Please tell me where my plan needs work

mcseal2

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May 8, 2014
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We are planning to hunt mid-November 2022 to fit everyone’s schedules. The four of us will fly with a transporter and camp for our hunt. The decision of where we hunt will have to wait until we see how the winter’s go between now and then. Which transporter we use is another decision we are still debating. I’ve talked to several air transporters and all have been very helpful. I don’t really think any would be a bad option.

None of us are to worried about fishing or sea ducks this trip, although I’d like to go to Kodiak fishing sometime in the future. My wife hears my stories about Alaska and wants to go once the kids get a bit older so we can make it a family event. She likes to hunt and fish but not in bad weather.

Some of the things we are starting to plan include our camping arrangement. At this point we are thinking of taking a fairly heavy and comfortable camp. I don’t anticipate moving at least our base camp to far from the drop off point. Nothing to crazy, but some 2lb camp chairs, 4.5lb cots, and sturdier, heavier shelters. Other than the shelters it will be very similar to our moose and caribou hunts. We have a 6 man Cabelas Alaskan Guide Instinct tent, plus a couple smaller Kuiu Storm Star tents. We will sleep 2 guys in the big Cabelas tent (about 10’x10’) and also use it as a place for the group to hang out during bad weather. We will all keep our waterproof duffles in that tent and use it to get dressed out of the weather also. In bad weather the camp chairs can go inside it to hang out, and the standing room is nice to have. The other 2 of us will sleep in the smaller tents. My snoring can be pretty impressive, I’ll take one of the small tents for sleeping.

We also have a Seek Outside 8 man tipi with a stove we could bring, either in addition to these options or in place of one of them. It has a liner on one side for condensation, stove jack on the other. Having never been to Kodiak I don’t know if there will be enough wood to burn for it to be worth bringing the stove. If we can’t count on gathering wood we will have the weight allowance to haul some in if firewood can be purchased in Kodiak, but again that is an unknown. These are questions I plan to ask on these forums, plus ask our transporter once we get one chosen and are booked.

I’m wanting to experiment at home with a UCO Candelier lantern I bought. It is basically an aluminum and glass lantern housing that burns 3 large candles inside. The candles claim a 9-12 hour burn time. They also say the lantern will put out 5000 btu of heat. I saw several videos of people heating small RV’s and tents with them. I want to see how much difference it makes in temperature and condensation in our Cabelas tent this fall during some cold rains. If it is just enough to help dry the air and let our gear dry a little more on bad weather days or evenings in the tent, it might be worth taking.

As of now we are thinking of two bear fences. One for our sleeping tents, one for our meat and possibly cook tarp or tipi also. We will have a 10x13 tarp for meat, and hopefully can find stout enough brush to build a meat rack with. If not we will try to build pallets of brush to get airflow under the meat.

For cooking I have an MSR Windburner set with a 4.5 liter and 2.5 liter pot, plus a skillet. It has a separate burner with legs for more stability. I also have a Windburner 1 liter personal stove. I like taking both, we have 2 burners that all the same things fit on that way. Sometimes we use both burners at the same time, and it’s redundancy if something fails. This trip we may do more real food since we will have the weight allowance to do so and days will be shorter. We will have a couple small stoves and some freeze dried meals to take during the day. Lots of instant coffee and hot chocolate too.

For tools at camp I’m planning on a small Russian military titanium shovel, GB small forest axe, a Wyoming saw, and a Leatherman. That’s all other than our knives.

We all have good gear from previous hunts. I am wondering if stouter waders than our Wiggy’s waders will be needed this hunt or not? I plan to use my Crispi Hiland Pro boots that are waterproof almost to my knee and have the Wiggys waders in the pack for now. I have Simms G3 chest waders and boots, plus some Ridgeline Supply rubber boots with Yoder chaps (basically hip boots) if either is needed. Right now I don’t plan to take them. I will use my synthetic Kifaru 20 degree slick bag and probably take my HPG mountain serape as an over blanket if I need it. I’ve used that combo down to 0 degrees and been good, it has saved me the cost of buying a 0 degree bag. The serape is great for sitting around camp in the evening or glassing also. We all have quality packs capable of carrying meat, I have a Kifaru Nomad 2 I can loan to one guy and everyone else has Exo or Seek Outside packs with dry bags.

