Left late for hunt with my son, Rob, for Caribou hunt. I had to fly to CA and assist my mom after she fell. That trip got extended 5 days. Was suppose to leave 29 Aug but got home 4 am on 2nd and was heading north in truck by 5 PM. Rob had got everything ready to go (camper, trailer, truck boat ETC) but my personal stuff. He worked for days repairing things and loading stuff. A lot of work Can’t thank him enough. Rob Drove till 2 am 25 -30 miles out of Fairbanks. Refueled at Freddies and had bkft at Hilltop. Lunch @ Coldfoot Saw 712 ( 6 wheel version ) of Pinzgauer there talked with driver it belonged to mine up there and they have 3 of them. ( I have 710 4 wheel version of the Pinzgauer) Arrived @ boat launch at 11PM in heavy fog.
Day one - while preparing to launch boat we were approached by someone there. they blew there their OB motor 100 yards from launch the night before after dropping 2 friends and a dog and camp off at the bluffs on the Ivashak. We went and retrieved them ….in one trip, good load for my 14 foot boat. Sag and Ivashak had changed a lot in past year, my old s- curve short cut to main channel was dry. Were back by noon and hunted the rest of the day. That PM we hunted and visited friends (roger45) up sag at their camp
Day 2 - left camp going down stream….something new. Much easier and quicker to get to main channel but 3.5 to 4 miles further down stream, where you hit main channel. We hunted bluffs north of camp and returned to get fuel and head south , up stream….returning on new channel north of camp I took wrong braid…. Then chickened out too late and ended up spending 2+ hrs getting back to deep water.. At the end of the day we assisted group of 8 guys - 4 had launched @ PS2 and floated to Ivashak then up that with prop motor for a "day trip" then came down but missed braid to launch and were lost. Near dark we located them and carried one member back to launch and some of their gear and gave directions to them of alternative pull out spot down stream and told friends waiting at launch where they could pick up there friends.
Days blurred together after this.
Saw fair number of bou. Rob made a number of stalks never could make it work. We checked out new areas and Rob got with in 60 yards of a monster bull probably B & C class.
Saw we saw a wolverine lopping across tundra. Appeared to be trailing bou Rob had put stalk on earlier. We tried to locate it in draw and even tried Foxpro call with no response.
Got stuck 3-4 times. next to last day took new braid and it petered out and we were 50-75 feet short of deep water. An Airboat stopped ( fellow bowhunter that I had met before) push our boat into deep water with his Airboat that was very nice and greatly appreciated and saved Rob and I at least 1 hr of tough work.
Last day we decided to take rifle up Ivashak and get 1-2 for freezer …saw none in rifle area. did locate one dead one on a ridge , probably dead 1-2 weeks no bear activity on it just birds. On way down river made sideslide and my stomp grate came apart took 1 + hrs for Rob to get it taken off enough to get boat to run like normal. Got back to camp @ 3 PM and we were on the road home by 5.
Great trip, great weather , too warm at times, saw lots of caribou and Muskox, 2 fox, lots of ptarmigan, one griz in Atigun Valley tried stalk at dark but it went up mountain.
Know of 2 airboats with blown engines , still there when we left. One had been there for two weeks and had second failed attempt to recover it day we left. 3-4 jet boats that failed to get to main channel , one other tore at least two holes in bottom and bailed this guy gave it his best, trying to take his 2 kids and dad up to hunt and fish….took him 5-6 days just to get to boat launch… blew his truck tranny and had to be towed back to Fbnks. one jon boat with prop motor turned around after first corner and another prop group decided to not even try after we talked. Highest count at ramp 30 vehicles lowest was 5…picked back up before we left. Boat overloading seemed to be major problem. Water was low but probably no lower than usual probably dropped 2-3 inches while we were there.
Tried to assist 2 other groups but declined help at that time. one made it with over loaded inflatable and 3 guys and very late departure from boat launch but last I saw them they were floating down river with no visible racks. Not using motor if it was operational.
It is really hard for me to see so many groups travel all that way and not get the chance to hunt. Some were not realistic in what they were trying to do and ill prepared. Others had bad luck. we met some very nice folks there again this year.
Rob made a lot of stalks, with my screwed up knee I was very limited. But I still spent 10 great days in the field with my son.