Mathews Inc.
AK caribou advice-suggestions?
Caribou
Contributors to this thread:
Jaquomo 13-Dec-18
Nick Muche 13-Dec-18
kota-man 13-Dec-18
Rock 13-Dec-18
Beav 13-Dec-18
Nick Muche 13-Dec-18
Jaquomo 13-Dec-18
Trial153 13-Dec-18
Trial153 13-Dec-18
SDHNTR(home) 13-Dec-18
TrapperKayak 13-Dec-18
Deertick 13-Dec-18
Steve H. 13-Dec-18
Nick Muche 13-Dec-18
cnelk 13-Dec-18
Nick Muche 13-Dec-18
Nick Muche 13-Dec-18
LtsRyd 13-Dec-18
Jaquomo 13-Dec-18
BobH92057 13-Dec-18
Steve H. 13-Dec-18
pav 13-Dec-18
LtsRyd 13-Dec-18
LtsRyd 13-Dec-18
LtsRyd 13-Dec-18
Nick Muche 13-Dec-18
LtsRyd 13-Dec-18
Tennhunter 13-Dec-18
Tennhunter 13-Dec-18
Mule Power 13-Dec-18
BOWUNTR 13-Dec-18
808bowhunter 13-Dec-18
Deertick 13-Dec-18
Jaquomo 13-Dec-18
Mule Power 14-Dec-18
TD 14-Dec-18
Mudslinger 14-Dec-18
Scott/IL 18-Dec-18
From: Jaquomo
13-Dec-18
I need some Bowsiter advice. My girlfriend wants us to do a caribou hunt with her son, an AK resident. This would likely be in 2020. The two of them would rifle hunt, I would bowhunt. He is more of a fisherman than a hunter and hasn't hunted big game before. She has, and is a good rifle shot.

We have all the camping and hunting gear we would need (except a bear fence). I've been on two QL caribou hunts and know a guide isn't necessary. Ideally I'd like to do this where fishing is available if the 'bou aren't there.

Money isn't really an issue for this. Considering we have one very experienced outdoorsman (me) and two marginally experienced, but fit and adventurous folks, can I get some recommendations about drop-camp vs. more mobile (ie.. Haul Road/Dalton Highway type hunt)

From: Nick Muche
13-Dec-18
Get a slot with 40 Mile Air, you'll have the time of your life. There are some other options as well, but I don't think you'll find a better transporter or area to bowhunt. Beautiful country that 40 Mile, can't wait to be back there this fall. If you'd like any other information, let me know and I'll be happy to help.

If you do the Dalton, it's a long walk to rifle country and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, though certainly possible. You'll see other people each day and may or may not see a caribou. I love it up there, but it's a short drive each Friday eve to go hunt several species for 2 days.

From: kota-man
13-Dec-18
Ideally, Nick is right on, but 40 Mile air is tough to get in with as a new customer. We hunted with Brooks Range Aviation a couple years ago as a drop hunt. Everyone they dropped that week faired VERY well but us. None the less, it was a well organized good drop hunt minus the caribou. Weather did not allow us to get moved or we very well may have been successful as well. If I was going to do another Ak drop hunt, I would try to go with 40 mile, but would not be opposed to trying BRA again.

From: Rock
13-Dec-18
Lou, If you need a Bear fence, you can borrow mine, just let me know.

From: Beav
13-Dec-18
40 mike is hard to get a slot with as a new customer but I would highly recommend them.

From: Nick Muche
13-Dec-18
40 Mile usually has some openings each year for Caribou hunts because the season is so long. The key to getting a spot with them is to call on the first day they are taking bookings in December. Their moose hunts are more difficult due to the short season in their main area.

From: Jaquomo
13-Dec-18
Thanks, guys. If we ae going in 2020, do I need to book now, or next December? Appreciate the advice!

From: Trial153
13-Dec-18
pretty sure all their caribou slots for 2019 are filled with repeats, that was as of Friday.

