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Thread: WACH Report! Bou on the Move!!!

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up WACH Report! Bou on the Move!!!

    Well guys I thought that we might see caribou early this year and low and behold they are on the move! I have some friends who live in Noatak Village which is about 65 miles into the park from Kotzebue who were up above the Grand Canyon of the Noatak this past weekend. The are telling me that groups in excess of 1,000 caribou were crossing the Noatak just below Nackolik Creek.

    This is a cool sighting but as most of you know this means nothing other than a group of 1,000 animals were sighted. We have a few groups who summer on our side of the Brooks and this could be that kind of group but the numbers are very high for a local group. I have never herd of a local group larger than 200-300 and I tend to think this is a early push of North Slope bou. The fact that they are in large groups is very positive! In the last 4 years we have seen lots of small groups but very few of the typical big groups.

    Caribou donít move in mass unless nature tells them that it is time to and we have been seeing very cool temps on both sides of the Brooks this summer/fall. Its time to start think Bou Boys! I am going out to look around Wednesday for a few days just to sit and spot in the lower canyon area. I donít expect to see animals down that far but it will be fun to just sit and let my Ziess do the work. Also a number of Griz have been sighted eating berries and salmon so for you guys who are Alaska residents keep in mind that we have the largest inland Griz in the state and please take one home with you this fall! Man I just love fall in the Arctic!

    I will keep you posted!

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

  2. #2
    Member Mkay's Avatar
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    Default Noatak bears

    I had a great hunt on the Killik River last yaer and we shot 2 caribou a piece. Next year I am more interested in going after bears, with maybe incidental caribou.

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    Smile Update!

    I just returned from Kotzebue International Airstrip. I had a group of fisherman coming back from a week on the Kelly hunting the Char. They all caught huge numbers of Char ranging in the 28-34 inch range and had huge smiles on their faces. I will include their pics on my Fishing page as soon as I can so you can see how good the fishing is up here.

    Now the good stuff for all of you hunters. Jim Kincaid who owns NW Aviation (442-3525) gave me a great report on the group of bou above the upper Noatak Canyon. He confirms the group but he tells me the group was over 2,000 animals and they were in no real hurry but he feels that they were the first of the big migration groups. Jim has been up here much longer than I have and he thinks this points to migration patterns like we use to see in the late 80ís and mid 90ís. Jim told me that he use to see bands of 5,000+ on a regular basis and ďit was common to see nothing but moving horns and butts for milesĒ.

    You guys who are coming early will be in for a treat and the rest of us will most likely have a blast! Keep in mind if this year pans out like the migrations we use to see just 5 years ago donít shoot the first bull you see because they may be a MONGO Bull just over the hill.


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

  4. #4
    Member Omulan67's Avatar
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    Default September 'Bou

    Jim is taking my buddy and I out on the 7th. I'm getting giddy with excitement.

  5. #5
    Member AkGreg's Avatar
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    Default 17th

    We are heading out with Jim Kincaid on Sept 17th.... went out last year about that time and it was almost too warm... we are suppose to go WAY out there roughly west of the Nimmi. Hope we aren't too late or into steady snow by then :-(

    Greg

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    Talking No Reilly

    And by the way a smaller group of Caribou were seen just west of the Kelly/Noatak confluence yesterday to. They are a smaller group and appear to be the typical local bou that hang out here all year but I will fly up and interview them and get the scoop for you MT. Heck I should try to sell them a car while I am up there! HAAAAA!
    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Your best bet in rafts, canoes and camp rentals
    Kotzebue, Alaska
    www.northwestalaska.com
    Last edited by Brian M; 08-09-2008 at 13:33.

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    Default Keep 'em comming Walt

    This hunting season finds me sitting here in Minot, ND missing Alaska like you wouldn't believe. I just can't get hyped up for the whitetails anymore.... Having hunted the WACH the past two seasons, reports from Walt aka NWAlaska just makes me all that more excited to get back "home" in Ak in two years for good!

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Rather than post info here, how about some phone numbers where anyone wanting can get recent info on WACH bou movements and general locations.
    Kotz, F&G- 907-442-3420
    Nome F&G- 907-443-2825

    There are 37 GPS collars on WACH bou. These animals are used as an indication of the herds general location. About once a week, both F&G offices print up a map of the WACH range and this map shows each collars location. I asked one of the Nome bios today to view the latest map (dated Aug. 5th) and asked if there was any indication of an early migration. Your all welcome to call and get the same info. I'd share with you, but it would probably be considered "stirring the pot".
    I'm gonna call again in about 10 days, after a couple more maps have been printed, and see if there is any indication of "migration".
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  9. #9

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    Great info that "I" didnt have or know about. I'll definitely use that resource. Thanks MT!

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    Default

    Great info Martentrapper, This type of info is the reason I like to read this forum. Thanks for the information. While I'm here, thanks also to Walt. Ive talked to him on the phone and believe him to be a great guy. Thanks to both of you.

  11. #11

    Default The Truth is...

    ...I'm flying out of Kotz the first week in September for an archery Caribou hunt and could have never planned this trip without Walt's very helpful advice. I have many, many emails back/forth along with a multiple phone conversations (some on his dime) which helped shape up this trip for me and my two partners. Not that I think anything is wrong with the excellent services I've read about on this site, but I could have "hired" a hunt planning service and spent my hard earned cash to get the type of advice that Walt has given freely. And he never solicited any business whatsoever from me.

