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  • Ultimate Road Hunt

    Just returned from a road trip, up the Dalton Highway. It was only to see the sights and look at the scenery. What I saw was very disappointing to say the least. Dozens of would be hunters, driving up and down the road, trying to cutoff bands of Caribou and then march out to them. What a joke. If this type of behavior was done of this magnitude along any other stretch of highway in the country, non-hunting corridors would be implemented along every highway system in the land.
    To me this is just plain lazy and not what the public expects from hunters. If hunters don't change their methods up there, I truly believe others will change them, for them.
    Just a few of my observations include: Vehicles left unattended, in the roadway. Hides left on the shoulder of the road. Multiple groups of hunters stalking and closing in (competing for) on the same Caribou from different directions, within plain view of the highway. Trash left at a couple of the pull offs. Meat stacked on the ground, covered with a blue tarp. Makes me wonder about the ethics of the modern hunters.
    This road hunt needs to be better policed by the hunters themselves. The antics will not go unheeded by the non-hunting public.
    Oh Yeh, the road was rough, sloppy in some spots and the scenery was great.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
    ~~Abraham Lincoln~~

  • #2
    Agreed...

    Your comments, if hunters applied the wisdom, would benefit all of us. I'm going up in two weeks for the rifle hunt, which of course requires me to be 5 miles from the road to legally shoot a bull. A lot of planning and preparation has gone into my hunt, and the thought that a bowhunter (which I ordinarily give credit to) would roadhunt this area with sloppy courtesy like that rankles quite a bit. Its not the fact that they can roadhunt, I guess its more the manner in which they do it as you describe that embarrasses and shames us.

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    • #3
      Haul Road "Hunters"

      Thanks for your post. Hunting off the road system in Alaska for just about anything is bound to result in seeing unethical and irresponsible acts by people doing whatever they think it takes to fill their tag. Personally, I have seen hundreds of relatively inexperienced individuals get their bow hunter certification for the sole purpose of "hitting the haul road" so they can "stick a caribou." Often these individuals have little hunting experience and even less ethical character. The "haul road" has gotten a reputation as a fantastic hunting opportunity for bow hunters and so the flocking of the masses is expected. Thank goodness for the good guys out there who set a responsible example for others to follow. At this point I think there should be an archery corridor, like .5 to 1 mile away from the highway. Would this even help? All these people supposedly took bow hunter education courses yet still demonstrate irresponsible behavior. What's the solution? More enforcement? Drawing permit? More education?

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      • #4
        Hmmm...

        My kneejerk reaction is always to find a solution that doesn't involve the government, and exhausting all possibilities to then look into involving them. Hopefully education from retail specialists like Sportsman's Warehouse, Mountainview Sports and others that give a more one-on-one approach to customers will help, if they get involved. You would think that tradition would have held up in situations like this. Makes me reiterate traditional "pack out what you pack in," "Respect all wildlife, especially your kill" kind of things to my son. I'll help fix the next generation from my family anyway. Wonder how the other ones got broke?

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        • #5
          Akres, thats how it has always been up there, sorry to be the one to tell you. Its a road hunt, thats exactly what it is. The only difference is that 10 years ago not as many hunters went up there cuz the road was so bad. Today it draws hundreds of bow and rifle hunters to the region because its the easiest Caribou hunt out there in the state. Some dandy bulls get taken too!

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          • #6
            And 10 years ago it was the same way it is now, probably the same people too.

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            • #7
              Went up there once years ago, planning to hike in and "do it right."

              I was so shamed by what I saw that I literally stopped my truck, changed out of my cammies, moved my hunting gear out if sight and left.

              I didn't want anyone to mistake me as a part of the slob mob, and I haven't been back. Maybe when hunting is killed off completely in a generation or two, the ethical hunters will build a memorial with the words "Thanks, slobs!"

