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Thread: Haul Rd. Hunting strategy?

  1. #1
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    Default Haul Rd. Hunting strategy?

    Ok, Ive spoke with my group (me and 2 other guys) and we have decided to do the Bow hunt. A big thanks to everyone who posted on my other thread about Hiking v. bowhunting.. it was a real help.

    Next question to those who wish to answer:

    Ive never been but my freind who has says that the most difficult thing is not seeing the bou but getting setup for a shot.

    We arent looking to kill our bou right off the road if we can avoid that so we were wondering if anyone has used a friend to help "divert" some caribou in the direction of the hunter??

    This may sound odd, but say you see a shooter and he is headed north, would it be feasible to get a guy way up a head of that bull and then get a hunter set up in an area where the other guy may be able to divert him.

    Again, ive never been so this is just me thinking and picturing things in my head...

    I guess the main question is this, is there an advantage to having a few people trying to get a bull in position for a shot, or is the hunting more "hey, he's going that way.. run like hell to get to some cover he might pass and pray for a shot?"

    I would love to hear some stories from successful hunters, just tell me how you managed to get within range with your bow.

    Thanks again guys .. I love the responses on here.

  2. #2
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    I would try and spot them from the road, then get ahead of them and wait. I know you don't want to kill one from the road, but it is certainly an opportunity. Last year guys would have been happy to get one. In '06 they were everywhere, so who knows what this year will be like.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Member c04hoosier's Avatar
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    There are a lot of variables here. First, there is very little cover. If you happen to see them near the river, there may be enough brush to hide behind, but maybe not. Anywhere else there is no brush, so your only option for hiding is behind ridges, hills, or ditches. You will just need to use these to get as close as possible, then position yourself in their path. You can split up a bit to give yourselves maximum opportunity (just make sure you won't be shooting toward each other). Once they get close, you should be able to stay low and move a little bit to get into shooting position. But I can't imagine trying to "divert" a caribou, or even a herd, would be very successful, just because of the distances involved and how fickle their movements can be.

    Be sure to practice shooting your bows from odd positions. You will likely be on hands and knees, or even belly crawling, to close the distance, then will have to quickly but stealthily get to a shooting position, draw, and shoot.

    It's going to be a blast

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    Member Jeff Shannon's Avatar
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    JW,

    Trying to come up with a strategy for hunting caribou on the slope is kind of like trying to come up with a strategy for herding cats. Caribou just go where they go and I don't think they even know where that is one minute to the next. Where they go between winter and summer is pretty well definited, but where they go day to day, or minute to minute is anybody's guess.

    That said I have seen your "drive" strategy work, but it's a crap shoot at best. The thing you need to realize about caribou along the Haul Road is that they're arguably the best "educated" caribou in the world. They are constantly harassed by hunters so it doesn't take much pressure and all your going to see is that trademark hop up in the air and then their hind end as they go prancing off over the horizon. Trying to guess where they are headed on their own and then intercepting them is more than likely going to be more productive. If you push them they're more than likely going to move too far and/or too fast for anybody to get a decent shot opportunity.

    Jeff

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    What I have done in the past was to walk parallel and at times off to one side or hte other like flanking the Caribou and "walk" them or ease them up to a friend that was set up.The last time it took almost two miles but I managed to walk two bulls up on my friend.
    Another time I watched which they where going which was a low cut and I set up 10 yards off to one side of that cut 10 foot maybe off the road and he walked right up to me.
    Remember this is not my animal this is the one that a friend and I helped to walk towards him and by no means was it easy.And sorry about the quality as these where taken from 35 mm pics as I did not have a digi cam at the time.This is when they where laying down.

    And we got the big one to get up and start moving.

    And here it is dead on the river,after flaoting down a little ways.

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    Default on a side note

    We did manage to push some after we circled around them closer to the road so we wouldnt have to pack em out so far,but a friend got a little excited and over shot em.Just another food for thought.Daniel

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    First off you will never catch up to a caribou when he is walking away from you unless he stops fro a break. There walk is like our run..

    What most people do is watch the caribou and get ahead of them and have tem walk to them...

    Don't just stick to the road. You will be surprised if you get off the road a little ways you will not compete with other hunters.

