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Thread: Float Hunting questions

  1. #1
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    Default Float Hunting questions

    A few fellow Ohioans and I are planning a hunt next fall. There will be at least 1 Alaska resident meeting up with us that has been on a float hunt before, but the rest of us are brand new to the Alaskan wilderness although we are established and successful hunters in the midwest.

    First of all, I want to say that I have been waiting a long time to get the right group of friends interested in going on this trip. Alaska, to me, is the trip of a lifetime, but I am planning on making this trip at least once every 2-3 years once I chuck out the money on equipment, firearm, etc., and only have the associated costs of transportation and raft on a trip by trip basis.

    Secondly, harvesting an animal on the first trip to AK would just be a bonus. The scenery and majestic landscape will be worth the trip.

    So I have a few questions:

    1.) For a AK beginner, what are would be recommended area for a float hunt for moose/black bear? We talked about caribou/black bear, but as a group we would rather hunt moose. We also would like to get in an area that has wolf available.

    2.) We have partially planned out a trip running from Fairbanks to Bettles, then a fly in and out from Bettles through Bettles Lodge. But would we be better hunting closer to Anchorage (which is where one hunter is from) and getting a charter out of Anchorage for moose/bear? So if there is a specific area for non residents to hunt closer to Anchorage for moose/bear, it would save this particular hunter several hundred dollars.

    We also have to take into consideration class I and II only rivers as we are not experts on the water.

    Just throwing this out there------we lease 800+ acres of land in southern Ohio and we strictly manage the whitetail herd and take 150"+ whitetail on a yearly basis. If there is someone in AK that wants to get an additional hunt in next year and meet up with us and show us some ropes, we would be more than happy to accomodate them on a whitetail hunt. You would only be out roundtrip airfare to Columbus which looks like its about $850-$900.

    As of right now, through roundtrip airfare to and from, cost of the float and tags and licenses, I am looking at $2500-$3000. Does that sound about right?

    I dont expect anyone to reveal their honey holes, but I would more than appreciate any helpful information.

    Thanks in advance,

    Scott

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to Outdoors Directory, Scott!

    I'd be happy to help get you pointed in the right direction. Drop me a PM and let's talk (the link to contact me is in my signature line).

    Best regards,

    -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

  3. #3
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default cheap

    I am not sure that I can do a fly in float out hunt that cheap and I live here!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I am not sure that I can do a fly in float out hunt that cheap and I live here!

    I would be more than happy to PM you the prices and locations of prices I have if you are interested.

  5. #5
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Fly out float - Depending on the area your looking at $2k-$4k IN/OUT w/ gear. Ive been doing float cost research for several months, depending on the area your looking at $2k-$4k IN and OUT w/ gear, and that could very well raise pending great success. You have some doable options on the cheaper side but success rates wouldn't be as high.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Default Questions

    When do you currently plan on being in the state to accomplish the hunt?

    Just food for thought but if Moose and Black Bear or going ot be your primary targets IMO you have a more options south of the Slope i.e Alaska Range then floating the South Side of the North Slope with far less expenses assosiated with your hunt.

    That is not to say it would not be a great plan just that there are other options with less expense to still accomplish your task.

    Blue Moose

  7. #7
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default Save on airfare

    You can try and save some money by applying for an Alaskan Airlines credit card. With the approved application you receive 25,000 airline miles. 25,000 airline miles is good for a round trip ticket anywhere Alaska Airlines flies.

    Blackout dates and space availability apply to the air mile tickets.

    I have used the air miles in the past. Sometimes I have to drive to a different airport to get the dates I want.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Estimated your total weight yet?

    Scott,

    My comments are based not so much on my experience as on tips from experienced friends and reading for planning trips. As far as air costs to/from the field on your bush flight I know there can be quite a bit of variation, but for 4 guys + gear (rafts, camp, etc) ...would that be about two Beaver flights (1,000-1,200 lbs each) in? Some guys on this forum might could help guesstimate the gear/camp/raft weight total. But if you're looking to estimate your costs, that's one good place to start - the total weight going on your bush flights.

