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Thread: Tetlin duck hunting

  1. #1

    Default Tetlin duck hunting

    Has anyone out there done any duck hunting in the Tetlin refuge?
    I have never been there before, but after doing some internet investigating, have made a few observations and have some questions:

    1. Motor boat access seems very limited and looks as though there are only two launches: one on the Tanana east of Tok and the other by Northway Junction.
    2. Most of the land along the river system appears to be native properties and no trespassing; public land begins south of the east / west line south of Deadman lake. This public land is many miles down river from Northway junction; land north of this boat launch is native with just a few small public tracts several miles to the north of the Tanana river splitting. Am I accurate with the public vs. native property assessment?
    3. I have questions on river boat travel; is an outboard adequate or does one need a surface drive or jet to get around south of Northway.
    4. Hunting pressure significant? are other folks setting up moose camps on the river while others maybe hunting ducks? Do some camps lay claim to certain areas and take unkindly to others being in "their area"?
    5. Are camp sites safe from theft and vandalism while you have gone hunting nearby? Bears a problem?

    Any feedback from you all would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Done the trip several times have always put the boat in at Scoty creek Ive seen natives take river boats down but I have always done it with a surface drive because of weeds. No duck hunting presure to speak of never seen anyone else beside people in are party. Most have the time have to do the trip within the first 2-3 weeks or it will be froze.

  3. #3

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    Skybust, I looked at Scottie Creek on some arial photographs. Can you get down the river in a 16 foot aluminum v-hull with a surface drive motor? Is there a boat launch by the highway or did you carry the boat off the trailer to the water? Looks like their are some downed trees across the river in several places but looks like it might be passable with a medium sized boat. Did you have to portage or carrry your boat over windfalls, beaver dams, etc..? It is over 50 some miles up the river from Northway to get in from the other side. Thanks for your info.

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    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Wis Hunter you can make it in the boat your talking about. There is a lodge on the right cant think of the name but we launch the boat form there you drive right to it. There have been times when we had to cut downed tree across the creek so bring a chainsaw and yes there is alway one or two beaver dams but we always just go over them.

  5. #5

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    Do you see alot of birds back there? What do you see the most: puddle ducks or divers. Looks like there are some large bodies of water with islands and points that would be good for bluebills and ringneck ducks; and also little marshes that might be better for mallards, widgeon, teal, etc... I thought I would bring a fishing pole along and try to fish for Northern pike on some of the bigger lakes.

  6. #6
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    There are alot of birds puddler and divers the nice thing is not that many people. Never did any fishing but there has to be pike fishing to be had. We have always gotten alot of birds most day you can limit out as long as your not picky on what type of bird you want but even then if you work at it I think you could still get your limit.

  7. #7

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    Skybust, a couple more questions; do you hunt the big water areas usually or the smaller stuff. Maybe you hunt both depending on what you see when you get in there. Do you use alot of decoys, or find that a smaller spread pulls the birds just fine with the lack of hunting pressure. I have 2 dozen GH super mag mallard decoys that I use for this remote stuff; they are really big and can be seen from a long ways out. I could see how going in with less gear would keep your boat lite and make it easier to go over the beaver dams and other obstacles. For me to justify the time and gas to get in there (driving over from Glennallen), I would probably camp out a few nights back in the bush; so I would have to bring in a fair amount of gear even with using fewer decoys. Thanks again for your feedback.

  8. #8
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    wis hunter
    You must work nights like me I live in Wasilla when we go we camp for a week. Two dozen decs is more than enough. I do alot of hunting on side slougs. When we go there are any where for 3 to 4 boats in our party. The water for the most part is deep. When I first starting going to tetlin durning duck season moose season was also open and it was any bul back then but that was years ago.

  9. #9

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    How do you keep your food from spoiling when you stay out for a week; or is it cool enough in September that there aren't any problems with that? 10 ducks a day can add up pretty quickly and its hard to just keep eating birds everyday to keep room for the possession limit. I am in Wisconsin right now working at a dairy; we are three hours ahead of your current time. We make cream cheese at this plant so I am a Wisconsin cheese head literally. I won't be in Glennallen for some time yet but I gotta plan ahead for the ducks you know. I can't bring all my stuff up there when we move so I have to know what will be necessary and what won't. We will drive up there (3600 miles) with a rental truck and there is only is so much room. My wife won't leave the sofa behind so I can bring an extra skiff; stuff like that. I have a shed full of duck and goose gear but only have a 16' boat of space to haul what I can to AK. Thats why I am asking so many questions as it took me years to accumulate all this hunting gear (lots of arguements with the wife on the $$$) and now I have to leave most of it behind. I just want to make sure I bring up what will be useful to hunting in my area of the state. I have sold two duck boats in the last year and feel really bad about that.

