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  1. #1

    Default Moose & Caribou Combo

    How feasible is a combo for moose and caribou? Just wanted someone who's been a few times to let me know if it's insanely brutal or worth a realistic shot. Was going to budget about eight days total travel time after entering the state with 15-20 days in the field. Starting budget for tags and logistical support is $5,000.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Chugiak, AK
    Posts
    4,685

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    I've not hunted them both at the same time, for lots of reasons, but have hunted both lots of times... Its for sure do-able, but will require some pretty serious planning and logistics.

    NR bou hunts are getting more and more limited, and the NR pressure is starting to get pretty concentrated. I wouldn't be surprised if NR opportunity continue to decline for caribou hunting. As of now you really only have 4 herds to hunt on an OTC basis, and may well be down to 3 in the very near future.

    Not sure on other costs, or what you plan to do for transport, but I'd think you could plan on spending $3000+/- for air transport to get you into the right country. Hunting from the road or off an ATV for both is pretty much a non-starter if you plan to fill both tags. A float hunt is your best bet, but would likely cost a bit more due to transport costs/bigger aircraft. With a float hunt comes a lot more logistics to include meat care, which will be a huge challenge on such a long trip in the field.

    Good luck with your planning.
    "No Kuiu here"

  3. #3

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    Sounds like I'll focus on Caribou as the prime mover and let that determine the moose end of the equation. Maybe try to draw something 1st time as a NR?? $3,000 is a lot for a ride, but would probably be well worth it when compared to the frustration and disappointment that I might find otherwise. Good to hear that it sounds doable though.

    I'll probably try to find some areas that seem less popular. But, it sounds like company is inevitable. Any AK vets feel free to chime in. I've​ got little interest in scenery, as I'm sure most anywhere would fit the bill. Just looking for opportunity at decent antlers and enough meat to make me focus on bird hunting and fishing for a season or two.

  4. #4

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    I've used 40 mile air.I would highly recommend them.Plenty of caribou and moose.And you get your moneys worth with the scenery.That's alot of meat to take care of.In Alaska you can't waste any meat,and you have to be very careful judging your moose.The fines for mistakes are serious and they won't write warnings.I never had a problem but had a warden at my kill site once.They flew in to check me out

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    A moose/caribou hunt on one plane ride (round trip) may be a tough hunt to plan. It's hard to find both species, in the same general areas, at the same time and with caribou migrations slowing (until later in the fall, in some areas) it's becoming even harder. Air taxis are expensive, especially during September. Also to factor into your budget may be extra plane flights to fly out meat (if you're successful), for either animal.
    As far as draw hunts go, you have the same chance of drawing a tag as a resident does, not that the odds are very good for either on most hunts. Most draw hunts run under a 5% chance of getting a tag.
    You haven't said if you will have a partner or are going solo. Most air taxis are hesitant to drop off solo hunters, for safety's sake. Also something to consider how you as a lone hunter would deal with a dead moose. Wrestling with a 150 lb hind quarter by yourself is something only a young, strong and dumb person wants to deal with. It can be done, but something that requires LOTS of forethought and planning, not to mention shooting the moose close to the pick up point.
    $3,000 for an air taxi for moose (alone) would be a bargain, let me know if you find one. Most air taxis will charge extra to make extra flights (meat). When you do your research also be aware that the prices for air taxis usually only advertise the cost for a one way flight.
    You may want to consider hiring a hunt planner. I have no idea what they charge, but 2 of the better known are Michael Strahan and Larry Bartlett. Either could be contacted through the "Alaska Outdoors Supersite". Either would be a good resource to ask general questions of before deciding to hire one or the other - or neither.
    Realistically, $5K would get you an excellent caribou hunt. The same amount would just be a starting point for a moose hunt (extra flights to fly meat out get expensive quickly). A combo hunt for both animals (and for the time duration you're talking about) would probably necessitate additional flights to retrieve meat (and cooling would have to be provided after the flight). Lots of logistics involved.
    I'm not trying to dissuade you, just pointing out some of the logistics that are involved in hunting here.

