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Thread: Unit 26 Caribou?

  1. #1
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    Default Unit 26 Caribou?

    Anyone seeing many good caribou in 26a or 26b? I'm going on a drop hunt first week in Sept out of Happy Valley. Thanks.

  2. #2
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default just returned

    From bou hunting along the Ivishak, we flew in and was dropped just north of the mountains. Had some issues with the air taxi, (PM for Details) We were doing a float hunt so was able to look at a lot of country. VERY FEW bou and lots of hunters. Cool temps and lots of wind all summer have kept the bou away from the rivers and up high. In fact the wind was blowing so hard on some days that if you were not rowing the wind would either stop you or blow you back up river. Lots of drop camps along the way and the river has been so high that boats were able to get all the way to Larry Rivers old guide camp. The Air boat operater is doing semi guided bou hunts and is running his clients up and down the river. We did manage to get 3 small bou for meat, only saw one decent bou in a week. The troopers are working the area pretty good, we were check by one in a super cub and then two days later by one in a Helicopter, he saw is floating down the river and landed on a small gravel bar in the middle of the river. Both were very nice and did some small talk before asking us for our info and looking at meat.

    Over all we were very dissapointed in the whole trip. The charter services are dumping hunters everywhere. The charter we used asked us if we were going to be floating right away or staying there a couple days because he had another group he wanted to put there. There were two other groups of hunters near us. One group just two miles away and then another just up river from them. We spent two days with no bou and started floating. Saw 3 more camps along the way before getting to where most of the boat hunters were camping. The troopers did say there are caribou around, but in very small groups or singles, very few bulls and the all are just kinda wondering around. The only highlights of the hunt was our boys getting their first bulls, no rain and no bugs.

  3. #3
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    What do you mean by, semi-guided? Is the air boat guy a reg. guide?
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  4. #4

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    The charters, both air and airboat, are crowding that area out pretty heavily. It is rather upsetting to see, but it's the reality up there now. Randy (airboat) is a registered guide in the area, but I think these guys prefer bulk clients over having to babysit a small group for a solid week. I went last year around this time and there were boats, floaters and drop off camps all over the place. Same story, little to no caribou.

  5. #5
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    Default Big crowds bou hunting the Ivishak?

    We're planning on bou hunting the ivishak, arriving aug. 31. Our plan is to fly in and float for 7 days. We definitely don't want to be around crowds...should we consider any other area?

  6. #6
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default Crowds

    Ive never seen it so bad, not only are there tons of drop camps and floaters, but the river is high this year and the boats are getting way beyound their normal areas. Id look elsewhere

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    What other areas do you recommend? We're flying into Fairbanks, have 10 days and are open to any suggestions.

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    Default Areas

    The issue really is not the area's, it will be getting a Air Charter to deviate movement plans and gas....Best case for them is to fly you in and back haul someone else. They get both payments and really a one cost flight....

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    The charters, both air and airboat, are crowding that area out pretty heavily.
    Don't you think it is the customers of the charter business crowding up the scene.

    It might have something to do with all the dudes looking for a cheap easy access hunt too. There is probably not a cheaper drop hunt or float trip to be done in the State than driving to HV and hoping in a boat down at the launch or an airplane in DH or HV.

    I mean; what gives one the position to complain about all the other hunters obviously wanting to be in the same place you are at.

    It's true the charter operators should have some standards regarding how many people they take and where...but it's still the customer demand that is creating the 'crowds'. And the demand for "cheap" seats is pretty high I expect.

    Maybe if the hunting was real good up there this year there would not be so much complaining too?


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVALANCHE View Post
    Don't you think it is the customers of the charter business crowding up the scene.

    It might have something to do with all the dudes looking for a cheap easy access hunt too. There is probably not a cheaper drop hunt or float trip to be done in the State than driving to HV and hoping in a boat down at the launch or an airplane in DH or HV.

    I mean; what gives one the position to complain about all the other hunters obviously wanting to be in the same place you are at.

    It's true the charter operators should have some standards regarding how many people they take and where...but it's still the customer demand that is creating the 'crowds'. And the demand for "cheap" seats is pretty high I expect.

    Maybe if the hunting was real good up there this year there would not be so much complaining too?

    My statement was that of reality, not really a complaint.

    The charters have full responsibility as they could set their numbers, and prices if they wanted to help better manage the crowds in the area. If they decide to "bulk transport" as many people as they can in one season, then people will continue flocking in because of what you mentioned... easy access, cheap transport. When I start seeing posts of people complaining about the numbers of other hunters, and of the transporters, it only confirms my beliefs more.

    I think it sucks that this area that I've hunted for over a decade is getting run over now, but it's a reality that I deal with. The hunting was real good for us this year.

