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Thread: Realistic hunt

  1. #1

    Default Realistic hunt

    I have gotten quite a bit of information already from browsing the past archives in this forum but I wanted to find out if anyone else had any input as well and what is realistic and what isn't.

    My wife and I are planning a three week trip to AK in the end of August 2008 and the first week of the trip I hope to be able to do a caribou hunt in the vicinity of the Brooks Range or North Slope. Our plan is to hike at least 5 miles off the haul road, set a base camp and glass and hunt the surrounding area for a few days and then pack out. We know this will be a lot of work, and also dangerous so we are planning our trip well in advance along with serious physical conditioning. Another option that we have looked at instead of hiking in, is getting flown into somewhere in the vicinity of the Arctic Village, base camping there, then getting picked back up in 4-5 days but that could get pricey.

    Along with quality camping gear, clothing, and sled, I am bringing a Sat phone (globalstar) and personal EPIRB for emergencies. My rifle is a 300WSM and I am considering purchasing a sidearm for my wife (any suggestions). I am leaning towards a 357 mag Ruger Blackhawk loaded with 180 grain castcore federal ammo. This gun has some weight to it, is very accurate and dependable, and will not scare her as much as a 44 mag, but I am open to suggestions.

    For a little background on us, we live on Cape Cod (yeah don't laugh we are not soft), my wife grew up in northern Maine and I in Northern Vermont but jobs brought up together on the Cape. We have a family cabin just south of Jackman Maine off a paper company road were I deer hunt religiously in November. This is considered big country in the northeast and I love it because I rarely run into other hunters in the woods and also like to hunt "Benoit" style, tracking and still hunting remote areas. In 2001 through 2002 I lived in Kodiak and Dutch Harbor working as a fishery biologist and on my down time I traveled the state as much as possible, doing two trips to Wiseman on the haul road in September. So this driving trip will not be new to me.

    If anyone could provide me with any info concerning gear, time of year (Aug or Sept), whether to hike or fly in (worth the $$), realistic expectations, sidearm or not, that would be great.

    For us this is a trip of a lifetime, I haven't stopped talking about AK since I left in 2002 and my wife has always wanted to go, so do it now before kids come.

    Thanks for any information and feel free to shoot holes in my plans because I have plenty of time to rethink them. Nathan

  2. #2
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default Gear

    I wouldnt worry about a side arm for your wife, you have better odds of getting a truck reck than having problems with a bear. I would rethink your idea of back packing in the 5 miles, it is the most brutal thing you can do up here, Id much rather climb one of the many moutains in the area then hump that five miles ever again!!!! You have no idea how hard that is!!!! Id fly if at all possible, PM me and Ill give you some good options (for those others reading this and you know who you are, see what happens when your nice). I hunt up there almost every year, I perfer the first week of Sept. Weather has cleaned up a bit and there are fewer hunters, everyone is out moose hunting. If you have to walk, have specialized gear to keep the weight to a min. Your packs should come in under 50lbs each, witch will enclude EVERYTHING!!! you need for a week in the field, not an easy task.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Smile Weight

    I would have to agree on getting your wight down. I might consider leaving the EPIRB at home (see link)
    http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/780/140048/
    I do not know if this covers over land or just on the high seas but seems to me a Sat phone and GPS cover everything you need. If you want to get you wife a side arm I would suggest a short pump 12GA - the 357 does not have the kinetic energy you want. I am also assuming that you will be doing some sort of fishing during the other 2 weeks you are here. Just my $0.02

    Drew

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Toddler View Post
    I would have to agree on getting your wight down. I might consider leaving the EPIRB at home (see link)
    http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/780/140048/
    I do not know if this covers over land or just on the high seas but seems to me a Sat phone and GPS cover everything you need. If you want to get you wife a side arm I would suggest a short pump 12GA - the 357 does not have the kinetic energy you want. I am also assuming that you will be doing some sort of fishing during the other 2 weeks you are here. Just my $0.02

    Drew

    Drew

    My sat phone is Qualcomm and uses Globalstar service and I am not happy with its reliability while using it at sea and in northern Maine, but I am stuck with it for the time being. (Anyone else have experience with this unit and service please drop a line). I will be carrying a gps and compass, I do a lot of offshore fishing so very experience in navigation and plotting.

    I considered taking an EPIRB for dire emergencies if sat phone crapped out. I carry a Mccurdo fatshfind plus 406 and should research if an overland satellite will pick up the signal. On the sidearm issue I have gotten some good feedback and mostly all against it. Besides the 300WSM I own a Rem 7600 carbine 30-06 with peep sight and a mossberg 12 guage with slug barrel. It sounds like either one of these would be a better option then a handgun.

    And ooh yes, my wife and I will be fishing heavily after the hunting trip. Last time I was in that beautiful state I hit the Coho runs pretty hard and in Kodiak I landed a 15.5lbs Coho on my 5wt st croix fly rod with 6lb tippet. Nathan

  5. #5
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    Default

    If you and your wife both plan on shooting nice caribou, ask yourself this question.
    Are both of you really capable of hauling out packs of meat weighing 150 pounds over the tundra? I know I can't. If you can't, then each trip is at least 10 miles. Five miles over the tundra can be like 15 on firmer ground. My hats off to you two for making this a good hunt. Be prepared for snow as well.
    Tennessee

  6. #6
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Talking Rent

    Nathan,
    The only sat phone I have used up here is a friends Iridum. It worked 4.0! If you don't trust yours why not just rent one here when you come up? usually about $100 for a week or 10 days.

