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Thread: Hunting out of Kotz 2009-costs

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Hunting out of Kotz 2009-costs

    Increase in flight costs for 2009 hunts-KOTZ

    I have had a few e-mails from customers who have booked 2009 hunts with me each who have concerns about the increase that they are being quoted by our flight services for 2009 hunts.

    I have not talked to Eric Sieh or Jim Kincaid about this yet but I will this week. I think it is safe to assume that we will see flight services increase their rates that will reflect the jump in fuel costs. It is important to understand that fuel cost in Kotz are very high. We saw the summer fuel barge arrive and bulk gas jumped around $2.50 a gal and with in days the cost of everything also jumped. Rent in town jumped $400 a month for almost everyone, food prices jumped about 25%, and milk went from $8.50 to 10.45 a gal for example. This is not to make excuses for the high prices but it is so you guys understand what it costs for us who live up here. I will be forced to raise my rental rated for the first time in 4 years also. I expect to raise them about 6-10% but I have not taken the time to nail that down yet.

    Yes hunting up here is getting very expensive but keep in mind we offer the best chance at huge bulls and lots of them. WACH hunting out of Kotz is still a bargain when compared to Canada hunts or Adak hunts. Currently the herd estimates are about 450,000 animals. I have talked to Jim Dau, Alaska F&G and he is seeing a drop in herd numbers from 2005-2007 and he speculates that this may continue. Are we in for a drop in herd numbers? Donít know but there are about 100,000 fewer caribou in the past 2 years and this may be a decline. The hunting is super right now but if we see a decline that may change in the next 5 years and we know that prices will not drop out here.

    With in the next 2 weeks I will up date this string that will reflect the hourly rate for the flight services and this will help you in the hunt planning phase. Many of my hunting packages for 2009 are already booked and I will finish booking the remaining hunts by Christmas. ( about 50% are booked right now) Jim Kincade is also booking his 2009 season and I have referred a number groups to him already and I would expect that he will also fill with in the next 2 months but please contact him directly as I am not affiliated with any single flight service, I just make referrals.

    Ok its time to start planning so shoot me a message if you have any questions as I enjoy helping out where I can.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Kotzebue, AK

    33 miles north of the Arctic Circle
    www.northwestalaska.com

  2. #2
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    Default Flight costs-$700 per hour

    Ok Guys he goes!

    I talked to Jim Kincaid of Northwest Aviation and he tells me his flight costs will be $700 an hour for his planes. He has 1-185 and 2-206ís both floats and on wheels. It looks like Eric Sieh over at Hageland will be charging the same. This is less than I expected and much less than a few guys who contacted me thought. Remember when you rent a 206 you are buying the whole plane for $700 an hour and that is about 900 pounds per load and most drops will be about .75-1.25 hours out.. Most guys will hunt in groups of 3 or 4 and when you divide that amount between all 3 or 4 guys that is in the $175 an hour per hunter. Another way to look at it is 3 guys and gear will make it out in one load and 2 loads returning (meat and horn) and you pay out and back each flight. If you are hunting up on the Kelly River which is just under 1 hour out, you are looking at 2 hours of fly time per trip (round trip), 3 round trips x $1,400 per round trip = $4,200 for flights or $1,400 per hunter. The average drop package hunt will be in the $2,200 per hunter range in 09 and that will be up between $300-400 per hunter. The hourly flight service is a better rate and you have a lot more input where you hunt.

    I hope this helps you calculate your costs for the 09 hunting season. It is important to understand that the National Park Service imposed a cap on the total number of hunters that each transporter can haul beginning in 08 and this means that there will be fewer flights in 09 into the preserve. Jim told me that he has Ĺ of his Noatak National Park and Preserve hunts filled already booked and Eric is taking far fewer hunts then he use to so it is my recommendation that you finalize your dates soon and get your flights reserved. Last year I had to turn away 5 hunts because we could not find any flight services due to late bookings by the clients, and that was March/April 08. It will be earlier than that for 09.

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

  3. #3

    Default Ram Aviation and Northern Air Trophy

    I talked with Mike at Ram Aviation and Matt at NA Trophy and they both said their prices would be about the same in 2009. $2000 - $2200 per person. They might put a 10% fuel surcharge on though.

