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Alaska caribou advice
Caribou
Contributors to this thread:
DapperDan 14-Mar-19
pav 14-Mar-19
Tdvorak 14-Mar-19
Kevin Dill 14-Mar-19
Southern draw 14-Mar-19
midwest 14-Mar-19
Pete In Fairbanks 14-Mar-19
midwest 14-Mar-19
Tdvorak 15-Mar-19
From: DapperDan
14-Mar-19
Trying to plan a 2020 caribou hunt for me and my wife. I have been doing a lot of research and reading as much as I can and need some input and advice. We would like to do a drop hunt in either the brooks range or 40 mile area. I’ve talked to a few transporters and it seems Tok Air or 40 mile are the top two for that region. 40 mile is hard to get in with and tok is pricey. 5k per hunter. Haven’t found anyone yet that I can say is top of list for brooks range.

Can anyone give me insight on differences between the two regions such as terrain and mainly quality of caribou? Also, I’d prefer a hard horned caribou over velvet but with that said, is it better odds for bigger caribou earlier when they are in velvet or later when hard horned? Trying to decide when the best time to plan on going is. We will be coming from Houston Texas and logistics will keep this from being something we can do often so for that reason we’d like to hunt somewhere and with someone that offers a good chance to shoot above average caribou that are mature. We aren’t expecting world class monster caribou but 350+ bull would be what we are after. Mainly a nice tall or palmated top, good bez and nice shovels.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. I’ve talked to arrowhead outfitters in the brooks range area and have read good reviews as well as read some really bad reviews.

Again, any and all input would be greatly appreciated!

From: pav
14-Mar-19

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North Slope Tundra
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North Slope Tundra
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Vast Open Country of the North Slope
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Vast Open Country of the North Slope
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40 Mile Terrain
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40 Mile Terrain
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40 Mile = Bowhunter friendly
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40 Mile = Bowhunter friendly
We hunted the North Slope in 2012 and the 40 Mile herd in 2016. Can't say we noticed an obvious difference in quality...but we also were not holding out for 350" bulls. I will say all three of the 40 Mile bulls we killed had double shovels. Saw plenty of caribou on both hunts.

Definitely found the 40 Mile terrain much more bowhunter friendly than the North Slope. Really depends what you want from the hunt. The North Slope provides a true tundra experience versus the hilly 40 Mile area. Both are spectacular in their own way.

You are likely talking float plane on the North Slope versus Super Cub for the 40 Mile herd. Expect weight limits to be much more restrictive in the Super Cubs.

Logistics to the North Slope are a bit more difficult / expensive.....especially if successful.

We flew with Brooks Range Aviation out of Bettles on the first hunt. I would highly recommend BRA should you choose the North Slope. Great people, great service. Your biggest challenge with the 40 Mile area will be booking an opening with a transporter as a first time client. There is a reason Tok Air is able to charge premium prices....demand is that high.

Best of luck!

From: Tdvorak
14-Mar-19
I’d suggest going UNGUIDED MOOSE HUNTING instead of caribou hunting. The caribou hunting thing has dropped off a bit in the last few years. But your wife will likely hate you if you make her help carry that giant moose back to the landing zone. Hahaha. It will be worth it.

From: Kevin Dill
14-Mar-19
Based on your original post and statements within:

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I would try to hunt the Fortymile herd. Why? Fly into Fairbanks or Anchorage, and drive to Tok. Flying or driving way north to the Brooks area will cost more. Put the savings toward Tok Air or 40 Mile Air or other transporter. The big hills are a great advantage for spotting animals. Terrain is conducive to stalking or approaching. Logistics are somewhat easier. You'll undoubtedly be in an area all to yourself. Fortymile bulls are plenty big and bulky, with many of them resembling mountain caribou. I wouldn't say it's ever easy to judge and kill a 350" bull, especially as a first-time diy caribou hunter, but there are definitely bulls (in both places) which meet the criteria. I'm taking for granted you are bowhunting, given your question is on Bowsite. If this is most likely a one-time deal for you and your wife, I would spend a bit more to get the transporter with greatest likelihood of putting you into great country with better odds of success.

14-Mar-19
My son and I hunted the 40 mile country last August and both got nice bulls with rifle though. Never hunted any of the northern herds so I can’t compare the two good luck with your planning and hunt.

From: midwest
14-Mar-19
Will Tok Air have openings in 2020 or do you have to wait until fall of 2019 and hope for the best?

14-Mar-19
Some people tend to forget that you can easily fly into the range of the Fortymile Herd from Fairbanks or Delta or Central.

There is nothing in the Alaska Constitution that requires you to fly in from Tok!

Geesh....!

Pete

From: midwest
14-Mar-19
Ideally, I'd fly out of Fairbanks, Pete, but it's tough finding a reputable transporter with an opening.

From: Tdvorak
15-Mar-19
If your heart is set on caribou...There is a lodge on the Stoney River that might be able to help you. They like to take Texans hunting. Google him...he was pretty old when I talked to him last but if he’s still in business he’d treat you right.

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