    The costs and logistics get complicated quickly. Mike Strahan's book is excellent for this. Also a book titled, River Otter by Maria Eschen, is excellent for a planning timetable. One thing I read from one of these books was having a deadline date to collect deposits; which you'll need to reserve bush flights. And deadline for collecting the balance. I found there was an amazing amount of work to collecting/weighing/packing everything, which has to be shipped weeks before your group flies to AK.
    Getting an idea about your total weight helps you get into the ballpark when planning expenses because then you can add up how many flights you need (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=58613).

    Last year, one estimate I got was $2,700 per Beaver flight in the area you're looking at. Perhaps your flight costs will differ, but if $2,700 per flight and you need five flights (2-in, 2-out plus meat flight), the bush flights will be your largest expense. Getting to some figure like this begins with your weight.

    Best of luck on your adventure.

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    Scott,

    I'm from Chillicothe, OH, but stationed here at Ft. Wainwright with the Army. I am actually starting to plan a very similar hunt in September, which my father plans to fly in for. I have a lot of the very same questions, and would really appreciate it if you could pass on any useful answers you may have received. My main concern right now is location (4 guys [some non-resident] fly in to float for mainly moose, but will shoot bear, caribou and wolf also) for my hunt. My other big concerns are also raft rental and bush flight costs. Since I live here, my only big expense will be raft and bush flight. My father obviously will have to pay more, but I can cover down on some costs on this end since I don't have to pay to get here.

    If anyone has any further advice on these topics, please shoot it my way!

    Thanks,
    Matt

  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Get Mike Strahan's book, "Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers"

    http://www.alaskafloathunting.net/


    Also, you need to enable private messaging in your user profile.
    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.

  11. #11
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Float Hunt Misconceptions

    Hi folks,

    One of the most common misconceptions people have about float hunting is that it's all about the location. Superficially it seems logical that a reasonably skilled hunter just needs to be pointed in the right direction and he or she will be successful. It just ain't so.

    Another misconception is that if you spend more money, your chances of success go up. Not necessarily true. I have had many successful moose hunts right off the road system, where I was only out of pocket a couple hundred bucks for gas and food.

    Truth is, an Alaska hunt of any kind is usually more of an expedition than anything else. It's not like what many from the Lower 48 are used to, where you load up the dog and gun for an afternoon hunt on some back road. No, many of our hunts involve aircraft at some point.

    Obviously you need to be in a place where game can be found, but there are tons more details on both sides of that, which must be considered. What is your budget? How many in your group? Experience level? What is your physical condition? How many days can you spend afield? Are you locked in to certain dates? Do you have the right gear? Are you prepared for a survival situation? Can you handle a medical emergency in the field? How will you get your gear to your air charter? Do you know how to hunt the target species? How much do you know about the biology and behavior of the critter you're hunting? What effect does a campfire have on game? How can you identify and avoid pressured areas? How experienced is your pilot in the area you're looking at? How much time are you willing to invest in coming up with a location, and once you get there, do you know what you're doing? Who are the land managers, and do you need permission to hunt there (private lands in Alaska are rarely posted, yet it is your responsibility to know who owns the land, and to obtain permission). I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

    A while back a group called me for consultation work, and they wanted me to discount my hunt planning service to them, because they "already knew all that other stuff" and just needed a location and an air charter. Against my better judgment I caved in and gave them what they wanted. I ended up spending more time with that group than any other that season. Truth is, every group needs a bit more than a location and a way to get there. But I can't convince some of them until they go out and make a few costly mistakes first.

    If you are in Anchorage during early April this year, you might sit in on my seminar on Alaska hunt planning, at the Great Alaska Sportsman Show. We'll cover many of these aspects. You might be surprised how much is involved in this, whether it's a float hunt or a drop camp.

    Hope it helps!

    -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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    Drop me a PM and perhaps I can help you with some options.

