Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23

Thread: DIY caribou

  1. #1

    Question DIY caribou

    I'm a newby here hoping to find some help, I'm trying to plan a caribou hunt this sept. for 4 of us. We don't want guides or outfiters. We want a drop camp, thinking out of anchorage, since that seems to be the cheapest to fly into. Trying to budget as cheap as posible, any suggestions on float plane service and areas would be appeciated.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,391

    Default

    First of all, welcome to the forums! You'll find that this site has way more information than you could possibly wade through in a reasonable amount of time. Along those lines, have you done a seach through the archives and the old forum archives? There have been lots of stories and suggestions shared, so that's probably the place to start.

    I don't have any particular suggestions to share, but I will say this: The herd you would be hunting by flying out of Anchorage would be the Mulchatna herd. This herd has been in pretty serious decline for the past few years, and the bull-cow ratio is apparently very poor right now. Hunters have been reporting seeing plenty of cows, but few or no bulls on some hunts. Additionally, the herd seems to be generally further west than it's "traditional" home range, putting it out of range of a simple flight from Anchorage. There are still animals within reach of Anch, but not as many. From what I've read, most people hunting this herd are finding success by flying to Dillingham or Illiamna first, and then chartering a small plane.

    Most of the good reports have been from people hunting the Western Arctic caribou herd - mainly out of Kotzebue, but also out of Bettles. It is probably a more expensive hunt, but the success rates both in #s and in trophy quality seem to be much better over the past few years.

    I haven't hunted either anytime recently, but that's a (very) basic synopsis of what the buzz has been on the forums. Again, do a search for threads containing the words "Kotzebue", "WACH", or "Mulchatna". You'll have plenty to start with from there.

    -Brian

  3. #3
    Member danattherock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    5,608

    Default Kotzebue

    I would go out of Kotzebue. You could be taken north of Kotz and dropped on one of many,many, rivers from which you could float hunt, fish, and have a great trip. I floated a few rivers up there. Wonderful wilderness trips and plenty of seclusion. A bush pilot we used last time out of Kotz was Eric Sieh (Hagland Aviation in Kotzebue) and can also be reached at www.alaskaonyourown.com or by calling Hagland Aviation in Kotzebue. He runs alot of their flights and does bush trips too. He is a fantastic pilot and knows where the the caribou are. He tracks them for Alask Dept Fish and Game if I am not mistaken. He is a full time resident of Kotz and a great pilot. He will do all my future trips out of Kotz. Unlike the many planes that operate out of Kotz in Sept for taking hunters around, he actually lives there year round and knows the place like the back of his hand. He would be my only choice.A guy, Walt Maslen, owns a gear rental place in Kotz. He can be reached at www.northwestalaska.com and also frequents this forum by the name northwestalaska. He rents high quality rafts, tents, stoves, etc... He helped me a ton when planning my last trip up there. Very knowledgable local guy. Nice guy. He can tell you where to go and answer questions about logistics as well. You could fly into Kotz, and have your gear brought over to the Hagland hangar by Walt, and have Eric take you to the predetermined spot. Its just that easy. You could take your gun (of course) and personal gear, rent the tent, raft, stove and such from Walt. Possibilities are limitless. Renting a satellite phone may be a good idea for communicating with bush pilot on meat pick ups etc... Your float plan would have a specific start/end point but you could arrange a meat pick up if need be. I am most familiar with Kotz but as mentioned before me, Bettles sounds good too. Many ways to skin a cat. However, I dont think you will be flying out of Anchorage for this type of hunt. Many other guys here will know alot more than I. Search the archived posts as mentioned and type in Caribou, Kotzebue, etc.. and find more info. You can search just the hunting forum to narrow your results I believe. Lots of knowledgable people here. Tons of info. There is also a book out titled "Float hunting Alaska". I would suggest you get a copy of it. Barnes and Noble or Amazon .com should definately have it. Perhaps the bookstore on this forum (from the main page) would have it. Tons of possiblities. Send me a private message if you have any particular questions and I will be happy to help you out or atleast send you in the right direction.

  4. #4
    Member danattherock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    5,608

    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

  5. #5
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chugiak, AK
    Posts
    694

    Default Also

    Larry has probably the best caribou book on the market. If you go to his website you should be able to find it. He also for a fee help people plan there hunts. I have never heard a complaint about his services, and no I dont work with him. Are you a resident or nonresident, it will here people give you information that suits your needs.

