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  1. #1

    Default Alaska float or flight hunt? Moose / Caribou.

    Planning to hunt Alaska for 2019.
    Reading various articles related to float and bush plane drop off hunting... And how the almighty $ plays into this.

    Our initial interest is for Caribou however, my partner mentioned this as a possible, once in a lifetime opportunity so it may be worth targeting both Caribou and Moose.

    Cost comparison between float and 80+ mile drop off? Opportunity between the two for caribou and moose? One river/set location more restrictive than the other? River more human populated?

    I'm a tad bit gimped in the latter half of the 40's and he's in his early 60's. We kick our butts pretty good though would enjoy a bit less of an ass kicker of a hunt for a change. River sounds more life checked adventure though both hold that mystique of "out there" hunting...

    Of course with all said, $$$ is a pivotal point for decisions. Least spent with the best bang possible is the goal.

    This article was interesting for float: http://www.alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/costs
    And for bush plane drop off: https://www.gohunt.com/read/skills/s...unt#gs.MQT5iIw
    " There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." - Theodore Roosevelt
    Live to work or work to live... Your choice.

  2. #2
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    Logistics of a drop off hunt for caribou are a bit easier than a float. My 2 cents. Focus on one or the other as a primary species, and then if you want carry a tag in your pocket for the other species. Moose can be a tricky animal to hunt, but if you get dropped of at a base camp in front of a migrating herd of caribou.....its a pretty enjoyable high success hunt.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2014
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    Will let you know how my flight/float go on September 17th.
    "I'll put some whiskey into my whiskey"

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schaaf View Post
    Will let you know how my flight/float go on September 17th.
    Best to ya, Justin! Look forward to hearing and seeing some great pics! What's the rough $ damage?
    " There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." - Theodore Roosevelt
    Live to work or work to live... Your choice.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytes View Post
    Best to ya, Justin! Look forward to hearing and seeing some great pics! What's the rough $ damage?
    Tough to say, I used credit card miles for plane tickets. But I’ll do a rough guess.

    ~1k for Moose Tag/Caribou Ticket
    ~$800 Raft Rental
    ~$2200 Bush Plane to be dropped off and picked up and fly gear and meat out.
    ~$450-$1400 to get meat rough processed and shipped to Montana.
    $600 rental vehicle from Fairbanks to Tok

    I would have no doubt saved a bunch of money by driving up there but I couldn’t talk myself into a 40 hour one way drive.
    "I'll put some whiskey into my whiskey"

  6. #6

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    Looked into this as well, ended up having time constraints and opted for an Adak hunt this year (also really cheap comparably... all in I'm looking at maybe $1200). One thing we considered and will hopefully do in '19 or '20 is a float trip with pack rafts and do a backpack camping/ style trip instead of your traditional float which is more like car camping. The rafts alone are 13lbs compared to 150lbs+ I'm pretty sure we can the trip with around 80lbs of gear per person. Which has a noticeable impact on the bush plane cost. Also less stuff to break down and set up every day.

    There are a couple of ways to do a fly in float out to a car that you might look into, as well as a couple of draw hunts that don't require quite as long a flight.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by wllm1313 View Post
    Looked into this as well, ended up having time constraints and opted for an Adak hunt this year (also really cheap comparably... all in I'm looking at maybe $1200). One thing we considered and will hopefully do in '19 or '20 is a float trip with pack rafts and do a backpack camping/ style trip instead of your traditional float which is more like car camping. The rafts alone are 13lbs compared to 150lbs+ I'm pretty sure we can the trip with around 80lbs of gear per person. Which has a noticeable impact on the bush plane cost. Also less stuff to break down and set up every day.

    There are a couple of ways to do a fly in float out to a car that you might look into, as well as a couple of draw hunts that don't require quite as long a flight.
    When are you going to Adak ? I've been there several times and I'm going again in early December. I mostly go for the waterfowl but I did go there for caribou one September but the flight from Anchorage to Adak was cancelled twice, first because a volcano erupted and there was ash in the air, and then again because of fog. By the time we got there we had only 1 day to hunt. Could have shot a bull with antlers the size of a cow's but I passed. Came home with ptarmigan.

  8. #8

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    I was reading AK fish and game will fine hunters who use the "gutless" method due to wanton waste? I always fill my "burger" bag with all the rib meat, etc... Is there more to it than that or is this a "internet" rumor?
    " There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." - Theodore Roosevelt
    Live to work or work to live... Your choice.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytes View Post
    I was reading AK fish and game will fine hunters who use the "gutless" method due to wanton waste? I always fill my "burger" bag with all the rib meat, etc... Is there more to it than that or is this a "internet" rumor?
    As long as all required meat is collected, the "method" is irrelevant.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytes View Post
    I was reading AK fish and game will fine hunters who use the "gutless" method due to wanton waste? I always fill my "burger" bag with all the rib meat, etc... Is there more to it than that or is this a "internet" rumor?
    Take pictures of the remains, in case anyone questions you.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtmiller View Post
    As long as all required meat is collected, the "method" is irrelevant.
    I should have gone right to the source... I figured the method is not a relevant factor, as you mention. AK Dept F&G has a specific.pdf that addresses gutless method and the requirements.
    Note: this is a direct link to the .PDF. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/hu...ess_method.pdf
    To get the link via AK gov source: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...ting.resources

    Edit added:
    Quote Originally Posted by BrentD View Post
    Take pictures of the remains, in case anyone questions you.
    Good thought. More supporting evidence is better than less.
    Last edited by Sytes; 08-10-2018 at 09:37 AM.
    " There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." - Theodore Roosevelt
    Live to work or work to live... Your choice.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytes View Post
    I was reading AK fish and game will fine hunters who use the "gutless" method due to wanton waste? I always fill my "burger" bag with all the rib meat, etc... Is there more to it than that or is this a "internet" rumor?
    I have done a fly in to a base camp with no boat, a float hunt and basecamp with a power boat on the koyukuk river for moose I prefer the float hunt. New territory every couple of days and the thrill of "whats around the next corner" kept me going when the weather was crappy for multiple days at a time.

