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Thread: Caribou hunting advice;Information

  1. #1
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    Question Caribou hunting advice;Information

    I as well as three of my hunting friends are planning to come and hunt caribou in Alaska.We are all accomplished hunters and are confident in what we are doing....Bow hunters
    However we do not know which air service has a good reputation.We plan to do a drop camp....we have heard horror stories of guys being dropped for ten days and never seeing a caribou.In fact Ive read the topics on here and it seems like a crap shoot.
    We are all hard working guys that have to save for several years for this hunt.You know the story guys. Kids,jobs and house payments.You will find no silver spoons here.
    We want to hunt a well established herd that has a good population;we are told some herds are in trouble so we do not want to contribute to that.Even though we do not live in Alaska,we still want to do our part in wildlife conservation and not put pressure on all ready pressured game.
    So if anyone can give us some advice we will certainly take it and be grateful.

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    The Western Arctic Caribou Herd in unit 23 is doing OK...

    You can book outta Kotzebue with NorthWesternaviation, or Arctic Air Guides, or Mavrick.....but in reality, you can go alotta places, and get a Caribou.

    Big State, lotta Caribou.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Member akndnlawyer's Avatar
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    I just did an extensive review for a couple pals who want to do the same. They were interested in the Mulchatna herd in south western Alaska out of Dillingham, Illiamna or King Salmon. My research showed to avoid that region in the south west to Bethel at all costs. The herd numbers just aren't there. In fact, being a resident and an avid hunter--I don't intend to hunt caribou for at least three years. The one area of the state that does seem to hold promise--albiet a bit more expensive is the Kobuk park region of the western arctic herd out of Kotzebue. I'd do some forum searches for a Kotzebue area hunt. There are plenty of outfitters/charter pilots that serve that country that have been in business for a while which would give one some confidence I would think. Best of luck and spend some time reviewing the forum discussions on gear and planning.

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    Default when?

    are you looking for a hunt this fall?? If so your gonna be hard pressed getting an transporter who is still open...

    I think Kotz is all but full for this fall... they limited the number of hunters allowed in the park and folks have pretty well tapped that out for this year... check with Jim Kincaid at Northwestern aviation... if he has any spots open, book it right then and there...

    the other good option for fall caribou is the 40 mile herd with 40 mile air... they usually are booked by Feb as well but you can give them a try...

    Dirk with Coyote air out of coldfoot is mostly booked but you can try him for a brooks range hunt...

    otherwise try Deltana outfitters for a supercub drop hunt on the slope... good luck..

    Greg

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    I have hunted caribou with a couple air transporters. I used 40 mile air and hunted the 40 mile herd. They do drop camps and I highly recommend them. Used them 2 years ago and have a hunt booked for 2009. Last year I hunted the North Slope, the transporter I used is not flying this year. However, my friend used Coyote Air out of cold foot and they have a good reputation.
    http://www.flycoyote.com/
    These are North Slope Caribou


    40 mile Bull


    http://www.fortymileair.com/

    Both of these can by reached by flying into fairbanks and driving to either Coldfoot for Coyote or to Tok to fly with 40 mile. 40 mile will even pick you up in Fairbanks. I'm sure they charge for it, but would be cheaper than renting a car to let sit in a lot while your hunting. They have a walk in cooler and bunk house as well.

    Both book early and may be too late for 2009. I have never hunted caribou out of Kotz but that may be a good hunt as well. Walt from
    http://www.northwestalaska.com/ is a member on this forum and has a very good reputation.

    Good Luck

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

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    The Mulchatna herd has crashed over the last 5 or 6 years and numbers are low but still huntable if you go with the right people. The Western Arctic herd, as mentioned above is very healthy and the numbers are good. If tyhis is a once in a life effort, then you want to go up there. If you go over to the www.pristineventures.com the air service reviews are a little more, complete, I guess is the word. Also get Larry's book about caribou hunting, it lists the herds and air services that fly in those areas. Walt, as mentioned above has extremely good information about Kotzebue. I second 40 mile air, they have a great reputation and know where the caribou are in that herd. But whatever you do, if its for 09, you better hurry.

