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Thread: Caribou float hunt 2011

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Eagle River

    Default Caribou float hunt 2011

    After 34 years in Alaska my wife and I have made the decision to leave the state . She wants to go caribou hunting again and in the past I suggested doing a fly-out drop hunt like did in 1992 for Mulchatna caribou. With the decline of the Mulchatna heard that is no longer an option so, that leaves the WACH in the forefront for such an adventure. Keeping that in mind I offered the possibility of doing a float hunt which is open to thus far and I have always wanted to do a float hunt ( and other things before I ever left here). Well time is now getting short and I figure I will start with this item.

    To all of the experience lurking about this forum I pose this question with these conditions in mind :We have considerable outdoor experience, quality gear and do not mind putting effort into our experiences and have participated in several remote hunts, me in particular. We are in our mid forties of age and I am 6'4", strong and fit, my wife is not athletic but she is in good health and gives it her all.

    We have canoe and jet boat experience but lack any real raft experience other than a couple of white water/fish/camp trips between us making us novice or beginners by the time this takes place. I feel like I have seen enough class II/III water that I am not really concerned with it but, I do realize that a momentary lapse in judgment can make for a lousy day.

    Now the question(s) is... What suggestions do any of you have for a float hunt, on a fairly sedate river, in country offering a reasonable chance to take a couple caribou ?

    Which size/type of raft, round or cat, length best suited for two people and gear, perhaps 2 caribou and maybe a bear, 5-10 days ?

    Thank you for your responses as I sift through the other threads I find relative to this.

  2. #2
    Member Phil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Liverpool, NY (a suburb of Syracuse)

    Default Influenced

    I'm no doubt influence by the fact that I'm a part owner of a cataraft. With that said, we bought (15 years ago) a used Leopard (early model). We bought it used from Alaska Raft & Kayak. Seems to me to ba an option worth looking into.

    For 2 of you and caribou I suspect a 16 foot cataraft is in order. Check with some expert. We use the 18 foot for 3 hunters, gear, & 1 or 2 animals (including moose).

    The raft could be sold after you are done with it. The other option is renting a raft. In any case, I am partial to catarafts - although others may have differing opinions.

    If you are going to be hunting (as a primary objective) I still think Class I & II are best although a touch of Class III won't hurt.

    I can only comment on a raft since my knowledge of caribou is outdated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Gakona Ak

    Default WACH Rivers

    Well this one is right my alley!

    Head to Kotz and fly out to the Kelly or Kuggurok Rivers which are both in the Noatak Nat Park/Preserve. about 25-40 miles of floating before you hit the No Fly zone or you can take 2 more days and float down to Noatak Village. The Nimmi is another option and it is above the no fly zone. Drop hunts/float if the water is high enough is the Anisac River way up the Noatak. Great early hunt.

    Shoot me a PM if you have questions.


  4. #4
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Fairbanks, Ak.


    What Walt said. Drop off up river, Float to Noatak village. Cheaper than getting another charter for the pick up. Plenty of good hunting on the rivers Walt mentioned, even decent moose opportunity.
    With proper weather, should be a memorable hunt.............maybe even more memorable without the proper weather! Ha!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  5. #5

    Default Go in light, come out heavy

    Since you've never done a float hunt before, i'd suggest you find some water with no more than class II water or even a short stretch of cat III but that could be pushing it. The Pro Pioneer is the perfect boat for this kind of venture, they are designed for float hunting Alaska's rivers and carry a couple opf caribou each. Go in late August, early September and the bugs shouldn't be to bad. I'd go 7-9 days and enjoy your trip, they can be one of the most relaxing ways to hunt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    A lot has been written in these forums about the best choices in boat size and type. Cats are a little more stable, row a bit faster, are easier to make headway against the wind, better at punching through large holes and waves, handle larger outboards, but also usually provide a little wetter ride. They have more deck space so are way too easy to overload. Cats also separate into smaller pieces to get into small airplanes easier.

    Round boats carry more weight per foot of boat length, draft less water, set up a lot faster once you get to the river, use far simpler rowing frames, and load gear easier. They are also better easier to use with little kids or dogs aboard.

    I have both, but personally I find conventional (round) boats a lot easier to use if you are the type to deflate your boat after each use. If you leave your boat set up on a trailer that advantage doesn't apply. I prefer rowing catarafts especially if the water is rough. Bottom line: Either type work well, and both have their own advantages.

    I agree with Phil about the size of boat. If there are only 2 people and you're going after caribou, a 16' cat, or a 14' round boat would be the ideal, or perhaps minimal size. But if you are going after moose, or adding a third person, an 18' cat or 15-16' round boat would be a better choice. But especially with catarafts, not all 16' footers (or whatever size) are created equal. Some have faster, sleeker entry lines and others have blunt ends that carry more weight. They each have their advantages.


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