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Thread: Haul Road Caribou Hunt

  1. #1

    Default Haul Road Caribou Hunt

    I would like to take my sons bowhunting on the Haul road next August 2009, does anyone have advice on where to go, I am looking at 10 days from August 1st thru the 10th.

  2. #2
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Haul rd caribou...

    Aleutianhunter...I'm surprised that you have not received a responce from some of the guys who routinely hunt the haul road. Perhaps a post on the bowhunters forum might get a responce.

    I hunted the haul road for the first time this past August. Although I have hunted and guided in Alaska for 20 years, I had never driven the haul road prior to this year. Frankly, I really enjoyed the road trip up and back between Deadhorse and Anchorage. It is about 17 driving hours each way. According to what everyone was saying, this 2008 summer/fall, was a slow year. But even though it appeared to be an "off" year, the persistent hunters found caribou.

    Bring an extra spare tire and some extra gas. There is no fuel between Cold Foot and Deadhorse. Make sue you have a strong, wind resistent tent. And while I hate to write this...the archives are full of this stuff. With very little pre-approach info you will have a good hunt if you just consider the first year a "learning year".

    Perhaps some of the "haul road regulars" can provide more specific guidance for you.

    Dennis

  3. #3

    Default just my thoughts

    I hunted it the previous 2 years, so first off i would say make sure they are practiced up for the bowhunting test, if they already have, then make them practice so more

    Seriously, it is a great hunt if you have patience and are flexible. The reason I say flexible is because you don't know where the bou will be, and you don't know how many other hunters you will be competing with. I think that there is a reason that this is called a "poor mans hunt". The first year we went with high expectations, saw 1000s of bou--but we were willing to get off the road a bit (we hunted first week of Oct), we thought it would be a slam dunk, but it wasn't--don't try to get ahead of the bou--you are wasting your time if you try. Figure out where they are going, and see if there is another group trailing them, bottom line it isn't a slam dunk, but yet it can be, depending upon what Fate has in store for you. Set some goals in advance, but keep them realistic. 2nd year we went, we still had high expectations, but we knew what to expect---like the previous year we had 2 flats at the same time--thank goodness for a troop with enough brains to bring 2 spares--if you have the room, take em. We packed much lighter, we didn't sleep in the truck, we brought tents---dont put your tent up where the wind is blowing thru, we camped one evening at the base of one of the mountains, but it is where the road/hill crests---a ways from toolik lake on the left side of the road, I woke up at 4am to relieve myself, couldn't believe how much wind there was, was greatful that I didn't get blown away! Be prepared to compete, for some reason, the mentality is like combat fishing--when I shot my bou I had 5 other guys in a line with me, probably 75 yds apart from each other--you will see guys spook bou trying to get in line by the road--the bou are dumb, but not that dumb, so don't get frustrated. I would call the game warden for that area, they will have a general idea as to where the bou are, use this website for up to date info, I think the 1st is when the season opens, but sometimes guys that work on the slope post good intel on here. Be prepared for all types of weather, because one day it can be sunny and 60, and the next snowing and 30. Bring a good digital camera, even if it is a small one, get the boys out hiking, its one thing to be in shape, another to be in tundra shape--just ask the many souls that have trekked 5 miles in it with their rifles! PM me with any questions you have, I am not an expert, but have a better understanding of what goes into it.

    Good Luck

  4. #4
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    Default Well Put Turkey

    You did a good job summarizing Haul Road hunting.

    Aleut- I second being prepared for all conditions, extra gas/fuel, and a spare tire or two. Additionally, having a CB tuned to channel 19 is a must in my opinion. It will help you to stay safe.

    Check the Haul Road Reporting thread frequently. Good place for intel and to ask questions about hunting the Haul Road.

  5. #5
    Member Anglette's Avatar
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    Default

    Aleutianhunter,
    I don't know about August, but, we went in October and from I learned...
    Whatever you watch on TV for bow hunting.......FORGET ABOUT IT!!!
    This is nothing like that, these animals are not standing still they are on the move. But like I said in August, I have no clue how they act, other than the bugs will be hog heaven , Make sure to bring a bug net!!
    And yes, plenty of extra fuel, spare tire, and food/water!

    If there is a way to set up a moving target in your yard, I would do it to practice hitting a moving target. Also the only place to hide from these bous is the pipeline itself. No trees, might be some bigger bushes, but not much.

    Anyone else have any input?

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    Default cover-pipeline

    Please don't use the pipeline for cover, or at least do not shoot toward the pipe. I found a broadhead hole in the insulation jacket today, near Oil Spill Hill. It is not good to shoot at the pipeline, and probably unlawful to do it. Lets do what we can to protect the privledge to bowhunt out there.

