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Thread: Early August Caribou on North Slope

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    Member Bucksandnoles's Avatar
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    Default Early August Caribou on North Slope

    Since I didn't get drawn for a Kodiak BB, I'm considering an outfitted DIY Caribou hunt out of Deadhorse the second week of August. Any thoughts, or recommendations, on hunting them this time of year? Are antlers fully developed? I see that someone else has already recommended Mark out of Happy Valley for a pilot. Any additional input would be greatly appreciated.

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    The antlers will be in velvet. The bugs will drive you absolutely insane. So be prepared for both. Meat care is also a consideration since you never know what the temps will do.

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    Velvet antlers great, insane bugs not so much fun. When does the bug problem decrease, September?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bucksandnoles View Post
    Velvet antlers great, insane bugs not so much fun. When does the bug problem decrease, September?
    As soon as there is a good freeze. You can expect late August, early September. A good head net is needed for glassing, but even a slight breeze will knock the no-see-ems down Biggest issue in early August is that the temperatures can be pretty warm. Be prepared to take care of your meat in the heat and/or head south after getting a critter and you will do fine.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Default Weather

    Last year, in a the first week we had 4 inches of snow, 69 degrees only 4 or five days later. Had a little rain and allot of fog. Bugs can be bad when your cleaning animals, but it is an awesome time and very beautiful and very different from most other places in the world.

    Terry

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    Thumbs up North Slope temps...

    I'll certainly agree with Terry and last years weather report for the North Slope/Happy Valley area. It snowed about 3 or 4 inches on Aug 20+-, but was in the 60's for several days prior and after that. The night time temps were at about 32, but that is not really cold and is great for meat care. It was often foggy in the mornings. In the last two years I have not needed bug dope during the last ten days of Aug and into Sept. Both of the last two years the temps have been pleasant....sensational caribou trips. It is a beautiful sight to have 20 caribou bulls walk out of the fog and into your camp!

    dennis

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    I've flown out up there the last few years and it can be real unpredictable. Got snowed on rained on and sunburned all in one day last aug.

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    Thanks for all of the input. We've decided to push our hunt dates back until the end of Aug, first week of Sept. Hopefully that will give us a little cooler temps for meat care, and knock down the bugs a bit. Thanks again, these boards are a tremendous resource for those of us in the lower 48.

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    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    I uploaded a couple pics of what Atigan pass and North of Atigan pass looked like on 8 August last year.

    Two years prior I hunted in shorts and a T-shirt the first week of August. The temps soared well into the 90s.

    The only thing for certain in the Brooks is unpredictable weather. The closer to Sept you go the more unpredictable it gets.

    I personally prefer late season because bear season is open. I will say that late season makes for a long cold float out.

    Take a fishing pole with some orange and pink pixies and vibrexes for Char and Dollys. Add a couple mepps spinners for grayling as well.

    Good luck on your hunt. Rod
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    when is the dolly fishing best in the sag?

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default AFHunter/North Slope

    Whatever AFHunter tells ya...listen to it. He has done some 'bou hunts up in that north country. I bumped into him only one time, and he and his hunting group really had a plan and knew what they were doing. Ask him about his aircraft-transporter rodeo in '08...(wrong landing strip...unusual takeoff).

    And, oh....Utarded,
    The sag fishing for char is great in Aug and Sep. Not sure about Oct. Those Oct days are too short and cold for me.

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    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    If there ever was a story to tell your grandkids, it would be about that landing and takeoff on the side of the mountain in the Brooks. I think rodeo describes the whole situation very accurately. We all managed to ride out the full 8 seconds even with the plane doors popping open from hitting the ground so hard. Alaska True adventure was able to witness the whole rodeo first hand. I should have charged admission.

    I've fished the Sag and its tributaries from early August through September for all species and I have done well.

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    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default knock the bugs down

    I attached a pic of what you are looking for to "knock the bugs down!" You will get your cold temps in the beginning of September on the North side of the Brooks.

    I have been up there many times and I have never had a problem with bugs. I have heard all the rumors about bad bugs, but I have never witnessed it. Maybe I will call it lucky, but I still take the head net regardless.
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    That's a beautiful fish! I'm heading up probably the last week of August or first week of September this year for my first time. Gonna archery hunt it and do some fishing. Probably going to be a solo trip, really looking forward to it!

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Exclamation the TAKEOFF!!!!!

