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Thread: How many rafts for a float hunt?

  1. #1

    Default How many rafts for a float hunt?

    If you were to plan a 3 person 10 day float/hunt and you were going to buy all new gear and money was not an issue (<--- just play along with me here ), which would be better; use one large raft for all people and gear, One large raft accommodating 2 people and 1 smaller, or each guy with his own raft?

    This is a made up scenario so you can change it up if you want - just trying to learn something from your responses. Feel free to mix and match raft types also.

    Thank you.

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default I'll bite

    Not to be a smart butt but there is a large difference between going on a Moose Hunt and the boats required and harvesting a Moose and the boats required. I know I know sorry.

    You will get a mixed bag of answers for sure will make for a grand conversation eh.

    I guess the best way to leave an opinion is to state a lot will have to do with the water you plan on hunting and what your style of hunting is. as an example some people are min some people are max i.e. essentials or kitchen sink which of course will have an out-come on the answer.

    If you're looking for bottom line yes you could hunt 3 people one 18ft boat, 18ft cat or two 14ft Otters however you will be limited by your space and hauling capacities for meat and gear.

    Comfort - Three Poeple, Two Boats 15-16ft harvesting 2 moose and bring some nice items on your hunt as well such as a toliet ;0) you could get away with two 14ft boats but not much room when you pile all of it in after pulling the trigger.

    If I were buying for the sole purpose of always hunting with three people and the potential to harvest two moose two 15ft Otters or simlar boats or one Super Leopard or Cougar with a Traveler or similar as a back up.

    Will be interesting to see what opinons are out there.

    Best Wishes

    Blue Moose

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for "biting" BlueMoose and don't worry about being "smart", I am trying to get honest answers here.

    I know there is no right or wrong answer but I am trying to figure out from you experienced rafters what your preference would be for 2 or more hunters. I guess what I would really like to know is, would it be advantageous for each hunter to row his own raft? In other words, if two hunters have decided to get in to float hunting, would they be better off sharing a raft or would they be better off each owning one, and why?

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    If the general object is to haul 2 moose out of the woods, I would prefer 2 boats for 3 hunters. I suppose you could get everything into a large (16 round boat, or 18 cataraft) boat, but it would probably be at it's max load, and drive like a pig. Besides, you would always be trying to pack lighter, and feel limited in what you could take.

    In addition, 2 boats are way more safe than one boat. Too may things can happen to a solo boat.

    If harvesting large animals is not the goal, one 14' round boat will suffice for 3 people, and can be pressed into packing more.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by critrgitr View Post
    If you were to plan a 3 person 10 day float/hunt and you were going to buy all new gear and money was not an issue (<--- just play along with me here ), which would be better; use one large raft for all people and gear, One large raft accommodating 2 people and 1 smaller, or each guy with his own raft?

    This is a made up scenario so you can change it up if you want - just trying to learn something from your responses. Feel free to mix and match raft types also.

    Thank you.
    Critter,

    It's not an easy question, because there are too many variables. Are you hunting moose? You're gonna need more lift. Are you hunting a deep, slow river? You're gonna need less lift. Are you hunting a tight, brushy stream? You won't want a cataraft. Are you hunting a shallow headwater area? You need more flotation. Are you flying in a Super Cub? You need a lightweight boat.

    Generally you need to let the river choose the boat. Catarafts are great for rivers where you need to run an outboard, or where you might run into heavy headwinds (they're more aerodynamic). Round boats are great for brushy rivers where sweepers and strainers can be a problem. In shallow, rocky rivers, you need to pack light and "use enough boat", as Ruark would have said.

    If I were hunting moose on a river with a mix of shallow water and deep, with mostly well-defined channels, I would use a large cataraft for two of the people and a 14' self-bailing round boat. My first choices would be as follows:



    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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  6. #6
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Talking Why be limited?

    For your triple partner float hunt, I would prefer three 14'+- boats.
    Cost of the rafts and, I assume, cost of the hunt, is of no concern.

    1) one AIRE Super, or Super Duper Puma...and

    2) one Sotar, ...and

    3) one NRS Otter

    (I discriminate equally.)

    With three rafts, everybody gets to take a boat home. Everybody has something to love. Everybody gets equal oar-time.

    And with three individual rafts, nobody can complain that I'm taking "their share" of the boat somewhere every weekend all summer.

    My answer based on the original question and hunt scenario, which was extremely "open ended".

    Dennis
    AK TAGS

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    I second the Sotar suggestion. Got one last year myself from Goo Vogt of Alaska Wildwater. He has a bunch of these he rents out. All are 14'4" if I am not mistaken, some blue, some brown. Awesome rafts and made of a very tough material.

