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Thread: Thought's on the Ft Rich draw hunts

  1. #1

    Question Thought's on the Ft Rich draw hunts

    I wanted to get some feedback from those that drew the Ft Rich moose tags this year. I was planning on posting this rather I killed a moose or not.
    I thought there were to many restrictions on moose hunters for this hunt. We all have to pay a $125 fee to hunt,yet anyone can hunt small game, ride atvs, basically any outdoor activity and do it for free. Several times in the last 2 weeks of the hunt I had people run by me with their dogs off lead, stopping to check me out, barking at me and the owner didn't care one bit. Most of the people I saw out there this year didn't care about the RAP that was required for accessing Ft Rich lands.

    Ft Rich wildlife folks need to think about re-instituting a qualifying shoot before they issue the tags out as there were quite a few bulls shot and wounded this year that were not recovered. If you wound a bull and do not recover it your tag should be notched and your hunt should be over.

    If I were to wound a bull and not recover it, my hunt would be done.
    The maps that they issue are not very good, boundaries are very vague and there was a few times where I wasn't sure what training unit I was in or if I was even in a hunt area. If we're paying for this hunt at least give out good maps with gps coordinates so we know we are in the right areas.

    I had a great time on this hunt even though I didn't kill a bull. I got to see lots of country with not a lot of pressure from other hunters and learned alot about hunting moose post rut. I don't know if i'd do this hunt again knowing that the prime time for hunting moose could be shut down for training, basically this year the good hunt areas were closed for about 90% of the rut. Hunting moose post rut with a bow is not an easy task and requires lots of patience and persistance. Thats my take.

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    Forum Sponsor PM Asman's Avatar
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    Glad you had a good hunt; sorry there is no moose in the freezer.

    The problem with the certification shoot is likely the same problem with controling / monitoring access: Manpower. I don't think they had enough folks available this year to administer the certification program. I for one am in support of the pre-hunt qualification. I am also for maintaining control of access - if for no other reason - safety. I certainly agree that if you make a hit - that's your moose, whether you recover it or not (and there are very few exceptions why you couldn't ... there is plently of help to track/locate the animals available). I am opposed to the "access fee" unless the monies were used to bring in/pay more COs. I would like (but have no idea how to approach it) bumping up the manpower of the "wildlife division" on the bases. And, finally, I (me, myself, Paul) would like to see half of the base tags be designated for "youth".

  3. #3

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    Better maps would be nice.

    Adding the proficiency test back to the equation will be good and bad. You will weed out those who can't shoot, but you will also weed out almost all potential hunters from the bush.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kusko View Post
    Better maps would be nice.

    Adding the proficiency test back to the equation will be good and bad. You will weed out those who can't shoot, but you will also weed out almost all potential hunters from the bush.
    How so Kusko?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    My thought on the certification shoot is that the F&G's shoot needs to be harder. If the standard was 7 out of 8 shots instead of 5 out of 8, then we wouldn't need the bases to do another shoot to weed out those that shouldn't be there. As it stands now, F&G is sending the message that you only need to make slightly more than 50% of your shots from inside 30 yards to be a proficient bowhunter. That is a sadly low standard.

    As for keeping some people out of the woods, the idea is that this would keep those out that aren't good enough shots to consistently make a killing shot. That is a good thing, in my opinion. As an added benefit, it would encourage people to practice and develop better shooting skills. In the end, it would be a net benefit for hunters in general. More accurate hunters leads to fewer wounded animals. This would give us both more meat on the table and a better public perception. Nothing will shut down hunting around the bases faster than a few moose wandering around with arrows sticking out of them. If the cost of a cleaner hunt is keeping some hunters out that don't have the skills to cleanly kill an animal with a bow, then that is a price worth paying.

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    Default proficiency

    Well Brian, that could open a whole can of worms. If changes were made to F&G's proficiency shooting, then I would make the following recommendations.
    1. You have to sign an affadavit that the bow you are using is your own. I have seen many people borrow their buddy's bow that has sights, release, etc. just to take the test and pass. Then they use something else when they go hunting.
    2. All people with sights and releases should have to qualify at 70 yards since many of them shoot at distances that far
    3. People without sights and releases should qualify at no farther than 20 yards - they rarely shoot at anything farther than that anyway.
    Then what do you do with the people who shoot a lot just to pass the test and then do not shoot at all until they go hunting?
    Just my two cents input.