    Other hunters can be a problem. Allot of them will get tunnel vision and ignor a vehicle parked. You would think if a vehicle is stopped by caribou that one might think there is a hunter out there. You will see and hear that allot of hunters will spoil ones stalk cause he runs out to hunt the same caribou.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
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  8. #8

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    Hey Jeff, that I drive I worked for you went pretty well until you missed the shot. Forgot to mention that part eh? hehehe

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    Member Jeff Shannon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    Hey Jeff, that I drive I worked for you went pretty well until you missed the shot. Forgot to mention that part eh? hehehe
    That's why I said I've seen the drive work not that I've taken a caribou that way. I still can't believe I shot over that bull. I'm just glad Matt missed that bull at spitting distance the next night so I didn't have to eat crow for too long. Give me a call if you get some free time. Our nights are filling up fast for most of the ol' folks trip, but if you get some free time you should swing by sometime during the day if you get time.

    Jeff

  10. #10
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default Impressive Hunt

    One of the most impressive stalks I saw on a caribou was on the haul road.

    We were leaving the Deadhorse closed area, and noticed a nice bull in a field. A truck was pulled off the road. We saw the truck earlier and we knew there were at least two hunters in the vehicle...

    We decided to watch and see what's what.

    After glassing we saw that there was a hunter in the bushes that ran along side one of the service roads. About four hundred yards down the general direction of the bulls travel.
    We also saw another hunter who was not trying to conceal himself from us or the bull. He was about three hundred yards from the bull when he started walking.

    This hunter put his bow up near his head and began walking the tundra... when the bull looked in his direction, he would sway the bow, and pause his walking.
    The bull seemed to notice him quite well. And moved towards him.
    This went on for quite a few minutes... before you know it, the bull was about 50 yards from the hunter (from our angle and distance it appeared to be nearly on top of him!).

    He made a shot, it wasn't well placed... but his buddy was able to finish the job from the bushes.

    In short... after talking with them the next day, they said they were hoping to drive the bull to the concealed dude... but they also knew that every once in awhile the bow/antler trick would work on a lone bull in the rut.

    Pretty cool to watch... seemed to have worked for them.

  11. #11
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default The One that Got Away

    My first year on the haul road was an educational experience for me on many different levels.

    Got to do LOTS of stalks on LOTS of bulls.

    The one that stands out as fresh today as it was 7 years ago...

    Three MONSTER bulls were grazing in the early morning fog.
    I was able to keep their 'shapes' in the morning haze and work my way to a small river - meaning, cliff.
    From there I was able to work towards the feeding bulls, who were feeding towards me along the ridge.

    I worked to within 70 yards and found a small (real small) hill with a little bush on top. From here I setup and waited... I could hear them breathing, their hooves clicking.
    I could almost smell them.
    I took a peek through the bush.
    One of the bulls saw the movement. I froze.
    He locked on my location.
    I was able to come to full draw without moving my head.
    I was able to bring the bow in front of me.
    He did not spook.
    I was able to aim.
    I was able to fire.
    I was able to cleanly miss him, directly under his chest, behind his front legs.

    Distance is incredibly hard to judge on the tundra.
    I thought he was at 40 yards... he was at 50... I was so focused on him, I did not notice the closer and bigger brother to my right... that had not noticed me yet.

    Ah well... lesson learned.

    As soon as you cross Atigun pass. Start guessing and testing your yard estimations...

  12. #12
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    For two years I drove the road from the Koyukuk to Pump 3 for work. Nearly every day for 2 weeks at a stretch. I learned some things from all that observation.

    1) The cover is deceptive but it's there.
    There are all sorts of dips and folds and strips of dwarf willow to hide behind. In a few places there is thick brush or large boulders. Use your eyes and binos, pick the terrain apart watch the wind and try to get WELL ahead. The caribou's primary predator is the wolf. Once you commit to a stalk/intercept on undisturbed animals do not let them see you hunkered down as you then resemble a wolf. Use the terrain, watch the wind and be patient.

    2) Get away from the road (1/2 mile +)
    If you try and hunt within 1/4 mile of the road prepare to be frustrated. Other hunters WILL blow your stalk 9 times out of 10 trying to get ahead of "your animal.

    3) The road is a dangerous place.
    Do not stop in the road way if there is no shoulder. I have witnessed several near-miss semi/pick-up collisions. If the bull of a lifetime is there then drop someone off and move to safe pullout.

    4) Caribou seem to favor the same spots day in and day out. Wherever you see them at last light? Be there well before first light the following morning.

    Be safe and good hunting

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