  6. #6

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    Gary - Yes. Planning on going alone. Game retreival is always an issue. Just another factor that gets ranked in the planning process. Unless, this is your way of saying that you want to come hunt with me?? ��

    The one thing that I'm pretty sure of is that the sky's the limit with expenses and accommodations, and I have to keep it in check. Would going solo leave more room for cargo (e.g. meat)? Or, fly in for one species and stay on the ground for another? I have no idea where I'll ultimately​ decide. But, I think that $5k is a decent entry point for now. I might give your guys a call though. Sounds like investigating air transportation is going to be 40% of the planning process and decisions.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by greatwhitebuffalo View Post
    How feasible is a combo for moose and caribou? Just wanted someone who's been a few times to let me know if it's insanely brutal or worth a realistic shot. Was going to budget about eight days total travel time after entering the state with 15-20 days in the field. Starting budget for tags and logistical support is $5,000.
    Typically the decent transporters are booked by November, so I assuming your planning for
    fall of 2018 or 2019?

    Call Wright's Air out of Fairbanks if your interested in an excellent float hunt (Helio Courier) for moose/Porcupine carbou on south slope of Brooks Range, or 40-mile air for excellent 40 mile caribou/moose (Super Cubs) ridgetop hunting.

    My recommendation is to focus on only one (moose OR caribou), but purchase tags for both.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Chugiak, AK
    Posts
    4,685

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    Quote Originally Posted by greatwhitebuffalo View Post
    The one thing that I'm pretty sure of is that the sky's the limit with expenses and accommodations, and I have to keep it in check. Would going solo leave more room for cargo (e.g. meat)? Or, fly in for one species and stay on the ground for another? I have no idea where I'll ultimately​ decide. But, I think that $5k is a decent entry point for now. I might give your guys a call though. Sounds like investigating air transportation is going to be 40% of the planning process and decisions.
    I've done 3 fly out moose hunts for $1200 each including meat haul. I think 40 Mile charges $3200 including meat, there are a few more in the Fairbanks area that are about the same or cheaper than 40 Mile. I can think of 4 others that would be less than $3000 for a moose hunt with meat haul.

    Amount of cargo depends on plane. In a cub you're limited to 50lbs per FAA regs, and its only one passenger. Larger plane depends on amount of passengers, vs payload.

    Both the guys mentioned charge to "plan" your hunt. Not sure how much it is, but last I knew they started north of $1000 and went up from there...
    "No Kuiu here"

  9. #9

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    Whoa... $1,000 ... Planning's half the fun. Still, might give them a call. A couple of questions though:

    1. What's the difference between a Transporter and other pilots/flights? Are these the only kind that you can use?

    2. Anybody do rotor up there? Or, is it all fixed wing?


    Also - Totally see eye to eye with buying two tags but placing the focus on one.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Chugiak, AK
    Posts
    4,685

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    Quote Originally Posted by greatwhitebuffalo View Post
    1. What's the difference between a Transporter and other pilots/flights? Are these the only kind that you can use?

    2. Anybody do rotor up there? Or, is it all fixed wing?

    Also - Totally see eye to eye with buying two tags but placing the focus on one.
    1. - We have air taxis and Transporters. Taxi's charge by the hour, transporters charge a flat rate for trip+ extra for additional flights as needed.

    2. - helo's are illegal for hunting transport of any sort, gear, meat, etc.

    Something to keep in mind, you can use a more expensive tag on a less expensive animal.

    BTW, just checked with another transporter near here for S&Gs.. $1100 plus meat haul for moose, or around $2000 if successful. Lower success in his area, but few people. I think a guy would have to try pretty hard to find transporters that would charge more than $3000 unless you want to go way north, or really remote. Neither of which are really "budget" type hunts anyway. Logistics of getting to the air taxi can be pricey to start with.
    "No Kuiu here"

  11. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by greatwhitebuffalo View Post
    Gary - Yes. Planning on going alone. Game retreival is always an issue. Just another factor that gets ranked in the planning process. Unless, this is your way of saying that you want to come hunt with me?? ��

