Duck hunting on the Copper River, near Glennallen
I will be moving to Glennallen in the near future and wanted to ask a few questions about duck hunting on the Copper river:
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
- Can you get around pretty well on the river with a 16' v hull w/ 35 hp. surface drive motor?
- Can you launch a boat on the river near Glennallen?
- Are there ducks on the river? Local hatch and late season migrators? (Mallards hopefully)
- Is it safe to walk with waders on the exposed flats?
- When does the channel usually freeze?
- Is there any significant hunting pressure on the river?
No personal experience so hopefully someone will chime in for you, but that is a fast nasty river. I wouldn't worry about hunting pressure. What the heck are you going to be doing in Glenallen?
I will be working for SEND international at the radio station.
My wife has a good friend that came up with a similar (maybe the same) program and worked in Nome at the radio station. She ended up marrying a guy from there and they now live in Anchorage. Originally she was from Ohio and the program was through the Jesuits.
You may want to post something over on the refuge forums in the Alaska section at duckhunter.net it is a little slow over there this time of year but maybe someone can help you out there as well.
With all the lakes and marshes in that area you will find few ducks on the river until the lakes freeze. Remember Alaska is one huge swamp with some mountains scattered across it. There are even swamps on the sides of some of these mountains. The rivers are just there to drain the swamps or allow the glaciers someplace to melt off to. Nothing like the "flat" lands of the mid west.
Most of the rivers in this area have pretty steep gradients and are not slow moving enough to promote waterfowl habitat. You could figure out how to hunt geese on the sandbars while they are on their way down the Copper to the delta. I don't know how many of the interior geese would take this route rather than up the Yukon and into the Central flyway. You might have a two week window of time when the geese are moving through in mid to late September. The one thing I learned last spring on the Gulf Coast was that the Canada geese fly at night more than during the day when they have no place to stop and eat. So with no good food sources along the river they could just haul butt through and you won't get much of a chance to shoot anything.
Freeze up happens anytime between late September and mid October. Makes for a very short season. To extend the season you can go south to Valdez and hunt there on the salt or take the ferry to Cordova and hunt the delta marshes until the end of the season. Ring King's posts on here (and elsewhere on the net) can show you the light on that situation.
Most of the hunting in that area is first sheep, then moose, and finally caribou. Ducks? You may raise a few eyebrows with that question. I do know that folks hunt out there, but it is usually while moose hunting as an afterthought.
You will be close to the refuge over near Tetlin. Awesome early season hunting.See the USFWS page for Tetlin refuge
Your boat will work well. Make sure to bring two spare props up with you since there are not too many shops set up to grind a MM style prop. There are lots of rocks in the rivers in that area. And a few logs.
You may also want to consider a small marsh boat for dragging into lakes that you can't get your boat up to due to there not being a road to it. Lots of ATV trails, but not many roads.
Bring up lots of your favorite waterfowl ammo since it may be hard to come by out there and if it is available it will require a second mortgage to buy it.
When the birds are flying don't wait for the greenheads to appear. You will starve to death since they aren't green until late October and by then the water is hard and they are in Canada eating grain or peas. From the opening until early October we shoot brown ducks of most species with some care to not hit anything too funny looking in case it is a canvas back. Still can only take one of those, but if you can't tell what it is on the wing then you are taking a chance.
If you are prone to wandering the land, get to know the land issues of Alaska so that you don't end up on Native land and in trouble. Things are starting to get heated in some areas these days, so do some research when you get there.
Thanks for the info. AK Ray. I called the Fish and Game people in Glennallen and got some of the same information you posted; much of the land along the Copper is private tribal property, stay off. I would have to stay on land exposed that is below the high water level mark, islands, sand bars, etc....They also said that the migration tends to divert around that part of the state for whatever reason (mountain ranges, river systems, ??) They said that very few folks hunt ducks in the Glennallen area with the exception of some local duck shooting on Lake Louise, Old Man Lake, and some of other lakes. It might be worth the trip for me to drive up to Delta Junction and hunt the Tanana as they said that this is a major migration route from the Yukon breeding areas southward. Cordova sounds like a good bet too based upon Ring Kings experiences right up to season closure. I also have an ATV w/trailer that has a overhead rack for my small 10' duck skiff. I use this set up to get back into the back country. Maybe this would be the way to go to hunt the mutitude of small water noth and west of town. I will investigate Tetlin on the web. Thanks again for your information.
Going to say
that the bird hunting isn't the best down in Glennallen. The Copper is a silt laden river. Be careful with the prop as there are places that are shallow and rocky. Lots of private land also. A drive up to Delta will get you into good bird hunting.