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Thread: Tips for a rookie

  1. #1
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    Default Tips for a rookie

    Hello, I have been on the website reading many of your posts and appreciate all the info given, I have been a member of many different sites over the last few years while living in the midwest and can say this site is the friendliest I have been on, it is nice to see people helping others out and appreciating the sport of hunting especially in this great state, many other sites are filled with arguments and bashing.

    With that said, I have recently move to anchorage and I have picked up some literature and am trying to start planning a float trip for moose next year. I am trying to gather as much information now to help in my planning. Due to the expense of moving up here and all that I am looking to do a trip as cost affective as possible. I was thinking about either a road to road trip or a drop off to road trip just to try and minimize cost of air travel. I understand that these options leave it possible to be in higher pressured areas, but I also enjoy the hunt just as much if not more than the kill, so complete success does not rest solely on taking an animal, but it would definitely be a bonus! So what I was curious about was possible river options that may fit this type of hunt, I am willing to drive up to 4 hours from anchorage, knowing that the further away may increase odds. I have plenty of canoe experience but only rafted a hand full of times, will be looking to increase skills over summer, but for now would prefer a river with some forgiveness for an amateur. Thanks for the help guys.

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    I would increase the amount you are willing to drive. There are really no rivers that are optimal for a float hunt within 4 hours of Anchorage.

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    That is definitely an option, I was just trying to set a time frame to try and narrow down area, but I am willing to drive, if that offers some better options.

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    Out of Fairbanks, the little Chena river and some of the sloughs off from it may be a good place for starters. Accessible by road and only a few miles out of town. Hunted hard but still good hunting by canoe or raft.

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    start by reading mark strahans book...

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninefoot View Post
    start by reading mark strahans book...
    Nine Foot..

    MIKE Strahan... ( heck he owns this place might as well get his name right.) or face
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    +1 for Michael Strahan's book, Float Hunting Alaska's Rivers. It is available from the forum store. I would also recommend getting out and doing some rafting this summer. Remember that a raft will act much different with a heavy load, much more difficult to control. A mature moose is a lot of weight and meat care on the river can be difficult. I love to float hunt, just want you to be prepared for what it takes, much more work than other types of hunting. Be prepared and have fun.

    Be safe

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    I would start of with the book already mentioned...then head over to Alaska Raft and Kayak in Anchorage. Those guys have tons of experience and I recommend that you get your own rafting gear so you can gain rafting experience during the summer.
    Spend an entire weekend reading the archives in these forums, rather than ask "whats best for me....a round raft or a cataraft?"
    Spend a summer rafting the Kenai River and Willow Creek and the Gulkana River to gain a high volumn of low intensity experience. Learn the basics, it really isn't rocket science. Always think about safety, which is more important than rocket science. Finding a personal-friend-mentor can always flatten out the learning curve.
    Rafting and float hunting is addictive.
    Dennis

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    I would second the reccomendation for putting in some float miles prior to your hunt trip. AlaskaTrueAdventure's advice is perfect. I rented a 14' raft from AK Raft & Kayak for my family's first overnight trip on the Gulkana 3 years ago. We had lots of camping experience, hundreds of miles in kayaks, and quite a few in paddle rafts (day trips only). However, the first day on oars with a fully loaded raft with people and gear was a different experience then I expected. Based on that first trip I decided to buy a 15' round raft. Learn at least the basics during day trips on local rivers. You'll learn many helful things on this forum, but some things you can only learn from experience. Adding hunting into the mix further complicates the trip, but will also put you into areas most don't venture.

    Like stated above....it is addicting!


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    Great info guys, yeah i was planning on renting a raft or trying to buy one this summer so I could get some good time in there and get more comfortable, for sure want to try and get out as much as possible, and if I do not feel comfortable by mid summer, I may change plans and try a different hunt this fall, and continue to gain knowledge. I definitely will not do a trip unless i am completely comfortable. I also will be ordering the book by M. Strahan within the next week or so, to go along with the stack of books I am currently reading. Appreciate all the info and will continue to read and gain the knowledge offered by this site, there sure is a lot of it. Cant wait to get out there. Good luck to all still hunting/trapping, I need to get out and do some predator calling after a full fall without pulling a trigger i cant hardly stand it anymore, hopefully first and last fall with that result.

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    Nice looking bou, thanks for adding the pic, I think I will look into the 15ft after reading your suggestion, i keep watching at ones on sale to get ideas on price, and make a decision on whether or not to rent but will not buy until after getting some experience and figuring out for sure what I want if I go that way, any suggestions on brands, dont necessarily need the most expensive but looking for the most bang for my buck, thanks again

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    As some others related... make every attempt to get out on the water before going the multi-day float hunt. Several day floats with road-side access or a multi-day fly-out fishing trip throughout the spring and summer months is sound advice.

    Also, great notion to try demo/rental rafts with comprehensive packages before buying. You'll find that helpful orientation to hands on instruction can be invaluable in terms of getting the most out of the sport, developing good habits from the get-go, and noting the suitable equipment without all the sales-pitching trial/error.

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    Member roughneck6883's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    +1 for Michael Strahan's book, Float Hunting Alaska's Rivers. It is available from the forum store. I would also recommend getting out and doing some rafting this summer. Remember that a raft will act much different with a heavy load, much more difficult to control. A mature moose is a lot of weight and meat care on the river can be difficult. I love to float hunt, just want you to be prepared for what it takes, much more work than other types of hunting. Be prepared and have fun.

