DIY Archery Caribou Hunt Kotzebue, Alaska

Discussion in 'Hunting USA & Canada' started by DoubleLunger, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. DoubleLunger

    DoubleLunger AH Enthusiast

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    Good day my fellow hunters,

    I Hope all is well. Myself, a buddy of mine, and hopefully my Ol man(@velodog) if I can talk him into it, are planning and adventure in Alaska for 2020 to hopefully draw back on some Caribou.

    Possibly around the Northwest part of the state or wherever the herds seem to be the fullest.

    We’re considering an unguided DIY outfitted hunt for five days. We certainly have plenty of time to plan and get into shape.

    Just curious if anyone else has done this type of hunt for Caribou around NW Alaska and what your experience was like. I.e. what to do/not to do. As well as who you used for a bush pilot service, outfitter, etc.

    Or if I’m just an idiot that doesn’t know how to find this kind of information on this forum and I’m posting on the wrong place then please let me know.

    Just point me in the right direction!

    Thanks all,

    DL
     

  2. jeff

    jeff AH Elite

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    I did a DIY caribou bowhunt 19 years ago so my info is so dated as to be worthless. I'm envious of your plan, I've always wanted to go back again but never seem to do it.
     
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  3. DoubleLunger

    DoubleLunger AH Enthusiast

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    No worries Jeff. I’m assuming it was a good time. Was it in the same area(around Kotzebue)? And what time of year did you go?

    Thanks for the reply,
    DL
     

  4. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Elite

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    I have researched this hunt and haven't done it but if you are around kotzebue there was two transporters that had great reviews. So I think you are on the right track. Definitely a bucket list hunt, wish you luck!
     
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  5. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Doublelunger,
    My DIY Alaska hunts have been some of the greatest experiences of my life. Absolutely do it! Mine have been out of Fairbanks and Tok. I have flown with 40 mile air and Wright flying Service. Both top notch outfits with excellent pilots. The skill of the Alaska Bush Pilot amazes me and the ride into the Bush is worth the price of admission. Wish I could help you with your specific area of interest. My next trip will most likely be to the NW.
    D6CB2FE4-9933-402B-83E2-5341CB0DCD5F.jpeg
    Cheers,
    Cody
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2018
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  6. Ryan

    Ryan AH Enthusiast

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    Unless I have things confused that's the Western Alaska herd. It's currently at a low building back up. http://www.newsminer.com/news/local...cle_53259ea4-f6af-11e7-bf91-0ff0ca174ebc.html

    I did a fly in off the Dalton highway in 2012 and it was great. The population has dropped now and it would be a poor hunt now. They just naturally fluctuate.

    I'm not saying you can't hunt it, but the better numbers are on the other side right now with the Porcupine herd. A year or two ago I was chatting with a flight service called Bushwacker Air. They flew from a strip a few hours drive above Fairbanks straigt into that herd. Drive and fly is a whole lot easier than taking commercial flight and fly out since shipping via commercial adds up fast. Antlers are bulky and they charge by space. If I were you do some research on herds and population predictions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  7. jduckhunter

    jduckhunter AH Fanatic

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    Myself and 3 friends did a DIY caribou/moose hunt 30 years ago, we hunted the upper peninsula, flew out of Lake Clark. We all got caribou but only one moose, but that was enough, cause packing all of that for several miles on our backs to the nearest lake that the float plane could land on was a lot like work. We were in camp for 9 days, it started raining as soon as the plane that dropped us off started taxying for take off. It rained for 9 days straight and one of the tent poles snapped during a particularly nasty storm on about the 7th night ( thank God for duct tape and willow branches). We were supposed to be in for 10 days but on the 9th day they came to check on us because all of the other camps had been raided by grizzlies. We had seen some griz but up to that point they hadn't bothered us. Anyway we were ready to get out of there, we had no dry clothes left and walking around in damp hip boots for 9 days was getting pretty old. That whole experience was one that I will never forget.
     
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  8. jeff

    jeff AH Elite

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    I hunted the Mulchatna herd and killed a small bull with my recurve and had a chance at a good bull but my string hit my arm as my rain gear was bulky. I hunted in late Aug. for 12 days and brought my own camp and gear. The weather was rainy, sunny ,cold hot you name it we had it.
     
