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Thread: Just back from Kotzebue (OTZ)

  1. #1
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    Default Just back from Kotzebue (OTZ)

    I just got back from about 7 days in Kotzebue. The weather was unusually warm and the water levels dropped quite a bit over the last month. For the first time in four years of going to Alaska it never rained even once during the week we were in the bush.

    Our float trip was mostly a drag, push & pull trip. The fishing was fantastic though, while along the river we only saw about 100 caribou. Most stayed up high where it was nice cool. We also saw some moose, including a nice bull moose though we did not have a permit and it was probably borderline 50. Also saw a musk ox and a wolf. The musk ox was only a few hundred yards away but the wolf was way too far to shoot. My buddy and I came home empty handed despite seeing several respectable bulls. We had a specific criteria that was never met so we bagged it so to speak.

    For the first time in three years, we bumped into others on the river though one group of 4 over 80 miles is hardly crowded. Another first for me was getting buzzed by two state troopers. The first one flew right by us but radioed a 2nd plane that was on top of us within minutes. He circled us several times, including a few low passes to try and land on our gravel bar. After that, he moved on.

    We spoke to others who hunted up high and they had much better luck. Both groups had thousands walk by over the course of a week. The downside is that one of the groups we spoke to were representatives from Cabela's there to film a caribou hunt and check out an outfitter that may soon find its way into their hunt catalogs. This is completely subjective on my part, but the airport was significantly busier with hunters than I have seen it over the last three years over the same time frame.

    We were flown into the bush by Eric Sieh of Hageland Aviation. We've used him a few times alreay and I can't say enough good things about the man as a person and as a pilot. If any of you want to use him for a hunt, my only advice is to book very early. i.e. November the year prior to your hunt. He's real busy with repeat customers and he's flying for four different outfitters on top of trying to take care of 4 kids and a wife.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info Alex. There currently is not a wildlife trooper stationed in Kotz. Hasn't been for several years. So the state brings in a couple from other posts during the hunting season. The troops have racked up more than their share of airplane fender benders and being as whoever was flying the cub wasn't familiar with the area, it's no wonder they didn't land. I'm surprised they put so much effort into checking you out seeing as you must not have had any dead animals around the camp.
    The dry weather the last month in western alaska should have alot of float hunters pushing pulling.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    How about some pics?
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

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    I have yet to go through all the photos, but here is a link to some.

    http://www.pbase.com/acena/caribou_2006

    btw, we saw the troopers the day before moose season opened up. We did not have any meat or antlers in camp so I do not know why he wanted to land. Maybe he though we were dead because we were just laying along the gravel bar reading a book & soaking up rays at the time.

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    Very nice. Great pics.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

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    Why would a Cabela's film crew being there be a bad thing? I'd find it pretty cool myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yooper916 View Post
    Why would a Cabela's film crew being there be a bad thing? I'd find it pretty cool myself.
    It was cool to hang out with those guys at the airport. They were leaving Kotzebue then going to Africa for a hunt. Maybe it's a sad thing as opposed to a bad thing. One of the reasons I like to hunt in Alaska is for the solitude. These Cabela's guys may ruin that for me if they start booking a bunch of hunts up that way. It's a huge place but still. Like I said, I was used to going down the river and not running into anyone. This time we ran into a camp with four guys and a couple of troopers. Not necessarily a bad thing. Just sad.

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    I hear you on that. One of my favorite fishing holes now has a big lodge built on it.

    I hope it works out right and things settle down. I'd hate to see a bunch of legislation mess up hunting even more.

    Glad you had a good time. Nice pictures.

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Great pics. I can't wait to make a return trip back up there
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  10. #10

    Thumbs up Great pics!

    Good to hear that you had a good trip up here. We enjoy life up here and would have a tough time trading it for any other part of the nation!

    Where did Eric drop you? I have a friend in Kiana and the animals are crossing the Kobuk in big numbers up there also. I was up into the Noatak last weekend and no animals in that country from the Eli down to Kotz. iKeep in mind it is very warm right now so shoot late in your hunt so the meat is fresh when you head back home.

    If you need any equipment rentals when you’re up in Kotz this year look us up at 442-3944.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Backcountry Rentals
    Raft packages and compleat Camp packages

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    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska View Post

    If you need any equipment rentals when you’re up in Kotz this year look us up at 442-3944.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Backcountry Rentals
    Raft packages and compleat Camp packages
    Thanks for the offer Walt. I'll keep that in mind. Typically, I air cargo everything, including my raft, up to Kotzebue from New Jersey. It's all packed in small bags ready for loading onto the bush plane so I know exactly what I have and how much. It's a comfort & familiarity thing to use all my own stuff.

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