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Thread: First timer

  1. #1
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    Default First timer

    I have been reading and following alot of suggestions and comments on gear here. I will be coming up in Sept for a hunt. My friend moved up about 10 months ago. Just Georgia boys looking for a caribou or moose. So we have been spending most of the $$$ on good quality gear. I have done many searches and have found a ton of info. But here is the question. On a first hunt (unguided) what would be our best bet. We were thinking a float trip. We also looked at a fly in to one of the state cabins. We also saw a fly in for $500 for moose/bear. We have both hunted alot and have been on the water (but not in Alaska). I think this is our biggest decision to make. I personally don't expect to take a record boof animal or even harvest one for that matter. This will be a learning experience and (gear gather) for future hunts. I kill will be a bonus. Any suggestions? He lives in Anchorage.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I would recommend a fly-out drop hunt for caribou or a road system black bear hunt for your first time. Moose is a possibility, but finding a legal moose is more challenging and once on the ground, properly caring for a moose can be difficult at best, miserable at worst. Caribou and black bear and both plentiful, easier to care for as they are a more managable size, and lack the legal size limitations that can make moose hunting difficult for first-timers.

    As for a particular plan, you can find a lot of info here about hunting bears on the road system and about flying out of particular areas such as Bettles or Kotzebue. A word of warning, though. Most reputable flying services are likely booked solid or close to it for this coming fall. Many hunters book such trips a year ahead of time, so if you want to fly out you are starting late in the game and may have a hard time getting something booked.

    Alternatively, you may want to consider talking with a professional hunt planner. Our own Michael Strahan offers hunt planning services through his Lost Creek Company. If you want to avoid the pitfalls common to first-time hunts in Alaska, it may be a wise way to go.

  3. #3
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks, This is the kind of info we need. My buddy lives there but is still "green". Maybe after this and meeting some people we will be better prepared for next year and then on.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    all good advice from Brian.

    I would also seriously question the 500.00 fly in also. that is about a third the average minimum. so either no animals or in some ones back yard would be my thoughts.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Nothing cheap when planes are in the picture but a fly in Western AK herd bou hunt would be a great first AK adventure. Even if you don't so much as see a bou there is no way you can fail to catch some fish!

    Do you have a raft? will you need to rent one? there are a lot of variables that can drastically change the cost of any Ak hunt. The big limiters are gear and money. Without knowing what kind of gear you have and how much money you are willing to spend there is no way to be much help. For a cheap hunt buy a hunting license, get with your friend and start applying for moose hunts! There are some great opportunities around Fairbanks where if you are lucky you can have a decent probability of success and access is on foot from the highway. The dreaing period ends in a couple weeks so if you decide to go that route you will need to get on it!!

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    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    I would agree with what has been said before, go for caribou. If you want to hunt moose, then get a guide because the antler restrictions can be tricky.

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    Basiclly we have or will have all the right personal gear and camping gear. Our delima was to do a float trip(rent raft package) or a fly in were they drop us off. I can see this ia a short notice but I didn't want to turn down this opportunity to visit your fine state. The caribou sounds like the best plan. I know i can call a ton of people for pricing but what do you think would be an average cost for the plane ride from Anchorage to a good caribou area.

  8. #8
    Member garnede's Avatar
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    See what Alaska Air charges from Anchorage to Kotzebue, then fly from there. Small planes are expensive and you want to fly the shortest distance possible in one.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

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    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    Post Drop camp

    I did a DIY drop camp caribou hunt in 2006 - out of Bethel. Wonderful experience, but the outfitter won't carry anyone for caribou right now because the Mulchatna herd has apparently declinded greatly.

    My buddy and I have been looking a doing a float hunt, but the more one get's into researching the deal, the more it becomes apparent that it is not for the novice or inexperienced.

    Do the "easier" hunt first, you learn a lot and cull a lot of all that "good" equipment. Do know that even a caribou is a large animal, not some white-tail you're going hoist up a carry off.

    Have you started your training program yet? I was doing 2 miles per day packing a 50 pound bag of cattle cubes 3 days a week for two months before my trip and was still not prepared for the walking on tundra.