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  9. WAB

    WAB AH Enthusiast

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    I would target the herd in the best shape. I think the porcupine herd is doing well. A few years ago some friends hunted the 40 mile with good success. Pick a reputable bush service, that is not the place to save money. Don’t push the weather with air transit, that gets you dead. Take a sat phone and arrange comm with the air carrier. If you are near spawning fish set up camp well away from bear travel routes. Keep you camp clean. Take a capable rifle even if you are bow hunting.
     
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  10. DoubleLunger

    DoubleLunger AH Enthusiast

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    Thank you LTD. let me know if you ever come across the names of those two transporters
     

  11. DoubleLunger

    DoubleLunger AH Enthusiast

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    Thanks Cody,

    I’ll keep these services in mind if we decide to hunt out of those areas. How long ago did you hunt there? This herds?
     

  12. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I hunt an area where you have to chose either moose or caribou I have been hunting moose. The caribou come through where I hunt about a week before I have gotten there and we just see sporadic groups, never anything exceptional either. It has been two years since my last trip exactly
     
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  13. DoubleLunger

    DoubleLunger AH Enthusiast

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    This is some great intel. I’ve also heard that the herds fluctuate in numbers but am not sure how many years it takes for the numbers to get back up to good hunting density.

    I believe that out of Kotzebue we would be after the Western Arctic herd(not sure if that’s what you meant by “western herd”.

    I suppose it would be possible to get with a bush pilot out of Fairbanks since that’s just a short travel from Anchorage.

    Thanks much and please let me know if any other info comes to mind.

    DL
     

  14. Ryan

    Ryan AH Enthusiast

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    Oops, yes Western Arctic herd.

    Tough to say how quickly each herd recuperates, there's a lot of variables. As an example, the Mulchatna herd was huge in the early 90's and then collapsed by mid-late 90's and is still dragging along at low numbers. So a few to several years typically. The Central Artic herd I mentioned I hunted in 2012 is still low after it dropped in 2013 so hunting off the Dalton highway has become real hit and miss. Because the Western Arctic herd affects the food supply of a lot of Native communities it's been in the news a lot, such as that article. It does appear to be on the mend and 2020 is two years off so if things play right with low winter die offs etc. it could be better for that herd, but don't expect amazing numbers. That's a long flight for bush plane out of Fairbanks, if they do it. But you're starting at the right time researching. ADFG posts all kinds of info about each herd and some searching pulls up more. The 40-mile herd increased nicely lately since some of the Nelchina herd moved into it. But while I liked 40-mile Air for my sheep hunt, I saw their caribou charges and to be honest was less than impressed by them for 'bou. Just my opinion there.
     
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  15. DoubleLunger

    DoubleLunger AH Enthusiast

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    Jduckhubter,

    Thanks for the intel. I guess we can’t pick and choose when the weather will be in our favor. At least you guys were successful
     

  16. DoubleLunger

    DoubleLunger AH Enthusiast

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    Excellent. Thanks again. I suppose that one key to success would be to keep an eye on reports for growth/decrease of the herds via ADFG over the next year or so. Unless you know of any other reliable sources.

    DL
     

  17. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    That is a dream hunt and by coincidence I have spent quite a lot of time on YouTube watching Caribou and Moose hunts over the last week.
    I know it probably won't be much use but some of the better films mention outfitters, bush transport etc and you can glean a fair bit of information from them, so if you get some down time on shift it might be worth watching a few here and there.
     
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  18. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Elite

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  19. DoubleLunger

    DoubleLunger AH Enthusiast

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    Thanks Adrian,

    When do you plan on going? If we crossed paths at the airport in/out of Alaska it would be cool if we exchanged stories and high fives over a cold one.

    If you come across any YouTube vids of the Caribou please feel free to send them my way.

    Cheers,

    DL
     

  20. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    It's a pipe dream at the moment and tags seem hard to get for you living in the U.S. let alone in the U.K. but it is a dream that might happen one day, we all have to dream don't we!

    But I enjoy the Alaskan wilderness and wildlife even if I am sitting at home and the hunts look like one of the great adventures.

    I'll try and find some of the better ones again and let you know.
     

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