    Concerning AFHunter and post #11 and 12...
    The landing did not appear unusual. But the takeoff was frightening X 10.
    Your aircraft, the air taxi you contracted, was fully loaded (+) with four of you, your rafts and your gear. Your pilot walked off the length of the runway/bush-strip and did not appear very confident, but felt that if he used every foot he could get off the ground. And he did. Now remember that the air strip is about 25 feet above the river bottom, which was covered with six foot high brush. When the aircraft flew off the edge, the engine noise changed (which is not unusual) and the pilot pushed the nose slightly forward. As your flight approched the level of the brush, which was astonishing soon after leaving the airstrip, I actually fell onto my knees. This was an uncontrolled reaction to what appeared to be a very bad aircraft landing in the bushes. I thought that flight was over. Inside that aircraft I'm thinking it was very quiet for a full minute.

    Anyway, my pilot friends tell me the pilot probably did that to increase airspeed slightly and to take advantage of the "ground affect". As I watched from my knees I started mentally reviewing my Wilderness Emergency Care primary and secondary survey procedures, which I'm glad I did not have to use.

    In the future I believe AFHunter, and myself, will contract a different transporter.

    dennis

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    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default We are gonna die

    There is no doubt we almost died on the mountain that day. I found out later that those two uncontrolled crashes/landings and the take-off was that pilots first of paved runway experience. That pilot had no business landing on that strip for his first! I was told through another bush pilot, on a hunt right after that one, that the tail on the plane was bent from us hitting so hard when we landed.

    I do remember a bunch of "Holy Shi% we are gonna crash/die" from my family members as we slid of the strip on take-off.

    The char is my favorite of the salmonoid family to eat!

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Fly with Mike McC

    Several forum members have PMed me concerning the flight service that was involved in these unusual flight manuevers up on the north slope of the Brooks Range. I'll leave the identification of that air service provider un-named for now...

    But for fine, safe, and experienced air support out of Happy Valley I will recommend Mike McCrary. Even during the summer/fall while he is up north, he can be reached at 907 209-0119.

    If you want a beaver out of Coldfoot, contact Dirk and Danielle, owners of Coyote Air...907 678-5995 or 1 800 252-0603.

    Both of these air service providers have a lifetime of safe flying.

    Happy hunting & Flying
    dennis

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
    Several forum members have PMed me concerning the flight service that was involved in these unusual flight manuevers up on the north slope of the Brooks Range. I'll leave the identification of that air service provider un-named for now...

    But for fine, safe, and experienced air support out of Happy Valley I will recommend Mike McCrary. Even during the summer/fall while he is up north, he can be reached at 907 209-0119.

    If you want a beaver out of Coldfoot, contact Dirk and Danielle, owners of Coyote Air...907 678-5995 or 1 800 252-0603.

    Both of these air service providers have a lifetime of safe flying.

    Happy hunting & Flying
    dennis
    will second coyote air... use to work at the cold foot DOT station... they were always good folks. ..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  19. #19

    Default Early August North Slope Caribou Hunt?

    Hello Alaska Hunters & Pilots,
    First of all thanks for all the information that will help me with my "Real- Do it Myself" Caribou Hunt. Depending on weather we should be on the North Slope Caribou hunting near the Canning by August 4th. I understand that the mosquitos might be thick.
    We have two tundra tire equipped Maule airplanes and a support vehicle that will be parked at Galbraith Lake. My freind from Anchorage has a grizzly tag too. Anyway I'm an avid coyote hunter and was wondering if it is legal to hunt wolves in Alaska with an electronic predator call, or is it worth just sitting over a gut pile for a day or so?

    Thanks,

    James

  20. #20

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    Cool photos. Makes me anxious to get back to the Brooks again this year.

    I won't comment on the legality of using an electronic call (check the regs), but will tell you I called in a wolf last year in the Brooks with my mouth call (simple squealing rabbit - go figure). I have also called in griz there, so be careful. I assume if you are planning on sitting on a gut pile you are taking a caribou tag or taking advantage of your friend's bear harvest. The trouble with gut piles and wolves, however, is that though there are a lot of wolves, they travel long distances and are very widely scattered at times. One may not be in your valley or it might only visit a gut pile after dark, especially if you have two planes sitting nearby.

    I'd take a mouth call (less weight) and work the wind like I'm sure you do with coyotes, but be ready to cover a lot more ground than you do with songdogs to find a target.

    Good luck!!

    Don Mulligan
    www.outdoorswithdon.com

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