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Thread: Question on Float Hunt!

  1. #1
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    Default Question on Float Hunt!

    I am trying to plan a Float Hunt for next year and it will be two people for sure possibility more depending on the price. We are looking to hunt Moose With a rifle and anything else would be a plus, the odds of getting a draw area are probably small, so I am not sure of the area yet, as I am not looking to find secret spots. I am trying to plan a trip that will not bust the bank, somewhere around $1500-2000 a person. Is it possible to get a plane charter, a raft rental, and everything else for this price? Any info on anything whether its who to charter or what raft to rent would be awesome. Thanks!

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigbertha78 View Post
    I am trying to plan a Float Hunt for next year and it will be two people for sure possibility more depending on the price. We are looking to hunt Moose With a rifle and anything else would be a plus, the odds of getting a draw area are probably small, so I am not sure of the area yet, as I am not looking to find secret spots. I am trying to plan a trip that will not bust the bank, somewhere around $1500-2000 a person. Is it possible to get a plane charter, a raft rental, and everything else for this price? Any info on anything whether its who to charter or what raft to rent would be awesome. Thanks!
    Hello Bertha,

    Although it is possible to do a float hunt for that kind of money, I think your numbers are way too low. Typical raft rental will run you about $100/day. If it's a ten-day hunt (like many are), you're looking at a grand right there, not counting the shipping time if you are flying out of a village, as many do these days. Some rental companies charge you for every day it is out of their shop, so you pay for not only the shipping charges, but the days in transit. Not all of them do that, but some do. Check it out.

    Next, your air freight (if you go out of a village) is going to run you close to 2K or more. Then your air charter, the most expensive part of the trip, is going to cost you an average of $2500 per person. Again, you can do it cheaper; I'm talking averages here.

    Most of the hunters I work with in my consultation service plan on spending $5,000- $5,500 per person, which includes everything (even your commercial flight out to the village, food, cargo out and back, gear incidentals, raft rentals, satphone rental, etc.)

    Not to discourage you at all, but you need to look at ALL your numbers. Otherwise tons of hidden costs creep up on you and you end up short.

    As in all things, there are tricks to saving money here. For example you could choose a river with road access at one or both ends. This can save you half the air charter fees. Choose an air charter that provides the boats for free (but check their gear out so you know if you are getting the right stuff).

    You are welcome to contact me if you like. I run a hunt consultation service with a specialty in float hunting. I do give out quite a bit of information over the phone for free, as long as it is in reason. More than happy to assist.

    Best of luck on your adventure!

    Take care,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    I would recommend Mikes services for sure, can't be beat. The one thing that you need to make sure that you get his book as starting point. Full of a wealth of knowledge!

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    I would recommend Mikes services for sure, can't be beat. The one thing that you need to make sure that you get his book as starting point. Full of a wealth of knowledge!

    I'll 2nd that.

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    Default Yepper on Mike's Book and his services

    If you are planning remote Mike is spot on. Remote meaning anything that does not come out to a road system that requires you to fly in and out of the choosen river.

    If not busting the bank is the requirement you do have options between Anch, Glennallen, and Fairbanks that would put you in the wheel house of a float hunt however you will have more company than if you went into a more remote section of the state to accomplish your hunt.

    There are a couple of road to road floats that can make the hunt even less expensive but again more people as well.

    Some local options around Fairbanks are the Nenana, Chena and Tanana Rivers. Please ensure you look at what permit options are available for a draw and or registered hunt "there are options" Each one of the rivers listed have high Moose populations as well.

    Some Local Fly in options are again the Upper Chena and Salcha and a drive to and out of option with spot Birch Creek again a little busy but a viable hunt for those willing to accomplish their home work and hunt hard.

    Local Fly out options also include Beaver Creek, Wood River, Charley River, 40 mile River, Middle Fork of the Gulkana to Dickey Lake.

    All of these hunts can be done within your price range. You need to book earlier than later. I would contact Bob at Wright Air if you plan on hunting between the Alaskan Range and the White Mountians and 40 Mile Air if I were leaning more towards the Tok area.

    Shoot me a PM with your DSN number and I will call you if you wish with more specific Data concerning the Fairbanks area or in and or around the Alaska Range and or White Mountains.

    Best wishes and thank you for your service.

    Richard "Moose" Mousseau (ret) USAF
    Blue Moose Rafting

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    I'll also pass along my recommendation of Blue Moose. Dat der gintelmen is one fine feller.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigbertha78 View Post
    I am trying to plan a Float Hunt for next year and it will be two people for sure possibility more depending on the price. We are looking to hunt Moose With a rifle and anything else would be a plus, the odds of getting a draw area are probably small, so I am not sure of the area yet, as I am not looking to find secret spots. I am trying to plan a trip that will not bust the bank, somewhere around $1500-2000 a person. Is it possible to get a plane charter, a raft rental, and everything else for this price? Any info on anything whether its who to charter or what raft to rent would be awesome. Thanks!
    A nice float can be had for the $1500-2000 per person... It's about connecting the dots on logistics and raft rental outfitting.

    For example: I can certainly rent you a very high end and comprehensive raft package for a 10 day float for under $1,500
    More into the $2000 mark... you have tents, dry-boxes, stoves and all.

    (edited)

    Logistics on fly-outs for floats for what you would like to do run around $550-650 per hour in DHC-2 Beaver bulked out at 1250 lbs. This measures out to be sticking to the plan of 1 hour or 100 mile radius into the bush from a major hub like Anchorage for under $2000. (edited)

    Could this be on the lean end of expenditure? Maybe - more or less, however very doable with the right connections to have it run dependably.