    The one thing that I'm pretty sure of is that the sky's the limit with expenses and accommodations, and I have to keep it in check. Would going solo leave more room for cargo (e.g. meat)? Or, fly in for one species and stay on the ground for another? I have no idea where I'll ultimately​ decide. But, I think that $5k is a decent entry point for now. I might give your guys a call though. Sounds like investigating air transportation is going to be 40% of the planning process and decisions.
    The reason I asked is that many transporters will NOT fly a single hunter - for safety reasons. That should be one of the first things you check on when you start calling them. I'd love to go, but at 70yo, you'd probably end up packing 2 moose. Most of my hunting now involves a 4 wheeler. You might be able to "partner up" with another hunter through the transporter you select, if they get another solo hunter, but then you might end up in a tent with a real A-hole, 100 miles from anywhere. And the state of AK hasn't gotten around to selling tags for "a-holes". If you go alone, packing a moose any distance will make you wish you stuck to rabbit hunting.
    On costs, yes I was thinking "remote", as in taking a commercial flight from Anchorage or Fairbanks, then getting an air taxi. There are quite a few areas that could be accessed directly from the Fairbanks area by air taxi, probably more than are accessible from Anchorage. Definitely for caribou and probably for moose, too.
    I'm not sure how long ago you checked license costs, but they've gone up for the coming season. A hunting license is now $160 and tags are: bou = $650; moose = $800 and as mentioned, you can use a higher priced tag for a lesser priced tag; you could use a moose tag on a bou, but not vice versa.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bambistew View Post
    1. - We have air taxis and Transporters. Taxi's charge by the hour, transporters charge a flat rate for trip+ extra for additional flights as needed.

    2. - helo's are illegal for hunting transport of any sort, gear, meat, etc.

    Something to keep in mind, you can use a more expensive tag on a less expensive animal.

    BTW, just checked with another transporter near here for S&Gs.. $1100 plus meat haul for moose, or around $2000 if successful. Lower success in his area, but few people. I think a guy would have to try pretty hard to find transporters that would charge more than $3000 unless you want to go way north, or really remote. Neither of which are really "budget" type hunts anyway. Logistics of getting to the air taxi can be pricey to start with.

    I actually started calling pilots and (just as you noted above) the price seems to start around $1,000 (one-way) and can go as high as $5,000. Which, I would guess could push the price of air over $10,000 (round trip) depending on a lot of variables. I like the idea of checking out some options around your area. Right now my goal is to get somewhere just beyond wheeled vehicle range and skip the remote areas; never mind the super remote stuff. I'm sure there's some "intermediate" areas that hold moose and would make a really cool hunt.

    I know many would encourage me not to get too hung up on moose, but it's just always been something I wanted to do since I was a kid. I'll never go if I keep waiting on someone else to go with me. However, I didn't know about the dual tag for "lower priced" animals. I haven't checked the regs, but I'm guessing this is similar to what Idaho does with their deer and elk tags. Either way, I'm still thinking a second tag would be best in case a plan B is needed. The time frame I mentioned wasn't intended for 100% field time. I might want to fish, try a driveable area, or need several days to wait out weather. Thanks for the help in putting a plan together. Lemme know where to send the check.

  13. #13

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    I could probably be talked into another hunt in Alaska if u need someone to join you.I've been 100% in my Ak hunts so I bring some luck with me,lol
    If you go alone,I'd buy the moose tag only.Use it on a caribou at end of the hunt if you cant find a legal bull.I'd still say 40 mile will offer you a great hunt for either.I would look into bambistews transporters though.Remember moose is alot lower in success then caribou.And a caribou hunt is ALOT of fun

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mixedbag View Post
    I could probably be talked into another hunt in Alaska if u need someone to join you.I've been 100% in my Ak hunts so I bring some luck with me,lol
    If you go alone,I'd buy the moose tag only.Use it on a caribou at end of the hunt if you cant find a legal bull.I'd still say 40 mile will offer you a great hunt for either.I would look into bambistews transporters though.Remember moose is alot lower in success then caribou.And a caribou hunt is ALOT of fun
    Good idea on following up with the Caribou. Please come along if you're interested. Maybe you'll get to hear a moose laugh....

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    I can vouch for mixedbag as an Alaska hunt partner, great guy and good hunter!

