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Thread: Coleen International airport

  1. #1
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    Default Coleen International airport

    We flew into the Coleen International airport on Sept.7th. There were 3 groups already camped in the parking lot when we got there lol. One group had been waiting there 3 days already for their raft to arrive, it showed up later that day and they inflated immediately and hit the river even though they only had a few hours before dark. They were hoping to get a jump on the hunting pressure that was getting ready to float down. We later found out they ran into 3 groups that were already ahead of them. On the 8th my buddy and I hunted the area around the airport for Caribou, we counted 11 planes that flew over 8 of which landed and dropped off more hunters and more gear. On the 9th we decided to start floating, hoping to get away from all the airplane traffic for a little peace and quite, we didnt count airplanes that day but the traffic appeared to be similar to the prior day with 2 more groups showing up. Once on the river we saw other people everday but one and heard gunshots every day. I probably heard in excess of 50 shots on the whole trip! With the trip ending on the last day with somebody shooting a moose that was in my buddy's crosshairs about 30 secs before he was going to pull the trigger. The moose was 45 yards from our tent and my buddy was just waiting for it to get completely out of the river before he fired. Wierd surprise when you dont think there is anyone around for miles! Nothing against anyone else floating the river, everyone we met were wonderful folks and we made some new friends, it's just I didnt spend a bunch of money and time to fly that far and see them and they didn't go there to see me either. I just wonder how that drainage can sustain that kind of hunting pressure, it won't will be my guess and it isn't the wilderness experience people are paying money to access. Next time we will probably hunt the 40-mile herd from the highway, something cheaper and less people. lol. I am not complaining about my trip at all, I had a great time on my first float hunt, had a great hunt and enjoyed the beauty of Alaska once again, I just wanted to bring to attention something I haven't heard much about and let people know what they might encounter on their dream trip after months or years of planing weather it's to the Coleen river, the Sheenjek river or whatever river you may pick.

  2. #2
    Member sheep man's Avatar
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    You might think about fern lake next time big moose very few folks...lol
    I ♥ Big Sheep

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    Sounds disappointing for sure, I am sorry to hear the story. I would think most of the other folks shared in your feelings. The Coleen is not a cheap flight either. It is kinda funny if you think about, most of the year you can have those drainages just about to yourself; however, come hunting season we sure do a good job of filling them up.

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    Well at least on a drop hunt with 40-mile air for caribou the only person your likely to see is a lost sheep hunter!! There might be a reason you don't see anyone at Fern lake though!!

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    Howdy and it was nice to meet you at "CIA". Course, would have been even nicer to meet you elsewhere! Yep, as the last to arrive at CIA and the last one down the river this year, my partner and I had a great hunt but were dismayed by the abundance of bipeds. Just about every gravel bar we visited had human tracks (and I know yours quite well now, about a size 12 hip boot!) in addition to wolf, brown bear, moose and caribou. We had not anticipated needing to plan our strategy as much around others as around the movements and observations of critters. I'm not sure I'd advocate for limited entry or reduced opportunity for places like this but certainly one should consider that if it is lack of other humans you are after, you better choose your location carefully.

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    Hi Paul! You were close, size 11 hip boot! I didnt mean to put tracks all over every gravel bar! lol I hate to advocate limited entry anywhere but man the pressure that gets put on the moose pop. there and the amount of time it takes to grow big mature bulls that we are all after. I just dont see how places like that can sustain in the long run. I would rather have to wait and have a great experience when I do get to go than go somewhere and have a less than desired exp. I will state again I am in no way actually trying to complain about my personal experience, just trying to bring attention to an aspect you dont hear enough about on here or elsewhere when planning a trip of this magnitude. A trip like this, I dreamed about for probably 4 yrs now and planned for for almost 2yrs. But I didnt realize I would be sharing my dream with SO many others and as you basically stated didnt plan on it either.