  11. #11

    Default Complain about 'reality'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    The charters have full responsibility as they could set their numbers, and prices.....
    Dude; that's like telling Exon to raise the price of gas delivered in LA until there are so few cars on the road there are no traffic jams.

    I agree charter operators could charge more in an effort to discourage people from going to cheap easy access areas but it's those who are hiring the charters that are clogging the area.

    Don't you think it is kind of amusing that the ones who go there and then complain about their neighbor's going to the same place but want everybody to believe they themselves are not contributing to the problem?

    Hypocrites; the complainers, are pathetic to blame the charter operators...the same people the complainers hired to get them to the cheap easy access hunt they turn around and blame for the crowding. That's a pretty sorry attitude.

    Hey; what about this? The State could charge a 'toll' fee of like $300.00 per person for people using the haul road as a base camp to hunt off. That might fix the crowding issue on the haul road and the State could use the money to build some bathrooms and some camping areas.

    Maybe a better way of controlling the publics right to access to the easy cheap areas to hunt; like the haul road and the Ivishak would be to establish a draw for those areas. Make the draw specific to dates too. Say something like 6 per week so everybody who drew a tag doesn't end up on the road or the river at the same time?

    How about this; a 'special tag fee' for haul road and Ivishak hunters. Say $1,000.00. That should make people think twice before they consider paying a charter service to clog up the easy cheap areas to hunt.

    There are probably more ways to satisfy the complainers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    When I start seeing posts of people complaining about the numbers of other hunters, and of the transporters, it only confirms my beliefs more.
    What belief is that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    I think it sucks that this area that I've hunted for over a decade is getting run over now, but it's a reality that I deal with. The hunting was real good for us this year.
    Fair enough.

    Serious question.

    Would it be worth paying maybe $1,000.00 for a tag or 4 times the charter fee or taking a chance on a draw to have the same experience you had 10 years ago?


  12. #12
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Elitist

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    My statement was that of reality, not really a complaint.

    The charters have full responsibility as they could set their numbers, and prices if they wanted to help better manage the crowds in the area. If they decide to "bulk transport" as many people as they can in one season, then people will continue flocking in because of what you mentioned... easy access, cheap transport. When I start seeing posts of people complaining about the numbers of other hunters, and of the transporters, it only confirms my beliefs more.

    I think it sucks that this area that I've hunted for over a decade is getting run over now, but it's a reality that I deal with. The hunting was real good for us this year.
    In order to hunt North of the Brooks Range you need to:

    A - Be wealthy - so you can afford the 'higher priced charters' from the guides while they manage the hunt areas.
    or
    B - Have hunted it all your life, therefore, it really belongs to you.

    Perfect, so now Bill Gates will be hunting the range with only a few of the remaining Alaskan natives that live up there.

    I guess I'll try fishing.

  13. #13
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default Reality

    I haven’t hunted as nearly as much as Jerod & I’ll say its more the transporters than the hunters. I have been hesitant to go back since 2001 because of the crowding starting then. I believe it started when it was written about in a book & a couple transporters thought about it & decided it was a good way to make as much $ as possible in a short time. Not to worry if that would diminish the quality of the experience or the land getting marked up.
    Its all about the $$ the transporters are getting. It doesn’t matter how much they charge people will still go.
    Ten years ago there were no airboat charters, & Dave Neal was the only one operating up there. He would only take so many & have them spaced apart so you weren’t leap frogging anyone. Now you have air charters from Bettles & Coldfoot going there in addition to the number that have seemingly set up camps at the landing strip in Happy Valley. It was a pristine watershed but obviously it can hold that much traffic without showing sings of scarring. I guess its no different then the Kenai river for kings, pack em in.
    Now it’s a free country so there is no right to say who should operate there. In fact maybe more operators should feel free to open a 3 week camp up there
    It just seems to be there is little respect anymore & crowding like this is going to be the norm in more & more areas in the future.
    And way do you keep saying easy & cheap. With weather & water conditions up there it is not guaranteed easy. What makes this so easier than any other float hunt.
    And what is cheap to you may not be to some one else. So your neighbor wants to take his son up there & do a float trip because he can afford it & now its cheap?
    If the road was left in the poor condition it used to be that might help discourage some people. Maybe if the charters respected things more a few would leave. The unfortunate reality is the only way things will change are when more regulations are forced on us.

    Oh and to answer your question I would rather have it go to a draw to get the experience back

  14. #14

    Default Heres another dude...

