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Thread: Hiking in v. Bow Hunting the Haul Rd.

  1. #1
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    Default Hiking in v. Bow Hunting the Haul Rd.

    Ok, we are still a month out before we come up.. we will be there from Aug. 22- early Sept...

    We are still tossing around the idea of possibly Hiking in the 5 miles with the rifles vs. just driving around and competing with other hunters with the bows.

    Obviously there are pros and cons for both.

    Hiking limits you to one area... what if you get in there and the 'bou arent there... that would suck.

    Also, hiking 5 miles over crappy terrain isnt any easy task..and then hiking 5 miles back with your gear + caribou even worse.

    Buuuut... getting within a few hundred yards of a caribou sounds alot easier than getting into with in 50 yards for a bow shot.

    I guess what I am looking for is opinions from hunters who have done the hike... and the road hunt and get a feel for what they suggest.

    We are flying in from Michigan, we are in good to great shape and are willing to work hard for filled tags..

    Thanks alot for any feedback guys..

  2. #2
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    Default Forget it

    It's not even close.....

    Until you walk across that terrain you can't understand how difficult it is. It can be done but to me it isn't worth it.

    After harvesting my Caribou, and making mutiple trips to help my partner, I decided there and then I would be a Haul Road bowhunter for the rest of my life.

    Good luck, but that walk is very tough.

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    If you are fit it shouldnt be a huge deal....but your walking over some very uneven and wet terain. I have gotten to within 50 yards of caribou up there numerous times. It can be done if you cancentrate and take your time and plan the stalk. Personnally I have not done the walk yet because I alwasy see caribou on the road. I take a rifle "just in case" but I never use it. My opinion is take both rifle and bow and when you get there make your decision and then your not out either way. But I pretty much bow hunt it only. It is easier to do the walk in Oct when the ground is frozen. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    JW2184,

    The walk is very tough especially that time of year w/o snow to speak of. Depending on where you go out also makes a difference, but that depends on where the bou are. If you hunt the road it can be awesome depending on the crowd that is there at the time. Most folks up there are very courtious and everyone works together and respects one another, but then there are the few that have what was mentioned in a previous thread "Blood Lust" that seem to sour things. They drive me nuts and makes for a bad trip and when that happens I always head out the 5. It is tough like I said but worth it to me to get away from the @#$clowns. Leave all your options open and I wish you the best of luck.

  5. #5
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    Default take both...

    I would say take both bow and rifle. Concentrate on bowhunting first. You will be there long enough that you can take your time and put on some good stalks. Then if it starts getting down to the wire, you can hike out the 5 miles. This way, if you do need to hike out with the rifle, you will already have a good idea where the caribou are, rather than hiking out blind. If you can only take one weapon due to airline constraints or whatever, I would bring the bow. Walking around up there with gear and dead caribou is tough even when the ground is frozen.

    Also, you didn't mention if you have your IBEP bow ed qualification or not, but it is required to bow hunt up there. If you don't have it and can't get it in time, rifle is your only option.

  6. #6
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default Dalton

    Take both.

    Not too many road hunters? Grab your bow and have a great time! Or, if the road hunters are thick, get a mile or more off the road, and have a great time.

    If you want to take one with your rifle... and if you don't see caribou on the road system; there is NO need to walk 5 miles off the road.
    If they aren't near the road, they most likely won't be 5 miles from the road either.

    Have fun!

  7. #7
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    Take the bow and the rifle, JW.

    One of the toughest but most gratifying hunts wife and I ever did together was the 5 mile hunt. It was one of the bigger bou we've taken and was worth the work.




    Frank
    Last edited by fullkurl; 10-25-2008 at 00:08.

  8. #8
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    Default

    I've done both, and most of the posts here are spot on. It's tough walking, even tougher with 100+ lbs on your back, but doable for those in shape. I had a friend along last time that hiked out every day and camped with us at the road. His feet were hamburger by the end of the week, but he got his animal and didn't have to carry gear with him.