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    Kblogs..........the Coleen drainage is pretty substantial. While the crowding along the main river certainly makes for a less enjoyable experience, most of the country around feels little or no hunting pressure. When you consider the number of bulls that reside in the Colleen country, it is likely that the harvest along the river is not a problem.
    We don't have "limited entry" hunting here. We do have registration hunts, tier I and II hunts, and drawing hunts. The Coleen drainage is completely within fed land.............so restrictions would kick out most everyone except those who live there.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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    I just got back from a public land DIY hunt for elk in Wyoming in which I saw fewer hunters in the field than I saw after being flown in to a supposedly extremely remote river in Alaska! I only hiked 2 miles from a major gravel road to do that hunt. So I am sorry I can't come on here with some phony story about how I was on a river in the middle of nowhere and absolutely didnt see another living human being! The cost difference between the 2 hunts is thousands of dollars! So out of respect to people planning a trip like this in the future I am just trying to shed some light on issues that some people tend to not mention! For most people this is a once in a lifetime hunt that they are spending very hard to come by money on, since there are so few people on this forum indicating how many people they encountered on these supposedly EXTREMELY remote hunts I thought I would hopefully bring this asspect to attention for anyone getting ready to plunk down lots of cold hard cash for a hunt they have dreamed about all their adult life! Not trying to discourage just want people to be aware of possibilities............ that's all!!! Sorry my vote is to limit people going into locations like this, as in limits on how many people can be dropped off in certain locations or less desirable............ limit tags and have a drawing. There already are enough stupid regulations like a resident can shoot a grizz and I can not, a resident can shoot any bull there, I have to shoot a 50". With stupid regulations like that whats wrong with a few more? Oh and if anyone can explain how those regulations are fair...... or at least not stupid, please do so! Last I knew this was a very low density moose area so I can't help but think that a heavy concentration of hunting and harvest in one area does have some affect on the moose population. I guess that would be good news for someone hunting 5 miles off the river until they get to the meat packing part of the hunt!

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    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    Sounds like you got a great spot there in Wyoming, maybe you should stick with that if the regulations in Alaska annoy you so much. The regulations here seem "stupid" to you because they dont work in your favor. If you want to hunt grizz or a 30" moose here pay a guide or move to Alaska. There are also good rivers in AK where they do limit the number of people transporters are allowed to take into the area, alittle research would uncover these areas.

  10. #10
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    Just a small point of contention but in remote AK rivers = roads and I bet just like you found in Wyoming a mile or so off the road you have it all to yourself.

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    Does wyoming not have restrictions put on non residennts? As in most states the restricts for residents are not as strict as for non residents

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    bklogs

    Your first few posts from weeks ago were a different tune from what you have recently posted. Why the change in tone? You appeared to be a friendly fellow sharing an experience. Now you come across as someone who is disgruntled rather than one who "had a great hunt and enjoyed the beauty of Alaska". I can understand your frustration at the expectation of a remote wilderness experience not coming to fruition the way you had envisioned. But you are showing some ignorance with the life is not fair/stupid regulations rant.

    Every state has differing regulations for resident vs non-resident . . . . even yours. There are a variety of reason why they exist, most notably to protect and manage the resources. There is not an unlimited supply of wildlife and wilderness. In Alaska specifically, they also mitigate unfortunate experiences for the unprepared and unseasoned non-resident hunter (of which there are some). I am not suggesting this the case for you; but these are real concerns and some of the reasons non-residents must hire a guide for brown bear, sheep, and mountain goat. It may not be perfect, but it does reduce the pressure on these species. It also reduces the number of times the Coast Guard, National Guard, and other emergency services have to retrieve said hunters. This, of course, is not the whole picture, but it should be sufficient enough that you get the idea.

    If you want to shoot a 37 inch moose then you have the option to move to Alaska and establish residency. If I want to hunt whitetails in Missouri? as a resident then I can move there and do so. Expecting Alaskans to limit their opportunities or alter their lifestyle so you can show up occassionally to recreate seems shortsighted. . . no? Otherwise, either of us complaining about the "lack of opportunity" in the others' home state sounds a lot like entitlement. Remember what mama said. . . . . life, contrary to popular American mindset, is not fair.

  13. #13

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    I am from Wyoming and have been in Alaska less than a year and a half. While Wyoming does present some wonderful hunting opportunities (probably the second best next to Alaska in my opinion) from first hand experience I don't know how you can even come close to thinking the Wyoming regulations and opportunities are even close to what you as a non resident can find in Alaska. I love Wyoming and am glad you had a positive experience and if you choose to try Alaska again I hope that things work out more positive for you.

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    What do you think is going to happen when everyone in the world reads about a river......
    Pretty soon we will not have to worry at all; Alaska will have it all draw hunts.