    Be safe

    Steve
    Its no Joke I bought that book before I set foot in alaska and it doesnt just help you with the rafting aspect it goes over meat care camping tips and animal information hr also gives information on alot of rivers he gives lenghth time it will take speed of the water how rough it will be it is an awsome book and before I plan a hunt I will always open that book for a little refresher

  14. #14
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    Hark,

    Honestly you are talking about taking on two pretty complex things at once. I think before I combined both rafting and hunting in AK I would do both independently until I had a handle on them. There is much to be learned about both sports and many hard lessons to be learned in each. A book is a good start but there is no substitution for doing it. When you learn to raft you are going to have to learn to read the water and learn about all sorts of potential hazards on the rivers in AK. This is hard enough with a lightly loaded raft let alone with a full load of meat on board. You will learn like I did that a river in AK like the Gulkana can come up 3 feet overnight and swamp your camp as an example. The nice easy class II-III trip you had planned could turn into a whitewater trip in a matter of hours. Hone your skills on day trips and learn to be a competent oarsman so you can get safely out of a jam like this. Once you have this down you can better handle the situations that will arise on AK rivers in the fall on multi day trips. There are many skills you are going to need to learn just to get a raft down a river safely under the best conditions.

    A note about hunting in AK when you take a moose for the first time whether you shoot or are there to help, you will know what I am talking about. There is a reason that guided hunts now are in $20K range. It is hard hard work in potentially nasty weather. It took a long time for me to figure out what gear worked best for me in both sports. There are some easier places to hunt, but most are not from a raft. AK rivers often equal high banks and alders with steep elevation gains right from the rivers edge. I think if you get out and do some rafting trips and when you make camp, look around and scout for moose sign and other things you will be doing in the fall.

    Hope this helps, not trying to bust your bubble. Remember half the fun of hunting is the prep and anticipation.

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    Matt, thanks for the insight, I understand that this is a pretty big undertaking and I will definitely not be going if I didnt feel extremely comfortable in many situations, would also probably try to float the river I selected even before fall just to be more familiar. I have thought about just doing a hike in and hunt trip as well, which is what I assume you were describing when you said there were much easier trips to do, I will be looking into a drop off pick up hunt as well, but not sure if it will be manageable from a financial aspect this year, unless I can make friends with someone who would be willing to help out with the air travel. I lived in AK for 4 months a few years ago, so am definitely aware of rapid weather changes and how nasty it can be, have also been camping quite a bit then and recently all over the state so have pretty good idea of gear that will be needed for camping and staying back country.

    What were you suggesting by easier hunts? I am not set on float hunting, and nothing is set in stone, hence why I am on here gathering more info to help in that decision as well as reading books like crazy. I agree that atleast half the fun is in prep and anticipation, scouting areas is almost as addicting as actually hunting, good thing google maps doesnt charge a fee for hours of use, ha ha. Currently I am trying to find a buddy who wants to do a hunt with me, I am also always trying to meet people and make more friends, and who knows maybe even get in with a group of guys who enjoy hunting and do some hunting and learning with them, but I understand just like back home hunting groups are very tight groups that have been together for years, so that may take some time. Thanks for all the suggestions guys, keep the info coming, every little bit helps!

  16. #16

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    Harker,
    I was in your situation last year. Just moved to Alaska. It is possible to have a succesful moose hunt from a raft as a newby. I did on my first ever float hunt self guided and I did the whole trip minus the raft for less than 1200.00 The prepartion is not easy but totally doable in the time frame you have. Here is my number give me a call if you want to talk about possible logistics. 444-2978

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt.AK View Post
    Hark,

    Honestly you are talking about taking on two pretty complex things at once. I think before I combined both rafting and hunting in AK I would do both independently until I had a handle on them. There is much to be learned about both sports and many hard lessons to be learned in each. A book is a good start but there is no substitution for doing it.


    Well stated Matt.AK...

    While not the impossible with regards to complexity of rafting/hunting combos --- venturing and wagering all in combo can be less than successful outcomes for both pursuits.

    I also like your additional words concerning drastic changes to weather and water conditions with other variables here in Alaska. This is principally (in my follow-up posting) why I added instruction and demo practice to the rental raft notion
    .

  18. #18
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    I would also invest in Larry Bartlett's video, Float Hunting Alaska Part 1. I wish I had seen it prior to my first float hunt. It would be a good investment.

  19. #19
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    Hark

    What I was talking about with regards to easier hunts. I mainly raft and hunt in south central river areas. These rivers have steep topography and thick veg right down to the water. This is much harder to deal with than a more open country area that allow glassing for miles, and easier pack outs. When I lived in Fairbanks I found the rivers up there easier to hunt, and raft for that matter. Hope this helps.

  20. #20
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    Matt, thanks for the info, I was wondering about this option as well as I was looking at maps and reading a bit more. I was also possible considering changing up and doing a bou hunt up north for the first year and then possibly doing a moose hunt the following year giving me even more time to be efficient in the raft and not taking on the weight of a moose for the first float hunt. Not sure yet, still need to do more research and line up a hunting partner, girlfriend said she would be willing to do bou hunt, but wasnt sure about going along for moose. Was curious about waters between fairbanks and talkeetna, are they similar to the rivers south of talkeetna with the steep topography and thick veg right down to the water? I do know some folks up in Fairbanks so will be researching that area more now, thanks for all the info it is truly appreciated!

    Bill-I looked at that video, and now I know, I will have to pick that up and watch it, thanks.

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