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    Default

    We were up there in the the last two weeks of August this year. We had plenty of stalks each day but I was the only one to close the deal. Everybody that we talked to said we were about a week late for a big move of bou, but it isn't something you can plan a year a head of time. I've only been up there three times but a lot of ppl on the forum have said it absolutely correct. THERE IS NO WAY TO PREDICT CARIBOU MOVEMENT. Things can change in a day or a matter of hours. When we were up there we never seen a mosquito the whole time, but don't plan on it. I would take at least a dozen arrows up with you because we got into a bunch of ptarmigan but it is easy to lose arrows but it is a blast. Send me a PM and I will try to help you out with any other questions you have.

  8. #8
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    Default Its a blast

    Ive been up there 2 times had opportunities to take a caribou both times but blew them. July and august had snow at end of august on way out. Never saw a ptarmigan except for other hunters chasing them the way out. Youd be lucky to find cover. If you can get down by the river and make a stalk that would work great for cover, if you dont fall in. This hunt is some of the most fun I have ever had. Never saw a mosquitoe either trip which is wierd from what I hear. THis year Im going up and planning on not road hunting as is the most popular method in my experience. There is just at times too much competition. BUt all in all it is an awsome hunt.
    ]

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    Default

    First off be patient. If the caribou are not there today they can be there tomorrow and same goes for there here and now there are not.

    Other hunters. bite your tongue. There will be some up there that will blow your stalk. Take a deep breath and press on. Now with that said you might not have this happen to you, just be prepared.

    Caribou allot of time will walk a straight line towards the road. So seeing where they are going to cross if fairly easy. HOWEVER, if they see a car stopped they will change directions. What we have done in the pass is this. The drive slows the vehicle down( not stopped) the hunter gets out on the other side of where the Caribou is and follows the truck until he is where the Caribou is going to cross. He slips off the road and the car takes off about 1/4. Turn the vehicle around and enjoy the hunt. Also the person in the car can attempt to alert other hunters that there is already a hunter on that Caribou.

    10 days is long enough. Most people will be up there for 3-5 days.

    Bring cash just in case. Prudoe Bay Inn has showers and all you can eat service. So on your last night you want to freshen up for the ride home and are tiered of the freeze dried food.

    Park far enough off the road to give the truckers space. At time when they pass rocks do fly and windshields get cracked.

    We have had bears in the back of our pick up. Make sure you have your food secured. They tore our cooler lid up pretty good.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    Default

    [quote=Alaska Gray;448659].....Park far enough off the road to give the truckers space. At time when they pass rocks do fly and windshields get cracked....
    quote]

    I second this. There is a lot of traffic on the road right now. Pull way over, and slow way down with passing trucks. By doing this, you will avoid major rock dings in your windshied. If you do this, Truckers will try to avoid rocking you. If you hog the road, and go fast, I have heard Truckers say they will rock people like that.

    ALSO, if you are going to park, park in an area where there is good sight distance.

    Another MUST is CB channel 19.

  11. #11

    Default 2007 caribou

    Just had to add a bit of thought to the haul road, poor mans hunt. My son and I hunted the haul road in Sept of 07 and saw many bachelor herds. No bugs except for the first day. We were up there for the labor day week and if you did not trek 2 to 3 miles off the road there were a bunch of hunters. The bou I shot at still runs the tundra and I'm still sick of missing that shot, only 60 yards! However at the end of two full weeks of hunting my son managed to hit a nice one smack in the heart at 62 yards. He fell only 3/4 of a mile from the road. This is important when packing out the meat. Also he was invited to the Pope and Young biannual meeting in Denver in April of 09. He sent his invited head with shipping paid by Cabelas and the invite said he is up for a Barren Ground caribou award. His is a double shovel and scored 356 5/8. One of the largest taken that was registered in the past two years. We both are attending.
    We had hoped to hunt the road this past year, but his work was too good to pass up, and looking back it was the right decision with todays economy. We already are planning on another poor mans hunt this fall in Sept. again. Maybe one week later. We have a slide in camper and camp about anywhere and hunt about anywhere. We did trek in 7+ miles the last time and probably will not do that again.
    One piece of advise from a novice I could give is, take lots of arrows and do not be afraid to take the shot, many will miss and it helps the jitters. Oh, we also wore most of the camo off the front of our bodies from crawling on the bou. You don't need a bush to hid behind, the little nobs of plants work well if you are on your belly.
    I have include a photo, proud father stuff, for those that are interested. He shot him sw of Slope Mountain Camp.
    Good luck on the planning and hope to see you up there next fall.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12

    Default

    South Dakota,

    That is a nice animal your son took and thanks for sharing it.

