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Thread: Kotzebue caribou air taxi

  1. #1
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    Default Kotzebue caribou air taxi

    looking at hunting out of Kotzebue in 2007 I have looked at many air taxi's such as Northern air trophy, Ram Air, Maverick air, Arctic Circle air. Are there any others up there, and any comments on the ones I have listed. Any help would be appriciated. When is the best time to go to get hard horned bou with no velvet.

    Randy

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    Default

    check out the link below for our hunt story and some reviews people have wrote on most of them.

  3. #3
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I would look at hunting out of Bettles and being dropped in unit 26, on the north slope.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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    Default Agree

    I totally agree with martentrapper, I'm going to be hunting out of Happy Valley, Only problem I see is it is a very fragile system with not near the numbers of Caribou. I think it is a great hunting location, but care needs to be taken, not to shoot out the herd bulls like the mulchatna herd. The biggest advantage to residents is the cost, charter a flight, throw the stuff in your truck and drive home, then replace a windshield. And I think the trophy potential is higher and people seem to be alot friendlier.

    Terry

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    Member Jason in Anchorage's Avatar
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    Default air charters

    You guys recommend any particular charters for the unit 26 bou hunt?
    Psalm 18:34
    He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

  6. #6
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    That's not what I was taslking about, Terry, but it would still be a decent idea.
    I don't know who works out of Happy Valley, maybe Terry can recommend someone. I think there is a biz called Coyote Air who flies out of coldfoot maybe.
    My suggestion is to contact transporters in Bettles, Brooks Range Aviation is one, and I think Bettles Lodge is another. Ask them about a drop or float in unit 26. There are several rivers, creeks that should be useable. A unit 26 hunt in late aug or early sept will put you closer to larger numbers of bou, PROBABLY, considering migration trends of the last several years. The colville river offers possibilities for a drop or float out of Bettles. This may very well be a more expensive trip, but IMO it will offer a greater chance of success. Don't take my word for it tho............ask the F&G bio in Kotz.
    If your convinced that Kotz and unit 23 are the way to go, I would suggest finding a transporter that will take you as far north in unit 23 as possible. Howard Pass at the extreme edge of 23/26 is a commen migration point for bou in that area.
    Your transporter ultimately will determine a safe place to drop you, but work with him/them to find places that will offer a good chance of success. Unless things change unexpectedly, trying to hunt a place like the Squirrel R. will not likely be successful.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    If you're set on basing out of OTZ, try Eric Sieh at Hageland Aviation. I used him for 2 of 3 trips up there over the last few years. Can't say enough good things about the guy. Warning. Book early. ie November

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    Default Thanks for the info

    I have read a lot of the posts about Kotzebue, Is it really crowded up there, or is it problems getting the meat back, or the locals? Is there any place to have meat frozen in Kotz? I would really like to go after hard horned bou with polished horns. Where is my best bet?

    Randy

  9. #9

    Default Kotz

    Kotz is a different place.

    Eric Sieh is a good one. He's a friend of mine. An awesome pilot and a good hunter.

    I help out Mavrik Aire from time to time up there. Craig is an unreal pilot, one of the best in Alaska. He really knows the area.


    If anyone needs some help on going up to Kotz, let me know. I know the whole routine inside and out, and also help do bookings up there. It can be a logistic nightmare. It does get a bit crowded at times, but not to a great extent. And there's animals all over the place, great caribou heards, and the trophy moose up there is unbelievable. The number of huge 60' + moose up there is unreal. I will personally be hunting big moose up there next year.
    Marc Theiler

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    Quote Originally Posted by primitive View Post
    I have read a lot of the posts about Kotzebue, Is it really crowded up there, or is it problems getting the meat back, or the locals? Is there any place to have meat frozen in Kotz? I would really like to go after hard horned bou with polished horns. Where is my best bet?

    Randy
    When I was leaving Kotzebue this year, I bumped into four gys who were from Cabelas. they were chrcking out an outfitter and were videotaping their hunt. We're not talking about some little camcorder either.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by primitive View Post
    I have read a lot of the posts about Kotzebue, Is it really crowded up there, or is it problems getting the meat back, or the locals? Is there any place to have meat frozen in Kotz? I would really like to go after hard horned bou with polished horns. Where is my best bet?

    Randy

    Is it really crowded?

    Answer: There are definately quite a few hunters that fly into unit 23, but unit 23 is a huge hunting grounds. These transporters know each other very well and know basically where each other is dropping people off. I've only heard of a few compliants of seeing other hunters. Most of the time you will never run into anyone.

    The biggest issue I've seen with hunters coming up to Kotz is that they aren't prepared for an authentic backcountry arctic tundra hunting trip. This isn't pulling up to the trusty ole Michigan deep camp and walking 500 yards on even ground to the deer stand.
    Out in the tundra you will never walk two steps over the same even ground and you WILL have to walk and go after game. The odds are you will be in a traffic area and will see lots of caribou, it's up to you the hunter to get out of camp and really work for these animals. Any hunter worth their salt will attest to this. That is what makes this trip so worthwhile and exciting. It is very authentic and quite the hunting experience.