    Terry

  6. #6

    Default

    we're coming from utah, is fairbanks area the same herd as anchorage? Also all the prices i've seen for bush planes has been a per person price for the trip, I was under the impression you could rent them hourly and divide the cost between the group and it would not cost that much? Do we need to plan on $2000 per person for the plane?

  7. #7

    Default Charter

    Some outfits may charter the plane at an hourly rate for a caribou hunt, but keep in mind, if you go over weight you pay for extra flights. A lot of places have a drop off price which includes a certain number of animals per person, and you don't pay extra if they have to make extra flights. That is if your gear is within the weight allocation. You should figure between 1500-2000 per person on a caribou drop off. Also, when figuring your flight costs if you charter, remember you are paying the hourly rate for the return trip each way also, so figure four legs of the trip just to drop you off and pick you up.

  8. #8
    Member AK145's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    639

    Thumbs down No...

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyfan View Post
    we're coming from utah, is fairbanks area the same herd as anchorage? Also all the prices i've seen for bush planes has been a per person price for the trip, I was under the impression you could rent them hourly and divide the cost between the group and it would not cost that much? Do we need to plan on $2000 per person for the plane?

    Cowboy....

    I could be way off here, but I don't know anyone here in Fairbanks that has flown out of here to hunt the Mulchatna herd, too far away. Most people who live in Fairbanks either hunt the 40 mile heard or the Western Arcitc Heard, or some other more localized herds on a permit basis. Most of us like to hunt where we can drive to or a short flight away. If you were to tavel from FBKS for Mulchatna, you would have to get a connecting bush flight from another villiage SW of Fairbanks.

    As stated above, the Mulchatna herd is not in as good of shape as in years past despite what you see on some of the hunting videos on the market. I too, if I was coming from the lower 48 and spending my money, would get the best bang for your buck and do the Western Arcitc Herd hunt. I believe your probability of seeing more animals would be greatly increased. If you do decide to hunt out of Anchorage for Mulchatna 'bou, do some really good research on who you are going with. Some of the BIG transport services may not give you the personalized serivice some of the smaller services give you....IMHO.

    Good luck.

  9. #9

    Default

    I'm not at all set on the Mulchatna herd, we only picked anchorage because the big citys are easier and cheaper to fly into. Fairbanks would be great, is there places by fairbanks were we could take a short flight and get into some good hunting?

  10. #10
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,391

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyfan View Post
    Fairbanks would be great, is there places by fairbanks were we could take a short flight and get into some good hunting?
    Nope. You could fly from Fairbanks to Bettles, and then fly from there to the Western Arctic herd. Or, you could fly from Anchorage to Kotzebue and hunt the same herd. You might be able to access some caribou with a small plane from Fairbanks, but it's not going to be close...and extra time in a charter flight is far more expensive than an extra leg on a commercial flight. The real way to do it would be to get an Alaska Airlines Visa card, put all of your bills on it, and once you have 20,000 miles just fly to Kotz for free. Either that, or have two guys get the card and use the $50 companion fares to get to Kotz at basically half-price each. That way the overall hunt cost won't be nearly as expensive.

    -Brian

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    5,608

    Default Eric Sieh in Kotz is your man.

    I used Eric Sieh of Hagland Aviation in Kotz this past August for a float on one of the Noataks lower tribs about 100 miles north of Kotz. He charged about $1500 roundtrip. That was my wife and I and all our gear (750 lbs). Great pilot and unlike so many others that operate out of Kotz in Sept, he lives there year round. He could definately put you on some caribou. Perhaps at less cost than you may think. That $1500 was total price, not per person. I would think you could do a great caribou hunt for about the same. As for getting to Kotz from Anch, it is a easy 2 hour flight tops on Alaska Air and they have several daily flight from Anch to Kotz. Orbitz is my favorite for plane tickets. I flew from NC (home state) to Nome and Kotz about 6 times in the last two years. An easier trip than it would sound like. Eric can be reached at Hagland Aviation in Kotz or a website he operates called www.alaskaonyourown.com. He is a great pilot and very knowledgable about the area. If I am not mistaken, he tracks the NW herd for ADFG. He can land you in places I feel most would not. I was super impressed with him on out trip this past August and will use him for all future trips out of Kotz. As mentioned before, Walt Maslen www.northwestalaska.com rents high quality rafts, tents, stoves, etc.. out of Kotz and is a great resource person who helped me out on my last trip. Very knowledgable and polite. Between Eric and Walt, your caribou hunt could easily be planned.

