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Thread: Brooks Range Float Hunt 2008

  1. #1
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    Default Brooks Range Float Hunt 2008

    Day 1, Aug 24

    Started by picking my Dad and Brother up from the Fairbanks airport at 1:30 AM. Back to the house for a couple hours of sleep and the final gear load out. My wife, Dad, Brother, and I headed to North Pole to meet up with our other hunting partners; Steve and Flor.
    Our first stop was at Hilltop for a nice meal for the trip up the Haul Road.
    Next stop was at the Yukon River gas station for a restroom break and gas.
    Next stop was at the Coldfoot restaurant and gas station for the night’s meal. I took an 18 gallon gas jug so I did not get gas until we were at Prudoe Bay.
    The final stop for the evening was in Wiseman at the Arctic Getaway Bed and Breakfast. The Koyukuk cabin slept all 6 of us comfortably. Someone with a sense of humor lives in Wiseman for sure. The horse sign made us all lagh pretty hard.
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    Default Horse sign

    The horse pen really was 80 feet away.
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    Default Day 2

    Day 2, Aug 25

    We awake and have a great pancake and egg breakfast in the dining area of the Hicker residents. Uta makes the best multi-grain pancakes I have ever had. I love being in their dining room with the abundant dall sheep horns adorning the rafters. Our next stop would be at Atigan Pass to take photos of some Dall sheep. Mid afternoon we arrive at the Sagatuvik take-out point for our float trip. GPS coordinates now stowed into the HCX and off we go to Prudoe Bay to meet the transporter and hash out final load out details. We saw about 100 muskox as we made the final push to Prudoe. We meet the transporter, have dinner and decided to stay the night in a cozy motel instead of pitching tents. We ended up staying at the Prudoe Bay Hotel. All meals were included with lodging. Having never been at prudoe before, we drive around before we call it a night. We saw these three nice bulls on the edge of the coast in town.
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    Default Day 2 pics

    A couple more day 2 pictures
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    Default Day 3 Aug 26

    After breakfast at the Prudoe Bay Hotel we headed over to the transporter. We loaded up the Beaver and prepared the vehicles to be taken back to the take-out point on the Sag and the other vehicle with gear that would fly out of Happy valley. While inside the transporter’s building my wife wants us to come look at the transporters mascot. We all go outside to see nothing. We hear a marmot in the metal siding, but now the marmot would not come back out. My wife picks up a rock and says I will get the lil guy to come out. You guessed it; my wife tosses the rock against the metal siding and the marmot stops making noise and we all almost fall on the ground laughing. The marmot did not come back out or make another noise while we were there. My wife did take a couple photos of the mascot before we came outside.
    Meanwhile we bid farewell to Steve, Flor, Mike, and Don, who depart to get the vehicles and gear to the required spots. Around noon we load into the Beaver and off we go to the Ivishak. Our first landing was eventful. We hit so hard that my door pops open and the plane leaps back into the air while the pilot gives her full throttle again to get us airborne. We make another landing and my door pops open again. Thank god for seatbelts. We are a ways from where we want to hunt so we begin setting up rafts while we wait for our other hunting partners to arrive. While setting up the Federal trooper stops by and checks us out and bids us good luck. Our friends arrive and the trooper has to move his plane off the air strip so our other hunting partners can land. Everyone is now all checked out and our rafts are loaded to head down river to where I wanted to hunt based on last years hunt info and some map recon.

    I soon realize that my levitator is not ten feet tall and bullet proof. We hit a sharp shale bank hard and a baseball sized gash has now deflated one tube. We only had a few more miles to where I wanted to hunt so; we floated with a deflated tube. We spot a wolverine catching fish in the river and arrive at camp. We set up camp and drift to sleep of what the hunt will bring.
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    Default Day 4 Aug 27

    We decided to sheep hunt the first day with our bodies being fresh. The first drainage we go into about 2 miles from camp has four shooter bull caribou in it. Four hunters—four bulls. It was meant to be. We derail from sheep hunting and harvest a beautiful bull caribou each. We each make two trips to camp and call it a day with all of the meat and one head at our newly erected meat cache.
    While packing meat back to camp a heard of 30 or so bou walk right through camp. Steve and Flor had front row seats to the bou at camp. I expected to hear shots but none were fired. The day ends with a celebratory shot of black berry brandy, lots of smiles, and sore legs and backs
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    Default Day 4 pics

    More pics of day 4
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    Default More day 4