From: Trial153
13-Dec-18
pretty sure all their caribou slots for 2019 are filled with repeats, that was as of Friday.

From: SDHNTR(home)
13-Dec-18
I want to say 40 Mi too, but if fishing is a MUST, you may sacrifice the caribou hunting. 40 Mile country is more mountainous. The rivers can be WAY at the bottom of where you may land, camp and hunt. Yes, they have some river crossing spots where I’m sure you could fish, but if the caribou aren’t there, or have already migrated past, you won’t see a one. That’s the way it was when I hunted there in 2015. We were hoping to be able to fish too, but that just wasn’t realistic given where the caribou were. We had to land on high ridgetops. The rivers were a 2500 foot descent and I ain’t doing that for no fish! It’s worth calling and asking but I’m not sure I see 40 Mile country as the best hunt/fish combo option. If fishing isn’t that important, however, it’s top of the list!

From: TrapperKayak
13-Dec-18
Ketchum Air in Anchorage took me to Whitefish Lake, 3 hr over the Alaska range to hunt the Mulchatna herd. Late August. Lake is right there, camp is next to it. If the 'bou are there, you will have a great time. They won't take you where there have been no 'bou spotted anyway. They have scouts out. An hour hike through scrub spruce through some alders, and up ontothe hills, where most of the bou are grazing. It is really open, so its good for rifle, and enough stalking spots for bow hunting too. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Relatively cheap DYI/drop, 8 or 9 days.

From: Deertick
13-Dec-18
Is the Mulchatna herd huntable again? (I'm looking for 2021, and -- as above -- thinking BRA/other north slope operations vs Tok area).

From: Steve H.
13-Dec-18
If I was going I also would go 40 Mile first choice, BRA second choice. You don't HAVE to land on ridge tops with 40 Mile you GET to land on ridge tops!

I'd think in terms of doing fishing as an add on before or after the hunting.

From: Nick Muche
13-Dec-18
Dec 3rd was the first day this year to book with 40 Mile, I am sure their slots were filled that day. For 2020, call next Dec.

The "Mulchatna herd" is resident only now days.

We fished on a creek during our 40 Mile hunt this past September. It was only a few hundred yard walk from camp. Not all camps have a stream nearby, but ours did and their were grayling in it.

From: cnelk
13-Dec-18
Couldnt Lou look into a Registration Hunt to expand his areas?

From: Nick Muche
13-Dec-18
40 Mile country is a registration hunt. North Slope and the Brooks range is a Harvest ticket hunt.

Do you mean a draw hunt? There are a few decent ones he could apply for but the odds are not exactly stellar, cannot apply with 3 people in a group.

From: Nick Muche
13-Dec-18
Another option to get in with 40 Mile is to bribe a repeat customer and take them along with you :)

From: LtsRyd
13-Dec-18
Have you thought about Adak? Has great halibut fishing as well as a lot of caribou.

From: Jaquomo
13-Dec-18
Great info guys - I'm assuming 40 Mile doesn't accept 2020 reservations before next December?

From: BobH92057
13-Dec-18
Do a DIY and fly out to Adak in January, cow hunt.

From: Steve H.
13-Dec-18
"Have you thought about Adak? Has great halibut fishing as well as a lot of caribou."

Not a good option (anymore), logistics are atrocious. I have not personally seen a photo of a good bull come out of there in over ten years. The goods days on Adak are probably behind us. I got lucky and caught Adak at the end of the good years (2005).

From: pav
13-Dec-18

pav's embedded Photo
pav's embedded Photo
Another thumbs up for Brooks Range Aviation. They are going to fly you in via float planes and you will camp next to the water....so fishing is available right out of the tent. It is a true tundra experience on the North Slope....just beautiful country. Very good chance for first timers to get a slot as they can transport alot more hunters in a day than two man Super Cubs. Jay and Judy are great people and Bettles is an experience in its own right.

