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Thread: Kenai Caribou Hunt Advice

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    Default Kenai Caribou Hunt Advice

    Got drawn for caribou on the kenai peninsula. DC608, from Skilak Lake to Tustamena Lake, from the glacier to near the end of funny river rd. Anybody have any advice on hunting this area? What is the terrain like? Any good fishing on the creeks backside of tustamena? Anything would help, Thanks


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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    I wouldn't plan on walking in. Planes, trains, and horses (minus the trains). Probably some decent fishing, but I'd plan on spending your time glassing to be successful. Put a sheep harvest ticket in your pocket... you never know. To bag a 'bou, you'll likely be near some sheep country.

    You'll probably spend some time in the alders... hopefully not too much time. Personally, I don't like the alders.
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    Member icb12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin262 View Post
    Got drawn for caribou on the kenai peninsula. DC608, from Skilak Lake to Tustamena Lake, from the glacier to near the end of funny river rd. Anybody have any advice on hunting this area? What is the terrain like? Any good fishing on the creeks backside of tustamena? Anything would help, Thanks
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    More importantly are there some sheep on that mountain behind you?

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    I went in with horses a couple years ago pm me if you want trail head info. The horse trail on the map is not the trail you want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    More importantly are there some sheep on that mountain behind you?
    Yes. And to the left. And to the right. And in front of me.

    Everything full curl gets whacked first day of season according to troopers. They were doing fly bys the whole time we were there; looking for illegal sheep kills. They landed their R44 and chatted a bit. Apparently, illegal kills is a big problem up there. Biggest we saw the whole trip was pushing just shy of 7/8.

    Lots of supercub activity. Guys flying around all over the hills looking at the sheep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by icb12 View Post
    Everything full curl gets whacked first day of season according to troopers.
    Maybe mostly true, but I would still carry a tag in your pocket. I know someone who took one in mid September while hunting caribou up there. The ram was down on the rolling tundra. The hunter was out looking for caribou and a band of rams came running across the hills. He didn't bring home a caribou, but he did get a ram. You just never know.

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    Member icb12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Maybe mostly true, but I would still carry a tag in your pocket. I know someone who took one in mid September while hunting caribou up there. The ram was down on the rolling tundra. The hunter was out looking for caribou and a band of rams came running across the hills. He didn't bring home a caribou, but he did get a ram. You just never know.
    Exactly. For sure have a tag in your pocket. But i wouldn't go back specifically for sheep. Lots of better options. Have a black bear tag too. Some absolute HOGS back there. Biggest black bear I've seen outside of SE was in this hunt area.

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    I saw a huge black bear up there as well. There is a large camp gets packed in for sheep in early august by a guide I assume. They do a great job breaking the trail ie cutting holes in dead falls and creating a trail where it is kinda vague, after a bunch of draft horses go thru you definatly know where the trail is.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    Default Dc608

    I plan on having both a sheep and black bear tag. I wont miss out on that opportunity. I think we'll base which lake we go in on where the caribou are the week before. If there hugging the skilak side, the we'll head that way, but we'd prefer to go to the tustamena side. That seems like the only advice I receive about Tustamena is it can kick up pretty rough quickly. We plan on hugging the shoreline, and will also have a 20ft riverboat. I plan on making a couple trips this summer and getting more familiar with the area.

    The large camp that gets packed in for sheep. Is that through the horse trail or is it from a lake access area?


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    Quote Originally Posted by justin262 View Post
    We plan on hugging the shoreline, and will also have a 20ft riverboat. I plan on making a couple trips this summer and getting more familiar with the area.

    Just an FYI about Tustamena. Don't hug the shore too close. There are lots of shallow spots extending out from the shore. They have a way of finding your prop.
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    Member akfirefighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin262 View Post
    I plan on having both a sheep and black bear tag. I wont miss out on that opportunity. I think we'll base which lake we go in on where the caribou are the week before. If there hugging the skilak side, the we'll head that way, but we'd prefer to go to the tustamena side. That seems like the only advice I receive about Tustamena is it can kick up pretty rough quickly. We plan on hugging the shoreline, and will also have a 20ft riverboat. I plan on making a couple trips this summer and getting more familiar with the area.

    The large camp that gets packed in for sheep. Is that through the horse trail or is it from a lake access area?

    If you are going to go in off Tuste, Make sure you get your boat totally out of the water when you leave it for any length of time. That wind off the glacier will swamp a boat in a seconds if it picks up, I have seen it happen every year... If you are unable to drag your boat completly in and out of the water I would look for an alternate plan. Good Luck to you.

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    Yeah I plan on taking the boat completely out of the water. The kofflers nice and light, for a 20 footer, and we could push it or cut a few trees, wet em, and slide it out with a pulley and rope.

    I've lived in Soldotna for 24 years now, I know about boating/hunting safety, rocks in lakes, pfd's, and I've been out on the lake many times, I'm trying to figure out more about the terrain where I'll be hunting. Like any sort of trails, decent camp spots, where the caribou normally hang out at, elevations, where the sheep are (and don't see high!), many hunters?

    We've been talking about which side is best to enter from. Leaning toward skilak


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    Member icb12's Avatar
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    Id lean towards the Tustamena side.

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    Default Hunt high on the bench

    So the Tustee gets rough. LOL Justin if I was you I'd go up Emma Lake trail it's a climb but your on top fast and it's a good trail. Go well past the lake up on top the bench, then glass and move around from there. You will find some water up there. They do hang out on the alder edges off the bench but it's all weather dependent on where they will be. I't may take a couple days to find a nice bull. So the other thing is to fly in to Green Lake and hunt back down the to the lake people do have good success doing that, lots of blackies there and sheep. Just remember it's going to be lots of work hauling it out so bring some packers. Tell them they can eat all the blueberries they want.

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin262 View Post
    IThe large camp that gets packed in for sheep. Is that through the horse trail or is it from a lake access area?
    That camp comes in on a horse trail. There are some big bou up there just be patient. You can see a monster anywhere on the bench they wander all over it. I would recommend coming off Tustamena if you are going to boat in. I think I read in this fourm about a guy that brought Goats in on his boat and they packed his gear up off the lake.

    I could have filled a pickup truck with a the moose sheds up there they must spend a lot of time on the wind swept areas in the winter up there. Its definately one of the best draw areas as access is so tough you don't see a lot of people and you see lots of critters. Good luck.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    Member Ripper's Avatar
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    I've been up there once on horses tagging along with a buddy with a moose tag. Horses would be my preferred method and I'd hunt up closer to the base of the mountains, but alas, I didn't draw. The pack trailhead is out in Funny River...a two day ride in so you don't want to go that way if you are hiking in. If you are boating, go in from Tusty. There are "trails" all over up there, I think one up each of the rivers draining into the lake, but you won't find them on a map. But I say "trails" because they need to be cleared every year due to blowdown and they get very little use. We saw 'bou all the way from treeline to the mountains, so just sit and glass. And if you are patient on the blackies you've got a decent chance at one approaching 7'. Good luck and be patient. A good camp would probably be along one of the creeks right at treeline.

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