    The shotgun would be my choice w/00 buck and slugs. If you want an excuse to dress it up well then you NEED (wink wink) pistol grip and colapsable stock, a hands free sling, and most importiant an EOTEC sight with optional IR. Thats what I am telling my wife! You kow its for her safety.

    Drew

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    If you and your wife both plan on shooting nice caribou, ask yourself this question.
    Are both of you really capable of hauling out packs of meat weighing 150 pounds over the tundra? I know I can't. If you can't, then each trip is at least 10 miles. Five miles over the tundra can be like 15 on firmer ground. My hats off to you two for making this a good hunt. Be prepared for snow as well.
    Thanks for the info. I will be the only one shooting a caribou since my wife doesn't hunt but if the trex in is as bad as people are saying then the only thing in her cross hairs will be me. I might rethink this.

    And since I already dug a huge hole by saying that if she gets pregnant I am still going.....(well you all know where that one went)

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    Member bigdog's Avatar
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    Talking Haul Road

    I have done the haul road hike, save yourself alot of time and just have someone drop you off. You cant walk five miles in a straight line to get off the road, too many streams and small lakes to go around. So really the walk ends up to be six or seven miles of hell. I thought I was pretty tough until I tried the ordeal, sheep hunting is a piece of cake compared to walking on that crap. Just spend the money and fly in, plus great chance to see the area from a plane.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
    I have done the haul road hike, save yourself alot of time and just have someone drop you off. You cant walk five miles in a straight line to get off the road, too many streams and small lakes to go around. So really the walk ends up to be six or seven miles of hell. I thought I was pretty tough until I tried the ordeal, sheep hunting is a piece of cake compared to walking on that crap. Just spend the money and fly in, plus great chance to see the area from a plane.
    Bigdog

    I am hearing the same from everyone. I think we will fly in fly out or float out if it can be done in 5-6 days not counting driving time. We already saved $600 by deciding not to buy a sidearm and will put it towards a fly in. Thanks Nathan

  10. #10
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    Default

    If you're going to fly, you might also consider the Mulchatna herd. A dropoff trip will probably be around $1500 or so per person.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Default

    check talon air service websight i've heard very good things about them for caribou.

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    Default Globalstar

    MaineWoods, when I was up in Fairbanks my satelitte phone through Globalstar didn't work. The only place I found it to work was down in Prince William Sound. It didn't even work in the Mat Su valley. I wouldn't waste my time bringing it up unless something has changed. From what I have found on this forum Iridium sat phones are the only ones that work north of the Alaskan range.
    If you take the woods out of the woodsman you have nothing left but a man in the woods.

  13. #13
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    I used a Globalstar unit this past fall in the Alaska Range and it worked about 75% of the time. Supposedly Globalstar has built a new earth station in AK that was supposed to be running by last June, but it sure didn't seem like it was. Service was no better than it has been in the past. It's better than none at all, but if you feel you need better coverage, renting an Iridium unit might be what you want to do.
    The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineguide View Post
    MaineWoods, when I was up in Fairbanks my satelitte phone through Globalstar didn't work. The only place I found it to work was down in Prince William Sound. It didn't even work in the Mat Su valley. I wouldn't waste my time bringing it up unless something has changed. From what I have found on this forum Iridium sat phones are the only ones that work north of the Alaskan range.
    Maineguide

    I have heard the same from other and am really disappointed with the service. I have been on out to sea on Georges bank and have had no service or it comes and goes. It does however always seem to work when I am ice fishing on spring lake in ME though.

  15. #15

    Default fly in fly out or float

    My wife and I will go with the fly in option and are trying to decide on either a flyout or float out. Any suggestions? The info from all of you has been excellent.

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    I prefer flying in to a good spot a staying in one place. Your days are spent hunting, not travelling. You only set up and break camp once. You get familiar with the lay of the land.

    My subjective opinion, nothing more.

  17. #17
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default Sat phone

    We used a global star sat phone this past year in the eastern Brooks range, made 4 calls for to arrange pickup and got thru everytime, no problems at all

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    I fly out for caribou every year. I took my 13 year old daughter on her first hunt this year. Its an excellent first hunt in Alaska. This time I agree with Mr. Pid that you spend most of the time hunting (glassing) and not floating. PM me if you have any questions.
    What part of Maine? I was stationed at Loring for two and a half years.

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    I fly out for caribou every year. I took my 13 year old daughter on her first hunt this year. Its an excellent first hunt in Alaska. This time I agree with Mr. Pid that you spend most of the time hunting (glassing) and not floating. PM me if you have any questions.
    What part of Maine? I was stationed at Loring for two and a half years.
    I have to agree with 99% of you on this one. A fly out drop camp sounds to be the best thing going for your situation MaineWoods. Drive to Fairbanks or Coldfoot and fly to the brooks. I am getting ready to leave for the new years weekend, but will PM you when I get back on better details.
    Curt

    P.S. Bill, what year were you stationed at Loring AFB? I was Born there.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    I fly out for caribou every year. I took my 13 year old daughter on her first hunt this year. Its an excellent first hunt in Alaska. This time I agree with Mr. Pid that you spend most of the time hunting (glassing) and not floating. PM me if you have any questions.
    What part of Maine? I was stationed at Loring for two and a half years.
    Bill S

    My wife and I live on Cape Cod now but she is originally from Oakland ME and I am from Groton VT. We have a family camp on Spring lake ME which is above the town of Eustis and Flagstaff lake. I really want to spent significant amount of time glassing for other game as well as caribou and do not plan on shooting the first one I see. Thanks Nathan

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