  7. #7

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    Still looking for some feedback from those hunters that drew and hunted this year, this inlcudes the muzzloader hunters too.

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    Default Ft Rich

    I can't comment on this year, but I drew that tag in 2003 (the winter hunt) and it was the exact same situation then - ie, areas being closed with people all over in the closed areas hiking, dog sledding, etc. I got lucky and shot a bull the day after Christmas but I hunted 11 days straight. I'd like to know who makes the call on the closed units....at that time I had found 11 bulls that were wintering together in an area that was only open on the weekend - it wasn't even open on Christmas Eve and Christmas day and there was not a single sole on the back side of base other than the moose hunters.

    I've heard the fee was institued by a former base commander and it was just never taken away after he left....not sure if that is true...can anyone comment on the fee? The maps sucked back in 03 too....especially in the winter when 75% of all the roads on base were not plowed.

  9. #9

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    I bet the reasoning for it not being open Christmas eve and Christmas day is so the enforcement officers could spend time with their families. I was told by one hunter that is retired Army that 1 guy (non-hunter civilian) makes the call on opening or closing the TA's. He told me that he would close an area if 1 person had to go out there to do something for the Army, even if it was for just a few minutes. We lost practically the whole last week of September for hunting south post, which was the prime time for hunting bulls during the rut. The fee IMO is unfair and shouldn't be charged and if they want to charge us then they should charge ALL of those that use Ft Rich for recreational purposes.

  10. #10

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    It weeds out hunters from the bush because the qualifying takes place at a different time than the actual hunt. Too expensive to fly in just to shoot. If you could fly in, qualify and then hunt, that would be great.

  11. #11

    Default Had a 2006 Fort Rich permit

    I did go through the extra qualification required by Fort Rich in 2006 and it was very well run and worth the extra effort in my opinion. Too bad they did away with it.

    It makes no sense at all to me that the Military needs another $125 per hunter to allow that hunt to take place. Their budget is huge and that money is a drop in the bucket compared to their other programs. I would guess they spend a ton more money managing the other users than they do moose hunter. They only charge moose hunters because it is a State sanctioned hunt and because people want to hunt moose and so they can get away with it.

    Dave Battle did a great job the year I had a permit but he can't do everything. They need to provide better maps and better support if they are going to charge an extra $125 access fee. That is almost like charging to hunt on private land when really that is Federal land.

    I totally understand your frustration and I will not apply for the bull permits in the future but I do still apply for the late season cow tags.

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    Default Here's my take...

    I was fortunate enough to draw a Ft Rich early archery permit this year. 1. A few times I would have days off and wanted to go to the "good spots" in south post, but was denied due to closures. That was a major bummer. To boot, most of the openings were in the 4-wheeler recreation areas. Not a whole lot of tracks or sign in there, I noticed.
    2. I have 2 great hunting spots in AK. Both places I know I can harvest nice bulls, but having paid $125 "conservation fee" which is titled, "access fee" in the AK regs, made me feel like I was devoted to Ft Rich hunting. I actually turned down chances to hunt elsewhere because I was invested in Ft Rich. That may have been dumb on my part, but resources are limited. Are there other areas in AK where an access fee is paid after drawing? Ft Rich is not private land, it's federal land.
    3. As for making it a kid draw; it's not an easy hunt, like I perceived prior to hunting it. I don't know why kids would be better off hunting there. It's a hard enough draw already. Let's give kids special permits to hunt early (before school starts -- early August); that would benefit.
    4. I think a proficiency shoot is fine, but only if using your broadheads. I'd like to see AK institute their archery certification with fixed blades. Any opposed? I spoke with Officer Deitz (Ft Rich wildlife officer) and he said that next year, a proficiency test (with blades) will definitly be implemented. In addition, hunters will have to use the same arrows, and if making a change, or adding arrows, they will have to call in and give a description of their new arrows (micro-management is frequently the military way). And while we're at it, why not make 50 yards a qualifying shot for compound/sight shooters. I think we can all agree that that is a reasonable shot in AK if experience, circumstances, and abilities permit. (I know this may ruffle some feathers).
    5. The stats given in the pre-hunt brief were somewhat misleading, because they were total moose and bull counts from both Elmendorf and Ft Rich, and they were all areas, not just open huntable areas.
    6. I had great service when Officer Deitz and other program managers were needed. As far as I'm concerned, they do a fantastic bang-up job and have little control on hunting conditions.
    7. With the difficulties involved, I'd still apply for another Ft Rich, Elmendorf tag. To hunt so close to home was my advantage. I could be in the woods in a matter of minutes (after painfully signing in to USARTRAK, of course).
    8. Yes, the base maps were cruddy.
    9. I got my bull, so I don't know what I'm whining about, but my opinion was asked.