  13. #13
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    For some reason I am unable to PM. I can't enable it on my profile for some reason.

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    Default Float hunt locations

    After talking to F&G, I have a couple locations in mind. My first choice now is the Beaver Creek float. I am thinking to drive and put in, then get picked up by plane at the confluence of Beaver/Victoria Creeks. My other thought is the Kantishna River. I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on these. What I'm looking for is info on game populations, river conditions, and levels of human population that can be expected during moose season in the areas. For some reason, I am unable to PM. I am local here at Ft. Wainwright. If you don't want to post here, please use the feature to email me.

    Thanks,

    Matt

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Call me

    Matt this is Richard Mousseau from Blue Moose Rafting. Feel free to call me at any time 907-460-7758.

    If your considering Beaver Creek you need to look at three additional local options. Won't try to sell or rent you anything honest just give you the differences in what your expectation might be or should be concerning river selections around town.

    I am under the assumption you have talked to Don Young at the ADF&G from your post.

    I would also suggest you take the time to contact all the air taxi services working out of Fairbanks starting with Wright Air ask for Bob and get the numbers of flights into Beaver Creek just a thought.

    Best Wishes

    Blue Moose

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoose View Post
    Matt this is Richard Mousseau from Blue Moose Rafting. Feel free to call me at any time 907-460-7758.

    If your considering Beaver Creek you need to look at three additional local options. Won't try to sell or rent you anything honest just give you the differences in what your expectation might be or should be concerning river selections around town.

    I am under the assumption you have talked to Don Young at the ADF&G from your post.

    I would also suggest you take the time to contact all the air taxi services working out of Fairbanks starting with Wright Air ask for Bob and get the numbers of flights into Beaver Creek just a thought.

    Best Wishes

    Blue Moose
    Very good point Moose, Bob is darn near a history book's worth of information up near you... Been flying with Wright's since I was a kid on into apprentice guiding years, and probably last trip was a couple years ago pick-up in Kobuk Village after descent from Walker Lake. Excellent long time local service and fine aircraft.

    Seems to me the Beaver Creek area gets some traffic... but also been a productive area and not too demanding float. The only recent float traffic I've sent that way is renting rafts with outboards to scientific research groups doing fish and wildlife surveys... rafts where set up specially for rowing an running with very heavy shock generators and all sorts of stuff. I think they all had fun, studies went well, and all boats returned in perfect condition.

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    Awesome, thank you. I will give you a call in the very near future, once I can get out of work before 6pm, and we'll chat.

    Matt

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    Mike, My name is Sam Catt. I live in Kodiak. I just purchased your book last week while in Anchorage as my friends and I are planning our first ever float moose hunt. I am hoping to make the Sportsmans show again this year and hope to see you. Would love to chat about our upcomming adventure!!...Sam

  19. #19
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KODSEADAWG View Post
    Mike, My name is Sam Catt. I live in Kodiak. I just purchased your book last week while in Anchorage as my friends and I are planning our first ever float moose hunt. I am hoping to make the Sportsmans show again this year and hope to see you. Would love to chat about our upcomming adventure!!...Sam
    Hello Sam,

    Let's do this via PM, okay?

    Take care,

    -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

  20. #20
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    have you considered the wood river? i was there a few years ago with a buddy that had an air boat. as you get far enough up river, you reach the wood river controlled use area(no motorized vehicles). there is an air strip way up stream from where we were, where rafters are dropped. we talked with a couple guys that were floating. they each had nice bulls, and they saw a total monster after they each already had one. they were going to be picked up by jetboat at the mouth where the wood river meets the tanana river. they said they had some problems with log jams in some of the braided areas of the river. they would have to backtrack and try another route. by the time they reached our camp, they were wanting to trade meat for a ride. my buddy kindly refused, we each had a moose of our own. we did see the jet boat that was picking them up and filled them all in on our hauling trips. there is very little boat traffic on that river, airboat or small jet boat only. we pretty much saw tracks from every alaska species(except sheep & goat) on any sandbar we decided to stop on.

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