              I've done my part for unclogging the road. If ethical hunters stay away, it's going to be a lot easier to sort out the slobs.
              "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
              Merle Haggard

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              • #8
                AkHunter45 it was not like it is now 10 years ago. You could go up there and stalk multiple herds in good numbers without too much additional hunting pressure. Now its like a race, if a guy sees Caribou he has to practically chase them down in order to beat other hunters to them, and hope that another truckload of hunters doesn't come around the next corner cuz they'll be ouit of their truck so fast and running out into the tundra, its just plain silly.I quit going up there, last year was my last. There were probably 40 trucks of hunters in a 30 mile stretch and with everybody driving back and forth all day and night, it gets crazy to say the least. And as frustration sets in the ethics go out the window and many just dont care if they ruin it for someone els e or not, they just want a Caribou so bad they will do anything. When friends have asked me in the last month if I want to make a run up there, I tell them no thanks. Last year was the worst I have ever seen it. I personally blame the state for fixing the road. When it was an adventure to get up there and the road turned to crap right at the White Mountains sign, there werent near as many hunters up there. Now the son of a ***** is paved almost all the way to Prudoe, and where some guys say the road is rough, is better than the best stretch used to be. Encroachment buddy, thats whats going on. If you build it , they will come!

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                • #9
                  So I guess I was imagining watching those aholes jumping out of their trucks and shooting at caribou from the road, or moving in on someone elses caribou that they were stalking first, or blocking the road with their truck in park while they chased caribou underneath the pipline. That was more than 10 years ago too.

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                  • #10
                    Why not?

                    I've never hunted up there but why not hike in from the road a half mile or a mile and then set up to glass and move on caribou you spot AWAY from the road??

                    I hunted caribou near the pipeline down towards Paxson ...... crossed a creek.....hiked in about a mile and we were ALL alone.....

                    took a nice caribou and packed it back to the road........the entire turnout was FULL of motor homes pulling ATV's of one sort or another all wanting to know how to get back to where we were.......

                    when they found out the actually had to walk they were in no way shape or form interested.......

                    Anyhow.........not sure if that strategy would work there but I'd think you could get off the road pretty fast and away from the road hunters.....

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                    • #11
                      All I can say is that its a lot worse now than it was in the mid 90's. I used to go up there every year and sometimes twice when I lived in Fairbanks. Killed them from the road and have done the death march several tmes, its getting worse every year. People still kill Caribou but the BS is something you just have to put up with. I was so pissed off when I got back from last years trip and I even killed a Poper Bull, scored 365. But the hunting pressure sucked big time, thats why I wont be going back this year. I have friends that are truckers that drive that road 3-4 times a week and have done so for 20 years and you ask them if its better or worse, they'll tell you its much worse and getting worse each year. Pisses me off to be honest with you because the Brooks is one of my favorite places in the state but with all the people visiting it between hunters and tour buses its just not the same anymore.

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                      • #12
                        AKCheese the slope is not the same as Paxson ( I live in Delta) the terrain is totally different. You could hike out as far as youd like but for bowhunting purposes along the 5 mile corridor the country is barren. Yes you can hunt them along the Sag or in Franklin bluffs but other than that the terrain is absolutely barren of any briush or trees to aid in stalking something, just lots of flat Tundra. If you wnat one real bad just walk the 5 miles spend a few days and shoot one with a rifle its really that easy. But if your a bowhunter, things like the Pipeline and the crown of the road and near creek/river crossings are almost all you have to stalk them with. Theres over 100 miles of nothing in most places where the bou cross and theres no other way to kill them other than using the road to ambush them as they cross it thats why people are hunting them off the road. For me the days of wanting a Caribou so bad that I am willing to hike out the 5 miles shoot one and pack it or drag it (sled) back to the highway are over, thats just me. I'll hike 30 miles through the mountains in search of a sheep but not for a Bou. Though I have killed my fair share. For what its worth I will also add that from talking to guys I met up there last year that were from the Anchorage area they didn't think the pressure was near as bad as I did, so it shows you that they guys that hunt in more congested areas seemed to accept this amount of pressure as the norm or so it seemed.

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                        • #13
                          Not trying to raise hell,,,,but technology?

                          I wonder about some earlier posts, "Dalton update by Phone", if we are crossing the line on that? I can see posting general reports, but to use "real time" like this, I wonder. Not trying to pick on anyone, but we can't use walkie talkies when we hunt to pursue game, yet we can use the internet? Can we use cell phones to hone in on our prey? Maybe there is something I don't understand. I am not trying to raise hell here, but isn't this an "artificial" way of pursuing game? It's one thing to talk about road conditions, that's a safety issue. But,,,,,,,,,,, I don't know about this one.

