the hunting pressure and while all 3 produce good numbers of caribou they also are where too many hunters end up because they are close to town and are a fast drop off for some of our pilots. These rivers are the Eli, Aggi (locals call them the Noatak Flats) and the Squirrel Rivers. All 3 have good hunting locations but can be very crowded.

    Useful web sites that will assist your hunt planning.
    Hunting tag info http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/
    http://www.wc.adfg.state.ak.us/index...fg=unit23.main

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

  2. #2
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska View Post
    Enough is enough! Make sure you and your pilot have discussed drop and pick up options. Also keep in mind that you should have some input in where you are going to hunt. Donít arrive uninformed and assume that the pilot will just put you down in front of the migration. Unit 23 is larger than Indiana and there are lots of fantastic places to hunt so donít accept being dropped in an area that has other camps. We have 3 rivers that see most of the hunting pressure and while all 3 produce good numbers of caribou they also are where too many hunters end up because they are close to town and are a fast drop off for some of our pilots. These rivers are the Eli, Aggi (locals call them the Noatak Flats) and the Squirrel Rivers. All 3 have good hunting locations but can be very crowded.
    [/url]
    Some helpful info, Walt. But some not so helpful.
    How does a hunter who has never been to this area have any ability to give input on where to hunt? The worst part of your info is giving folks the ides that they can all be dropped in an "area" with no other camps. The truth is, if a hunting party wants to be dropped in a safe place to land, a place where there are bou, and a place that he isn't trespassing on private property, they are very likely to have company. No way around it. While unit 23 is "as big as Indiana" there is NOT an unlimited number of places for a pilot to safely land on public property and within hunting distance of bou.
    Any hunter or party that has purchased a package hunt at a set price in unit 23 is going to be dropped, more than likely, in an area within 1 hours flying time from Kotz. The price of the package is set alot by flying costs and most package hunts are kept at a lower price to attract more clients. If you want the type of hunt Walt suggests is readily available, your going to pay a premium for it and your unlikely to get a set price from the transporter. Additionally, anyone choosing to hunt more than an hours flying time from Kotz is going to be more susceptible to weather delays. The farther you are from the hub, the more likely the weather can be different between the 2 places.
    A recent thread on this forum stated that a Kotz local would accept meat from hunters. There is nothing wrong with donating meat. What is wrong is trying to donate tainted meat. Do everything you can to return to Kotz with quality meat. Keep it clean and try to get it to crust on the outside. Cut your hunt short (if your able to) if you think your going to have problems with your meat. If you do return to Kotz with unedible meat.......sorry bud, but you'll do everyone a favor if you leave with that meat. Sneaking it off to a dumpster is gonna do more harm for non local hunters. I think Walt has said the same thing in the past.
    Enjoy your hunt wherever you end up and whether or not you get bou. Unit 23 is a great place to be in the fall............as long as it doesn't rain for 2 weeks straight! Haha.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  3. #3
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    Default Martentrapper:

    Good to hear from you, I know you tried very hard to get me to ďbiteĒ on the last tread regarding meat donations.

    As usual I agree with most of what you have said in your post. Weather is the key to life north of the circle and we watch it very closely. I donít even take a quick day trip in my boat without knowing the direction the wind is blowing up here. The weather plays a huge role in getting both out and back and that is why I pointed out that hunters should expect delays.

    As far as having input as to where you hunt I think your wrong on this one. While the hunter who chooses the lowest cost package hunt should expect that his flight service is going to drop him/her as close to town as they can he can still have some say as to where he hunts. I hate the guy who lands in Kotz and has no idea where he is hunting and is expecting to be places in front or the herd. I see lots of them each year and they might as well be getting off a plane in Anchorage, grab the first cab they see and tell the driver to ďput me down in front of the shopping!Ē When I go to town I know where I am going before I get there and a hunter needs to be just as informed too! For many flight services volume is the game and the quality of the hunt is way back on the list.

    Safety has to be at the top of the list for sure and the pilot is the best qualified to pick a safe landing spot but there is no reason in the world to get dumped right on top of another camp! I enjoy working with guys who want to know everything about where they are going and stop at nothing to find out. Most of these types of hunters are looking for a quality hunt that will offer good chances at seeing big animals and few is any other hunting groups. Yes this costs more but if you have already purchased a tag and a airline ticket the additional cost is of very little consequence. Cost per hunter might be low (about $1,900 this year) per hunter but if you hire a plane per hour and split the cost between 2-3 guys the cost will actually be lower than a package drop! When I hire a pilot at $600 an hour it becomes collaboration between the pilot and me to choose a drop and pick up spot. The pilot is getting a flat rate and his knowledge of the unit will help me choose a good area. This type of hunt requires a more involved hunter but the results are a much better hunt.

    If cost is the driving force behind your hunt the Noatak Flats and the Squirrel River is your best bet but even in those areas there are a number of nooks and crannies that donít see as many hunters and can be flown into. As I always sayÖ ďan educated hunter is a successful hunterĒ

    Best of luck guys!


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

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