    I saw that you're thinking about $5k as a baseline. May be doable, but wanted to provide you with some of the cost considerations that you will have to think about, depending on the type of hunt you select. here is a rough initial cost list, you may not incur all of these costs depending on the type of hunt that you opt for, but these are all potential costs for a non-resident:

    $____ Bush flights into/out of the field (for ___ hunters and ____ pounds of gear)
    $___ Cost for flying your meat, antlers, and cape out of the field
    $800 Roundtrip airfare to/from Anchorage or Fairbanks from your home (estimate)
    $200 Excess baggage charges (depending on # of checked bags)
    $400 4 nights lodging (2 nights in Anchorage or Fairbanks, 2 nights in town you fly out of)
    $200 Meals in Anchorage or Fairbanks and town you fly out of
    $500 Cost for renting a vehicle
    $160 Non-resident hunting license
    $650 Caribou tag
    $800 Moose Tag
    $250 Cash for incidentals, snacks, miscellaneous
    $150 Sat Phone Rental cost + cost for minutes used
    $100 Pilot tips (optional)
    $150 Groceries/supplies in Anchorage or Fairbanks
    $100 Gas

    As you can see, this list doesn’t factor in any taxidermy costs, or the costs for shipping meat and antlers/cape back to Georgia. IF, you incurred each of these costs, and IF they worked out to my rough estimates above, you're looking at about 4,500 BEFORE you factor in the costs of flying into/out of the field, and the cost of flying your meat, antlers, and cape out of the field.

    Not cheap by any means – but worth it (in my opinion) to have the adventure of a lifetime.

    Good luck -

    Michael

  16. #16

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    $5,000 is a baseline budget for the actual hunt by itself. i.e. - from the time I get on air transportation to the hunt area and back, with the associated costs while in the field.

    I'd actually like to drive up there. Would be a great experience.

  17. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by greatwhitebuffalo View Post
    $5,000 is a baseline budget for the actual hunt by itself. i.e. - from the time I get on air transportation to the hunt area and back, with the associated costs while in the field.

    I'd actually like to drive up there. Would be a great experience.
    The drive can be a great experience or not. I've done it a couple of times and what you see largely depends on time of the year you make the trip. Animals seen: elk, woods bison, grizzly and black bears, mule deer, caribou, whitetail deer, coyote, stone sheep and moose. All mentioned have been seen on the Alaska Highway portion of the trip (with the exception of whitetail). One trip in late June we saw mostly miles and miles of spruce and birch trees. I've never made the trip in September, so not sure what you could expect to see. It can be a great drive.
    Even with the expense of shipping meat & trophies home, flying is usually cheaper than driving.

  18. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    The drive can be a great experience or not. I've done it a couple of times and what you see largely depends on time of the year you make the trip. Animals seen: elk, woods bison, grizzly and black bears, mule deer, caribou, whitetail deer, coyote, stone sheep and moose. All mentioned have been seen on the Alaska Highway portion of the trip (with the exception of whitetail). One trip in late June we saw mostly miles and miles of spruce and birch trees. I've never made the trip in September, so not sure what you could expect to see. It can be a great drive.
    Even with the expense of shipping meat & trophies home, flying is usually cheaper than driving.
    One other thought about driving up from Georgia - if you're going alone, that's a lot of miles in the vehicle, and several days to get tired, before you ever get to your hunting spot. Not to mention the chance of delays due to vehicle breakdown or hitting a moose while driving at night in Canada or Alaska (they're tough to see at night). If this is your one chance at a remote Alaska hunt, you ideally want to hit the field rested and full of energy, especially if you're thinking about packing out a moose by your lonesome.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Posts
    127

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    You forgot to budget for Alaska Bush Company in the cost breakdown....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Okbow87 View Post
    You forgot to budget for Alaska Bush Company in the cost breakdown....
    That's a rather specialized trip. No license needed, but the "trophy fees" tend to get expensive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Okbow87 View Post
    You forgot to budget for Alaska Bush Company in the cost breakdown....
    Never been there. I have family in Alaska, so before/after my hunts I see my sisters and their families, and my cousins. I do realize that's an attraction for a lot of the hunters that visit Alaska tho.

  22. #22

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    if you get a chanice to go with Mike,I'd highly recommend it.He has it all figured out and his camps are nice and comfortable.Unless it rains 3 days straight,lol.His packing list is one I'd use.He loves his caribou hunts though and honestly they are a ton of fun

  23. #23

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    This thread's beginning to sound like how I'll open with my story when asked "How I wound up moving to British Columbia"....

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