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Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt?

Posted By: BigLou

Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/21/21 05:40 PM

Friends,
I'm planning a diy Caribou hunt. would love any insight from those who have experienced it....thanks

Lou
Posted By: Simple Searcher

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/21/21 05:45 PM

I'll be watching this for information as well
Posted By: SherpaPhil

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/21/21 06:21 PM

I've done it, but I was living in Alaska at the time, so logistics were quite a bit different. What are you wanting to know?
Posted By: BigLou

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/21/21 09:04 PM

thanks, Phil. to get started, mostly Interested in outfitter recommendations as well as advice on which herd to hunt...
Posted By: DStroud

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/21/21 11:25 PM

I did a DIY archery hunt back in the early 90’s. Basically hired a bush pilot to fly a friend and I into a good area with our own gear & food. We both were traditional archers and had had hunted whitetail together for years.
Due to weight limits freeze dried food and lightweight gear is a must.
We hunted on the Mulchatna River in a fairly mountainous area and saw plenty of scattered caribou but also grizzlies and Moose. I got a book Caribou after 6 days and my buddy missed a couple.
It was a great adventure and I was 14lbs lighter once I got back home.
Posted By: BigLou

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/22/21 01:51 AM

that's what I'm talking about DStroud...thank you
Posted By: dogcatcher

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/22/21 01:56 AM

Following this
Posted By: 7mag

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/22/21 02:15 AM

Follow the pipeline.........check out videos on youtube and you will see what I am talking about.
Posted By: Deans

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/22/21 11:43 PM

If you plan to use a firearm on your hunt you cannot hunt or shoot within a mile of the pipeline. I think that is the rule unless it has been changed.
Posted By: bphillips

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/23/21 03:02 AM

Originally Posted by Deans
If you plan to use a firearm on your hunt you cannot hunt or shoot within a mile of the pipeline. I think that is the rule unless it has been changed.

5 miles
Posted By: SherpaPhil

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/23/21 05:51 AM

Originally Posted by bphillips
Originally Posted by Deans
If you plan to use a firearm on your hunt you cannot hunt or shoot within a mile of the pipeline. I think that is the rule unless it has been changed.

5 miles


It is 5 miles from the Haul Road (Dalton Highway). The road parallels the pipeline for the most part, so it is basically the same thing, but there are a few places where they diverge for a bit. Regardless, hauling meat back 5+ miles across that tundra is absolutely out of the question for people unaccustomed to it. It is very much like hiking across a water bed, except every 15 or 20 steps, you sink in water above your knee. When I was living up there, the rule was 2.5 miles. I was in the best shape of my life, hiked 3-4 days a week, hunted a TON and spent a lot of time on the tundra. With the 2.5 mile rule, I considered it, but decided to hunt caribou elsewhere. Even if I was 25 again, I wouldn't consider hunting with a rifle on the haul road under the current rules.
Posted By: SherpaPhil

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/23/21 06:27 AM

Originally Posted by BigLou
thanks, Phil. to get started, mostly Interested in outfitter recommendations as well as advice on which herd to hunt...




I guess the first question is what do you want to get out of the hunt? Are you looking for a book bull? Is the experience more important? Do you want a bush plane to drop you off and pick you up in the same place, so you hunt the same general area on foot for a week? Do you want to do a float trip and cover more country? What is more important, tagging an animal, or the "Alaska Experience" with all its scenery, seeing other animals, etc? What kind of shape are you in? How much meat hauling do you want to do?

The answers to the above will determine which herd to hunt and how to do it. All of Alaska is pretty, but some herds can be found in gently undulating tundra while others frequent areas that look like a post card (and require a lot more work from you). If you do a drop camp where the plane drops you off and picks you up in the same place, timing is everything. If you hit the migration right, you will have your pick of hundreds of bulls on your trip. TIme it wrong, and you will have a tiny fraction of those opportunities, but will still likely come home with a decent bull if you work hard.

A float trip may involve seeing fewer caribou than timing a drop camp right, and your trophy will be more of a luck of the draw since you won't usually spend days watching a herd move past. However, timing is much less important and it is very unlikely you will strike out, since you get to cover so much ground. The upside is that you get to see a ton of country and very much of it will be absolutely gorgeous. You can also fish in your down time.

As far as outfitters, I have never used one, but heard very good things about Larry Bartlett. I never met Larry but was friendly with one of his partners/senior employees. They are hardcore hunters and do their homework to take care of you. Bartlett doesn't guide, so you don't have to worry that he is dumping the DIY hunters in the bad spots. His reputation amongst the local hunting community was very good.