    If you hunt near the road, I would stay away from the road circus. Drive a bit the first day or two until you figure out general locations of game, and then spend your days a mile or so away from the road. The caribou are WAY more skittish when they get within a half mile of the road. Not only will you have a much easier time putting a successful stalk together a mile from the road, you'll also likely have zero company. That's what worked for us. Next time I go I'm taking my packraft and floating the Sag river next to the road and hunting the other side to ensure a little peace and solitude on my stalks.

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    Default

    I also was wondering if you do find the area that the animals are in and do the hike into the rifle zone are the animals likely to be there for several days or is it more sporadic and they are more likely to be in a different area in a day or two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wjkuhne View Post
    I also was wondering if you do find the area that the animals are in and do the hike into the rifle zone are the animals likely to be there for several days or is it more sporadic and they are more likely to be in a different area in a day or two.
    they move constantly and unpredictably. Quit thinking of days and think in minutes. There they are, now they're gone. Nothing around for miles, hey where did those boo come from. NO ONE can answer your question, read up some more on the animals you are hunting

  11. #11
    Member DrB's Avatar
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    Default Take rifle and bow . . .

    I've hunted with bow and rifle up there. Once you find where the caribou are you can formulate your strategy. When I was up there 2 years ago there were a bunch of bowhunters travelling the highway and most of the larger bulls were farther from the road. We felt we had a better chance of landing a nicer bull by walking away from the crowd.

    I can tell you that packing those big bulls back were like walking 5 miles on a pillowtop mattress. It was awful. I said I would never do it again but it is strange how your memory dulls over time. If I saw those big guys away from the road I might just take after them again. But then again, a smaller bou with a bow might be a lot more fun.

    If I do it again with a rifle, I will be prepared to stay overnight at the 5 mile mark. Once we hiked in there was some pressure to get a caribou down in time to hoof it back before dark. Whatever you decide, enjoy your hunt. It is incredible country.

  12. #12
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    Default Do the Walk

    Ive walked and it did stink, but there are plenty of river systems you can line a canoe up, Your walk may end up being more than 5 miles, but your trip out with Bou is a ride. Alot of the poeple that hunt it do the weekend dash and are constrained to time. Also there is a drop off service that sets up just south of deadhorse on the SAG that you can get a ride up the river. Not sure of the outfitter, but he does have a high success rate and will get you way up in there. Contact Fish and Game, there are collard bou and they can give you an idea where the heard may be.

    good luck.

  13. #13
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    Default

    In eight years of doing the hunt. I love the hike in, yea it a pain in the rear end, but I have never seen another hunter or group of hunters out the 5 miles. Set up a spike camp out there and stay a day or two there then ferry meat back, stay in the main camp by the road for a full meal and quality sleep and do it again the next day. I hear everyone complaining about the hike, depends where you go in at, and of course where the Caribou are. I agree, I would never ever hike in near Happy Valley or North of that, explore and find a place that is suitable to your shape and ability to travel on a water bed with bowling balls tossed under neath for excitment. Buy a set of super light over boot waders and keep them handy for crossing bogs and smaller streams you may encounter, better than wet feet any day... Heck they weigh maybe 1 1/2 lbs at the most... The most important rule is be prepared for the sudden weather changes, quickly... And travel very lightly...I think Marc sell them at his store, or atleast used too...

  14. #14
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default both

    carry a bow and a rifle. I used to work on the road north of cold foot.. one other IMPORTANT peice to carry is a GPS. while i worked up north i got to know the BLM agents... ADFG and BLM will go to your walk in gut pile and use the GPS to measure your five miles.. normally they are really good about it if you got "CLOSE" but if they hav had a rough day and you dont get your mark you may get a fine for it.. interestingly enough they get to use a 4 wheeler or snow go to check your pile....

  15. #15

    Default Both....