    I have no intention of bashing MT or anyone else on this site, one way or another you all have something useful to contribute at times. But I would say that the image of Walt as a frontier salesman is a gross misrepresentation based on my first hand experience.

    I look forward to any in-field reports between now and my departure and will take them for what it's worth. I just hope there are some big gray fur-balls to shoot at when I get there!

  12. #12
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    how about some phone numbers where anyone wanting can get recent info on WACH bou movements and general locations.
    Kotz, F&G- 907-442-3420
    Nome F&G- 907-443-2825

    There are 37 GPS collars on WACH bou. These animals are used as an indication of the herds general location. About once a week, both F&G offices print up a map of the WACH range and this map shows each collars location. I asked one of the Nome bios today to view the latest map (dated Aug. 5th) and asked if there was any indication of an early migration. Your all welcome to call and get the same info.
    That's worthwhile info.

  13. #13
    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    Default

    Hope they aren't harrassed this season as they were in the past to keep them from migrating further south so others that rely on them for food can go out and bag a few.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

  14. #14

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    does this mean anything to the hunters on the Haul rd? Are these the herds that cross the road heading to the south side of the brooks? Thanks guys.

  15. #15
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Western Arctic herd doesn't travel over by the haul road.

    A new map was printed today. The assist. bio in Nome prints the map and sends it to the Kotz office.
    I wouldn't bother calling yet tho. Save your dimes till the end of the month and see what's transpiring.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Talking MT is right guys

    MT is right guys: (it pains me to admit it!) There is no need to get too excited about the animals that are being cited this early. 2,000 animals in one group is impressive but it represents only a small fraction of the WACH group. Keep in mind this unit is huge and even on the very best years the animals are spread way out. I work with hunting groups to put them in good river drainages for the migration but these darn animals don’t follow the traffic signs that I put out each year. Next year I am going to start selling used cars just like MT has so strongly suggested and with 10+ miles of roads in Kotz the future is bright!

    The real season is still 3+ weeks out and the animals are coming regardless how much we talk about it at their own pace. But it sure is fun to get all worked up preparing for this years hunt! Nothing better than sitting on a mountain glassing 500 animals working their way down a hill side!
    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Your best bet in rafts, canoes and camp rentals
    Kotzebue, Alaska
    www.northwestalaska.com

  17. #17

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    You guys are working me into a frenzy!!!! This 39 year alaska resident is going on his first ever flyout hunt North of Ambler the second week of September and all my focus is being tunnelled into those 8 days! And dont worry Walt.....if I have a chance a grizzley AND a wolf are accompanying my game bags of bou back down to Anchorage with me.

  18. #18
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    Default

    Hopefully this isn't a matter of who is right. What is important in a setting such as this forum is to provide quality information. High tech data such as GPS collar location would seem more accurate, at least to me, than anecdotal pilot or field reports.
    For those of you hunting other bou hers in other parts of the state, I believe there may be GPS collars on animals in those herds as well. I know the Porky herd has them. Pretty sure Central arctic as well. You won't get anyone to give you lat/long numbers for bou, but you might get generic info on just where the animals are. Dig around on the net andf make some calls.

    So Walt..............how about some B&C or F&G data on those "largest" inland griz you got up there?
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Any near real-time online data for the Porcupine Herd was shut down due to conservation concerns, but you can still look at past herd movements and get updates on herd status at the taiga site:
    http://www.taiga.net/satellite/

    Inre the Central Arctic herd, last I heard ADFG had about 60 cows collared, plus calves of the year. Not sure if they will pass general herd location on or not, but doesn't hurt to ask.

    As far as what is more valuable, pins on a map from various gps collar data, or word from a pilot who just flew the area, seems to me like it's all quality info. It's just a very small sampling of a herd that is collared...and while that shows a good general locational trend it doesn't mean there aren't animals in other places as well. Used to keep track of the Porcupine herd, don't recall how many animals were collared, but there mere many times they never showed any near us even though there were some. In that case, what is the more accurate data, what is coming right from someone on the ground or in the air, or what is coming over the satellite from collars?

    Like you say Mike, isn't a matter of who is right, so not sure why the notion that one thing is more valuable info than the other...in the end it's all good, whether it comes from people who just saw it or from an orbiting satellite 22,000 miles off.
    Cheers,

  20. #20
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post


    ...in the end it's all good, whether it comes from people who just saw it or from an orbiting satellite 22,000 miles off.
    Cheers,
    Well, Mark, if it had been sept. 1, hunters were waiting to board their plane, and some local popped in with, "hey, Joe pilot just saw 2000 head in XYZ creek", then yea, it's all good. Better than blips on a map. Ground ops would be all good too.

    But it ain't sept. 1. And the title of this thread concerns WACH bou on the move.......a possible early migration. Soooooooo...........(why am I having to explain this to you?)......information that represents a larger portion of the herd than 3000 animals (2000 by the pilot and 1000 from the "friends in Noatak") would be more accurate, in my opinion.
    The 37 gps collars, according to the bios, represent a much larger number of animals than 3000. Therefore, I'm skeptical that the ground and air obs are "all good" as you say.
    However, rather than take my word for it, email Letty Hughes, she's the new assist area bio and does the map each week. Maybe she can tell you if air and ground sightings are better determiners of bou migration than the collars.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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