  12. #12
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks, Ak.
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    There are 3, maybe even 4, hubs you can access on sceduled air service from Fairbanks, and then get flown to a hunt spot.
    Frontier Flying Service can get you to Kotz or Bettles, from which you can hire a transporter to hunt western arctic bou.
    Frontier can also take you to Ft. Yukon or Kaktovik from which transporters fly hunters to the Porcupine/Central Arctic bou.
    One other option is to drive to Coldfoot or Deadhorse and use Coyote Air (I think that's how it works) to access the porky/central bou.
    The easiest way to do all this is to fork over 600 bucks to Larry Bartletts Pristine Ventures and leave the planning to him.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  13. #13

    Default

    Just wondering about bears around kotz? I havent seen anything about them, are there many blacks? Just wondering if theres a chance to get a black bear with second caribou tag?

  14. #14
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    9

    Default Bears

    I hunted the Squirrel River area NE of Kotz. We saw Bear tracks but no bears. I second Haggland/Eric. They have good equipment and I wish I had booked with them.... Sadly I used someone else and it cost me about $500 more because of it. Some outfitters up there have no problem spending your money by making you wait. Haggland was the one good transport experience I had on my trip. Also I agree it really is not that hard getting up there.

    Bill

  15. #15

    Default Black Bears...

    If you're hunting caribou out of Kotz you will be most likely hunting wide open tundra with few trees (if any) around. I can almost guarantee you that you won't see a black bear. However, last time I was up there (Late August '06) we saw a total of 9 grizzlies, three of them being boars.

    If you do see a black bear up there let me know...

    Good Luck!

    HT

  16. #16
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    9

    Default I saw trees

    Actually where we were about 60 miles (guess) out along the Squirrel River we had trees and lots of brush. No Black bear sign, the tracks we saw were Griz. We camped up on a small mountain and hunted the trees and Alder thickets. There is tundra surrounding the area we hunted and you have not been to AK until you take a walk out on that stuff. When we did descend the mountain we found it easier going following the river. Of course you gotta keep an eye out for bears and moose. We saw some fantastic moose sign and two bulls that would be P&Y easily.

    The area between where we were and Kotz does seem mostly Tundra but if you get into the river systems you find trees. I was bow hunting so the added cover was welcome. I used the tree cover to stalk up on a med sized bull. I shot my bou at 25 yards with my recurve. It was quite an adventure! Very tough hunt dealing with the terrain and elements but extremely rewarding personally.

    Loved AK!

    Bill

  17. #17
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    4,925

    Default

    I would aviod the Mulchatna herd and pay the extra plane ticket and go out of Kotzebue. It will well worth it. Call the ADF&G Bio talk to him and see if he can send you any info.

    I would buy Hunt Alaska Now. Great book!!!!! This book will help you with everything that there is to know and camping in Alaska and hunting to judge the size of Caribou. I still have a copy of it and read it time to time.
    Most important you have done the right thing first by coming here. This also where you can great great info.....
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  18. #18
    Member lawdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Syracuse, New York, Wasilla, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    193

    Default although Alaska Gray...

    Is giving you good advice I wouldn't recommend contacting the biologist in Kotz. If you can get Eric to fly for you you'll be just fine. If you do call Jim just let him know your not a native (i'm assuming) and your really interested in comming up and killing stuff, I'm sure he'll take good care of you. (that's sarcasm)

  19. #19

    Default

    Ok, i've taken all the advice to heart, but when I called ERIC I was told he does no longer do any chartered drop offs. Now im heart broke. Does anyone know any other pilots that do drops out of the area that dont charge the $2000 per person?

  20. #20
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks, Ak.
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    Sorry cowboy, but your stuck in a category that the state has decided to "stick" it to.............HUNTER. Thanks to all the mandated laws on outfits who transport hunters, your costs have gone way up. Most guys doing "transporting" charge a fee, like your 2000 per person, instead of a charter rate.
    Try the guys in Bettles, maybe they'll give you a flat charter rate, but I doubt it.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •