Unguided caribou hunt

6.5-284

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Hi. We are looking to do an unguided caribou hunt...possibly in the Brooks. Just wondered if anyone had any info regarding honest/reliable/reasonably priced air taxi service into that area. We are not totally committed to the Brooks, so would be open to other areas as well. Would also like the opportunity to take black bear. THis is a hunt for me and my two sons. It's pretty important to me to give them a good experience in AK. I have done 7 different hunts in AK and also did a successful unguided moose hunt so am not a neophyte. lol Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you in advance.
 

Brian M

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Grizzly bear are common in the Brooks, but not black bear. You could potentially tack on a black bear hunt once you're back on the road system, but in the Brooks as a non-resident you'd be much more likely to get a wolf as a secondary target.

The air taxi I used years ago to hunt the Brooks is no longer in business, so I'll have to defer to others on the recommendation.
 

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Thank you for those that reseponded. I know grizzlies are predominant in the Brooks, but I thought the South Slope held some blackies. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what area to target for caribou or should I just talk to fish and game?
 

MacGyver

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Thank you for those that reseponded. I know grizzlies are predominant in the Brooks, but I thought the South Slope held some blackies. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what area to target for caribou or should I just talk to fish and game?
The Brooks Range is 700 miles long, I agree there are some black Bear on the south side.
 

Brian M

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I'd also look at Zone 2 in the 40 Mile caribou range. That's a fly-in only area, which cuts down on the crowds found in zone 1 and 3. Much shorter flight. But...the Brooks is pretty dang magical.
 

mark knapp

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Please let us know a little bit more about what kind of hunt you want. The Brooks range is a fine place to hunt, I've hunted the Eastern Brooks Range a lot, but there are a lot of closer, less expensive places to go for caribou. There are very few black bears in caribou country in the Brooks Range, in my opinion, they seldom mix. Wolves and grizzly may be seen a lot in the Brooks Range.

Do you have a budget? Would you like a float hunt or a hike and glass hunt? How much time do you have? How important is it for you to be alone?
 

6.5-284

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We're definitely open to other areas...just love the Brooks. lol Have a budget but also realize air taxis are crazy expensive now. We have our own gear so just need transport. We prefer hike and glass over a float trip. 10 days to hunt and if at all possible, DO NOT want to see other hunters. lol
 

mark knapp

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We're definitely open to other areas...just love the Brooks. lol Have a budget but also realize air taxis are crazy expensive now. We have our own gear so just need transport. We prefer hike and glass over a float trip. 10 days to hunt and if at all possible, DO NOT want to see other hunters. lol
I was with you all the way until you said you did not want to see other hunters. I'm afraid, unless you get very lucky, without the use of airplanes, you are not going to be able to hunt for ten days and not see other hunters. Everyone wants what you want, an inexpensive wild experience with no other hunters. That just won't happen. IMHO

Your best set, might be to drive up the haul and have one of the air boaters run you up a river for a float trip. I'd research that.
You don't have a lot of time if you want to go in 2023 things are booking up fast. What year do you want to go?
 

Daveinthebush

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Are you gun hunting or archery? The Haul Road is an option there. I haven't been up in a while and not as many people are posting that they have been there. Years ago, it was a really good archery hunt, but the herd has since changed its travel pattern.

People do walk out of the five mile no-hunting zone to hunt but the terrain is tough walking. Doable but tough on us older guys.

It sounds like your a non-resident. Grizz would be off the menu then unless you have a guide. You could fly out of Happy Valley on the Haul Road for caribou. Used to be quite a few pilots flying out of there.

You can also use the search feature on the forum here. Years of information in the database.
 

6.5-284

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We are definitely going to use an air taxi which will help us get a little more off of the beaten path. A big thank you to everyone here that responded! I appreciate your insight.
 

Daveintheburbs

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Hunting the 40 mile herd with 40mile Air out of Tok is a good hunt. I'm pretty sure you are late to book for this year, but google them and call.
 

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40 mile is booked solid. Has anyone used Coyote Air? Wondering if they would work for this type of hunt. Please PM me if you don't feel comfortable sharing info in this thread. Thks
 

Daveinthebush

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At this point you are just going to have to call and see who has an opening. They may all be booked. Ecotourism has taken many flights that hunters used to. Why? I have a friend that charters his boat. He says that the eco people tip well, don't get blood on the deck and he doesn't need bait.

This is an old thread but there are some names there you might try.

70North, Polaris, Deltana are a few more you might try.
 

nayrtrunks

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We flew with Brooks Range Aviation in 2018 and 2022 for sheep and have been fairly happy with them. I think they're going through a transition with new owners (or will be soon) so the operation isnt the smoothest at times but they are very affordable and will get you into country. Flights from Fairbanks to Bettles are about $300 a person and then they fly parties into the field in a beaver allowing for multiple hunters to help split the cost of the flight. They'll be able to provide you a list of lakes they can fly you into or you can do your own research and go where you want. We saw some huge bulls in our 2018 trip into Gates of the Arctic but were focused on sheep at the time. The 2022 trip we had some really nice grizzlies but the season wasn't open (didn't open until August 20th). When we were there in August, a few different caribou hunters also took some nice wolves too. I, personally, would recommend a September trip. Most of the August hunters weren't seeing as many caribou...weather may be crummier in September but you'll see more caribou. Another option to look into is some of the lakes you can fly into will take you to some great Lake Trout fishing (char, grayling and burbot as well) lakes. Feniak, Schrader, Itkillik, Peters, Walker, and Chandler are all within decent range of Bettles and provide great Lake Trout fishing, however a packraft of some kind may be necessary. Would definitely be a bonus. I'm planning on using them for a caribou with my son in the next few years. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions.
 

nayrtrunks

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40 mile is booked solid. Has anyone used Coyote Air? Wondering if they would work for this type of hunt. Please PM me if you don't feel comfortable sharing info in this thread. Thks
We've had a hard time booking with Coyote...they're really dedicated to return customers so they may be difficult to get with.
 

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Thank you. I called Coyote. They didn't seem interested. I'll look in to Brooks.
 

Daveinthebush

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Here is a thought. If you have seen Sue on Life Below Zero at Kavik camp, she has in the past let people caribou hunt out of her camp. There used to be several transporters working out of there. When I flew into there to sheep hunt, we caught a non-scheduled (When enough people want to go,) commercial flight from Deadhorse to Kavik first. During the fall the larger planes, 6-8 seaters fly into her place delivering hunters so that the transporters who have single or double passenger planes don't have to make so many trips.

You could then possibly hunt from her place as a base camp and/or might find a transporter working out of there willing to drop you off somewhere.

Just an idea. Sue is a fantastic cook, wonderful host and a hoot to talk to.
 

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