                          I think of the Haul Road as an opportunity for one who; doesn't have an atv, who will never get a tier II permit, and who doesn't have time or cash to do a drop off hunt. I don't know what the solution is. Perhaps designate where you are gonna hunt? Perhaps designate Archery or Rifle, etc? Perhaps draw permits everywhere? I don't know. It seems like the more technology you got, the more successful you are. Is that hunting?

                          Drive the Denali Hwy during Tier II caribou season and tell me how needy and dependant those folks are. Lets see, most have a moterhome, 6 ATV's, and more than one truck/vehicle for transportation. Hmmm,, Looks like most of us won't have an equal chance for that one either. I say change that hunt. Anyways,
                          Thats what I think.
                          Last edited by bowshootr; 08-21-2006, 15:45.

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                          • #14
                            My 2 Cents

                            AKRes,

                            Quote: "The Alaska experience along the road system, is what it is and getting even more crowded. With people come all the social ills. I appreciate all the information posted, as it can only serve to disperse the most extremely crowded opportunities and give people some additional options."

                            While I normally stay out of this type thread, this one seemed worthy of my 2 cents. Yes, the remoteness of the Haul Rd does lend itself to unethical practices (I believe there is 1 trooper up there). But, as you have stated before on fishing, "The Alaska experience along the road system, is what it is and getting even more crowded. With people come all the social ills." With easier access, you do get those who are lazy and don't want to work for their game.

                            To say it is worse than anywhere else in the state, though, is a little much. Try getting through the mouth of the Deshka by boat when the fish are in....or fishing the Russian (even when the fish aren't in)....or hunting Chicken for caribou (insane!! 4 wheelers running down bou and a person on every knoll with a HP rifle), what about Rex Trail and all the people there during moose season, or even boat the Salcha River during moose season....

                            I was up there almost all of last week, what I saw was much less crowded, irritating or unethical than what is normal to put up with along most of the roads in the state. I'm not saying I condone EVERYTHING I saw, as several of those actions blew a 3-4 hr stalk for me. But it is to be expected when hunting near a rd system. I have walked the 5 miles before and don't see that it's more ETHICAL to walk 5 miles and pop a caribou at 300-400 yds than to see them from the road, stalk them 200yds - 1 mile to get within 40 yds to get a shot. More work, yes, but more ethical, not really.

                            Now with unlimited resources, we could all fly over the herds and get dropped off near them, shoot our Bou, carry it to the plane and fly home. Or, we could take our airboat up the river 5 miles til we see a Bou and shoot him there. But, since we don't all have unlimited resources we must do what we can.

                            I don't agree with trucks left in the road or people chasing after a herd, but I really didn't see too much of that. Trash left behind is definitely unacceptable. Pulling off on the side of the side of the road happens all over the state, no more or less than up there. And if someone wants to chase a herd with no chance of getting close, I'll walk the mile around back to let them push them to me (the same as is done in bird hunting and even deer hunting in many states).

                            Don't get me wrong, there were certain vehicles that erk'd us all, so we stayed away from them. All together we ended up with 5 out of 6 of us getting Bou, not bad.

                            And are you sure the meat under the tarp wasn't hung from a tri-pod, with a blue tarp covering it? Saw a couple of those.....just curious where you saw meat on the ground and hides on the road?

                            Again, that was only my 2 cents (maybe 3). I had a great time up there (and was the only one in my group who didn't get a Bou) and didn't think the crowds were that much worse than most anywhere else than can be accessed by truck/ATV. That's the reality of the average hunter/fisherman in Alaska on limited time and budget.

                            BTW, there was a trooper out and tickets were being given (like for the 2 cows shot), so unethical/illegal activities were being dealt with.

                            I'm thankful to be living in a state where that is considered crowded and that has so much area to hunt!!! Sharing it with a few others while sometimes inconvenient will not hurt me.

                            AKBigO

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                            • #15
                              Haul Road Caribou

                              Big-O
                              Amen, Brother......amen.

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