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Thread: Hunt Logisitics

  1. #1
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Hunt Logisitics

    This subject comes up often, but usually indirectly as part of threads about Kotzebue or other fly-in only destinations. I'm hoping those with more experience than I will chime in and share their advice about how to handle getting gear into the field and getting it back out along with the meat/antlers.

    Things like:
    What to (& not) bring--weight, utility, packability etc.
    Becoming a Known Shipper--forms, timelines, cost etc.
    Getting the meat home
    Cutting costs without cutting corners
    ...and whatever else those with "holes in the T-shirt" think is important.

    Sheep hunts aside, logistics is a huge, fairly complicated part of planning for most Alaskan hunts, especially those involving aircraft. Like everything else there's a right way to do it, and then there's the unnecessarily expensive way. Hopefully this thread can yield more of how to do the former and avoid the pitfalls of the later.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    One thing I figured out a long time ago is that you can ship via the USPS within the state for very cheap. I used to try and fish the Situk river (down in Yakutak) every spring and I would ship all my gear, including a 18' cataraft, down a week or so prior to me making the trip. I can't recall the exact weights that I would ship, seems like 600 lbs. or so, and the cost usually would not exceed $30.00 each way. It is a bit of a pain in the ***** to ship this way as you have to label (address) each item, but it is way cheap. I would put everything that I could in action packers, the rest I would just try and bundle up, and take to the airport post office. I would back the truck up to the loading area and unload everything onto pallets. From there it would get weighted and shipped. It usually arrived to Yakutak within a day or two.

  3. #3
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    Have you mailed anything lately?
    Last year I mailed 2 totes to King Salmon, 3 weeks before needed. One arrived the day befor I did, the other the day after I flew out. Combined cost was around $50 each way. They were shipped parcel post. USPS has changed their guidelines for parcels in the past few years and not nearly cost efficent as earlier.
    Gary

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    A few years back it became a requiremnt by the post Office that any plane company that flew US Mail also flew passengers.

    Quite a few small "Mail Planes" went outta business, and the big guys got crowded, and passengers always fly, despite any mail. Its often weeks before the mail gets around, 'speccially during holidays.....
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  5. #5
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Experience...especially

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    ... advice about how to handle getting gear into the field and getting it back out along with the meat/antlers.

    Things like:
    What to (& not) bring--weight, utility, packability etc....
    Experience makes logistics easier and is the best way to avoid bringing too much in the first place. Experience also teaches us to pack smart. A friend with far more Alaska hunting experience finds packing and logistics very simple. For me, after only 2 fly-outs it seems inexperience often leads to bringing too much stuff that you don’t use. After each trip (fly-outs and otherwise), I look over the gear I took and pare things down for next time. Experience seems a lot about learning what you don’t need. So, at least from a rookie perspective:

    1. Gear list: probably more useful for the less-experienced. If you can have an experienced friend look at the list, he/she can help pare it down maybe. Lists can be good after your trip; if you take a hard look at each item for “weight, utility, packability”. If you can weigh the load to estimate your cargo needs, that’s helpful.

    2. Timeline: If partners involved, write out a timeline for, $ deposits, necessary gear to arrive in ANC, FAI, etc for shipping to bush, plans for weather delays, etc.

    3. Contact your air cargo or other shipper well in advance about flight schedules/delivery times, shipping any hazmat (fuels, motors), how long they will hold your gear, charges for storage, etc. If you have an accurate weight estimate, they can estimate your cost to destination. Northern Air Cargo in my case, provided exceptional service and getting things right with them can be done way in advance.

    4. Contact any outfitter involved to arrange/verify weight limits of aircraft.

    5. Obtain financial commitments early if others are involved.

    It's not hard to find horror stories of things gone wrong in the logistics. Last minute shopping scrambles to replace gear that never arrived (or was never shipped).

  6. #6
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    600lbs for $30, that would be nice. More like 600lbs for ~$400 (one way). Current rate is .57 cents per lb, plus fuel surcharge, and there are some other additional costs...

    If you go known shipper general rates that is the most econmical: http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/Car...s-20091026.pdf

  7. #7
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Ya, I guess I got in when the getten was good. The last time I did this was the spring of '03, I wasn't aware that things had changed though.

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    I shipped 4 boxes from Kodiak to Seward at the end of my bear hunt. Pretty much my whole camp, two tree stands and a electric fence were all included. I sent it 3rd class. It cost me $57 , not sure on the exact weight. I sent it Friday afternoon and My wife said it was in Seward by noon on Saturday. I think I should have mailed myself. It would have saved me a bunch of money and my wife wouldn't have had to drive to Anchorage.

  9. #9

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    Fly-In hunts are usually so individualized that it's hard to make any across-the-board statements. I've done several, but I'm no expert. Each hunt has had its own unique conditions, and it is quite difficult to generalize. I use USPS to ship gear back and forth. It's not cheap, but I'm paying for convenience, and I don't mind. Go to the USPS website and get familiar with container sizes and weight limits. Transit times matter...so get a realistic idea of when to expect gear to arrive. Don't try to cut it close.

    An example of how we saved money recently: Killed a moose on a Super Cub hunt. Pilot flew it to processor in town. We had visited the processor prior to our hunt, and he had the work orders for handling our moose ahead of time. When we arrived back to town we called him immediately...everything was on track. We had wax transport boxes lined with reflectix and loaded with 50# meat each, to stay under airlines limits. The day we flew home, we picked up the frozen meat and went immediately to the airport for check-in. We had a mountain of baggage (duffels, boxes, etc) and we checked it ALL in as baggage, and paid the fees. Long story short: we flew a bunch of very nice prime moose meat home and saved about $500 doing it this way.

    Gear: Way too individualized in terms of hunts and hunters. This is something every hunter has to figure out. Find others who've done it before you and talk to them about that hunt. If they've done it multiple times, you've just found the information bonanza you need. YMMV, but I can't hunt with cheap or marginal gear. I do the research and I spend the $ for good equipment, but I also plan to use it many times over several years. One good investment is an array of dry bags and duffels. Stuffable, compression, versatile, tough...your pilot will be very happy to see your gear in these, versus a couple over-stuffed XL duffels. Different deal if you're in an Otter though.

    Quality is usually not cheap. Neither is light physical weight. Performance costs extra. All 3 of these in one item (say a tent or sleeping bag) adds up to expense. I recently bought a Western Mountaineering bag and gave a lot of money for it. I wanted a bag that could survive the elements inside or out (Gore fabric), was tough, and warm enough to bivy in. My point is that every decision is an individual one, and lowest price shouldn't be the primary factor. Alaska is not easy, usually. Going on the cheap is often a formula for making it a bit harder.

  10. #10
    Sponsor Duckhunter01's Avatar
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    ERA CARGO...for hunts going or coming back from Kodiak.

    CHEAP and either same day pick up or the next..It might even be on the same flight with you..but you have to go to another part of the airfield to pick it up. Regardless it is WAY cheaper.
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