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Thread: 1st Time Caribou Hunting on the North Slope

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    Default 1st Time Caribou Hunting on the North Slope

    I am planning on going Caribou hunting on the North Slope at the end of September. I have gotten a lot of advice from different people, but I still need more. I am leaning towards walking the five miles in, due to the high cost of air transportation, but would not mind flying if the price was right. For Walking in I have heard that Toolik Lake is not a bad spot and also north of Franklin Bluffs. I am just looking for any help/advice/suggestions that I can get. Thanks.

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    Member PatrickH's Avatar
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    If you have never walked on tundra you might want to reconsider the five mile walk. It is not flat, it is not even, and it is not firm. I would rather walk twice the distance on firm ground. Some areas are much better than others. But if you get into the deep hummocks you will not be a happy hiker. Most people who have done the five mile walk will not do it again, especially if they take an animal.
    The troopers know how hard it is, and they are likely to check on you and have you show them the kill site. It better be at least five miles from the road, and the meat had better be all gone and packed out. If you are in great shape and have good ankles, it would be a good personal challenge.
    By the end of September it could be frozen and snowy. The travel would be easier, but you should be prepared for snow storms and cold weather. Also you have to pick the right area to walk in. The caribou are not evenly spread. I would have to be really confident that I would find animals before I made that walk.
    You should a search on this forum. There is a ton of info already written.
    Good luck.

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    Hunted near toolik lake last fall, sept 1-4, with one other friend, we took 2 bou's and worked harder than I have ever worked for a animal. lots of game thats for sure, but make sure you are prepared!!!! this requires a lot of work, remember the weather can change in minutes and your feet/ankles will take a beating! I also had a heck of a time, ill never forget it, even packed out a huge set of sheds from the year before, dont forget youre camera. You can use the pipeline rds to gain access, along with gravel pit rds use them to you advantage to get you out a mile further on hard ground. otherwise cross the sag river and pack out the bou are less jumpy. Im heading up sept 7-28, ganan live on the haul for awhile, good luck be safe!

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    Here is what I tell every one that asks about doing the walk. Fill a room full of footballs and basketballs, then turn on a garden hose, put a 100+ lbs pack on your back. Then walk on it for a day or 3, then tell me if you still want to do the 5 mi thing. It can be done, but plan well.
    Alaska Mountin' Man Taxidermy
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    Default what about the law?

    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickH View Post
    The troopers know how hard it is, and they are likely to check on you and have you show them the kill site.
    I'm a law abiding guy, and I only recommend law abiding behavior, but I'm also quite fond of my civil rights as well.

    I am very hard pressed to believe that any trooper can make you walk back to the kill site and point it out to them.

    If anyone here disagrees, please do state if you're either a lawyer or a trooper, please. Not asking for names, just position/background.

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    Just came back from the slope archery hunting. Watched a group of rifles hunters from my camp do the 5 mile walk it took them 7 hrs and 18 minutes each way but they did get a small caribou. Talked to them when they got back to camp and they all agreed that they would never do it again.

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    Whats hard about walking on Tundra?? Concreat kills my feet....

    I pull on the fairly new greased up German Officers Riding Jackboots,( thanx to the oldest daughter !!) keep my feet between the 'igerheads and go, just like Sunday.
    A goodpair of Xtratuffs is nice, if you cant get your feet into some decent tall leather, and I usually wear rainpants in fall, to keep the wet off the legs, and heck, I'm boating again, so rain pants are part of my Summer ensomble....
    I use a blue plastic tarp and a bit of rope to drag back bull Caribou, no problemo! Probly would make multipul trips on my way out to keep the load light, if it were 5 miles.
    When I use to carry Caribou , I always used a walking stick to keep my balance, and to rest against while standing.
    Bring plenty of water.

    And a camera, so people will belive you here~~LOL!!~~just kidding....~~LOL!!~~~YOU wont forget your first Caribou Hunt pix or not !

    Have fun!
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    I agree with Stranger. I have made the five mile trip over the Sag river. Was hard work but a great experience. I always thought that it was just plain tough and nobody in there right mind would do that again. Then last year a group of older men were hunting in the same area as us. Watching them roll across the tundra was nothing short to amazing. Most were in there late 40's and early 50's. They knew something I didn't cause they would cover twice the distance I could. That gives me something to work harder on and be more prepared for. The point is enjoy and give it a go. Is it a lot of work? Yes, but you always seem to forget about it when next season comes around.

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    Member lawdog's Avatar
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    I have three knuclehead friends from Upstate NY that are insisting on doing the five mile thing. A resident friend of theirs has talked them into it. They're out of shape and have never been on tundra. I warned em'. Can't wait to hear the stories.

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    Walked a bit up there.....sux!!! If you are a bow hunter, I recommend walking to the river and getting away from all the pressure of the road....or to the hills where you can first spot 'bou with the bino's; that mile in and heavy mile out will be enough walking on that ankle killing terrain. Take a lightweight tent and a raft and you're sure to have a hoot stalking all sorts of 'bou.

    You're asking advice, so that's mine...good luck up there! Be sure to include pix when you're back!

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    Old Guys? 40 or 50? Thats just not showing respect there. lol

    Could've said a couple of middle aged guys, or some tough SOBs, but old guys? ( lol one of these days you will be there to)

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    [QUOTEOld Guys? 40 or 50? Thats just not showing respect there. lol

    Could've said a couple of middle aged guys, or some tough SOBs, but old guys? ( lol one of these days you will be there to][/QUOTE]


    Sorry Rock, I had to have some humor in there. I knew someone would bite.

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    Default No Experience Hunting There But....

    After Work yesterday I was bored so I jumped in my work truck and took a spin down the haul road to see how our fellow Bou hunters were doing. Well I drove to Pump station 2 (110 miles outta town) and seen a few bulls close enough to the road I woulda put the stalk on them. I seen a solo musk ox, bou's, and I believe a snow owl. Was a great way to break up the work week. I am now thinking about hauling a bow up to work next year and maybe get a chance to take one after work if I am lucky! Not sure how to get the meat back to town though. Still need to figure it all out. Anyways, here are a few pics from last night to give some of you the idea on the terrain.








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    3 of us did the walk together last year. There is nothing magic about 5 miles, we ended up at 6.5 before we saw our first bou. Got a 2nd bull just over 5 miles out on the walk back. It was a long walk out and back! Have more water than you think you could drink and use any road surface you can to get a jump on that 5 miles. It is definitely a blast and you won't soon forget it. Will be up there in the next couple of weeks but hopefully this time the road bou cooperate better

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    I was up ther the end of Sept a couple years ago. The average temp was 20 and there was about 2 inches of snow on the ground. Consider taking a plastic sled with you to haul gear and the caribouo back. Effectiveness will depend on where you go in but it worked for us.

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