  10. #10
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Ya that suck having to sell duck hunting stuff. We keep our food in a cooler and dont have any problems. When when we go in for a week we go in two days before the season starts to get a good camp set up and see where we want to hunt so we realy only hunt three days. What are you going to be doing in Glenallen? Chris

  11. #11

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    I will be working for the radio station (SEND international). I quess most people would call us soon to be missionaries. We have two sons 8 and 13yrs old. Looks like Glennallen is a nice town but has some challenges too. I like the woods and should feel at home with that aspect. I cut alot a fire wood and play outdoors alot; 4 wheelers, camping, hunting, fishing, etc... two snow machines are on my wish list for getting thru the long winters up there. My favorite thing is duck hunting though, and I have hunted ducks since I was 12. Wisconsin duck hunting has really gone down hill ovder the last decade or so with the decline of the Bluebill population. I hunt North and South Dakota alot and shoot most of my birds out there now. We do alot of field huinting but I also am set up for big deep water diver hunting w/layout boats (Lake Michigan) and also hunt the Mississipi River. I think Alaska can be better than what I am use too in a big way, especially if you find the right places to go; 10 ducks a day in AK vs. 5 down here is a pretty big perk. I am use to serious hunting pressure and heavy competetion for limited amounts of birds.

    What do you do up there in Wasilla? Where you born and raised in AK?

    I just saw something on the map of Tetlin showing a gravel road heading west in to Desper Creek just north of Scottie creek a few miles, this road is also north of the refuge center; driving in there would be much closer to the pothole system vs. coming off the highway. Is that private or can a person launch there too? Bill

  12. #12
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Bill dont know about the road. The duck hunting up here can be good at times but nothing like ND my brother lives in Minot and I try to make a trip down that way every three years. Im a police officer for the city of Wasilla I came up to Alaska because my father was in the Army. That was in 78 the only time Ive been out was when I was in the Air Force. The season up her is short most years ends by 1st week in October but where your at even sooner because its gets colder sooner. Chris

  13. #13

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    Chris, I have heard that things freeze up real quick around the interior. After October, I will probably take my boat down to the coast by Valdez and travel over to Cordova. Sounds like they can hunt to the end of the season and have lots of birds around. I could use my Lake Michigan equipment out on the salt flats at the mouth of the Copper river.
    Lots of my buddies are cops; City of Milwaukee and Green Bay. Living were you do, isn't it a long drive over to Tok to hunt ducks? The Cook inlet must hold some birds or is that hit pretty hard by the metro population. I know some folks in Nenena and the Minto Flats is down the river from there; looks like a nice area too.

  14. #14

    Default Gravel road

    There isn't a gravel road leading in the refuge near the border. Hit it early as the ducks there are local ducks. Water the past few years (except this past) has been extremely low. Sometimes freezes up by end of Sept. Lots of weeds, etc.

    Wisconsin, not sure if your boat is going to get you from Valdez to Cordova during October. That is some NASTY water that time of year or can be.

  15. #15
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wisconsin hunter View Post
    Chris, I have heard that things freeze up real quick around the interior. After October, I will probably take my boat down to the coast by Valdez and travel over to Cordova. Sounds like they can hunt to the end of the season and have lots of birds around. I could use my Lake Michigan equipment out on the salt flats at the mouth of the Copper river.
    Lots of my buddies are cops; City of Milwaukee and Green Bay. Living were you do, isn't it a long drive over to Tok to hunt ducks? The Cook inlet must hold some birds or is that hit pretty hard by the metro population. I know some folks in Nenena and the Minto Flats is down the river from there; looks like a nice area too.
    WH, to take your boat to Cordova I would take the state ferry. They loose 25 to 30 foot set net boats all the time in those waters, a 16 foot open skiff is just asking for it. There are some small stream and river outlets in the Valdez area that you can get to for Bluebills and seaducks if you don't want to ferry over to Cordova. When in Cordova you would go down the Eyak and not the Copper. The main refuge area is between the two rivers with a couple of sloughs running around out there along with the pond water spots. The mouth of the Copper is another boat killer and the ducks are not there anyway.

    In Cook Inlet there are some spots near town, but there are even more spots well away from town that are typically reached by float plane. One huge swamp really.

  16. #16

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    Thanks for the info guys. I would use the ferry to go to Cordova and not attempt to take my boat over via the water. I am not ready to die yet, at least not intentionally. I can see the headlines now, "crazy duck hunter swamps boat in Prince William Sound and is used by Orca family to train their young to kill." Are there any decent spots on the salt water nearby Valdez were you could get into some Mallards with-in boating range of the launch? I love hunting Bluebills but Mallards are at the top of my list.

    I have a question for Northway about Tetlin. Is the hunting south of Northway Junction bridge in the Ten Mile hill area decent; I know you have to go aways before you get to state land. The Chesina river looks like a good boat route and there are quite a few nice marshy lakes just off the river. The refuge manager told me that, over all, there is very lite hunting pressure for ducks with the most activity is during the first week of the season. Maybe the hunting off the main river and pulling a skiff into one of the many lakes would be equal quality duck hunting as compared to hunting farther south by Scottie creek. What do you think about these two options?

  17. #17

    Default Lots of lakes

    Ten mile hill has lots of private land. There are lakes all over both sides of the river. Lots of private land near Northway also. Make sure you are in the right place.

  18. #18
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    Good lord you ask alot of questions....

    You should be asking a heckuva lot more questions of the area you will be living in the remaining 11.5 months of the year that you wont be duck hunting - becuase after the 1st all the local birds BOLT south, and then you have to hit the migration just right for some spectacular shooting for about a week in late sept - cuz then old man winter will drop right in and remind you how unforgiving this place can be....especially when you are going to be living in Glenallen

    Good luck and have an open mind

    Oh yea - and in case noone has told you yet....all our ducks up here are brown

    and Northway is right about Tetlin area - know where you are at when hunting.

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