    We will be taking both up there in Oct. Everyone is spot on about the bou around the road. Get away from the road!!! Even if that means 2-3 miles then so be it...its better then wasting your time with all the jerks on the road. The past 2 years we have had hunts trashed by ppl being DUMB. Also where in MI are you coming from?

    BTW...here is a link to the MI IBEP. Good luck
    http://www.ibepmi.org/class.htm

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    Default My 2cnts

    Made the trip for the first time last yr. I only took the bow but my buddy after the first day kept asking 5 miles huh? And on the 4th day I say his 300 WSM under the seat.
    He turned his GPS on everytime we started a Hike from the road too the caribou we saw off in the distance. And in the 4 1/2 days of hunting I believe the final tally of miles we hiked and still came up empty handed was just shy of 20 miles. We did pretty much everything everyone on this forum suggests just luck wasn't with me/us. Was able to draw on 3 different bous farthest two being around 50yds and closet less than 20yds; but lady luck wasn't with me when the knock came off the string twice when I drew back and hestiatied a second to long on the third.
    It was a blast though, Maybe if I was a crack addict I would have something to compare the rush too. Doing a sheep hunt this yr so won't be making it up there this year but you never know that but you never know.

  17. #17
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    Default Keep it coming!!

    Man, this is killing me LOL!!

    We are flying up so taking both gun and bow is sort of out of the question.... so we really need to make up our minds about this.

    Love the idea of the solitude of the hike and really the sense of accomplishment (not to mention bragging rights) of doing the hike!!

    But someone mentioned that we can have just as much solitude if we camp 1 mile in with the bows...

    5miles packing out a caribou on waterbed with bowling balls under it .. that sounds rough..

    Question for the guys who have done it....

    Do you bone your meat before packing out, or are you just quartering everything and loading up?? Big weight issue there.

    I am going to print off all the responses I get from you guys and weas a group will go over them and have to make a final decision soon...

    Again thanks alot guys ..

    O someone asked where I was from in Michigan.... Sault Ste. Marie.. way up north.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskainfNCO View Post
    It's not even close.....

    Until you walk across that terrain you can't understand how difficult it is. It can be done but to me it isn't worth it.

    After harvesting my Caribou, and making mutiple trips to help my partner, I decided there and then I would be a Haul Road bowhunter for the rest of my life.

    Good luck, but that walk is very tough.
    if your in good shape the walk aint S#!T!! i think there's some inf nco's out there that need to do more pt! i do both every year and enjoy every minute of it!

  19. #19

    Default Just my thoughts

    I didnt read all of the posts, but it takes more than being in shape--it takes intestinal fortitude and good prep/planning to walk in 5 miles and bring a bou out in a timely fashion. I would take bow/rifle and a garmin. Worst case scenario, you kill a bou out--it will take you 2 full days to pack it back to camp--its a matter of putting one fut in front of the other. I will give you a tip, a couple miles past toolik lake, there is a turn off on the right side of the road that goes in about a couple hundred yards, it will be blocked by a bar across the path. That path goes for 3 miles in--so technically you only have to hump 2 miles in the tundra. It all comes down to how bad you want it--shot my moose 1.5miles from camp, took 4 days to get it home--one foot at a time.

  20. #20
    Member c04hoosier's Avatar
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    Default if limited to one weapon...

    I would say definitely bow. Reason being is that you can hunt anywhere with bow, but not rifle. Again, you must have your IBEP qualification to bowhunt within the 5 mile corridor. During the timeframe you will be hunting, finding the bou can be really hit or miss, and you sure don't want to walk 10 miles over the waterbed/bowling balls and not even see any animals. Bow just gives you more options.

    Another thing you might consider is having everyone take their bow, and one guy cough up the excess baggage fee to bring a rifle as well. Then everyone in your group practice with that particular rifle in case you NEED to do the hike in.

    Either way you go, it will be fun. If you decide to use bows, just be patient.

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