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Thread: Anyone hunted Mulchatna Caribou recently?

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default Anyone hunted Mulchatna Caribou recently?

    Does anyone have any success stories regarding hunting the Mulchatna herd recently-last 5 or so years? My buddy and I want to do a "cheap" (<$2,000) caribou hunt and are evaluating whether to fly in with Natron Air. Anyone used Natron Air to hunt caribou?

    Additionally, what are the mooseabilities and bearabliities along the Mulchatna drainage? We'd like to just take bulls that are representative of the species; we're not "trophy" hunters, but would like something to show for our time, money and effort regardless.

    BTW, what happened to Trail Ridge Air? I can't get to their website anymore.

    Tim

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    Default Natron Air

    Tim at Natron is a great choice. I've used him before and he's a very good pilot. I haven't been over to the Mulchatna since '02, so I couldn't give you accurate info on that area.

    emrdux

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Did you use Natron? Most people seem to speak highly of Tim at Natron. How was your '02 trip in general? What was the weather like? Any good fishing where you were at?

    Tim

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    I wouldn't waste your money on Mulchatna caribou....there are hardly any left.

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    Member AK Pronghorn's Avatar
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    Default Try this

    Contact Jim Woolington at ADF&G in Dillingham he keeps tabs on the herd.

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    I have hunted the herd three of the last five years. I would have hunted them again this year with my daughter but the other bailed and my spouse is not comfortable with just the two of us going. That being sid, I emailed Jim Woolington and if you PM me your email address, I'll forward his reply. In 2006 three of us went out and each shot decent bulls on the second day. They are there, just more widely spaced than in the past.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    That's good to hear Bill. Everything about the Mulchatna seems to be doom and gloom. On another note, I feel we have a better chance of "having it to ourselves" versus flying out of Kotzebue; seems like everyone and their brother are hunting WACH. We're in it for the whole experience; we're envisioning a drop camp where we can have a shot at some caribou and descent fishing, maybe even see a bear or two.

    OTZ was in the $3,000-$3,500 range; I feel we can get into the Mulchatna for around $2,000.

    PM sent Bill.

    Tim

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Pronghorn View Post
    Contact Jim Woolington at ADF&G in Dillingham he keeps tabs on the herd.
    Yea, thanks for reminding me; I know to call the ADF&G biologist, it hadn't crossed my mind yet though!

    Tim

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    Member AkGreg's Avatar
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    Default Trail Ridge

    Just check their website and it looks like its up and running fine... here's the link

    http://trailridgeair.com/

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    Red face

    TC: Natron air has a decent reputation and they wouldnt if they were dropping hunters in barren wasteland. There are thousands of caribou over there and the only reason the numbers are down is that the herd exploded so fast that they ran out of habitat. The only way to prevent that is to hunt them before they explode like now! Plenty of moose and bear along the Mulchatna, but may not be the best caribou as they move and also stay in the hills. A rule of thumb which seems valid is trying to hunt both moose and carbou you may end up with none as the best hunting for either usually does not overlap. But not hunting the Mulchatna to grow it to 200000 again will take decades and is not good game managment. By the way, have you noticed a good number of hunter in the brooks and kotzebue the last few years who didnt get any caribou? It could happen anywhere...but not very often with a reputable air service.
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sollybug View Post
    TC: Natron air has a decent reputation and they wouldnt if they were dropping hunters in barren wasteland. There are thousands of caribou over there and the only reason the numbers are down is that the herd exploded so fast that they ran out of habitat.

    According to the Bio's, the reason for the Mulchatna's decline was not habitat loss, but because of a lack of calf survivability and the cow's ability to calve. Basically, the cows of the herd got so old that they either could not calve or their calves struggled to survive. Throw in the hoof rot epidemic and other variables to thwart the herds sustainability. The bio's I've talked to say there are more than enough groceries out there.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default

    Natron is a great air taxi and you get what you pay for. Used him last fall for a bear hunt and would book with him again in a minute. Give Tim a call, I'm sure he will give it to you straight.


    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  13. #13
    Member Adventures's Avatar
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    Default mulchatna herd

    I hunted there in 05 and 06 in the northern part of the range. 05' we had our chances at a couple small bulls a ways off but my hunting partner lacked the mobility, in 06' they were scarce for the first few days and then they moved in by the thousands. the whole landscape was crawling with them like ants. of course this all happened the day before our pick up date so my brother and i chose real nice bulls close to camp and filled our tags. both of them are currently residing on our walls.
    The fishing is also real good and the bear populations of both species were pretty high too.
    Moose can definately be had in the river drainages, ive not hunted them myself but a friend of mine hunts them every year and sees good sized bulls in quantity.

    Overall even with the numbers being down its still a real good time. Just be prepared to hunt and glass hard and bring good optics and rain gear

    if you want more details shoot me a PM

    Justin
    P.S. Ive got pics
    Justin

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    Default Natron Air

    I had a very different experience with Natron in 05 than everyone else seems to have had with them. PM me if you want more details.

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Default

    I hunted the Mulchatna herd in 2004 and it was like everyone has said here, the bou are out there but there is alot of ground, and they are either there or they are not. We went 4 days and saw 3 caribou, had the pilot move us, next morning about 1500 came within 50 yards of camp. Sat there and glassed them all. Not one decent bull in the bunch. The last I heard was the number of good bulls was way down, lots of bou but no shooters. Things may have changed though.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Default Just Back

    Just got back last night from my camp that is only a couple of miles from the Mulchatna river. We only saw around a dozen animals broken into two small bands in the four days we were out there. Contrast that with roughly 8 bears in the same time frame. No wolves that we saw. The Bou that we did see were very skittish, almost like whitetail's during opening day. They were alert to any movement and would bolt with tails held high in just a few minutes after seeing something that they didn't like from a mile away. I spoke to a couple of hunters up from the lesser 48 that took some small bulls that had racks not much bigger than the cows did, and they had to work hard for those, hiking around 4-5 miles a day and shots of 300-350 yards. We had our own airplane and weather kept us grounded for most of the hunt. If you are relying on someone putting you in just the right spot you could be rolling the dice this year.
    Adison

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