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    Default Thank you guys;Stll looking, Im making calls to all.

    Well Im calling franticlly to get this together.I appreciate the response.
    We are told that there are air taxis that charge by the hour for flight time.Not by the type of animal you are hunting????
    Also I spoke to a service that recomended me to look for the services that didnt charge for each animal taken out but by wieght?I guess I hadnt thought about that.
    The example I was given was you could go in with so much wieght per person food and gear.You could come out with same.You take away the wieght of the food in you could replace with meat and so fourth coming out.
    Ive done other hunts,I know how important the right people and the right planning can be.
    Thanks Ill look foreward to your opinions.

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    Default Mavrick.....

    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    The Western Arctic Caribou Herd in unit 23 is doing OK...

    You can book outta Kotzebue with NorthWesternaviation, or Arctic Air Guides, or Mavrick.....but in reality, you can go alotta places, and get a Caribou.

    Big State, lotta Caribou.


    Mavrick.....Lost their FAA and Park service 4 years ago so that will not work. Also If you are planning a 09 hunt I will be very surprised if you can find a flight service that has any spots left as this is very late.

    Drop me a e-mail and lets talk and I will try to point you in the right direction.

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Kotz
    www.northwestalaska.com

  9. #9
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default or...

    Or call Coyote Air in Coldfoot and hunt unit 26.
    Dennis

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    There are two ways flight services charge, in my experience. The first is a package deal for the hunt. It is usually per person and has a weight limit, such as 90 pounds. Included in that cost is the flight out with the animals. Exactly what that is is something you need to find out. As an example, we went moose hunting, the fly out cost included 100 pounds per person going in and everything coming out including a moose each. While hunting the Mulchatna herd a few years ago, before the limit was changed, it included two caribou per person, a bear hide was free. Extra caribou may cost extra. Now the second is by the hour and includes the total aircraft. They will charge a set price by the hour (going in and out so its two round trips) and includes the total capacity of the aircraft. If two people are going in, you might book a 206 (800 pounds) going in with you and the gear and a Beaver, which has a much larger capacity (1250 pounds), to bring you and the meat out. Make sure you understand what is included before you book.

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    Default Another option

    If its too late to book with a transporter, there is the option of renting a vehicle in Fairbanks and driving up to the north slope and hunt the Central Arctic herd. There's a few rental agencies in Fairbanks that allow their vehicles to be taken on gravel roads. It can be a zoo up there at times as discussed in several previous threads but with a little insight and patience, you can have a great hunt in a great area.

    PM me if you need any further info there.

    Blair

  12. #12
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Feast or Famine

    I suppose you already know this but caribou hunting is pretty much feast or famine. You either see 100s, 1000s, or none. I've seen both. Better to wait until 2010 than to hunt 2009 with someone who will drop you for an expensive camping trip. I don't know anything about current transporters.

  13. #13
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    Is there a site that gives daily location of the various herds in Alaska and there direction of movement. Just wondering if it's possible to track their migration and plan to camp ahead of the herd.

    If anyone has a link please post it so I can take a look, thanks.

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    Here's the link for the collared caribou: http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=game.wah

    That being said, I don't think it'll do you that much good since the WACH is the only one with collared animals at the moment. The best was if the knowledge of the air services. They should know where the animals are moving and be able to drop you off. Good luck!

  15. #15
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information. Just trying to save a little time on a meat hunt.

  16. #16
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    The WACH herd will be on the North slope in August, and streaming southward in September. They head south across the Noatak and Kobuk River basins, and around Selawiks east side, if not straight across any ice.They move as a mile after mile long swath made of of small herds to large groups, following scent trails, making "roads'.....It takes quite awhile to get them back where they are now on the Northern Seward Pennensula, where they have winter'd in large #s for the last 15 or so years.
    That can all change with a good blow. They put their noses in the wind and follow their nose to fresh feed.
    The only time the really "Move!" with certainty is after freezeup, when the land is solid and right before breakup, heading North to calve.
    They do walk along and eat to keep fed and warm in the winter.
    Like Phil say, sometimes 1,000's, sometimes none.

    At 1:10 Caribou are not where they were at 1:00
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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