North Slope Trip Recap

AKBorn

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Aug 14, 2018
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480
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Tennessee
If it's any consolation or perspective...I've been fortunate to be on 7-8 flyout AK caribou hunts over the past 15 years; although I've been fortunate to harvest a caribou on almost every trip, it has never been easy. Some hunts we saw several hundred caribou over the course of a 6-7 day hunt; but on some occasions we saw less than 50 caribou in 6 days. Their movement does seem to be impacted by the weather, and they are above all an unpredictable animal. Kudos to you and your guys for doing everything that you could, and sharing the hunt with us in detail.
 

Dexter Grayson

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Feb 13, 2017
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539
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Kenai, Alaska
Man, I hate hearing this! I had such high hopes for y'all. Glad I could help with the gear. Also, that was a great write up. Our caribou trip this year was slow as well. We missed the migration by 5 days. We were able to harvest one caribou.
 

twincedar

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Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
395
Sorry you weren’t successful, but thanks for sharing your experiences and reviewS.
 

h20fowler

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Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
103
Location
Alaska
Welcome to Alaska, home of the most unpredictable weather. Ive had many unsuccessful hunts here (weather always being a big factor) but it doesn't deter me or piss me off anymore. Hunting up here is very different then the lower 48.

It wasn't a loss if you learned something valuable.
 

weekender7

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Jun 3, 2018
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508
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North Carolina
OP I doubt this will make you feel any better but I went on a 10K$ 10 day brown bear hunt and spent the first seven days in a bar at the Yakatat airport. I don't drink, but thought about starting after a few days of CNN, playing over and over and over on the one TV and a full room of distraught hunters ready to go. Low clouds prevented the small planes from flying me out to camp.
Mine did end well when I got a flight out on the evening of the 7th day, killed my brown bear on day 9.
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2018
Messages
66
Location
Texas
Probably one of the best reviews of a trip I have read. Good work speaking with facts to support. I will do one of these hunts some day and reviews like this are super helpful.
 

Labdad

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Apr 12, 2019
Messages
62
i remember when the Mulchatna hetd was the rage. All those guys booking float plane hunts out of ANC because it was cheaper than flying to Illiamna for a super cub or 185 transporter.

I remember flying out of Illiamna looking down at all those pot holes with camps on them and no bou for 50 miles or more. I read soooo many of their heartbreak stories on forums and felt really bad. Knowing they invested so much time money and emotion.

I am so blessed to have awesome memories of all my trips.
 

HenryC45

Newbie
Joined
Sep 17, 2019
Messages
7
OP - I hunted the north slope as well the first week of Sept this year, infact I killed my bull on the foots hills of the range. We float hunted the river and realized that the stars pretty much have to line up to bag one. As everyone has said, the weather controls their movement more than anything. I only saw 18 caribou total while hunting, but saw couple thousand on the road out back to Prudehoe bay! They just had not moved into the river valley due to the hot weather. Unfortunately for a non resident that was the last week of hunting season and just missed the migration.

I realize some people blame the spot or the outfitter or what ever else, but in reality the outfitter (taxi) can put you in the best spot he thinks possible and all other 50 factors that can effect the Bou's movement come into play.

IMO!! Caribou hunting is like buying a scratch off ticket. Better odd than the lottery, but still a crapshoot. So many factor can effect. With that being said, a drop hunt "in front" of the heard can increase chances in my opinion instead of floating or waiting in a spot that should be cross eventually.

My next go around is going to be find a top Air Service that tracks and flies over the heard often and hunt a heard larger than the BROOKS. Never the less the memories and adventure is my addiction!
 
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Nick Muche

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Mar 21, 2012
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Alaska
How are you going to hunt a herd of caribou larger than that of the "BROOKS"? There are several herds that move to and through the Brooks Range and when combined easily make up the majority of Alaska's Caribou population. I will agree though, there are far better places than the North Slope (if that is what you meant), which is not to be confused with the Brooks as the Brooks themselves have very good caribou hunting.

My advice to anyone wanting to hunt Caribou in Alaska is to find a Quality transporter. Either one that doesn't take many folks or one that is very damn good at what they do. Both are possible.

Anyone hunt with Arrowhead this year?
 

VernAK

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Dec 24, 2012
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Delta Jct, Alaska
If my Alaskan outfitter had a location selected for my caribou hunt at the time of booking months ahead, I'd find a different outfitter. You must be located in the same area as the caribou to expect success. A Quality Outfitter will know where the herd is and the expected direction of migration. Sometimes that may require that you're located on a strip with another party but I can handle that if thousands of caribou are migrating through the area.
 

HenryC45

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Joined
Sep 17, 2019
Messages
7
How are you going to hunt a herd of caribou larger than that of the "BROOKS"? There are several herds that move to and through the Brooks Range and when combined easily make up the majority of Alaska's Caribou population. I will agree though, there are far better places than the North Slope (if that is what you meant), which is not to be confused with the Brooks as the Brooks themselves have very good caribou hunting.

My advice to anyone wanting to hunt Caribou in Alaska is to find a Quality transporter. Either one that doesn't take many folks or one that is very damn good at what they do. Both are possible.

Anyone hunt with Arrowhead this year?

I meant north slope as “brooks”. But the reality is that the WAH has 325k + porcupine has 150k +, 40 mile 50k+. not the 25k called the North Brook, or North slope, or Prudhoe Bay heard or what ever the legal named AF&G may give it. I don't claim to be a ONE time Professional by any means this is all on my research and opinion I have compiled in the last couple years.

I am currently in search of a location / Air Service that can dump me onto of them and where I can see hundreds. I understand the Leaf river heard migrations days of Quebec are long gone, but I want to see numbers.

Vern - My outfitter was fenomenal. He did the best he could, but on that river there's not much you can do as far as "tracking" them and getting close to their migration. If they haven't started making their way down to the river valley, THEY HAVENT STARTED.
 

soggybtmboys

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Joined
May 20, 2016
Messages
151
Location
Upper Midwest
I meant north slope as “brooks”. But the reality is that the WAH has 325k + porcupine has 150k +, 40 mile 50k+. not the 25k called the North Brook, or North slope, or Prudhoe Bay heard or what ever the legal named AF&G may give it. I don't claim to be a ONE time Professional by any means this is all on my research and opinion I have compiled in the last couple years.

I am currently in search of a location / Air Service that can dump me onto of them and where I can see hundreds. I understand the Leaf river heard migrations days of Quebec are long gone, but I want to see numbers.

Vern - My outfitter was fenomenal. He did the best he could, but on that river there's not much you can do as far as "tracking" them and getting close to their migration. If they haven't started making their way down to the river valley, THEY HAVENT STARTED.

I suppose I am confused with this post, as I understand that if you are hunting the North Slope (which is a huge area geographically) you are indeed targeting the Western Arctic Herd (WAH). That being said, it all depends on the animals and the weather. North Slope is known to be feast or famine when it comes to animals. We missed a big push of animals by 1 week last year and took 10 days to pick off stragglers or semi resident bulls. Towards the end of our stay as the weather degraded again, bou started showing up in groups.

My next trip up to chase caribou, I'd like to chase them in the 40 Mile area, as my understanding it is more conducive to bow hunting. North Slope was brutal on our bowhunters and they all struck out.
 
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