    The other question: What to do with the meat? You will be able to donate the meat to the locals if you wish. Most people keep the backstraps and the best parts of the animals and then donate the rest to the natives. There are always people looking for meat and your transporter should have numbers of people to call to pickup donated meat. Good luck finding a meat freezer in Kotz, there are none.
    You will have to keep in mind as well that shipping antlers back to the lower 48 isn't cheap either.

    Depending on when you go, earlier Sept. or late Sept. you can see caribou in velvet in earlier Sept. and you will get the nice "polished" horns from mid to late Sept.


    Ok, enough time to catch some steelhead.
    Marc Theiler

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    Default Dont forget

    The Chance of rutty meat increase as Sept drags on. Also average high temp is 46.6 and 29.4 degrees at night. Alot of the good outfitters are upfront about meat donation. Most people expect to take all the good cuts and leave the front quarters, next and burger meat. A good outfitter will convince a person to leave a mix of meat, it will be excepted alot easier. One of the big problems I had last time was getting the little propane bottles and a room in Kotz when we came out of the field early. Good luck and try to have everything worked out in writing before you go or you will pay alot more than expected. As far as getting racks back it is expensive, like $700 for a moose rack.

    Terry

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    Default racks???

    What is the expensive part? My hunt in the mulchatna herd only cost me 36 bucks for 2 racks (1 med 1 large) of course that was only to anchorage, but still it can't possibly be that much more to get them back to the 48 is it?
    Randy,
    I recommend no matter where you go to have your trophy mounted in AK by a professional that has done many many caribou/moose or whatever you are hunting. They ahve experience in making them look right. I've seen a few caribou in the lower 48 that looked quite a bit like mule deer

    The whole thing about just taking the choice cuts seems a little odd to me. Are these guys just going for a trophy then because the choice cuts only amount to a very small amount of meat. I know it's expensive to get back home, but that's something that needs to be considered before you hunt.
    BTW my flight this year with PenAir to ANC was awesome I had 3 fish boxes (2 full of meat) all three weighed a total of 300 lbs (the other one had the hides in it) and they didn't charge me a penny extra for all the extra baggage. And while you can't count on always having luck like that I just thought i'd pass it along. it should have been an extra 50 bucks per box to get back to ANC. Not to mention the boxes weren't supposed to weigh over 100 pounds and two of the 3 did (134 & 113).

    Randy I hope you find a decent setup. I have some stories I've saved from different users on here and other boards that used different charters out of Kotz this year some good some bad if you would like to read them.
    Good luck,
    Justin
    Justin

  14. #14
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Here's a link to a kotz bou hunting story from just this year:

    http://www.pristineventures.com/cgi/...s,m=1131083308
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  15. #15
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    Default Expensive

    You save alot of money if you live in anchorage of fairbanks. You can ship racks and meat to anchorage cheap by shipping them cargo. But you need to be there when they come in. It only cost 20 or 30 cents a pound. The problem is you cant ship them as excess baggage and if you dont have someone to split the racks and send them from anchorage they charge like $700 to ship them through one of the expeditors, since 911. I split and sent 3 caribou racks to lower 48 for about $150. As far as excess baggage, most the time I think it depends on the representative at the counter. Sometimes they charge you for everyone, sometimes they will let one slide and i've even seen when would not except any because of the heavy loads. I don't travel as much as some, but make at least 2 trips a year over the last 10. A couple weeks ago, I was in King Salmon doing some bush flying and I could not beleave the cost. I even though about being a known shipper and starting my own expeditor service.

    Terry

  16. #16

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    Terry, i have to ship a set of moose antlers to Georgia, who shipped those caribou antlers for you?

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    Default Shipping

    If you dont mind spliting the antlers (first call your taxidermist), measure the width X height X Lentgh and if it is under 108 its real cheap like a dollar a pound, if its under 130 inches the U.S. Post Office will except it. I think it was like $150 if you can get it under the 130 inches. Sometime you have to send each half seperate. I lay them on the cardboard and measure before I cut anything. One time I shipped one big, one med, and one small rack for 148 dollars. If its a monster check with fed ex or UPS, which will cost cause they only ship air.

    Terry

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    Member Adventures's Avatar
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    Default Terry

    Terry,
    Unless your animal is a record why would you mind splitting the racks?
    It is required if you are in a smaller aircraft unless the pilot or you thinks it may be a trophy then they can attach it to the wings. The taxidermist expects to see split racks when you bring them in it isn't a big deal. You should have a bone saw with you in the field to take care of this yourself.
    Justin
    Justin

  19. #19
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    georgia,
    you might try land air cargo out of ANC for your lower 48 needs. I used a company called alaska direct a few years back to ship my dirt bike down to MN and it cost me $300 pretty cheap for crating and bike that weighs 260 lbs plus the size. I don't know if hey go to georgia though.
    Justin
    Justin

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I flew with Mavril Aire in 99 and had a great time there. They treated us great.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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