This last September I decided to take my Alaska seried Jet ranger with the heavy duty oar locks and 8 ft sawyer oars.. and see how it did as a float hunting raft.
The technique I decided to try was to drive the boat up a very small tributary stream as far as I could go and then drift down with the motor raised up out of the water and oar out just like a regular raft would down a narrow winding river.
The Stream I tried this on was about 40 ft across at the wide spots and usually 12 feet or less wide on most of its route.
the map and sat pictures showed it to be about 40 miles long to the head waters, and I thought that if I could make it 20 miles up river that would be more than enough.. the fish and game biologist told me that no one had been up that stream more than 5 miles in his 17 years working the area, so It was my challenge to see if I could pull this off.
He said that there were no places to land a plane anywhere up stream as it had no gravel bars or open flat places within many miles for someone to land a plane on this little river valley.
He did say that a trapper did work it during winter from his sno-go for fur animals and it was a stream with beaver and otter and such, but that no boat had been on it in his years..
I made the first 5 miles up river finding lots of very shallow places of 2 inches of water etc. I was able to stay on step and blow right over those.. then I got into the sweepers and strainers and log jams.. I brought my chain saw and started cutting out places as I went up river, the first day I made the 18 miles according to my gps bread crumb trail.
the next day I made it 7 more miles. and I could have gone up further but decided it was moose country where I was.
One trick I used coming up river was to put out scent along the river about every mile or two. I would stop and tie the scent to a little willow and spray the cow in heat at one location and then at the next, dominant bull scent on the next. so every mile or so I had some scent blowing in the breeze.
I would drift down using the oars and it worked very well. I would call every mile or so and set up for a while and see if we could coax a bull to the stream edge.
I was able to see on this trip in 3 days 7 bull moose.
I found a few moose on the exact area I had some scent put out, but I did not remember if it was cow scent or bull scent at those locations,so I do not know which scent was working ..
We took a nice bull the first day floating down, and spent the afternoon taking care of meat.
I fired up the boat motor and hauled 400 lbs of moose and my partner and me down river to the main river. then motor back up camped overnight and then took out the remainder of meat and the cape and antlers.
This type of float hunting has changed me forever, as I was able to go where no one else was, and was able to go fast when needed and yet drift and float like a standard raft when that was needed or desired.
The water in this stream was fast enough that it had a few rapids along its way and very sharp turns and tree's in the water, so an airboat or metal boat would not have been able to come down river and not get into trouble . the inflatable made it all work safely and was able to haul about 850 lbs in the boat and still be on step and cross over those areas of 2 inch or less water..
I did have a spot or two I did have to drag out, but that was because I was not up to speed when I got to those spots..
This was a fun and new type of float hunting for me and was a great success.