    Goo Vogt
    Alaska Wildwater
    (907) 345-4308
    sotaralaska@yahoo.com

    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  8. #8
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Thanks, Dan!

    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    I second the Sotar suggestion. Got one last year myself from Goo Vogt of Alaska Wildwater. He has a bunch of these he rents out. All are 14'4" if I am not mistaken, some blue, some brown. Awesome rafts and made of a very tough material.

    Goo Vogt
    Alaska Wildwater
    (907) 345-4308
    sotaralaska@yahoo.com
    Yeah, the material is urethane over a poly scrim if I remember correctly. They've pretty much ditched PVC and have gone with the very abrasion-resistant urethane (expensive too, but that's another deal). In terms of weight you can't beat 'em in the plastic boat market.

    Thanks for the contact info, Dan! I was digging everywhere for it and it seems he has two userids and I don't think he is still using "Goo" anymore. Anyway I ran out of time and just posted what I had. Unfortunately SOTAR's website is a disaster right now... otherwise I would have posted a link to the product. I called them and they said they are working on a new site, but it may be a while. Do you remember what userid Goo is still using here? He's posted a few times recently but I could not remember his handle...

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  9. #9
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Yeah, Goo is now "goeaux".
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  10. #10
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Sotar-goeaux-goo

    goeaux....Sotar , #2 in my suggested fleet of three. I did not leave him out.

    1) the S-D Puma should be red, or orange, or yellow.
    2) the goeaux Sotar should be the tan or brown (or any new color), and
    3) the NRS Ottor should be baby blue.

    Why do you guys minimize these fine raft and color selections?

    I stay up all night thinking of ways to help...and nothin. But these contributions will probably end up as color highlighted facts in the next book.

    So go to sleep...and yo danattherock, isn't it like 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM in south Carolina? Sleep dude!

    dennis

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post

    So go to sleep...and yo danattherock, isn't it like 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM in south Carolina? Sleep dude!

    dennis
    South Carolina? I have not been offended that bad in years

    I work the graveyard shift in the ER. Got time to kill if you know what I mean. Ha ha ha...
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default catacanoe

    You can get the best of alot of worlds. Go with 2 travelers. Can be seperated when needed and put together for bigger water and more weight and for everyone to be together.

  13. #13
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Red face Sorry D-Rock

    ...and there goes all that credibility I strived for...

    I meant to verify that location thing, and edit, before I passed out for the evening. I forgot. And now we can never be friends. Hey...want to float the Kenai for 'bows and dollys when you come up to AK?

    ...deep, deep, deepest apologies. So what time was it in ROCKINGHAM, NORTH CAROLINA ?

    Dennis

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    Smile Float Hunting for 3 Folks

    Quote Originally Posted by critrgitr View Post
    If you were to plan a 3 person 10 day float/hunt and you were going to buy all new gear and money was not an issue (<--- just play along with me here ), which would be better; use one large raft for all people and gear, One large raft accommodating 2 people and 1 smaller, or each guy with his own raft?

    This is a made up scenario so you can change it up if you want - just trying to learn something from your responses. Feel free to mix and match raft types also.

    Thank you.
    Couple things come to mind here reading through the posts:

    1.) "10 day float hunt with 3 people"... having no specifics for rivers, game species, what sort of gear, and so on. The answer is that any (all reasonable quality on up brands aside) 14' raft on up to 18' will work and cats from 14' to 20' will get 'er done.

    2.) "Let the river decide"... this is probably one of the better pieces of advice and it certainly goes the steps further to suggest aspects such as logistics, timing, conditions and so on.

    3.) "Money no issue"... we could all dream and play along, yet this is part of the picture. To play along here really would not answer your question; that's likely factoring in bang for the buck on boat/boats, gear, in addition to how you'll get there and back.

    So to make my suggestion here... would be to go with one specific boat for a party of 3, particular/suitable gear and food for 3, time of year, choosing floats that are not over your head in terms of your boating familiarity, game species considered with probable success rates for you 3, and the planned destinations/logistics.

    A.) The boats would be one 15-16' self- bailing raft or one 18'-20' Cat Raft.

    B.) One tent would be the 8x8 or 10x10 Bombshelter

    C.) River trip would be 10 days... with a float duration of no more than 7 days

    D.) Plan to start up-river as light-weight and performance oriented as possible to get yourselves in the groove... organize and load properly to later accommodate a successful harvest.

    I know you said $$$ no object... Yet trying before buying in a demo or rent would be $$$ well spent!!! Not only from boat selections --- furthermore for eying how to equip, organize, and to accessorize.

    A few things said stick out as incorrect to a degree:

    x.) "2 boats are way more safe than one boat. Too may things can happen to a solo boat." Not true! This strategy assumes that everyone is of similar skill, fitness, communicating on like terms, have a pretty good idea where they are going, and are using compatible boats. (not to go back and quote a few other' suggestions that are mostly good... BUT this also provides very sound strategy as why not to recommend or use a variety of make, design, small, medium, or large boats on your float trip of different style/configurations).

    xx.) "Round boats are great for brushy rivers where sweepers and strainers can be a problem." Yes... maybe so; BUT in fact a CataRaft provides a greater margin of boater error by having more maneuverability, stra-ttle-ablity, and surf-ability factors if crashing into these hazards.

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    Dennis, I'd go for the red, and I did buy yellow once, but orange? Why, that's worse than my pink boat!

    And I still think two boats are safer than one.

  16. #16
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Further considerations

    Lots to chew on here, but not much time on my end right now. Here are some additional thoughts.

    I agree on multiple boats. Truth is, I've been doing expedition float hunts for around 20 years or so here in Alaska, both privately and as a commercial hunting guide, and I have not seen a commercially available round boat or cataraft that I would recommend for this kind of load, period. Let's quickly run some numbers here.

    Weight of one moose, field dressed on the bone: 700#
    Weight of one hunter: 200#
    Total: 900#
    X 3 = 2700#

    The three biggest load-haulers I know of are the AIRE Cougar, the AIRE Super Leopard, and the AIRE Traveler cata-canoe. Each of these boats are rough-calculated to haul 3000#. Using the above numbers, this gives you 300# to work with, after your hunters and one moose each. Unfortunately most of this 300# will be absorbed just by the weight of the boat itself, together with the frame, oars, pumps, repair kit, and rigging. Once you factor that in, then you have at least the following to add in:

    1. Tent- 30#
    2. Cooking gear (including stove/ fuel)- 20# min.
    3. Personal gear, including sleeping bags (per hunter)- 60# min.
    4. Food- at least 50#
    5. Salt, game bags, cordage- 100#
    6. Misc. gear; tarps, chairs, table, lantern, hatchet, water filter, etc. 80#

    It's just not enough boat to do the job, and if you try it, the boat will be an absolute slug. Now, we can talk about 20-22' catarafts, however these are not readily available (the ones I have seen are all custom boats), they are very expensive, and they are simply too large for some rivers.

    I support Jim's recommendation for two boats, not only from the load standpoint, but for at least two additional reasons. Jim mentioned safety, and this is a consideration. Not so much the safety that assumes everyone has equal rafting skills, but safety in the event of a catastrophic tube failure. If a bear lunches one boat, or you end up with a 10' tube laceration on a beaver punji stick, and you don't have 12' of repair fabric with you, you have a back-up boat into which you can load all your parts and pieces and get the heck out of there. Clearly the hunt is probably over at that point, but at least you can evacuate the area in the boat, instead of overland (which may be near impossible). The second reason for the additional boat is that it allows you to split your camp. One guy can hang back and hunt a tributary stream and meet the others downriver at a predetermined location. This can dramatically increase your odds of success. Naturally hunting solo depends a lot on the skill of the hunter / rafter, their confidence, their woodsmanship, and to an extent the type of river he's on. I am not opposed at all to solo float hunts, but you have to use some common sense and stay within your skill level.

    Well, that's all I have time for now. Interesting discussion here-

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    Dennis, I'd go for the red, and I did buy yellow once, but orange? Why, that's worse than my pink boat!

    And I still think two boats are safer than one.
    Yellow is permanently off my list. Last time I floated a yellow boat the thing was a bug magnet! Maybe we were just unlucky, but it sure seemed that way to me.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post

    . Hey...want to float the Kenai for 'bows and dollys when you come up to AK?
    Yeah man. I will be there for "Fishapalooza" in mid Sept thanks to the invite from AlaskaChuck. Love to fish with you then if you find the time. We will be hanging around for 10-12 days on the Upper Kenai.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  19. #19
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default My mental image...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post

    I'd go for the red, and I did buy yellow once, but orange? Why, that's worse than my pink boat!

    .

    Pink? Good God Jim, get a hold of yourself

    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  20. #20

    Default

    Hey guys, thanks for all the information/advice.

    I asked this question because a couple of my boys and I are thinking about trying float hunting and we thought it would be good if each of us had our own raft. I just wanted to get advice from y'all before we get too carried away.

    We are leaning toward cats but I must say that the pink raft pictured above is pretty tempting - might be an attractant for the critters.

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