    A couple more of day 4
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    Default Day 5 Aug 28

    Steve, my Brother and I head back to get the last three heads. The day prior we had found a ptarmigan egg lying out in the middle of the tundra. The egg was so intriguing I had to get a picture of it and post it with my story. The rest of the day was spent fleshing hides and turning ears and lips.
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    Default Day 5 pictures

    Day 5 Turning ears and the ptarmigan egg.
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    Default Day 6 Sep 29

    We spend most of the day turning ears and splitting lips and fleshing the hides. My wife wanted to make caribou feet dolls, so I took the toes out of the bou feet today. I also fixed my raft hole today. I soon learned that I was missing parts to my borrowed Wilderness raft repair kit. Luckily Steve’s kit had the items I was missing. The raft repair went easier than I thought it would. I was very impressed with the ease and durability of the repair, even without stitching. After we have dinner, a group of caribou bulls are spotted. Steve looks through the spotter and decides they are large enough for a stalk. After a 2-mile stalk Steve’s bull is down and Flor and I pass on the other two bulls. The bull was back in camp on the meat cache by 11:00PM. This would be the last bull caribou we would see for a couple days. The caribou spigot was turned off.
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    Default Day 6

    The raft hole and skinning Steve's bull.
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    Default day 6 cont

    More pics of Steve's nice bull
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  14. #14
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    Default

    some great photos of some great bulls looks like you had fun congrats!!!!
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Default Day 7 Aug 30

    We have watched caribou come through a certain area every day and decide we will try and harvest a couple more bou. We moved to the cut-off spot and see one cow bou with a broken front leg. At the end of the day we spot sheep and move in for a closer look. The day ends with sheep bedded and only seeing one caribou.

    My Dad has better vision than I do. He can watch for bou through his eyelids!
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    Default Day 8 Aug 31

    We awake early and set up on the mountain side below the sheep where they were bedded in hopes the sheep would come down the mountain to feed again. The sheep had moved in the night and did not come down so we went up for a closer look. The sheep were in some nasty stuff I would never even think about climbing and we headed back to camp. No bou spotted today
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    Default Day 9 Sep 1

    Steve and Flor headed north bound to another location with the lack of caribou in our current area. We bid our farewells and expect to catch them in the next day or so. We depart camp to get a closer look at some ewes and lambs that we had been seeing all week. About 4 miles from camp a 60 inch plus moose is moving quickly up the creek bed in our direction. I knew moose were sparse in these areas and felt lucky we saw this fine specimen. We did notice the moose kept looking back over his shoulder like something was following him. We never saw anything behind him. We ended up five miles up the drainage to front row seats to ewes and lambs feeding below us in the drainage. The day begins to get late and we head back to camp. When we arrive at camp my wife asks if we saw the huge bull moose with a huge grizzly bear chasing him. We never saw the bear on the moose’s behind, but the moose’s weird behavior of looking over his shoulder now came full circle. Somewhere between camp and us up the drainage the grizz cut the chase off. My wife also informs us that a state trooper landed his cub at camp and states that the water levels are dropping fast and we have lots of dragging to do. At the end of the day we decide that we have heavy rafts and decide to head north. No bou spotted today.
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    Default Day 10 Sep 2

    We rise early to get started on the float out. We hoped we would catch Steve and Flo to help them out with the dragging. We never did catch Steve and Flo. I had been told river right all the way to the Sag and then river left at the Sag. My reading of the river told me river left for the whole river. We caught a couple char at a deep cut bank along the way. We dragged less than 10 yards about 10 times this day, very minimal by my standards. We had planned to float until dark. When we came around a bend about 6:30 PM, two bull caribou were standing a few hundred yards from the river. With the water levels being fine we decided to push the easy button and harvest these two bulls, so close to the river. My brother and I quartered up the bulls while my Dad and Wife set-up camp. We arrived at camp with the butchering details finished while my Wife started dinner.
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    Default day 10 cont

    A couple pics of leaving camp and heading north.
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    Default Day 11 Sep 3

    The day was planned to start early. As we awoke the fog was so thick we could not see 50 yards. We figured the mighty Ivishak would be hard to read so we slowly got ready for the day. My Dad wanted a hot breakfast so he made himself a bagel cooker. We spent a total of 12 hours on the river floating this day. We stopped floating around 8:00PM. The rest of the crew said that today was the worst day of floating due to the misty fog and 30 degree temps. We stopped a couple times to build fires to warm-up.
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