  13. #13
    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Default Wouldn't be the only time that is done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kusko View Post
    It weeds out hunters from the bush because the qualifying takes place at a different time than the actual hunt. Too expensive to fly in just to shoot. If you could fly in, qualify and then hunt, that would be great.
    You mean like RM880 ???

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    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I bet the reasoning for it not being open Christmas eve and Christmas day is so the enforcement officers could spend time with their families. I was told by one hunter that is retired Army that 1 guy (non-hunter civilian) makes the call on opening or closing the TA's. He told me that he would close an area if 1 person had to go out there to do something for the Army, even if it was for just a few minutes. We lost practically the whole last week of September for hunting south post, which was the prime time for hunting bulls during the rut. The fee IMO is unfair and shouldn't be charged and if they want to charge us then they should charge ALL of those that use Ft Rich for recreational purposes.

    The hunt was still open those days, I hunted both days, but the units that were open on the weekend were still not open those days and there was NOBODY on base other than the moose hunters. I was out there both days...never saw a single Army personnel driving any of the back roads. I guess I was so torked about it at the time because there was a bull I had my eye on that I found bedded 50 yards off the road in that "closed" unit. Since there wasn't a sole on base I got out of my truck just to get a picture of this bull and got to within 20 yards of him and took some incredible photos....no doubt that bull would have been a gonner if the unit was "open". Yes, I stepped into the closed unit....don't fry me.
    The good thing about that bull....my partner killed him the following Sunday when the unit was "open" again. 48" bull with 2 split fork brow tines on the left, 1 split fork on the right, with one of those racks that goes up like a basket instead of out - he was just a unique looking bull I had a lot of history with from my scouting out there.

    It is still a great opportunity to hunt moose, just frustrating at times - I had a lot of fun out there and met some great people while hunting.

  15. #15
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default Pre-hunt Archery Cert

    I shoot a compound bow.
    I have not taken a shot at an animal over 40 yards.
    Someone posted that I should be able to shoot to 50 yards.

    My son shoots a compound bow.
    He won't shoot at an animal over 35 yards.
    When he went to his certification class, that was his NUMBER one concern

    Dad, What if they ask me to shoot the target over 35 yards?
    I asked him what he would do if he was in the woods...
    Not shoot it, it's too far for me. Hopefully it will get closer
    He didn't have to exercise his voice of concern, he did real well, I was a proud papa.

    If the certification is brought back - I hope that the 'test' can be taken via any base conservation office, and it is good on all Federal Institutions for that season. Might help travelers with expenses.

    I am not a fan of the 'certification'. But I understand the need.
    Like so many aspects of our lives, we are controlled by the few.

    In this case, we are controlled by those who will not practice with their bow before a hunt.

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    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Default December 15th

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    Still looking for some feedback from those hunters that drew and hunted this year, this inlcudes the muzzloader hunters too.
    I will let you know next month, i drew the 427 and it starts on December 15th.

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    Default 07 and 06 hunts

    Ok, I drew the winter hunt in 07 and the early hunt in 08.
    Both hunts were NOT slam dunk. I got lucky on the 07 winter hunt, and got my cow near the parking area. Hunted 9 days I think.
    08 bull only, got my moose, a paddle bull, had to pack him 1.6 miles, had plenty of friends to help so it wasn't too bad. I got him within the last 2 weeks of a 2.5 month season, and I hunted hard, put lots of miles on these boots.