    So there ya have it --- a great float trip at the $1500-$2000 range for ten days.
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 11-05-2010 at 19:01.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    A nice float can be had for the $1500-2000 per person... It's about connecting the dots on logistics and raft rental outfitting.

    For example: I can certainly rent you a very high end and comprehensive raft package for a 10 day float for under $1,500
    More into the $2000 mark... you have tents, dry-boxes, stoves and all.

    (edited)

    Logistics on fly-outs for floats for what you would like to do run around $550-650 per hour in DHC-2 Beaver bulked out at 1250 lbs. This measures out to be sticking to the plan of 1 hour or 100 mile radius into the bush from a major hub like Anchorage for under $2000. (edited)

    Could this be on the lean end of expenditure? Maybe - more or less, however very doable with the right connections to have it run dependably.

    So there ya have it --- a great float trip at the $1500-$2000 range for ten days.
    Brian,

    My numbers are quite a bit different from yours. Here is what I typically quote to nonresident hunters, using a self-guided moose / caribou hunt out of Kotzebue as an example (all of the following numbers are PER PERSON):

    • Commercial airfare ANC-OTZ- $437 (rt)
    • Air charter $2150
    • Lodging, meals and ground transportation in ANC and OTZ $500
    • Air freight (in and out) $1394
    • Food $300
    • Raft rental $450
    • Camp rental $550
    • License / tags $840
    • Gear and incidentals $500 +/-
    • Meat processing $300
    • Trophy expediting $250
    • Phone & related $50


    TOTAL: $7,721

    Certainly it can be done for less, by changing location, bringing your own boats, or taking any of several other cost-cutting measures (which I cover with my hunters). But your suggestion that a person could do "a great float hunt for $1500-$2000" cannot possibly include all the costs.

    Most folks I deal with in my consultation service plan to spend in the neighborhood of 5K per person. Even that number limits us on where we can place them.

    -Mike
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 11-05-2010 at 22:50.
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  9. #9
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    Default Not to steal show or discredit anything said... clarification

    seeing the edits... I'll post additional tips with regards to 'Floats on a $2000/person trip'.

    I understand what Mike is relating to you here... Average floater from out of state targeting Moose is going to reach deeper into their pocketbook and is likely gonna look like $3750-4600 per person on a do-it-yourselfer having all outfitting/rental bells/whistles, transportation, food, plus someone laying out all the groundwork. This stuff will not guarantee a moose on the ground, and ideal experience, yet sometimes can make for better ods - if you are up to it.

    Headed out to fly-out float trip hubs in more remote parts of the Alaska (like Kotz, Bettles and others to the north or elsewhere) You'll find yourselves spending more per person.

    Costs may add up quickly in scenarios like Kotz.:
    A.) Distance... just added round trip Jet air fare (in state Alaska travel is super expensive compared with lower 48 flights)
    B.) More expensive bush-plane charter rates (like $100-250 more per hour) 2 things here... You are in their neck of the woods it's expensive for sure on operations, and they know they've got ya.
    D.) Distance... Could be more than 1 hour radius on drop or take out - adds up on hourly rates fast.
    C.) Successful experience (if defined by a couple Moose down) can get as expensive as you'd like to make it on meat and trophies.
    D.) Weather delays are often much more costly... extended stays are part of Alaska, and in the bush a lodge stay w/ food can be staggering.

    As said in my post and not to confuse anyone --- an Alaska float trip experience with flights and raft rental can be done for $2000/person. It is on the lean side, and keep in mind first float trips to Alaska can seem overwhelming to confusing. At the rates (some could say limitations) I'm talking these are priorities to consider.
    1.) Keep distances to a known radius from major hub -- not overextending logistics.... time, aircraft, # of planes, etc.
    2.) Lightweight food and gear... enough, reliable, but simple.
    3.) Choose comprehensive, organized raft rental company and quality boats for dependability... so details are covered 110% - nobody drops the ball, and that damage costs aren't likely to be trip deal breaker at the end.
    4.) Do as much research as possible and talk to as many as you can... glean all you can that seams to make sense and looks to be affordable.
    5.) If trip success is 'only a measure of Moose Down' - spend way more money first time around - hire a good guide - in the end-game it could be less expensive than do-it-yourselfer.

  10. #10
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Air travel is spendy...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigbertha78 View Post
    I am trying to plan a Float Hunt for next year and it will be two people for sure possibility more depending on the price. We are looking to hunt Moose With a rifle and anything else would be a plus, ... I am trying to plan a trip that will not bust the bank, somewhere around $1500-2000 a person. Is it possible to get a plane charter, a raft rental, and everything else for this price? Any info on anything whether its who to charter or what raft to rent would be awesome. Thanks!
    BB78,
    I'm much closer to the rookie end of AK and hunting experience, but just a few thoughts:
    1. Some would consider partial road-access to reduce costs, esp at either the p/u or t/o. Willow Air offers fly-in/out moose hunts for approx $3500/person. Driving to Willow would save you some air fare. Outfits like 40-Mile Air offer good packages and useful info on their websites that can help you - including some road access pkgs to save $$.
    2. Jump on your research. Once draw permit results are announced (February?), air charters can fill up fast and the logistics - esp if inexperienced - can be daunting. Several excellent books to help you plan as already suggested. Dennis Confer's book is another one. Karen Jettmar and Larry Bartlett's books (try the OSA bookstore) are also useful IMO.
    3. Plan for financial commitments from other hunters early. You'll need to start making other reservations soon anyway.
    4. Consider a Plan B alternative: drop camp and maybe caribou perhaps. The logisitics are much simpler. Success rate for caribou hunt might be better.
    5. Search these Forums.

    Good luck.

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