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Thread: Caribou...Western Artic or Mulchatna?

  1. #1
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    Default Caribou...Western Artic or Mulchatna?

    Is the extra cost of hunting the Western Artic herd instead of the Mulchatna herd worth it? I figure it wil cost about $500 more using these guys instead of www.northernairtrophy.org

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    I think they are both a good hunt. Mulchatna is on the decline and I am not sure how many and how spread out. The Western artic is the largest and growing herd at 600.000 plus. On your map if you look at the pipeline in the center of the state? The arctic and porcipine herds overlap and you may have much greater numbers. I have a guide friend I have recently spoke with who fly's and hunts an hour north of Kotzebue. Incredible numbers every where.
    BEWARE guys according to him they have reduced the out-of-state kill number to one this year! STill 5 per day for us residents. I haven't checked but that is what he told me.
    I have been invited north and may take the guys up on it.

    Neal

  3. #3
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    Default more 'n likely

    I'd listen to Mr. Jacobson he knows his stuff

  4. #4
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    To me this is not even a legitimate question...

    I've lived in the home range of the "Mulchatna Caribou herd", as a year-around resident for the past 15+ years. Access this area by flying, boat, snow machines, and walking...I know the area well, have a good pulse on the herd trend, herd size, bull-to-cow raito, volume of mature bulls, hunting pressure, and so on.....

    The Mulchatna Caribou herd has CRASHED!

    Futhermore, don't be fooled into thinking they'll "rebound" within a year or two. Caribou have to eat something, there is not much food for them to eat in many of thier traditional home range area's. It could be years, multiple years, before this herd ever comes back.
    By the way, a LOT of knowledgable people don't think the herd has hit rock-bottom yet.

  5. #5
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default

    good info, Byron.
    Go northwest, Okbowman. Spend the extra coin, it'll be worth it.
    The country up there is awesome, too.

  6. #6
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    Default

    See DYI Cowboy thread.

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
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    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
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    Default Kotz

    Go out of Kotz and use Eric Sieh of Hagland Aviation in Kotzebue. He is a full time Kotz resident and will know where to take you. He can be reached at www.alaskaonyourown.com or by calling Hagland Aviation in Kotz. Walt Maslen rents high quality gear in Kotz and is a super nice guy and a good source of info as he too is a resident of Kotz. He can be reached at www.northwestalaska.com and frequents this forum under the name northwestalaska. These two people will take care of all of your needs out of Kotzebue. This is how my caribou hunt will be done in the near future. Period.

  8. #8
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Advice

    Below is a link to a helpful item from the store here. It can be accessed at the top of the page under "Alaska Outdoors Store". Here is the link.
    http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/sto...88b4122dcd5ffc

  9. #9

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    The overlapping herds in the central part of the state were mentioned -- Central Arctic and Porcupine herds. For a hunt out of Bettles or Anaktuvuk Pass, would anyone recommend these areas to try for some good numbers and trophy animals considering the possibility of three different herds? Great country in this area as well.

    I would assume the crowds would be less than the great hunter migration to Kotz every year. This hunt is planned for early Sep 2008.

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    I have been flying in and out of Koliganek on the Nushagak River since July and have seen very few Caribou. In October I saw a small herd of about 100 animals, the pilot who flys the area daily said it was the most Caribou he had seen this year. I am also not seeing any locals bringing in Caribou, they think the herd is scattered to the wind with a lot less animals in it than in the past.
    An unarmed person is a victim waiting to happen.

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    Its is a VERY legitimate question. A non resident hears a lot of different things from various people and okbowman is looking for good information.

    There are pros and cons of hunting both herds. I e-mailed the biologist for GMU 17 and the herd is declining. He provided some good information. More pressure is being put on the Western Arctic herd and we've had posts here of some of the resulting problems. The most animals I've ever seen on a hunt as well as a hunt where I saw no animals at all were both in GMU 23 hunting the Western Arctic herd. A lot depends on who takes you out. If i was looking for a trophy, or very good bull and had the money, the Western Arctic Herd would be my choice.

  12. #12
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Is your goal to have as cheap a bou hunt as possible, or to bag a bou? Decide what your goal is, then plan accordingly.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  13. #13

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    Kotz has a lot of caribou, but the people are not too crazy about outsiders hunting. Bring your meat out with you, and don't give any away. You'll get more head aches from locals by trying to offer your meat to them. Best of luck and have some fun.