    Walt, I notice that you always talk about NW Aviation, Jim Kincaid and Eric Sieh but never mention Ram or NA trophy! Don't you do any work with them? or are they so booked that you can't get any space from them? I hear Cabelas usually takes up 70% of Ram Aviation flights so it must be hard to get a flight from them for you. Both Ram and NAT had high success rates so my money would be with them. I also heard that the National Park Service did limit the amount of hunters that can go into the Noatak National Preserve and Ram Aviation and NA Trophy got over 2/3's of all of the permits.

    Sounds like I wouldn't be drinking much milk in Kotzebue at those prices!

  4. #4
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Default Another Feasable way

    The initial cost might hurt, but when its all said and done...its time to buy your own plane, and start learning how to fly...I know a few that are doing it.

  5. #5

    Default ???

    You can go on a lot of $2000-$3000 drop hunts for the price of a $60,000 airplane, plus maintenance, fuel, etc.
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

  6. #6

    Default Ram and Northern Air trophy

    I too was wondering why Ram and Northern Air Trophy aren't mentioned?
    I have used them and they have been GREAT!!........tho last year i was stuck out 4 extra days........ but that can happen no matter who you use.
    Actually....... I didn't consider it being "stuck"......tho i wasn't going anywhere!

  7. #7
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default

    Yep............just go out and get a 60,000 cub and start flying. Not much to it. By this time next year you'll be able to land anywhere anyone else can. Might add in a little insurance..........just in case!!
    Is the Park Service limiting hunters.............or limiting transporters? I heard transporters.
    Guess time will tell.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  8. #8

    Default Transporters

    I heard they were limited who can transport and how many hunters can be transported into the preserve.

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by flying View Post
    I talked with Mike at Ram Aviation and Matt at NA Trophy and they both said their prices would be about the same in 2009. $2000 - $2200 per person. They might put a 10% fuel surcharge on though.

    Walt, I notice that you always talk about NW Aviation, Jim Kincaid and Eric Sieh but never mention Ram or NA trophy! Don't you do any work with them? or are they so booked that you can't get any space from them? I hear Cabelas usually takes up 70% of Ram Aviation flights so it must be hard to get a flight from them for you. Both Ram and NAT had high success rates so my money would be with them. I also heard that the National Park Service did limit the amount of hunters that can go into the Noatak National Preserve and Ram Aviation and NA Trophy got over 2/3's of all of the permits.

    Sounds like I wouldn't be drinking much milk in Kotzebue at those prices!
    Yes I do work with both of them but I refer most of my clients to the local flight services. 2 reasons. Both of our local flight services are per hour where the other flight services charge by the head.

    1-I feel that the per hour service offers a better value because you pay for what you need and can choose to fly farther out where the package services is choosing your drop site.
    2- Most of my clients choose float hunts and Hageland and NW both offer larger planes (206ís), which have higher weight limits/capacities, as my rafts are about 90 pounds each.

    I do send a number of drop camps out with the package flight services and they do a good job and have a high success rate as do the local guys. Lets face it; WACH hunting has a very high success rate as we have lots of animals, good hunting and big animals.

    We are very lucky up here having good hunting and good flight services and these results in great hunting experiences for you guys.

    Walt
    www.northwestalaska.com

  10. #10

    Default

    There's other ways to access the WACH than flying all the way to Kotzebue then flying from there and picking up supplies in Fairbanks is much, much cheaper. You also stand a much better chance of finding a place to store or process your caribou in Fairbanks.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Just signed on to the forum 1st time in months and came across the thread on Kotz. I just returned from another fantastic trip in that fine country and had very good success. Mike of RAM Air and Matt once again provided a first rate service. This was our 3rd trip with Mike and each one has been a wonderful experience. As a private pilot I have been impressed with the skill in which Mike and Matt land their planes on the remote gravel bars. These guys know that country like the back of their hands. I highly recommend them. Bush pilot wannabe from Anchorage

  12. #12
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    Default

    Who is Eric going to be flying for next year? I heard that Frontier bought Hageland and 2008 would be the last year for the 206 and next year no bush flying?

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up Eric

    Hageland is still doing off strip work and Eric will be flying the same 206, Hageland also added a second off strip 206 and an new guy who is doing great work. Things a re looking up!

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