    Gear - go light. Take nothing you an your buddy can't carry in one load on your back. Seventy pounds max - better at 50, and weight it like you're going to put it on the bush plane and on your back. A 3-person/4-season tent - 10-12 pounds, Helly Hansen rain coat, Lowa sheephunter boots, LaCross hip waders, GPS, sat-phone (if you get in a bind out in middle of nowhere the extra $150 rental and pound of weight will be small sacrifice), Cabela's Microtex or Sitka gear clothing, a great pair of 10x32 binos, Nikon XL II spotting scope, Wiggy's of Alaska 20-degree sleeping bag, water purifier, small multi-fuel stove with 20 ozs. of fuel (can't fly with the fuel canister's), titanium cook pot, freeze dried that you get from the Wal Mart in Anchorage (cheapest I've ever found), gun & ammo, lightweight fishing outfit. That'll get you started.

    I've got a 13 page hunt report in Word that I can send you if you'd like. I did it for another forum sight, so the photos are just imbeded links, but they are probably still there.

  10. #10

    Default Redlander

    Sent you a PM, I'd like to read your hunt report.

  11. #11
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    Units 14b, 16a, and 13e. Anyone take anything from here? I think we will headed to one of these units.

  12. #12

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    Check the regs horse - I don't think non-res can hunt in unit 13, and am not sure about units 14 and 16 for caribou. Read last year's regs to get an idea, then check the new regs when they come out, and talk with your buddy in AK.

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    He was checking I just jumped the gun.

  14. #14

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    I was doing 2 miles per day packing a 50 pound bag of cattle cubes 3 days a week for
    What are cattle cubes?

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    I would recommend a fly out Caribou hunt personally. Pretty easy for you new comers and high success rate. You'll see lots of other wildlife too.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    You guys have been really great. Yea this was a little late for such a hunt but I just had to go. Again taking an animal will be a bonus. If I can get all the correct gear and go out in the bush and see this great state I will be pleased.

    Which is better?


    Gore-tex hiking boots (Asolo) gaiters, liner socks,wool socks,polyproelene long bottoms, wool pants, Poly long top, havn't got the shirt, and wool jacket, wool stocking hat and wool neck gaiter.

    Shnees pac boots,liner socks,wool socks,gaiters, and same as above.

    Neoprene waders, wader boots, poly under garments with wool outer.

    Which do you guys think would be a better set up.Or of course scrap my idea and send me in completely different direction

  17. #17
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    Unless you put in and draw a permit, you are not going to be able to fly out of anchorage for caribou. The Mulchatna herd, in units 9, 17 and 19 to the west of Anchorage is closed to nonresidents for the 2009 season and probably longer. Getting a flight service out of Kotzebue for the western arctic heerd will be a problem at this laate date. There are other places you can fly out from, including fairbanks so you'll have to do some research.
    For caribouo I would tend to pick your first choice, although none would be my choice. Always plan on being rained on. Wool is great but takes awhile to dry out so you need real good raingear. My stuff is toward stuff that will keep me warm and dry quickly.
    You might think about using a hunt planner as previously suggested, Larry Bartlett is excellent: http://www.pristineventures.com/

    I would really suspect the $500 caribou fly out as "something isn't right here"

  18. #18
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    I checked the regs and we are going to either 14b or 16a. Which according to the regs I can hunt either one. Yea the caribou would be great but I think we are going to one of these units.We are talking to a plane service now and he has been mentioned on this site so we should be okay. I think things are coming together now for us. I just keep it in my head that were "hunting" not killing. Nothing is gauranteed. So I will take every oportunity to prepare myself for this trip.

    Oh and $500 for a flight is just like any other flight. Small print. Per person 750 lb limit and more $ to fly the meat out. So it will be about the same as some others we have seen and priced time its all said and done.

  19. #19
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    So its a moose hunt? Most of the 14b moose hunts are draws and there are no caribou there. What are you going to hunt?

  20. #20
    Member 9point's Avatar
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    Redlander hit the nail on the head in his reply. My partner and I also hunted out of Bethel in 2006 with Papa Bear Adventures. They are first class professional and will put you on the game. We did a moose hunt and both tagged out on the 4th day of a 12 day hunt. Albeit, we hunted hard and had never been to AK before that. We also got 1 black bear. You get what you pay for in Alaska. I am planning another trip with them next year.

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