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    I guess I came across with a tone that I didn't mean to! I most certainly apologize for my use of words which should have read don't agree with instead of stupid. I am sure we all find rules and regs that we don't agree with. I can understand if there is a need to limit harvest by only allowing the taking of a mature male animal( that was somehow decided that the magical 50" is the standard) but when that rule apply's to one person and not another I can't agree with it, I am sorry. Because at that point it obviously isnt a legitimate law for the animal's sake but more so a game being played so as to require some people to HAVE to spend more money to participate, more so when speaking of the grizz, cause why would one spend more money to shoot a smaller moose?! But also keep in mind the land we are talking about, we are talking about FEDERAL land not state land. So I have to wonder on the fairness of laws passed by any state, and especially Wyoming for that matter which requires the hirig of an outfitter to access wilderness areas (which I have accessed just fine with my own horses on my own in New Mexico, Utah and Colorado) over the uses of Federal land. IMHO federal land in Montana for example belongs as much so to an U.S. citizen from Florida, New York, Vermont......etc as it does to the person who lives in the state of Montana, sure charge higher tag fees if you want for the nonresident but he should be allowed(after paying the higher tag fee) equal access to the land that equally is his to access! Anyway I didn't mean to be complaining or crying at all, just exercising my freedom to voice my opinion and I am far from disgrunteled. I did have a another wonderful experience in Alaska, my third trip, and I will be back next August to hunt sheep and grizzly(with a guide, required by law)! I actually had an incredible adventure, wouldnt trade it for the world. But I know for a FACT people post on this forum telling of their amazing adventures( and they are) leaving out 1 detail, how many people they encountered on their adventure. The whole purpose of the post was to bring some light on what it is possible to encounter after spending thousands of $$ not to encounter or not thinking you will anyway, that's all..... no crying no complaints and no regrets. Just trying to be informative... sorry if I threw my 2 cents in on what I agree with or dont agree with, I never ment to head down that road.

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    Sounds like you are pretty disgruntled. I think you would have a VERY hard time getting ANY simpathy from Alaskans. Most Alaskans think that the hunting regs are a little too favorable to non-residents.

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    My opinion FWIW.... You should've asked for help or done further research on you own instead of leaving it to a outfitter or flight crew.. your lesson was expensive, but there are waaay better spots out there, with less people. welcome to "Float Hunting in Alaska" . people have a more "positive" hunting experience when they are part of the planning process successful or not. as they take responsibility for their actions/plans and don't blame regulations and laws, and other hunters. JMO..

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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    I think the research and planning part of a trip might be my favorite part of the whole experience so I sure wouldnt let an outfitter or flight crew take all the fun out of it. lol The trip was a complete success. Just about everything turned out like I had hoped or planned or dreamed. I would never ever blame other ethical hunters, out trying to enjoy the same experience that I am, EVER!!! Just trying to pass a tid bit of information along for the next guy............ you may be sharing your very remote location with alot of other people. That's all, no simpathy, none wanted, none needed! It was a trip of a lifetime for me, not sure how it gets anymore positive or successful than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bklogs View Post
    I can understand if there is a need to limit harvest by only allowing the taking of a mature male animal( that was somehow decided that the magical 50" is the standard) but when that rule apply's to one person and not another I can't agree with it, I am sorry.
    The 50" rule is based on decades of research on moose breeding. A bull that can obtain antlers of that width has reached an age where they are able to fight other bulls and gather up a few cows to breed with. He has been given a chance to pass his genes on to future generations.

    The reason a nonresident is restricted to a 50" or larger bull is for the trophy aspect of moose hunting. The state doesn't want OOSers coming in and shooting a little paddle horn on their first day and then as they go down the river they find some 60" beast standing on a gravel bar....there have been too many cases where an OOSer shoots the beast and dumps the paddle horn off the side of the boat. So the state feels it necessary to control OOSers by restricting them to 50" or larger bulls.

    Why can a resident take any bull? Because we mostly want meat and not horns. Some guys still like horns more than meat, but most just need the meat.

    When you read the daily Trooper dispatches in the fall you will find that the majority of antler width violators are OOSers hunting on their own with out a guide. This is also why there are the brow tine restrictions, so that if that 48" bull has 3 or 4 brow tines he is good to go into your freezer.

    The land may be Federal but the animals belong to the State, which is why the State and Feds butt heads on subsistance all the time. Federal subsistance rules on Federal land violate the state constitution (which was ratified by the Feds) as it pertains to hunting and fishing. After the Supreme court sided with the Feds several years ago the State dropped all their legal protests.

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    Thank you for explaining all of that. That was the answers I was looking for, not people telling me I was ranting and looking for sympathy and so on. I guess I brought that on myself with my very poor choice of words. Unfortunately that probably is a problem with someone shooting a bigger bull after their tag is already filled and swapping heads so to speak. I am sure lots of residents do want to fill their freezer with moose meat(venison is the main source of protien in my household) and dont want to be tied up with the whole trophy/mature bull part of it and would also rather have a younger more tender animal. I guess to bad their has to be regs to fit all these needs and it cant be left up to each individual to make his own choice on what type of animal he is happy pullin the trigger on. I agree that states should set their own bag limits, tag fees and other game related issues, it just makes me wonder when, Wyoming for example says you have to have an outfitter to access a wilderness area(federal land) that may ought to be open to any tax paying U.S. citizen once he has forked over the tag fee to that state for whatever game animal he is after. It's just a thought I ponder on from time to time.

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