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Thread: Haul road hunt aug 23-31 2011?

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    Default Haul road hunt aug 23-31 2011?

    Brand new to the sport, finally purchased a compound bow and planning a trip up the Haul road during the 23rd thru 31st of Aug 2011. Looking for a hunting buddy preferably from Anchorage, willing to train me in the arts of the Dalton hwy caribou hunt. I am also willing to pay for half of the expenses for this trip. Need to know what equipment I need to bring, where to camp, and what to expect. Really hesitant to do this trip by myself, so if interested write back thanks.

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    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    pretty early to get someone to commit....do searches here and read all you can about the hunt. go to 3-d shoots and local ranges meet other bowhunters and give them a chance to meet you.
    Good luck
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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    First thing is to "commit" to practice. Everyday, come snow/wind/rain/sunshine, plan on shooting at least 6 to 12 arrows a day outside. Start with ranges around 20 yards, plus or minus 10 yards as long as you are hitting the target each time. As you get better, vary your distances more and more. Oh, I forgot to mention, you need to learn "form" first. Any of the archery shops will help you with the basics of form. There are a punch of videos on this as well. I know a number of years ago I rented a bunch of PSE instructional videos from the now defunct Fletchers Archery in Wasilla. Great learning tools. If you shoot every day this winter, by Spring you will be ready to start getting serious about a haul road hunt :-) Good luck and remember to practice, practice, practice!!!
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    One of the biggest things on the Dalton that people mess up is trying to "chase" bou. When you find them try to figure out where they are moving, get in a good position and wait for them to come to you. Your timing of the hunt is pretty good. Bugs aren't too bad that time of year and the weather isn't bad but be prepared for anything. Weather can change quick up there. Alot of them will still be in velvet if not all. The roads aren't that bad, I've made multiple trips up there and have never had a flat. Bring plenty of fuel, as much as you can. If you top everything off in Fairbanks it is much cheaper. It's a great time. The bou are usually pretty far north during that time but they move when and where they want.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

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    Thanks for all the advice, I truly appreciate it. What type of camo do you guys recommend?

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    This would be as effective as anything else up here...


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    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    lujon- is pretty close ..........most camo is too dark, tan ASAT would probably be good but homemade helly hansen bright yellow rain gear with red, tan brown and little green in ASAT pattern would probably be better. have also thought carhart tan with yellow, red and little green would be good I have not experimented . years ago friend had the helly set up and said it was good. also some years winter camo is needed at that time of year.
    there is alot of tan grass , red blueberry bushes and yellow brush.
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    If you decide to cross the river make sure you have a vessel worthy of crossing in strong currents. I went up there with some friends and we borrowed someones canoe. It was almost a grave mistake. I've spent a decent amount of time in a canoe but crossing the sag in a cheap canoe scarred the crap out of me and one of my hunting partners. like the others have said start practicing now and test ALL of you equipment before you get up there.

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    Thanks for the info on the camo, anyone know best price on pack rafts?

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    Best price is going to be on craigslist. I bought mine straight from alpacca rafts. I like supporting them since they had their roots in the Anchorage area. AMH in town carries them too if you want to climb in one before you plop down any money. Last time I talked with them the price was the same as Alpacca but you save the shipping so it was actually cheaper locally!

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    I did the Haul Road hunt last year by myself and for the first time, as well as my first hunt in Alaska. I had a great time and went up on the 24th of August. I had all my gear in my truck and just slept in the back, that way I was more mobile and I didn't have to get back to a camp every night.

    Tires- if you have good tires, and by that I mean lots of tread, you won't need to bring a bunch of spares. I know everyone always says bring as many spares as you can. Well realistically, how much room do you have to be toting around a bunch of tires? The road is actually really good, it's not unlike any other gravel road, it's just really long. There are stretches that area actually paved. I think the people that have problems are the ones that have highway tires or badly worn tires.

    Besides Tires, take tools and anything that you may need to repair something. Take a tire repair kit and a pump, I would highly suggest a stop leak product for your radiator. Also have a mesh screen installed in front of your radiator to keep rocks from hitting it. I was on my way home with my caribou in the back. A big rig was heading towards me and as he passed (going way too fast), he threw rocks all over me and one put a hole in my radiator and I was stranded, dead in the water. I was about 120 miles north of Fairbanks. It was a big fiasco and I waited for 20 hours to get a tow truck there. The tow to Fairbanks cost me $700, a night and Fairbanks, and a new radiator (flown in to Fairbanks cause the town didn't have one) ran the tab up to $1400. All because of a stupid little rock.

    Take lots of gas though because it's a long way to Deadhorse and if you have to drive all the way up just to get gas well, it kinda sucks.

    I wish I had a raft of some sorts to get across the river, there were tons of caribou over there when there weren't many on my side. There are many places that you can scoot right across some slow water and be over there fairly easily. But there are many places that look pretty treachorous. So be careful in where you choose to cross.

    As far as camping goes, there really isn't much at all. There are pull outs here and there and areas where there are gated roads heading out off the main hwy. Just pull out wherever you can find a spot and throw up camp or sleep in the truck. But just don't block any gates and make sure you're off the road.

    When hunting caribou, get off the road, don't waste your gas driving up and down the road. Find an area where there seems to be caribou and get out and walk. Especially areas where you can get out of sight of the road quickly. There are many areas that have good stalking terrain with lots of gullies and hills. It is amazing what a caribou can hide in and you will swear there is nothing around and then BOOM! There's a caribou out of no where. Don't let anyone tell you this is an easy hunt, it can be really really difficult to get into bow range of these animals. Try and choose your stalks on lone bulls or a couple bulls. I found out the hard way and kept getting picked off by cows. The bulls, especially the bigger ones actually seem to be less weary at times.

