So when you camp and hunt for caribou out of Kotz, is it best to keep your meat, food and capes near camp and "protect" it or is it wiser to keep all of that away from camp and let the bears have at it?
If it were me, I would not want to have bears around my camp stealing my meat since I live here and want to bring it all home. It's your call really, do you want to protect the meat so you can take some home and donate the rest to a good cause or would you rather have the bears eait it and have to explain to Fish and Game why you don't have any meat or only have a little bit? You can cache the meat a hundred or so yards away and still keep an eye on it or you could bring one of those portable electric fences to put around it to protect it. Then there's the possibility that you may never even encounter a bear.
AkHunter had the best idea with the electric fence. You can find cheap ones out there that run on a couple of D-cells (yes, D-cells). They work very well.
I have never had bear trouble in camp, and routinely set my kitchen within thirty yards or so from the sleeping area. Especially in the arctic. You won't see large concentrations of bears along the rivers up there like you will in areas farther south. There are chum salmon in some of the rivers, but the bears aren't all over you like they might be elsewhere.
You don't need to set your meat cache too far away either. What I do is place the meat where I can see it from camp. A bigger concern is proper meat care, but that's another subject.
Like Strahan and AkHunter45 I like to cache my meat where I can keep an eye on it, if clients get uncomfortable with the meat close by, I'll move it out a little farther (within ear-shot) and make a noise trap. I also try to keep the meat down wind of camp. The only problems (knock on wood) I've had with critters and meat have been with foxes, crooked buggers!
I would say that there is more of a threat to losing meat to other species of critters, than to bears. While not a threat to you, foxes, marten, ravens, and even weasels and smaller critters can make noticeable inroads into a meat supply. Ravens can be especially bad. They have good memories, and learn quickly. They aren't selfish either, they will call in their relatives for the feast.
If your near timber, gray jays will also be bothering you and your meat. You need to keep the meat covered, somehow, yet allow air circulation. Mostly these critters are a problem with camping in the same spot for several days. If your moving regularly, most critters won't have time to zero in on you before you leave. It only takes one determined fox to lose alot of meat tho.
I wonder what the trooper would say if you showed up with mostly bones and said the foxes got the meat? Haha.
Electroguard makes a lightweight version that's ideal for float hunts where space in the boat is at a premium. I spoke with these folks this spring and it sounds like just the thing. At $245, it's not too bad. If you have a wheeler, you can even use it to protect your machine while you're hunting. Bears LOVE to bite four-wheeler seats and tires, nearly as much as they like to bite rafts.
As far as rentals go, you might check with Jerry Sisemore at Alaska Downstream. I don't know if he rents them or not, but he might know someone who does. http://www.alaskadownstream.com/
You could also build your own, I think for around a hundred bucks or so. Home Depot, otherwise known as "Home Repo" around my house, for the money I've spent there, has all the components.
I Would Not Keep The Meat Near Camp. Risk Outweigh The Reward. You Should Be Able To Keep It A Hundred Yards Away And Still Keep An Eye On It. Be Sure To Keep It Downwind Of You. The Electric Fences Are Nice. But Pricey. One Suggestion, If You Did Get One, Be Sure To Get The Model Made For Gravel River Bars. I Assume This Is What The Areas You Will Be Camping In Have. The Regular Systems Rely On Grounding In Soil. Gravel Will Not Allow Conduction Of The Regular Set Up. He (electrobearguard) Makes One Model Specifically For Camping On Gravel River Bars. But Again, If You Had The Fence Around Camp And Kept Your Meat In Camp Within The Perimeter Of The Fence, Is That Really The Best Thing. I Am Not Sure. I Would Forget About The Fence And Keep The Meat Away From Camp.