Contributors to this thread:
How long to fill your Caribou tag?
Putting together a hunt for a drop camp in AK using a transporter. How many days did it take to get your caribou if you got into them? I was planning to go for 2 weeks but if it seems that most get it done sooner than that I may look at possibly trying to split the hunt and move to hunt another species if possible. Thanks for your input!
First, when are you going? Do an early Aug bou hunt and 2 weeks will about guarantee spoiled meat if you kill early. Gun or Bow?
Alaska has gotten a lot warmer in recent years and if you're dropped off out on the Arctic plain where there is little opportunity to hang meat???????
If I was to go again, I would book two weeks with the capability to be moved. If you get done early, call to get taken out early.
Where in AK? If you're into caribou, it can be a one day deal.
And if you're not in to caribou, it can be an "ordeal". ;). I'm convinced if we would've booked two weeks vs. one, we would've killed caribou. By the time we knew we needed to be moved, we had a couple weather days, when it cleared, it was too late. You can always come out early, but sometimes logistics prevent one from staying late. If it is a once in a lifetime deal....book two weeks.
We will be bowhunting. Ive talked with the folks at 40 air. They said to call back in December to try and book something since they take repeat customers first. Im looking into other transporters also. Just want to use somebody reputable. I would like to go the later part of the season so the weather is cooler. It will just be 2 of us. Maybe Im just watching too much youtube. People seem to fill out fast.
1st day 4, 2nd 4 hours, 3rd day 2. If you're going all that way, go as long as you can and enjoy the adventure. If you tag a caribou... icing on the cake. Ed F
The area you will be going to is one of the colder areas in AK in the fall. In 2015 when we were there sheep hunting, we got temps near freezing at 4000 feet. The bou are quite large there. Bring a 9x12 lightweight tarp (13 oz or so) to cover gear and yourself when caught out in the rain.
I've never had 40 mile drop me for bou, but they've done 3 sheep drops for me. Super outfit, but when they tell you 50 lbs, they mean it. Fill your pockets with heavy stuff. They don't weigh that. Wear long underwear in, regardless of how warm it is. Anything to get extra in. You may want to pay for an extra mid hunt flight. If you take sat phone, you can cancel that if needed.
On my 3 trips, the number of days I've "lost" for late takeouts and pickups is approx 12.
Three of us last August.....started hunting at daybreak Monday morning....two tags filled by noon Monday....last tag filled 9:00am Tuesday.
That said, I hunted the North Slope in 2012 and got my first shot opportunity on day nine of a nine day hunt. Originally scheduled for a ten day hunt, but lost a day on the front end due to weather.
Anyone ever fill out quickly on caribou and go try for moose? Is it something a nonres hunter can do over the counter in AK? Then maybe look for some pilot with a last minute cancellation and hopefully save a couple bucks without possibly eating an $800 moose tag...
The biggest moose I've ever seen was back there. About 6 crow miles from the pickup. Never went within range so I wouldn't be tempted.
Flew out of Denver on Monday..into camp early Wednesday (four of us). First bull down late Thursday afternoon...snow / rain kept us in tent until Saturday noon. Second and third bulls down on Sunday afternoon...fourth bull down on Monday. We were scheduled to fly out on Wednesday but the pilot came and got us out on Tuesday, late. The weather was decent; the wind blew all the time and we had on-off rain during the week. All-in-all a mentally tough hunt. We were back in Anchorage on Thursday and flew back to Denver on Saturday. We had two weeks blocked out for the hunt - one to hunt and one to prep going in and coming out. We needed every minute of those two weeks. Hunted the same area you're planning on hunting.
^^And you were bowhunting? Sounds like a great trip though!
Murphy was a caribou hunter...
Book short and the caribou will be hard to find. Book long and you'll kill in the first 3 days. There is simply no way to predict or go from the averages. If bowhunting you should allow for more time vs a rifle. If it's REALLY important that you kill...book longer. It basically costs the same to be out there 7 days...10...or 14. Make it an adventure and give yourself enough time to really absorb the whole experience vs being on a tighter clock and feeling pressure to get a kill. I go to Alaska to unwind, clear my mind, hunt every day and just live in the backcountry. That takes time for me. 7 days goes by in a flash...not enough time for my needs.
Took me 6 float trips over 11 years to get one:) Alaska is vast! Have a great hunt. C
Nick Muche....sorry, should have mentioned it but it was a rifle hunt. My point was in regards to how much time we allowed ourselves preparing to go in, and how much time we needed to pack for the return trip home.
On my two Alaska caribou/moose trips: 1984 it took me about 8 days or so. Trackman killed his the first day and there were a lot of caribou around. Should have been trying hard to put one down that day as the migration moved out overnight. Got one of the only two bulls I saw after that.
In 1989 I never shot one. We got marooned on an island in a large river when the river flooded and watched a large migration swim the river 200 yds upstream of us over the day. There were huge bulls in the herds. My buddies each got their caribou on the trip, probably on about the second and fifth day before getting marooned. After the outfit that had taken us up river in a jet boat saw the flood down stream they came and checked on us with the Super Cub. They saw our predicament and went back and got a weather checked tiny rubber inflatable raft they air dropped in to us. .......and we got off the island. Unfortunately the caribou migration was gone.
Moral of the story.......if you have Alaska caribou around, pick the best bull and take it home! Too picky and it is likely to be tag soup, even in the good old days of Alaskan caribou hunting.
The advice about killing when you can is right on. Even when I hunted the Haul Road (about 16 trips) we would be bou free for days, then get up in the morning and be surrounded. Nice thing with the road hunt is you can move. When you get in 40 Mile's area, you are really just hunting a grain of wheat in a 40 acre field.
The caribou herds are going down hill fast.If you want to hunt caribou you better get it done.
Depends on the herd. 40 mile is fine and our local Nelchina herd is over desired numbers.
Thanks for all the info. Im going to look into the possibility of getting a moose tag if we were to fly out early and then go in again. If I don't fill my tag it does not ruin my day/trip. All about the adventure for me. I have a hard time shooting something the first day if I don't have another option/tag in my pocket. Anybody see black bears while hunting bou?