    I Agree with alot of the above. $125 fee, what for??? Get rid of it or make it for everyone. Either there wouldn't be a manning problem, or there would be enough money to hire more personel.
    Prof shoot. I am on the fence on this one. I heard alot about the wounded animals, that just plain sucks. That will ruin a hunt faster than anything else. Somebody has a signature of "you can't fix stupid" I think that applies here. I heard there were guys that could make great shots at 80 yrds at 3d targets, but were wounding moose. What were these guys thinking? I am sure they could do just fine at a prof shoot, but what really is going to happen in the woods? I'm not sure how to fix this. I'm sure a prof shoot would help, but I don't think it would totally fix the problem

    I agree TOTALLY. The maps were VERY vague. I was a little proactive on this part. If I was going to hunt an area and I wasn't completely sure of the boundary I would call Dave Battle and ask. He would do his best to describe the boundary markers. Dave battle is an OUTSTANDING individual. He goes way beyond any conservation officer I have ever seen, but he has limited resources also. I bet if we complain about the maps enough, he will fix it.

    I will admit, it is a little discouraging to get ready to hunt for the next day to wake up only to find the area closed, but it is our military training grounds, so I completely understand. But it is close to home for me, and I can be hunting in 20 mins from the house. Not quite as good as I had it in Maine when I was growing up, just out the back door. but heck this is pretty good
    just my thoughts

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    Default Reading betwee lines

    Well, we can tell winter is here already...

    STOGEY, You imply that I said you should be able to shoot out to 50 yards because you shoot a compound bow -- wrong. I said that most of us can agree that a 50 yard shot in AK (haul road caribou, etc) is reasonable under the right circumstances, experience and abilities. I mention this because the conservation officer at Ft Rich told me that most of the wounded bulls were due to long shots, shots that were perhaps too long. It might open some hunters eyes if they were on the 3D qualification range with bow in hand flinging broadheads at a target. I would venture to say that a lot of archers would be digging for their arrows in the bushes. It is one thing to shoot accurately at 50 yards with field points and a totally different experience putting blades on (if one's bow is not properly tuned). That's it. I'm not telling you how for you, your kid, or anyone else should be shooting.

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    I drew winter 06 and fall 07. I can understand the frustration at times also, however...I understand why they do things the way they do. The $125 access fee is to support the cost of manpower and resources used. Everyone who uses the area (skiers, small game hunters, etc) dont use as much resources as the moose hunters. Does someone have to have an MP or WCO check his rabbit kill? Is there someone on call 24/7 during the skiiing season? Last time I checked $125 gets me a little over a tank of gas, which gets me to a non-controlled (ie crowded) hunt area one time; or pay $125 and hunt a whole season 15-30 min from your home, in a controlled area. As far as the shoot, you do that when you get your state bowhunter card. That should be enough. Either you know your limitations/capabilities or you dont. 50 yard shots are not required. If you can harvest a moose at that distance, more power to you. As far as unit closures, I buy into the fact that military operations are more important than moose hunting. This hunt is all about timing. If you draw the fall tag, you either scout and get your bull early, or wait for the rut. If you draw the winter tag, get em early or wait for heavy snow to move them around.
    .02

  20. #20

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    Moose hunters are the only people they check. I've seen so many people that use Ft Rich lands that don't have the RAP yet we are the one's that have to foot the bill. Hikers use Ft Rich land year round, charge them, atv riders use it year round, charge them, small game hunters can use it year round, charge them, trappers use it in the winter time, charge them half price, I think you get my point. The Ft Rich conservation guys get paid year round for their job, so the $125 fee doesn't even come close to paying their salaries for the year. I think some of you are taking this as a whiner thread but that's not the case. I said it before but i'll say it again, I had a great time on this hunt and was able to spend more time outdoors than I normally do BUT, there can be improvements made to this hunt and I wanted to see what others had to say about it.

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