From: LtsRyd
13-Dec-18

LtsRyd's embedded Photo
LtsRyd's embedded Photo
Adak 2018 It's not what it once was but it is sure fun.

From: LtsRyd
13-Dec-18

LtsRyd's embedded Photo
LtsRyd's embedded Photo
Adak 2018 It's not what it once was but it is sure fun.

From: LtsRyd
13-Dec-18

LtsRyd's embedded Photo
LtsRyd's embedded Photo
Also Adak 2018 It's more than just a hunt. :)

From: Nick Muche
13-Dec-18
What would have to happen for Adak to start producing bulls like that more regularly? They used to, what was the downfall and what will it take to bring it back?

With regards to the North Slope and bowhunting caribou. It's a very challenging bowhunt, couple that with what seems to be a declining herd in some aspects, it wouldn't be on the top of my list if I was to plan a fly out hunt. If you want a cheap bow hunt, hunt the Haul Rd for 10 days, you'll have a few opportunities.

From: LtsRyd
13-Dec-18
For Adak to produce more bulls like that it will take the herd size to be reduced. They have overeaten their area. Fish and Game has tried to reduce it with no-limit on cows. Hopefully with better access to the main herd now, meat hunters will help to reduce their numbers. It also helped to have more hunters accessing the hard to reach areas as this pushed more animals into the easy access areas of the town of Adak. If you are looking for trophies only, Adak is not it. But if you're looking for high numbers with lots of action, then it should be one of the considerations. As Fred Bear said, “A hunt based only on trophies taken, falls short of what the ultimate goal should be.”

From: Tennhunter
13-Dec-18

Tennhunter's embedded Photo
Tennhunter's embedded Photo
Definitely not a trophy in size but the experience from driving the haul rd north from Fairbanks catching grayling and seeing just about every large/small game animal Alaska has to offer is hard to beat in my eyes but I’ve always been a DIY guy. We did make the mistake of thinking 3 East Tennessee boys could easily hike ourselves out 5 mi to try and take one with the riffle deff not recommended lol.

From: Tennhunter
13-Dec-18

Tennhunter's embedded Photo
Tennhunter's embedded Photo

13-Dec-18
Here's my advice...don't shoot any caribou with blunts, and if you do, don't film it:)

From: Mule Power
13-Dec-18
Nick what about lining up Zack at Tok Air if 40 Mile doesn’t pan out?

From: BOWUNTR
13-Dec-18
Ok... who wants to bribe me for a 2020 40 mile caribou hunt??? Ed F

From: 808bowhunter
13-Dec-18
I tried to get in with 40 mike in 2017&18. Booked from return clients both years

From: Deertick
13-Dec-18
I'll bite ... whatcha got?

From: Jaquomo
13-Dec-18
Thanks for all the input and PMs. Lots to digest here. Money isnt really an issue because girlfriend is treating the three of us. We just want a good experience with a decent chance at some opportunities. Not concerned about trophy quality on this hunt either. This is an adventure for "us".

Thanks again and please keep the ideas and feedback coming.

From: Mule Power
14-Dec-18
Money isn’t an issue girlfriend is treating.... Lou you have always been my hero!

From: TD
14-Dec-18
"Just a gigolo..... and everywhere I go..... people know the part I'm playin'..." heheheh.....

Love being a kept man...... =D

From: Mudslinger
14-Dec-18
We used Arctic Air out of Kotzebue and went 3 for 3 and had a great hunt. We used rifles but could have gotten it done with a bow. It was warm when we went high of 60 and we still saw plenty of caribou right after Labor Day.

From: Scott/IL
18-Dec-18
40 Mile took 1 new customer group for this fall from what they told me. That hunt booked instantly upon opening the phone lines to newbies. If you’re set on a caribou hunt, it’d be real hard to put your eggs in the basket of booking with them. It took me 20 minutes to get through yesterday morning and even the waitlist was filled up by then.

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