We all have rifles of 270 win or larger to take. One guy has a 7 mag and is considering getting a 300 win mag, two of us already shoot 300’s. We both use 180gr Nosler E tips in our 300’s which should be a decent bullet for deer or bear defense I think. Our fourth guy has an inexpensive but accurate Savage Axis 270 and may or may not change rifles. We will all have 10mm handguns with 200gr hardcast bear loads. I tried a S&W 69 44 mag before settling on 10mm. I used to have a flinch I worked hard to overcome shooting, and the recoil of the light 44 was enough I just did not shoot it well. I have no issue with the recoil of the 10mm’s and shoot them well. We are not planning to take bear spray. Between the wind on Kodiak, and the stories I’ve heard of people accidentally discharging it in brush it just seems like the wrong choice to me. I like to shoot and will practice several times a week with a handgun, bear spray I would not practice with. I know chances of a bear encounter are low, but taking a 10mm with a light on the rail along when leaving the tent to take a leak at night makes me feel safer.

I’m assuming that the winter months will be a good time to get as many of my transporter questions asked as possible. I’m making a list of them as they come up. I like to ask questions of transporters during their slow times rather than try to ask right before a hunt during their busy season. I think I get better and more thoughtful answers that way, plus I’m not inconveniencing them. It works well for everyone. I’ve now been on two Alaskan trips with transporters and am friends with a few guides and outfitters in the lower 48. I have become a firm believer that if I do everything I can to make their life easier, they will do everything they can to make my hunt better.

Anyway, just figured I’d share where my mind has been going the last several days while checking cows on the UTV. This is all subject to change as I learn more about the specifics of the hunt, and get advice from both more experienced hunters and our transporter.

Thanks everyone for the help. Maybe my brainstorming can help others considering a similar trip.
 

Voyageur

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Feb 12, 2020
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645
Appreciate the post as it will help me solidify ideas floating around in my head regarding a future and first Kodiak hunt.
I have used the UCO candle lantern on a previous AK hunt and was happy with it although felt it was a bit small for the size tent I had. I did not know they made the Candelier and will be interested to hear how it works for you.
I'm also looking forward to hearing what experienced Kodiak hunters say about the necessity of bringing a handgun in addition to a rifle. That is something I go back and forth with, but in the end always leave the handgun at home when I'll be hunting with a rifle.
Again, thanks for posting this.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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May 8, 2014
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Thanks, glad it helps. I also hope the candelier works to heat the larger space better than the little one.

I know the handgun probably is not necessary, but I like to have it. I hope to take a deer with it, but will not lose a chance at a good buck just to use the handgun. On my moose hunt I did not take one. Caribou I did because I carried my rifle strapped to the pack a lot and used 2 trekking poles. I will probably always have one at least in camp as long as weight allows. I think it would be a lot less hard on a fox with the slower hardcast bullets than my 300 also if the opportunity arises.
 

22lr

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Location will be everything for your question on wood. I hunted Zachar Bay this past Nov and there was wood everywhere. Long as your not too high you should be fine. We had the problem of busting brush to get up to elevation, was pretty thick.

For the tents and drying stuff out. We had 5 amazing sunny calm days of hunting then a good storm came through and we got stuck for a few extra days. Plan for horrible weather with high winds and steady rain. If you get lucky and have good weather, its just going to be that much better.