For what it is worth, if I were to book a trip at this point in my life, I would likely go for a drop-off and pickup in the same place, hoping I've timed it right. I've seen much of Alaska and would be more concerned with looking over a lot of bulls to find the one I like. If I were to go back and book my first trip again, I would want a float trip. There is just nothing more Alaskan than floating down a river, stopping to scout for caribou, catching a few trout or grayling for dinner, and seeing a never ending slide show of incredible beauty. You can't go wrong either way.
Posted By: jdk1985

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/23/21 12:50 PM

^ Well I just got inspired.
Posted By: rickt300

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/23/21 05:11 PM

A friend of mine many years ago took a train out of Anchorage, kept going till he saw Caribou and pulled the chain. They stopped the train and he unloaded his camp gear, set up camp and went hunting. This was in the 30's. He shot three and when the train came back they stopped and he loaded up everything for his ride back. Wish that was possible today.
Posted By: EddieWalker

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/24/21 02:33 PM

I did it for Moose/Caribou back in the 90's. Buddy and me flew into the Mulchatna River area with 4WAir. http://www.alaska.net/~fourwair/

I shot my caribou on the first day. He had everything I wanted in a bull, and I knew that if he walked past me, I would never see him again. That was a smart decision because the next day, we only saw a few caribou and then we didn't see any after that.

We where caped next to a pond out in the tundra. The tundra is a sponge with massive holes in it. When you walk across it, you are in a few inches of water, or you step into a hole and fall down. This became very painful and difficult after the first day's excitement wore off. The mosquitoes, or no se ums, where even worse. Fortunately we bought head masks for the hunt. There was a cloud of mosquitos around your head all day long. When you took it off to eat or drink, they attacked you. We used 100% deet, and that helped, but where it came off from wearing a hat, the mosquitoes attacked over and over again. It got so bad that a few times I just wanted to runaway from them!!!!

You have to have the very best rain gear and hip boots. Make sure you wear you hip boots before going there, you will be in them every day, all day long. It rains every day, several times a day. It's cold, wet and miserable. You are limited in how much gear you can bring in because the planes are so small. You fly in one at a time, and then your gear comes after you are on the ground. There is nothing like the feeling when the plane takes off to get your buddy and you are out there all by yourself.

I'm indifferent on recommending him. He didn't do anything wrong, or mislead us, but he did promise us to relocate us once if we didn't see any animals in our area, and our pilot told us that when he flew over our area and didn't see anything, the outfitter didn't want to move us. He kind of made a big deal out of it and we where moved the second to last day there, which gave us one day to hunt in the other area. The other area had some really nice moose, but we lost them when we dropped off of the ridge and got into the timber.

I've been to Alaska 3 times. That first time for Caribou and Moose. Another time for just Moose without getting one, and a third time for Dall Sheep, where I got a decent ram. I still want to go back for a moose, but it seems to be one of those things that I start to plan on going, and then something comes up. The price has become so expensive that DIY is my only option if I go again.

It is the most miserable, painful place that I've ever been. It's also the place that you can't wait to go back after you've been there.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: 2000cbr929

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/24/21 03:52 PM

Tim Mervyn.... Mervyns Yukon

https://yukonsheep.com/

They are some of the best outfitters I know of. Fly in Fly out.... 150 miles or more from civilization. We hunted Mountain Caribou, Grizz, and Mountain Goats over the years. Tim and Jen are awesome.
Posted By: QMC SW/EXW

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/24/21 11:01 PM

My late father did it twice. He said it was pretty difficult hunting.
Posted By: wsjaxIV

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/25/21 05:44 PM

Originally Posted by rickt300
A friend of mine many years ago took a train out of Anchorage, kept going till he saw Caribou and pulled the chain. They stopped the train and he unloaded his camp gear, set up camp and went hunting. This was in the 30's. He shot three and when the train came back they stopped and he loaded up everything for his ride back. Wish that was possible today.


Now that's what I'm talking about!
Posted By: Hirogen

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/25/21 09:44 PM

Originally Posted by rickt300
A friend of mine many years ago took a train out of Anchorage, kept going till he saw Caribou and pulled the chain. They stopped the train and he unloaded his camp gear, set up camp and went hunting. This was in the 30's. He shot three and when the train came back they stopped and he loaded up everything for his ride back. Wish that was possible today.



We can still do that in parts of northern Ontario. Doing a week long combo bear hunt walleye fishing trip that way in June. No caribou though - they are protected in Ontario.
Posted By: Gringocazador

Re: Anybody done a DIY Caribou hunt? - 03/26/21 03:32 AM

I did a couple back in the 90’s early 2000. Migration patterns haves changed quite a bit from what my buddies that still go to Alaska say.

Get on one of the Alaska hunting forums and talk to the locals, they will give you the skinny.
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