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Thread: 1st time caribou hunter needing advice...

  1. #1
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    Default 1st time caribou hunter needing advice...

    I'm planning a Caribou hunt for unit 23 out of Kotzebue and was hoping to get some advice.

    1) Hunting dates: An aviation services mentioned that the last few seasons have been warm and that caribou hunting around late august/ early september was tough. Was this an issue for other hunters and if so what are some dates I should look at?

    2) Regulations: I have some people in my party that want to bow hunt and some that want to rifle hunt. I've read the regulation and haven't noticed any issues with mixing methods of take, are there any restrictions I should know about?

    3) Transportation: Is there any aviation services that anyone can recommend for archery hunting Caribou for unit 23?

    I appreciate any who take the time to reply. I fish the San Francisco Bay Area religiously so if anyone is planning a trip to the area and would like any information i'd be more than happy to share. Thanks again.

    Zac

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    If the hunt area has weapons restrictions then there would be an issue. The urban areas around the major cities like Anchorage, Wasilla, Palmer, and Fairbanks have weapons restrictions. The Haul Road is the only rural area with weapons restrictions.

    The general season in most remote rural areas is open to all legal weapons. You can even carry a pistol while bow hunting.

    Most of you transporter questions might be better answered on the main hunting forum since unit 23 is not just a bow hunting unit. Bow hunting might be more of a challenge out there than you want to get into. Not much to hide behind in some places and the wind can play havic with you arrows.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Dig into these forums for many pearls that will help with your planning. "Advanced search", "Posts", "Search titles only" works best for me. Meat care - including warm weather contingency plans - deserves careful advance planning. To me it's a good argument for later season hunts - later September that is.

    Hope your bowhunters are doing the same - esp regarding terrain/cover. The relatively short ranges they'll need might be tough if you end up in a relatively open area - little cover - unless you can sit on a river crossing or such. If you do - I understand it's important to know to let the lead cows complete the crossing undistubed if you want the herd/s to continue following. The lead cows are said to mark the crossing by scent, which the herd will follow - religiously. Being flexible may improve odds of success because the caribou may not participate in even your best laid plans.

    A big trip like that, it'd be hard not to carry a rifle maybe - at least as a plan B.
    Good luck.

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    Member AkGreg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zac View Post
    I'm planning a Caribou hunt for unit 23 out of Kotzebue and was hoping to get some advice.

    1) Hunting dates: An aviation services mentioned that the last few seasons have been warm and that caribou hunting around late august/ early september was tough. Was this an issue for other hunters and if so what are some dates I should look at? YES it has been very warm. but that doesnt mean it will this year. I have always gone 2nd and 3rd week of Sept up out of Kotz and its been good.

    2) Regulations: I have some people in my party that want to bow hunt and some that want to rifle hunt. I've read the regulation and haven't noticed any issues with mixing methods of take, are there any restrictions I should know about? no specific limitations about method of take in unit 23. can use bow or rifle or any other legal method of taking game.

    3) Transportation: Is there any aviation services that anyone can recommend for archery hunting Caribou for unit 23? Its really late in teh game to start looking for transporters. most are probably already VERY booked, however my personal opinion is that Jim Kincaid with Northwestern aviation is the BEST. There are several others up there that are good but Jim is the best for both safety, knowledge of the region and client management.

    I appreciate any who take the time to reply. I fish the San Francisco Bay Area religiously so if anyone is planning a trip to the area and would like any information i'd be more than happy to share. Thanks again.

    Zac
    Feel free to drop me a PM if you'd like to talk more about caribou hunting. Hunting in Alaska can be extreme and hunting that far north can put people in a world of hurt if they arent really ready for it... its unlike anything you'll find in the lower 48.

    G

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    Default just @#$%^&* google it

    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Dig into these forums for many pearls that will help with your planning. "Advanced search", "Posts", "Search titles only" works best for me.
    Google will get you more better results. Click on their Advanced search, then restrict their searching sole'y to the domain: outdoorsdirectory.com and you'll get the most wheat with the least chaff.

  6. #6
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    While I have not hunted the Kotz area, I have done a lot of hunting in the Prudhoe Bay area and there is a lot of similarities. As non residence I believe you have to have a valid bow hunter certificate, and last I heard they accepted California certificates. In the area you are going, as of last year's regulations, you can harvest with a bow, rifle, black powder, shotgun with slugs, crossbow, or appropriate pistol. Someone will jump in if I am mistaken I am sure.

    Caribou are constantly migrating. Weather patterns can effect this migration. Being able to "foresee" where/when they will be is always our biggest challenge. The big issues are bugs and foul weather for you...Earlier you go in August, the more bugs...the later in September the more chance you will have to get into big snow. That said, late August and early September is the time I have had my best trips. Compared to traffic on I 405, there are "no" bad days to hunt caribou ;-)

    I am an avid bow hunter, but with plenty of limitations. Tell your friends to practice, practice, practice. Try to shoot outdoors with wind and rain if you can. Get comfortable shooting 50-60 yards if you can. Plenty of caribou are taken by recurves and longbows, but your chance increase with distance that a compound will give you.

    Good luck and have fun!
    "...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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    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    Unit 23 is not a Sanctuary Unit. Make sure everyone in your hunting party is properly documented! Heehee

    Just poking fun. Hope you build a great hunt!

    Taylor

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    Much appreciated; great information and suggestions. I'll continue to do my research between now and then as well as pick at some experienced minds. Thanks again.

    Zac

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