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Thread: Fall 2010 First Alaska trip

  1. #1
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    Default Fall 2010 First Alaska trip

    Hey everybody, I have been visting this forum for quite a while trying to pick up everything I could to help plan a hunt, and I've finally decided to ask for a little help. Basically, 3 friends and I are planning an AK trip for late Aug/early Sept 2010. We all are experienced big game hunters in the lower 48, but have no AK experience. Like everyone else, we want to moose hunt, but we are not foolish enough to think that we will all get one. A fly-in or fly-in/float trip is what we want. I have somewhat narrowed down areas based on general or registration hunts available for that time of year, with an overlapping moose/caribou season. The areas are : 19c,d,20 a,b,d , 22a,c,d,e, and 21b,c. Are General hunts in these areas any good? Which of these areas should I dismiss altogether? We plan on shipping most of our own gear but will need to locate the air charter, and possibly rent boats, when we determine an area. Constructive criticism is welcome so please tell me if I am on the wrong track. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member c04hoosier's Avatar
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    Not too familiar with moose hunting in these areas, but here is a website that can give you some useful statistics.

    http://wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=harvest.main

    Good luck!

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    Thank you, that is very useful information. Like every other resource I have encountered on this topic there is so much to look at and consider.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    JMHO but I feel Alaskans don't mind much if four folks wanted to take four bear or caribou and even dear out of there local area. On the other hand I don't know of any rural folks that want to lose even one moose from their local area let alone the thought of four,thats six to ten families winter meat. You will see some great country and a different way of life once away from the bigger cities but I think with out a guide you will recive little local help.

  5. #5
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Good luck

    I can't really help you. I will share my observations though about hunt planning and traveling in "The Great Land".

    I observed long ago the vastness of Alaska. I tried to leave here and only found myself traveling back to continuing the exploration. So I moved back with a firm commitment to make this my home, all four seasons, rain or shine. Why.....because this place is so big and awesome you should live here to fully experience the space. With that in mind.......I also realize that I will likely never see 99.9% of the country you were trying to localize in your hunt information request. Its just huge and a single man will have a difficult time seeing everything here. I guess thats why folks get planes.

    My point is.......Go hunting! Just pick a place with a decent history. Talk to a game bio. Talk with a pilot. Oil your guns. Shine your boots. Buy some food and go hunting.

    Bring your camera and a sense of adventure and you'll have everything you'll need to be successful.

    It's all about access and logistics. For example....I went to a remote forest service cabin this week with my girls. Three ol' boys were on the beach hangin' out while I caught and played a few salmon from my skiff. I didn't talk to em. It turns out that they had been staying at the cabin I rented that evening which is aprox. one mile back from the salt water. They had flown in with a HEAP! of gear. Well the flight didn't/couldn't haul the gear out. They coordinated a water taxi. So when I got there these guys had thousands of dollars of gear stacked up on the dock getting soaking wet. Were talking like mega stoves and more fishing rods than a single man could use. I left it for the next party and informed a worker at the weir of the situation and let it lay there as I found it. I don't know if it got picked up or what. My point.......you need to plan for each step of your trip and and contingency plans. Thats the most important thing. Finding game is just a mix of skill and luck.

    Good luck and enjoy your planning.

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    We are very interested in experiencing the Alaskan wilderness, and know that this will probably be the biggest "trophy" anyone gets to take home out of our group. As I said, I doubt seriously if we will be killing four moose, that is why we want to hunt in an area with other opportunities, particularly for caribou. I have plenty of opportunities to hunt deer and bear, as do my friends, but moose and caribou are a different story. Whatever we are successful with will be taken care of and brought back home, although I realize that will be an expensive proposition. And we may yet seek assistance from a hunt planner of some sort, but none of us can afford an actual guided hunt, even if we wanted to.

  7. #7
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Costs

    Your concerns are important and need to be discussed directly, up front, with every member of your group. Establish a budget. That will narrow down your hunt location really quick. With the size of your party your looking at some serious airfare if you go that route. If you are knocking over a bunch of bou or moose add $$$$$$$$.

    So your on the right path. Ask those difficult questions. Talk politely to an air charter and let them know up front your in the planning stage of a hunt and you would like to discuss costs.

    Of course that brings you back to where you started......Where are you going?

    Look at the harvest stats. Talk to a Bio. Then contact transport. If you have good solid on-the-ground info more power to ya. You may never get that though so you may end up just making the leap of faith. Up here it's different than down there. You got lots of area to hunt and most of the time there is nobody monitoring it unlike down there with private land owners everywhere. Just look for all the key ingredients for game: travel cooridors, food sources, water, shelter, ect..........

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    Thanks Bighorse, you made some good points. I know that flying in is expensive, but if I'm going all the way up there, I want to limit my contact with other hunters. Four people is a little more than I envisioned even for our own party, but they are all good guys. Plus the extra help will go a long way if we get a moose.
    I am thinking that with four guys a combo fly n' float will give us access to more territory than just flying in and spending 10-12 days in one spot. Based on preliminary quotes, I think we can budget this trip about right, but it will be close. I also agree that at some point all I can really do is take the info I have and go for it.

  9. #9
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Southerner,
    Looks like you're taking the right approach to planning. I second Bighorse's advice about contacting the experts for those areas.

    I would add asking the right questions such as game density, hunter pressure/guide use, and in the case of river trips game distribution. Moose/Caribou are available on many AK rivers but usually the caribou are found near the headwaters while the moose are farther downstream.

    If you decide on a float trip and are not experienced with rafts, I strongly recommend you and your group take a few weekend float/camping trips close to home. Bring all your hunting gear to get a feel for setting the boat up, stowing gear, dealing with being wet, working the oars & reading water. I'd start on a Class I/II stretch and work up to Class III rapids (cause you never know). Most AK rivers have rapid sections. While some can be skirted some have to be run or portaged. Bear in mind that with a group of 4 weight becomes an issue. Assuming a 16ft boat you can't safely put 4 moose in a raft that size. Caribou is another story. 4 guys can all go home happy on a float trip for 'bou. You could get by with 1 moose and 3 'bou. Maybe you could draw straws to see who gets to buy the moose tag ;D

    This experience will help you pare down your gear to what you really need and help identify things you might want but never thought of.

    Lastly, if you are seriously considering a float trip here's another plug for Mike Strahan's book.

  10. #10
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    21b isn't a viable choice. Try 21a. Upper Nowitna. Moose and black bear.
    22d and e are possibilities, but only one transporter I know of to drop you anywhere, and only one river that he drops people in. Moose and maybe bou there.
    Unit 23 would be an option. As a non res you will have to put in for a draw permit for moose, but loads of bou, often, and some black bear depending on where you go.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Thanks guys for some more good points. Especially the advice on those units. If we were to do a float trip, I think we would do 2 boats. I am thinking that would mean 2 trips in with two guys splitting the cost of each trip. Probably stagger the boats, hunt different places during the day and maybe get together at one camp some nights. As far as the rafting goes, we range in experience from very experienced to not very experienced, so we at least have something to start with. I am going to start trying to reach some biologists and transporters this week and find out what I can. With any luck we'll decide on a location in the next couple of weeks, then line up the details. Thanks again, I know the post is getting old, but if anyone wants to add anything please do, as I will be checking back.

  12. #12
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default First Thought

    Go for it. I strongly recommend Mike Strahan's book if you have any thoughts about floating. It is a wealth of information (about floating as well as the rivers).

    Just keep in mind - Alaska is like Africa - you can't go there just once - at least I couldn't and my next trip to Alaska will be #14. DIY hunts make returning more probable. There is a great satisfaction in completing a trip to Alaska on your own.

    Yes, I know this is more than a "first thought" but I had to start somewhere.

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