    As far as Archery goes, I would highly HIGHLY suggest going down to an archery shop to get set up and proper instruction on Shooting. It's better to get started on the right path than to develop bad habits early on. Go down to Full Curl here in Anchorage, Dave will set you up right. He's got a great shop and is super nice. I've been archery hunting for a long time and it can be a tough game to play. Your ability to shoot will make or break your hunt. Having good form and proper release is of the upmost importance. You will more than likely be shooting with a release, or trigger. Shooting with one of these takes practice, you don't want to jerk or punch the trigger. Your grip on the bow is also very important, torque with the bow hand can really screw you up.

    I was at the range last summer and saw two guys shooting next to me that obviously had never been taught how to shoot. Their arrow groups at 20 yards was like 18 inches. It was bad and crazy to think that these guys were going hunting. If you're shooting correctly and have good form, there is no reason you can't have all your arrow shafts touching at 20 yards. But, you don't really want to bust up all your arrows by doing that either.

    Kincaid park has a great shooting range that is available to the public for free. it has targets every 10 yards out to 80 yards. They have a 3-D range but you have to pay the $50 for a membership to use that part of the range.

    Also, make sure you get your bowhunters certification before you go on this hunt, it is required for all bowhunters on the haul road.

    Anyway, good luck. If you prepare adequately and put the time in, there's no reason you can't be successful on this hunt. It is a load of fun.

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    Like stated above, don't forget your IBEP
    http://www.wc.adfg.state.ak.us/index.cfm?adfg=he.bow_ed

    Also rent a sat phone. It could be a life saver.
    Bring more than you plan on needing IE. fuel, food, water, warm dry clothes, and a good thing to have is a jet boil.
    Bring at least 2 spares.

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    I second the satellite phone. There is no cell service and I wouldn't have been in the bind I was in if I had had a sat phone.

    A jet boil is also nice. I took freeze dried food and just heated some water and ate every evening. It was quick, easy, and no mess.

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    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    as alternative to freeze dried Dinty Moore / Hormel micro waveable meals in little trays, if you are military the commisary has good variety and cheapest , wally world and freddies also carry them. taste, quick less than $2 / meal with bread and can a fruit makes pretty good meal. NO YOU DON'T NEED A MICROWAVE, pot big enough to hold 1-2 meals, 2/3 full of water put it pot as you start and when boiling they are ready. I usually flip meal once during cooking time.
    Having boat (canoe or raft is very helpful) get some experience with pack raft, guy drowned up there 2009 way up Sag....alot rougher water than where you would most likely be hunting. only 3-4 sets of rapids north of ice cut alot and worse around PS3 / slope mtn DOT station. and they get worse as you go up stream.....that being said there are plenty of calm areas between rapids to cross. just be careful. also do not attempt wading the sag. it can be done but few have drowned doing it one in 2009 i know of.
    i usually post here when i'm going to be there as it gets closer to the time. usually last week of Aug and first week of Sept but last year was all in sept. if i'm up there and you ( or anyone else) have a caribou cross the river after you shoot it and don't have a boat to get across and it is where i can get to i will assist with your fuel. I'm usually camped / parked at mile 50 boat launch ( along river just left of launch) occasionally at ice cut, Green f-250 crew cab,camo strip along bottom....most likely covered with mud; lic. # bowman , 11 FT Lance cab over camper and long gray trailer with 2 foot sides. usually there in morning till 9ish and back just before dark occasionally mid day as well. my boat is short stubby aluminum jet boat with "roll bar", "Alaskan Nimrod " on back of it.
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
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    Wow, great info I really appreciate all the great advice from this forum. I do plan on putting in the effort and work to be done to harvest a caribou. I am truly thankful for the suggestions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egr2hunt View Post
    Wow, great info I really appreciate all the great advice from this forum. I do plan on putting in the effort and work to be done to harvest a caribou. I am truly thankful for the suggestions.

    Nothing real new to add everything is pretty much covered and alot of good sound advice, i usually go up there for a week mid to late August and usually it is a solo job, i might even consider pulling my boat up there this year but we will see, august is a awsome time up north, be careful its very addicting and you go up once you wanna go up every weekend.

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    Wiso67 i am hoping it will be addicting for me, considering the amount of money I plan on spending for this hunt. Doing it solo does scare me a little but I have confidence in myself. So you plan on taking one with a rifle next year? or will it be easier with a boat?

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    I usually bring both rifle and bow just in case I get a wild hair to walk out 5 miles, I would rather hunt with my bow and getting across the sag would just open up more opportunities and my jet boat would give me more options. I never hunted up there with a boat before I usually hike out about 1/2 to 1 mile and spot an stalk bou with my bow, going up solo isnt bad there are all kinds of people up there that if something bad happened you could get help, a satphone would be wise.

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    So when u put on a stalk, do u target a group or a individual? Oh how skidash are the bou? What are good techniques?

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    dig yourself a good hole in the snow, if there is any, where other bous have trailed. The lead cow is like a bloodhound and usually follows that trail, unless other hunters spook them, then they will usually break their own trail.

    Park at the top of the hill just passed toolik lake, it's a turn out for trucks, to the right on the other side of the hill, is a nice boulder/mound to hind behind about 500 yards from the road. That is usually a good trail for them, at least it has been for me. Didn't make it up this year, but the passed 3 years I went up, I was successful in that area.

    Pick one out of the herd and give it your best shot.

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