    I have to say the only time I bow hunted on the haul road was my first and last because of too many hunters taking poor risky shots at long range. I was so disappointed to be associated with such a group of hunters that I will not likely do it again. Sorry but we need to do a better job of being responsible hunters in my mind. I go to Fish and Game Advisory Committee meetings and village meetings where people criticize hunters for taking careless shots. That is one reason the Board of Game required arrows to be labeled because of wounded animals running around with arrows in them.
    I followed a wounded caribou around near pump station 2 that someone else had shot too far back. It was running around with guts hanging down on both sides.

    I don't think any responsible bow hunter should be encouraging new hunters with advice like "One piece of advise from a novice I could give is, take lots of arrows and do not be afraid to take the shot, many will miss and it helps the jitters." Sorry but that sort of stuff gives hunters a bad name everywhere.

    Now I know some folks practise at long range and are good at longer ranges but encouraging a novice to take lots of arrows because many will miss is NOT good hunter ethics and is bad advice. Sorry but I could not let that one go...we can all do better.

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    Default

    I agree Luv2fish. People do take crazy shots up there. When I was up in July I ended up stalking the same bull someone else was. I never saw the guy but did see an arrow appear from no wear and strike the ground about 15 yards infront of the bull. The bull ran off and the guy stood up so I went over to talk to him. I will reserve the name but it was actually a host of a fairly popular FSN hunting show filiming a hunt. He loosed the arrow from 90 yards!!! I didnt know it but the arrow I saw was the second and closer shot that he took. That discusted me. I hold those guys to higher standards because they represent the rest of us in the public world.

    I agree that a lot of people practice at long distances to go up there and are capable of hitting a target at 60-70 yards, however everytime I have been up there the wind has been very strong and would blow my arrow almost a foot off mark at just a 40 yard shot. The wind up there changes things. Combine a strong wind and a target that is alive and can move at any moment and I think you end up with a shot that is just to risky to take at longer distances.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

  14. #14

    Default

    For Arky and LUV2fish, and others,
    The sentence in my post really did not come out the way I had intended. I honestly did not mean to just shoot holes in the wind and hope one hits. I do believe in not taking the shot unless it is honest. However, I do realize that with either bow or rifle there are variables involved that can make a significant difference and can be unexpected. There is a reason we carry extra arrows or bullets with while hunting. No, do not shoot just for the sake of shooting or use the 'old flock shot' idea. That is absurd but there are those.... I believe one should calculate all the possibilities involved in the shot, bow or rifle, while realizing natures control alongside our obvious errors and then do the best. I have missed some animals simply due to my technical mistakes, same as any hunter. No one is perfect. And I or any ethical hunter should never leave a wounded animal to just wander and die. Too bad someone was not tracking the one Arky saw on the tundra. Truly unexcusable in my book.
    So only in defense of my poorly worded sentence, anyone should do the calculations before the shot(s) and also realize that you can miss for more than one reason. But practice and experience does make you a better hunter if you remember your mistakes and do not act in a reckless manner in the field or anywhere.
    My one shot at a bou was a clean miss due to not counting the correct pin number, and I shot under him. He still runs the tundra happy and healthy. That was the only arrow released in 8 days of hunting, even though I saw many other bou. Most were not in my shooting range of comfort, or I felt were just not good honest shots for any animal.
    I do thank you for correcting my advise and hope this helps to explain my thoughts. Do except my apologizes.
    And yes we did have some guys barge in on our stalks, and did walk in 7 miles one day and really glad not to have shot one that far back. The trek out with the meat would have been exhausting for this old guy. The people that just drive the roads hoping for a crossing kill, we saw one that was actually shot right on the road, is way beyond any ethics, or an absolute lack of ethics. Some people just don't care whom or what they hurt and problems they cause for others. Yes, the warden was looking for that truck and I do not know if he found them.

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    I was not directing my post at you South Dakota Hunter, and from the sounds of your response you hunt more ethically than most people up there. 62 yards was obviously with in the capabilities of your son and he has a fine animal to show for it!! I personally cant shoot that far, and it has been just to windy for me to think about it. As far as suggesting to bring a lot of arrows I agree. Depending on the time of year, there are lots of Ptarmigan to chase up there and Ive lost a few arrows shooting at them. My response was basically directed at what I saw from the hunting show host up there. Sorry if it seemed directed at you.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

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    Smile Good application for FOB's ?

    On longer shots, which I understand are pretty typical on Haul Road hunting, you may want to consider using FOB's. From everything I have heard, the arrow flight is less impacted by wind drift between FOB's or standard vanes.

    Of course, each person has to know his persoal limits for taking ethical shot. If I could reliably shoot at 70 yard or more, and have all the arrows fall within a kill zone area all the time, then take those shots. I am not at that skill level right now however with more practice I may get there.

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