  14. #14
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    Default Western bou

    I hunted out of Kotz in 2006. I did an unguided/outfitted hunt. I would “not” recommend my outfitter even though I got my bou. Weather was never a problem, the problem was he was extremely over booked. This caused us to loose a day at the start and an extra day at the Kotzebue Hotel ($200?) because he was late getting to the Airport to pick us up. Then on our last day he left us on the mountain till way past our pickup time. I missed my flight out of Kotz and almost missed my flight out of Ancorage. If weather would have been the cause I would not have cared because weather dictates all up there. Fact is he had Moose hunters and Bear hunters to move and they ($$$$) got priority over me. Again I would not have cared about that either but the outfitter was who told me what flights to take in and out of Kotz I was trying to work with him coordinating this from the start.

    He was in a rush to drop me off at the airport and just pointed to the AA freight office saying, "You can get fish boxes there".

    I heard more than one horror story from nonres guys having troubles with outfitters as I sat in the Alaska Air terminal in Kotz. One guy that arranged his hunt through Cabelas got his bou confiscated and a ticket, because the outfitter flew him into the no fly area of the Noatak (sp?). The hunter said he had no idea the outfitter took him to an area he was not supposed to. There were two guys who also used my outfitter. They had booked a guided bou hunt but their guide never showed up. They got stuck in base camp and had to hunt from there. On one of the last days one guy shot a bou... Troubles after that were that the outfitter lost the guys cape. They were mad!

    I will second Haggland giving them a big thumbs up because once my outfitter got so far behind he had Eric bail him out flying guys around.

    I had a GREAT time with the exception of my dealings with my outfitters service. His equipment was good and the supplied food adequate, transportation was the big deal. Good thing I brought my own pack frame because his had NO straps.

    The people in town treated us fine. I always smiled and said hello, I think it is important to make the first move and be friendly. Once they saw I was being nice they were too. However I did over hear a native lady that I saw working the AA counter later laughing about how she stuck it to a hunter who she did not like from the start. Could be he was being rude, I don't know. I had a wonderful experience with getting help from one native lady at the AA counter. She almost single handedly pushed me through so I could make my connecting flight in Anchorage. Again I was being nice to her and she reciprocated.

    I want to go back and might just try a combination of Haggland and renting gear. I got my bou with a recurve so I have plenty of great memories. This truly is beautiful country!

    Bill


  15. #15

    Default August 2009

    Starting to plan for my son's first hunt. We don't care about a trophy, would like to see a lot of animals and bring home some meat. I'm a little worried about getting early August meat from Kotz to Anchorage (compared to my Mulchatna experience years ago when it went from the field quickly to a freezer). The Mulchatna herd's still in trouble?

    Suggestions?

  16. #16

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    The Mulchatna Herd will be in trouble for some time, you might try the Western Arctic herd out of Bettles or another village if you're worried about getting meat back OK thru Kotz.

    One alternative you might look into is checking with Wright Air Service, I believe they fly out of Fairbanks and might offer drop camp hunts for the 40 Mile Herd. You might not see as many animals as on a Western Arctic herd hunt tho.

  17. #17
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    Smile

    The short story is hunt with the most reputable air service available for either herd.

    Sure the Mulchatna is about down to historic levels. But it way overpopulated its area and overgrazed the forage. This is all due to UNDERHUNTING. The population grew huge in a few years and crashed. It is a remote herd, expensive to access and hunting/predation could not halt its rapid expansion. There are still the long term numbers of 30,000 or so animals over there and air services with supercubs to land anywhere can put you in the herd and have an amazing experience. I am just trying to balance the perspective I have read of all the negative reports from the 600,000 WACH who dont see many animals or even fill their tags as their air taxi have no clue on caribou populations and movements. There are way more flight service options for the Mulchatna so it might be easier to find a reputable one.

    Good luck.
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

  18. #18

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    Who would you suggest I hire for a Transporter if we hunt the Mulchatna herd? I would like to be based out of Homer if possible. Any places to look for a list of Transporters?

    Would I be able to fly into Fairbanks and catch a transporter to the Western Artic herd? Where would I find a list of transporters that would do this.

    I'm looking at the 2009 hunt.

    Thanks for helping with this.

  19. #19
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Mulchatna implosion...

    First...great to see you back on the forum Byron...

    Years ago the Mulchatna was super great. In the early and mid '90s the giant record book racks disapeared. In the late '90s and up to 2002 360+- point 'bow were still obtainable. Since then I have not seen a bull caribou. Byron said the herd crashed. I believe it was worse than that. The Mulchatna herd imploded. I'm out there every September hunting everything except caribou. Nowadays we just dream about the glory days and tell great stories about past. For caribou now...go north.

    Dennis
    Alaska True Adventure Guide Service

  20. #20
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Default your right about the mulchatna

    I hunted the Mulchatna herd in 2004. What a difference a year makes. We saw very few bou, and the ones we did were very small. The year before people said there were lots of them and saw numerous trophy bulls. That herd isn't worth hunting.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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