Brooks Range Question

Where's Bruce?

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Call me crazy but the more I research outfitters and hunting packages in this part of Alaska, the less inclined I am to "sign up" and entrust some stranger to put me on game. So now I'm thinking, why not go with an experienced AK resident, charter a plane to fly over the area and land us somewhere where we see game. I know ya can't hunt for a day on a fly in trip but at least you'll know there's animals near your camp. The original idea was to fly in-float out and cover a lot of ground but then I considered the advantage of being able to fly in-fly out from a base camp based on actually seeing animals you wanna hunt while still having the option to float out if things don't pan out. It's a simple thing to call in GPS coordinates for pick-up anywhere out there with a decent natural runway.

Too many times I have read horror stories of guys being flown into a central camp where they sat for a week with a bunch of other hunters "waiting" for their turn to fly to their hunting area. Issues arose that caused delays in getting out (not always weather related) and sometimes guys were dropped in areas devoid of any sign. Basically plopped into the heart of Hell to wait for their extraction. This is a place where you can easily die and some hunters have because they could not get out...some forgotten by their outfitter, others left because of mechanical failures and the outfitter left em out there instead of calling someone else to retrieve em. I know...it's unfathomable but true. I watched one program where the guys had rifle hunted brown bears eight years in a row with the same outfitter and still never got a shot off. When you're spending tens of thousands of dollars per hunt...that's brutal!

So maybe spending the money on a bigger plane with greater fuel capacity and flying into a general area without a fixed location in mind but instead, waiting until you spot the (bear, moose, caribou, etc.) you intend to hunt before putting down and setting up camp is a better option. Even if it that takes a few days...it still seems like a logical alternative to the norm, does it not? Are there factors I am not considering? To me it seems like a way to ensure you're not hitting areas that have been stepped on a lot or for whatever reason...aren't holding animals. Scout from the air, wait till you see something that gets your blood pumping, land nearby (or ahead of a moving migration if that's the case) and set up camp. Make sense? I realize some people aren't gonna consider this "scouting" but I am not one of them. It's big country and traditional scouting isn't practical.
Would really like to hear from those who have hunted AK's interior, especially the central southern portion of the BR.

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rayporter

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we done a float for bou up there. it took 3 days to get into game and we passed several camps that had not seen a thing. my guess is they never did see animals.

and we were successful.
 

Ranger619

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I totally get the outfitter apprehension. I would think there could be a couple of issues. The first being the ability to find a natural landing strip near the animals you spot. The second being extraction could still be challenging. Weather is going to be the same problem either way to get picked up. I would also check on how busy your charter is. I imagine the charter company is going to have the plane in the air as much as possible to keep the cash register ringing, so it could still be a wait to get picked depending on their schedule. It certainly sounds like an idea to check into though. I know I will never spend the money on my own sheep hunt, but have thought about teaming up with a resident to tag along on their sheep hunt. I could swing the plane ticket cost. I have all the gear to go on a sheep hunt and am in good shape, just not the dollars for a guide. Good luck with the research and I hope it works for you.
 

Beendare

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When you are talking small planes that require line of sight flying in an area like Alaska that can go from bluebird day to zero visibility in 3 hours....you will experience delays- it happens. Its just part of hunting Alaska.

The saying goes; there are old pilots...and there are bold pilots...but there are no old, bold pilots. You are literally risking your life every time you get in one of those planes.

Yes you scout from the air in AK....but its the setting it down part that isn't so easy...there isn't always a safe place to land. ( try not to watch too many of those Supercub challenges)

Animals that were there the day you fly in may not be there the next day when its legal to hunt them. Caribou herds are typically always on the move....great hunting for 2 full days...then nuthin.

Lastly, I've never been to AK where I didn't have al least one Supercub/206/Beaver fly over. Sure its remote, but it seems that everyone has a plane up there. My last day sheep hunting in an open unit we had no less than 6 supercubs circle the only legal ram we found for many miles....it was just a matter of time until a rifle guy popped over the mountain.

I'm not upset when my pilot says he can't get me....its part of the drill up there.

....
 

rklein

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I'm sure there are far fewer available to charter, limited by range, cost substantially more, but how about a helicopter? It would probably open up more landing opportunities. I'm out of my element here, so I'm ready to get shot down by the AK guys that know. But just tossing it out there.
 

VernAK

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"charter a plane"..........not easily done in hunting season

"larger plane with greater fuel capacity".............landing locations become very limited

"land nearby or ahead of migration" ..........again, not easily done
 

rklein

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You can't hunt out of a helicopter in Alaska

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I guess I didnt put much thought into that. After doing a little internet research I can see very clearly why it is NOT legal to hunt from a helicopter. And I am thankful it is that way.
 

