Getting away from the crowds



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  • Getting away from the crowds

    Looking for some experienced views here. If I wanted to do a float, probably for caribou, but maybe moose, and my group was willing to pack in to a river, say a day or two hike from where we were dropped, would that open up more possibilities for both a successful hunt and quality wilderness experience? I realize we would have to pack pretty light and smart, mostly all freeze-dried, bare minimum for clothes and gear, etc. I would not want to pack meat out that far to a pick-up point, so we would still need to get picked up on the river. Do you think it would be worth it? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    So, how are you planning on doing this boat-wise? I'm not a very experienced float-hunter, so forgive the ignorance. Do you have light weight inflatable canoes? I'm thinking that for a hunt like this I would go with an Alpacka Raft, as they only weigh around 5 pounds, but that seriously limits your meat-carrying capacity. What's the plan logistically? It sounds like a great idea if you can realistically carry your boat and gear in. Even though I haven't done float hunts like this, the same notion holds true for the walk-in hunts that I do...a willingness to work will often seperate you from the crowds and increase your odds.



    • #3
      We would use inflatables. We've carried them before about a 1/2 mile or so and they weren't really packed well. I was thinking maybe a game cart or even a travois made from aluminum poles. Could even use the poles for a tarp or something. I guess it would depend on the terrain. I would think you could travel at least a few miles in a day, even making 2 trips. I guess not many guys do this.


      • #4
        Great Strategy


        You might get away from SOME of the hunting pressure by packing in a couple of miles, but you're really better off looking five or more miles off the beaten path. You've already figured out that you're pretty much tied to a small stream that allows you to float your meat / gear out. Most folks aren't doing that. Unless you're going as light as you would on a sheep hunt, you should plan on more than one trip in. There are a lot of issues with the selection of an appropriate river for this, but I'll skip straight to the boats.

        The Alpacka rafts mentioned < > are good for a lot of things, but I wouldn't try to float a moose out with one. Naturally, you'd do it in several trips, and the Alpacka is very light weight. So, packing IN with the boat would be a breeze compared to some of the other alternatives, but if it were me I'd rather carry a 55# boat in once than a 4# raft eight times! Sheep hunters are using these boats as a supplemental for floating meat out, but most of them are carrying packs too. That's really hard to do from the sort of brushy banks you'll be dealing with on a typical moose / caribou hunt.

        This is exactly the sort of situation where the AIRE Traveler really shines < >. The boat weighs 55# and can be easily backpacked in as far as you need to go. From that point, you can either hunt the area as you would a drop camp situation, and float out IN THE BOAT, or line / walk it down with meat and gear inside. In the latter case, you might consider wearing breathable chest waders, as you'll be in and out of the boat frequently. Of course another alternative would be to float and hunt your way through the country.

        I would not recomend the SOAR Pro Pioneer for something like this. The boat weighs 80# (with paddles, pump and repair kit, you're pushing 100#. Granted, you have more flotation, but if there were two of you, you'd be better off with two Travelers. You'd have more capacity and they'd be easier to carry. The other advantage with twin boats is that you could make up a small frame that is hauled inside the boats on the way down. When you reach bigger water, put the frame together, strap it to the two canoes, and you have a cataraft! We call 'em a "Cata-canoe", and they haul a huge load. Alaska Raft and Kayak (ARK) in Anchorage can give you the lowdown on the whole thing; they build the frames for them. < >. I'm attaching a picture of a couple of friends of mine doing exactly what I just described, with a couple of AIRE Travelers. You can get the boats from ARK as well, either for purchase or for rent. If you're from outside the area, they'll ship the boats right to your air charter.

        Hope it helps!

        Michael Strahan
        Site Owner
        Alaska Hunt Consultant
        1 (406) 662-1791


        • #5
          Float Hunting

          Float Hunting is the way to go! The beauty of a float hunt is you get to cover lots of country and can do it quietly. If you donít find the game where youíre dropped off just float a little farther down river and the chances are very good that you will find what youíre looking for.

          The problem with a hike in and float out is you will not be very far away from the hunting pressure. The rule of thumb I use is a good float hunt should average 10-14 miles a day so for a 6 day hunt you need about 60-80 miles of river. This is not a must but it gives you lots of options and you most likely will put lots of distance between you and other hunters.

          I know that the idea of paying a air taxi service the $400+ an hour scares a lot of first timers but it is worth it to get in to the better areas of the state.
          Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
          Kotzebue Alaska


          • #6
            Inflatable canoes

            Go for it ! .. I love it when a man makes a plan and does it..
            in a past hunt for Brown Bear. We got dropped off about 3 miles from the semi floatable headwaters of our Bear infested stream. We carried a inflatable Canoe (70 lbs) and our gear for a 6 day trip in two trips. We then floated and lined down the stream a mile or two. this stream ran only 16 miles until it dumped into the ocean. This stream had a pretty sizeable Silver Salmon run and the Brown Bears had not been molested here before according to the Pilot that has lived in that area for 25 years. No one had the guts to do just what you propose to do before until we did.. at least not on this drainage or to the knowledge of either the pilot or the Fish and game we talked to in that area.
            It was tough to walk thru this area due to the heavy brush and Alders, and lack of trail, but it was worth it. We got a bear the next day, and paddled on out to the ocean and called in an air strike from my Satalite phone that the hunt was already over. We saw 7 more brownies on that trip,, 3 of which were bigger than the 9 footer we collected... It was kinda spooky as the stream was so small and we could not see very far ahead at any given time. We yelled, sang, blew our whistles and worried quite a bit as we sailed thru and past bears that were truly wild, these guys were not accustomed to Humans at all.
            Some of the bears just stood in the middle of the river in unbelief when we came by, some bolted and ran like freight trains, and some woofed at us and hopped up and down like pogo sticks as if to say" we could stomp you into a mudhole if we wanted too.. We never got Charged, but I think if we had not been so aggressive in our actions and so noisy, a surprised bear may have made trouble.. Also on this trip I saw a HUGE moose up on the hill about 500 yds off the river that had 4 cows Gathered up.. Moose hunt was over, but these were resident moose of this area.. The Bears just come in this area for the Silver salmon run, and then move off to hybernate, So Moose hunting would have been an option for the same stream done a few weeks earlier in season.
            I was exhausted from nerves, and when we reached the ocean, we paddled out a few hundred yards and just rested our souls until we heard the drone of the plane on its approach..
            We then flew out to a Caribou area with our extra time and floated a 45 mile stretch of river with the same canoe and bagged one caribou. All done in one inflatable Canoe.
            When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

            Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.


            • #7
              Good info!

              I'm liking this thread! You guys with experience floating rivers are a wealth of knowledge. Of course, just about every subject having to do with Alaska you guys handle with the same detail and insight. Thanks.

              As I write this, I see Pristine Ventures add above. No doubt, if a person wants to do the float thing, that would be another great place to get hooked up.



              • #8
                I wouldn't take a float without at first talking to Larry Bartlett at Pristine Ventures ( ... the guy wrote the book on floating Alaska.


                • #9
                  Why don't you have an air service drop you off on a gravel bar on some remote river and float from there instead of packing all that gear in on your back? I booked a moose float hunt with Larry last November for this coming September. This will be my first float hunt ever so I went with the best I could find, Larry knows his business and won't steer you wrong. He has a hunt planner service for those that don't have the time or knowledge to do it themselves. Check out the site and get with Larry, maybe he has what your looking for.


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