    Quote Originally Posted by AKMarmot View Post
    I haven’t hunted as nearly as much as Jerod & I’ll say its more the transporters than the hunters. I have been hesitant to go back since 2001 because of the crowding starting then. I believe it started when it was written about in a book & a couple transporters thought about it & decided it was a good way to make as much $ as possible in a short time. Not to worry if that would diminish the quality of the experience or the land getting marked up.
    Its all about the $$ the transporters are getting. It doesn’t matter how much they charge people will still go.
    Ten years ago there were no airboat charters, & Dave Neal was the only one operating up there. He would only take so many & have them spaced apart so you weren’t leap frogging anyone. Now you have air charters from Bettles & Coldfoot going there in addition to the number that have seemingly set up camps at the landing strip in Happy Valley. It was a pristine watershed but obviously it can hold that much traffic without showing sings of scarring. I guess its no different then the Kenai river for kings, pack em in.
    Now it’s a free country so there is no right to say who should operate there. In fact maybe more operators should feel free to open a 3 week camp up there
    It just seems to be there is little respect anymore & crowding like this is going to be the norm in more & more areas in the future.
    And way do you keep saying easy & cheap. With weather & water conditions up there it is not guaranteed easy. What makes this so easier than any other float hunt.
    And what is cheap to you may not be to some one else. So your neighbor wants to take his son up there & due a float trip because he can afford it & now its cheap?
    If the road was left in the poor condition it used to be that might help discourage some people. Maybe if the charters respected things more a few would leave. The unfortunate reality is the only way things will change are when more regulations are forced on us.

    Oh and to answer your question I would rather have it go to a draw to get the experience back

    W-O-W. I surrender, it's the commercial operators and a good road causing the problems NOT the demand....for easy cheap accessible hunts.


  15. #15
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKMarmot View Post
    It just seems to be there is little respect anymore...
    Bam - that's the nail driven in.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVALANCHE View Post
    [I]What belief is that?
    The belief that the transporters are contributing to the overcrowding and not respecting the area.

    Serious question.Would it be worth paying maybe $1,000.00 for a tag or 4 times the charter fee or taking a chance on a draw to have the same experience you had 10 years ago?
    No.

    I think AKMARMOT summed it up pretty good. I'm not looking at wanting the area to myself, obviously that isn't going to happen, but I wish transporters would have a little more respect for areas as to not crowd them out. When they are dropping floaters on top of floaters, and camps on top of camps, that should tell you something.

  17. #17

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    I should add, it is not only the transporters that are overcrowding the area. I've seen an influx of boat hunters over the last few years as well. Just like anything else in the state though, when word gets out on an area, the masses will come.

    Again, I think it sucks, but it is reality, and not much we can do about it. I'll be up there again next year, just like I have in the past, and I'll deal with the crowds, just as anybody else has to. We average about $250-300 a person on this hunt when we break up all the gas and food receipts, so it is a very economical hunt and I'm thankful for the area.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    When they are dropping floaters on top of floaters, and camps on top of camps, that should tell you something.
    What it tells me is there is a demand for cheap easy accessible hunts.

    Maybe the complainers need to dig into their pockets and pay for a charter to the far eastern edges of ANWR or the western end of the Gates and give some of the other guys a break who want and/or need cheap accessible areas to hunt and are glad to have the opportunity and willing to accept that others are in the same boat and not blame someone else.


  19. #19
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    Default Spring/Winter

    I may be shooting myself in the foot...but it isn't like it is a secret....It is day and night on this hunt comparing Fall to Spring/Winter..
    I too dislike the crowds....it is very busy up there and lots of tourists in the Fall too. I went up this Spring/Winter. Of course it is a lot colder (having an arctic oven tent helps with that )
    But I literally felt alone at times and it was NICE...Only traffic is the truckers and maybe one or two once an hour.
    I am a meat hunter not a trophy hunter..so the meat was just as good and it istantly froze too....now this is my favorite and probably my only time I go hunting up there...Love it and you time it right lots of caribou and very little competition....oh forgot to mention I was bow hunting...there are others who do the rifle hunts and ski in a tent...same concept just need to get five miles off...Good luck all

  20. #20
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default I for one

    dont blame anyone group for the crowding, People want to go there and there are plenty of outfits to take them in. I just returned and there are a few factors that made this year worse than others. 10 yrs ago it was just Dave Neal flying hunters in. Now there is Deltana Outfitters, Alaska Air Taxi, Alaska Flyers, Alaska Bush Sports, Coyote Air, and a new outfit Arrowhead outfitters using a Maule. plus the airboat taking semi guided hunters in. Then there is the fact that the haul rd is in better shape than ever and water levels are up this year so more people are willing to run their boats up farther.

    The only complaint I have about the Air charters is that they are stacking hunters on every available gravel bar. We booked are normal area to be dropped to start our float, in years past we never saw another hunter until you hit the bluffs just before the 5 mile mark. This year there were 3 camps within 2 or 3 miles of us. We were even asked how long we were going to stay at that spot because he had more hunters we wanted to put there.

    One thing for sure is if you dont like crowds then dig deep and save longer so yo can get farther out. The Ivishak is the new Mulchatna and we all know what happened there.

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