If you take a handgun, wear it on a chest holster. The brush can be painful for snags on anything your trying to wear on your belt. I didnt take a handgun, and it took bears 3 days to even mess with our gut piles. So while we were all super vigilant we saw 2 whole bears for the whole trip (1 was 3 miles away and way high, the other was 168yards and sitting on his own deer kill). I would recommend a handgun or 2, but wouldn't really be worried if the whole group didn't have one. If we ever felt uneasy, we just unstrapped rifles.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Great info, thanks. I have Razco chest holsters for my 10mm’s. I agree with you on the brush and convenience.
 

soggybtmboys

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May 20, 2016
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Look to the south end, it seems to fair better with the winter kill situation on Kodiak. West side got hit hard season before last. I'd think about taking a .22 take down of some sort perhaps, there are fox everywhere and have beautiful coats. Our group took several fox and had wished we had brought a small caliber rifle for them specifically. Pretty much none of us bothered with bear spray, and many only a few of the guys bothered carrying a side arm. We probably would have brought more side arms had we been camping instead of staying in the cabins over on Zachar Bay.
We had no issues with the bears the week we went.

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soggybtmboys

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The fox were a nice surprise on the trip.
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Thanks guys.

I have been listening to podcasts saying the fox there are the size of our coyotes. As an avid predator hunter I’d sure like to get one. Especially a silver or cross one. The ones you guys got were beautiful.

I’ll be shooting an all copper E-tip from my 300 but I’m sure it will still be hard on a pelt. I have a Ruger American compact in 22 magnum, and an American Ranch rifle in 223. Both are relatively light with 16” barrels. Which would you recommend? Do I need the 223 for distance or wind? 22 mag is good to 100 yards with its scope.
 

Nick Muche

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Couple of my thoughts...

4 people and a comfortable camp, with good food, etc. will likely require 2 Beaver flights in and certainly 2 on the way out when you add meat to the equation. We went with 4 guys in 2019 and took a very minimal camp, etc. and while the hunting was fantastic, camp kind of sucked cause we were so light trying to fit into one beaver load. The weather in November of 2019 was terrible, and a light camp didn't help much for comfort. We hunted wet every day, killed a lot of deer and had a blast, but cramming all of us into one beaver load will never be done again...

Don't bring a rifle, a 22 and a handgun. Just bring your rifle and a handgun if you'd like. Chances of you wanting to carry all three around in hopes of seeing a fox are slim. You should be out hunting from daylight until about dark each day, since the days are so short. Unless of course you are hunting in pairs, which I would recommend instead of going all 4 together, then one guy could have a regular rifle and the other could carry a fox gun... then you shoot the fox and you get to spend valuable time skinning it instead of looking for bucks. Either way, I'd just take fox when the opportunity arises with whatever hunting rifle you are bringing.

I carry a 10mm while on Kodiak cause I normally just have my bow, sadly the 10 often times just ends up in my backpack. A chest holster, with binos's/rangefinder, pack on, etc. sucks imo and I won't do it. But it is nice to have when you wake up in the middle of the night to take a leak or whatever. They are also better to be wielding around in a tent vs a rifle should you have a visitor

Bring real food. You'll have so much down time in the evenings and even the mornings to make quality food. It'll go a long way for morale to have good meals.

Bear Fences are great, make sure they work and know that if a bear wants in, the fence won't stop them for long.

I have a Cabelas tent like you and it condensates quite a bit. If you really want comfort, look into an Arctic Oven, no condensation, bomb proof if set up in a good spot, plenty of room for cots, etc... and you can bring a stove if you'd like.

Waders, likely won't need them. Good rain gear, will need that.

I've done two 15 day hunts on Kodiak where all I wore was Muck Boots. They aren't bad, for me... but I did enjoy the other hunts down there with hikers a bit more, especially for steep climbs up from the salt.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Thanks Nick, great info. I’ll definitely take that into consideration.

I saw that Seahawk lets you put 1500lbs on a Beaver instead of 1200 which should help with camp. They said they will do a meat pick up flight if they are in the area which would help on the way out. I need to check prices and talk to some others still to know all my options.

When you went in November did you end up camping on the beach, or were you able to be dropped slightly higher? I am not thinking alpine lake, but saw some guys getting dropped on sloughs or rivers when watching videos of hunts. In them the leaves were off and vegetation was dormant, but it may have been earlier than we are going.
 

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