Dexter Grayson

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I understand the Outfitter apprehension but I think you are being pretty dramatic! Your expectations of 'scouting from the air' and landing in front of them with a larger plane is completely unrealistic. Stop watching the Alaska reality TV shows! Do your research on transporters or outfitters, trust your research and go. If you don't kill anything, so what, you just spent 7-10 days in some of the most beautiful places in the world! If that doesn't sound good to you, then maybe you're just not cut out for Alaska.
 

mobilefamily

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Crazy,
You will not find a pilot to do what you want. They are mostly booked up and don't offer custom work to strangers. They also want to stay very clear of the rules regarding scouting from the air, for fear of losing the license under which they operate to transport or guide hunters. In my experience, they will be quick to say "no thanks." There are plenty of reports of successful Alaskan caribou hunts to guide you to a reputable option.
 

Ndbowhunter

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You keep referring to “animals” but obviously caribou in reality.

there are plenty of places where caribou are 100% kill odds that aren’t in the Brooks.

that said the biggest hurdle in your plan is “charter a plane”

you have no experience booking flights in Alaska obviously.

and generally speaking unless you want to foot 100% of the bill for transport etc etc most Alaskans treat hunting season akin to a religious holiday. That’s why they put up with winter.. so good luck finding an experienced Alaskan to galavant along with ur “charter a flight” idea.
 

Beendare

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....... so good luck finding an experienced Alaskan to galavant along with ur “charter a flight” idea.
Not to mention strict rules for "Guiding" vs "Transporters". A resident taking you out has to be sure not to fall into one of those categories otherwise you are breaking the law.

..
 

fwafwow

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Hey man, I don't know $hit about AK but I don't think you are an idiot for merely (and meekly) *asking the question*. So it sounds like there are lots of reasons your idea won't fly, but I think that's why you asked.... I give you credit for thinking outside the box. Lord knows I've raised more than my share of off-the-wall questions on here and other forums. Just hope folks don't get too heated in pointing out the errors of our ideas.

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Ndbowhunter

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You apparently didn’t actually read what the OP wrote

he wants to galavant around in a giant plane until he finds an animal worthy of getting his blood pumping, then drop down on it and kill it. Oh and rope someone in to commit a felony with him.
 

Bear_Hunter

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From the Alaska Hunting Reg book “unlicensed individuals may not legally provide transportation or accommodations for compensation.” That is in reference to big game hunting. I doubt you’ll find an Alaska resident who will fly you in their plane allllll the way up to the brooks range to drop you off and pick you up…for free. If payment or compensation is made in any way, they better be a licensed transporter or they’re risking getting their plane taken. And guys don’t like landing their planes in places that they haven’t landed before because a hunter “thinks it looks doable”.

Also, a licensed transporter will not fly you around to scout for animals if they want to keep their business. They will take you from a predetermined point A to point B. If you are unwilling to pay for a transporter to do that, then it’s probably not for you. You can always drive yourself up there and hunt from the road. That way you can hunt where you want, and you’re not as limited by weather getting in and out. Lots of other complications can arise from driving up there though, it’s a rough road.
 
OP
Where's Bruce?

Where's Bruce?

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Well apparently my idealistic notions are completely unrealistic. By wanting a "larger airplane" I was thinking something larger than the typical J3 Cub that can only travel 220 miles on a tank. I was thinking something more like a four seater Mauve M7 that can carry twice the load and still travel up to 1000 miles (depending on weather & power pkg) with the same short runway length a Cub needs.. Wasn't aware of the transportation/licensing restrictions though. Seems the outfitters own the sport up there. May hafta look at the Canadian side of the Yukon...am told it's generally more affordable than the AK side. (((((sigh)))))

PS: Thanks for your understanding fwafwow. Greatly appreciated.
 

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Dexter Grayson

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Well apparently my idealistic notions are completely unrealistic. By wanting a "larger airplane" I was thinking something larger than the typical J3 Cub that can only travel 220 miles on a tank. I was thinking something more like a four seater Mauve M7 that can carry twice the load and still travel up to 1000 miles (depending on weather & power pkg) with the same short runway length a Cub needs.. Wasn't aware of the transportation/licensing restrictions though. Seems the outfitters own the sport up there. May hafta look at the Canadian side of the Yukon...am told it's generally more affordable than the AK side. (((((sigh)))))

PS: Thanks for your understanding fwafwow. Greatly appreciated.
Sounds like a great idea!
 

204guy

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Holly crap. Bruce you should really spend 15 min researching your ideas. Somehow your second idea is even less realistic than your first.

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