    Caribou and Moose are typically not in the same area so if you are serious about getting them both you may luck into one from one camp but would probably have better chances if you were floating down a river IMO.

    Every unit in Alaska has different regulations for taking the meat. Some you have to leave it on bone, including ribs. Some units you can completely bone the animal. On the Koyukuk we had to bring out the lower jaw for a biologist to sample.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by glass eye View Post
    When are you going to Adak ? I've been there several times and I'm going again in early December. I mostly go for the waterfowl but I did go there for caribou one September but the flight from Anchorage to Adak was cancelled twice, first because a volcano erupted and there was ash in the air, and then again because of fog. By the time we got there we had only 1 day to hunt. Could have shot a bull with antlers the size of a cow's but I passed. Came home with ptarmigan.
    Headed out the 25th, hoping for a bull will be happy for a cow. Finger's crossed on our flights... but we booked a hut and will climb some peaks in the Chugach if we get hosed, we have our eye on Mt. Bashful if things get delayed/cancelled.

  14. #14

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    As others have said, combining moose & bou on the same river in the same time frame will be iffy. It can be done, with a reasonable chance of seeing both, but no guarantees. A drop hunt would REALLY restrict your chances of taking both. A float of 80 miles would be (IMO) a really long float with not a lot of time to concentrate on an area that showed good sign. 25-30 miles is fairly manageable in that respect. This is based on a 10-14 day hunt and a water flow of 1-2 mph. Leave the 6mph currents for something other than hunting, unless you're a pro on the oars. You do want to "hunt" and not be on the river all day, every day. Decide which animal is the preferred choice and go from there. Remember that an unused caribou (or moose) tag could be used on black bear. Actually a moose tag could also be used on either a blackie or a caribou. Flight costs always depend on distance flown, period. You'll rack up extra flights if you get a couple of moose, count on it. Much depends on the plane doing the taxi work - most Beavers will haul 1000-1200 pounds, while a 180- 206 will probably be restricted to 600-800 lbs. (A Super Cub will haul about 250 lbs). Expect to get around 600 lbs of meat on a bull moose and maybe 150-200 on a bull bou.
    Last edited by Gary; 08-10-2018 at 02:36 PM.

  15. #15

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    I didn't really make the distance portion clear re: float. The 80+ miles related to the flight distance away from the roads and that is based on a few articles my partner and I shared, such as the one linked for the flight drop camp. I agree, for the time frame of the float, 80+ would push out hunting.
    Thanks for the info on the mix between the two species Gary and a couple others. For sake of a trip with a high-er likely harvest and a *memory shoulder mount, we'll stick with Caribou. Moose, for myself, would be chasing two rabbits.

    Some good posts within. If anyone's run a hunt of this sort and willing to share generalized expense, etc please post up. If you have specifics, such as the best 'bou location... pm me can
    Also if you've made a thread on this or similar, please link your thread. Myself and others interested would enjoy the read.

    Look forward to Justin's hunt recap. It's right around the corner.
    Last edited by Sytes; 08-10-2018 at 04:57 PM.
    " There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." - Theodore Roosevelt
    Live to work or work to live... Your choice.

  16. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sytes View Post
    Planning to hunt Alaska for 2019.
    Reading various articles related to float and bush plane drop off hunting... And how the almighty $ plays into this.

    Our initial interest is for Caribou however, my partner mentioned this as a possible, once in a lifetime opportunity so it may be worth targeting both Caribou and Moose.

    Cost comparison between float and 80+ mile drop off? Opportunity between the two for caribou and moose? One river/set location more restrictive than the other? River more human populated?

    I'm a tad bit gimped in the latter half of the 40's and he's in his early 60's. We kick our butts pretty good though would enjoy a bit less of an ass kicker of a hunt for a change. River sounds more life checked adventure though both hold that mystique of "out there" hunting...

    Of course with all said, $$$ is a pivotal point for decisions. Least spent with the best bang possible is the goal.

    This article was interesting for float: http://www.alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/costs
    And for bush plane drop off: https://www.gohunt.com/read/skills/s...unt#gs.MQT5iIw
    I would go with the flyout hunt. While a float hunt is a great adventure, it is VERY dependent on water levels of the drainage that you are floating. In a low water year, you could be dragging the rafts for miles through a few inches of water. In a high water year, people have died trying to float rivers they probably shouldn't have, and some have had to call for rescue and leave all their gear behind.

    On my flyout hunt with 40 Mile Air last year, I bumped into a group of 3 guys just coming back from a float hunt. All of them a lot bigger than me (I am 5'11", and 185) and looked to be in decent shape. While they had a good hunt and got 2 moose, they also had 2 guys go in the river trying to handle a raft loaded with gear and moose. Going in an Alaskan river is unlike any other, the water temp is around 40 degrees, and you are freezing in short order.


    A flyout hunt is a lot less work, unless you shoot a caribou 3-4 miles form camp - then you will thank your stars it wasn't a moose.


    Feel free to shoot me a PM if I can provide more info, been hunting up in Alaska since 2002, probably 11-12 trips altogether.


    Best of luck to you both, and perhaps our paths may cross. I am planning to hunt caribou next fall, went up for 2 weeks this summer and won't be hunting there in 2018.

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