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hawkeye270's picture
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Caribou Unguided Drop Camp Hunts

Does anyone have first hand experience with the drop camp hunts where they fly you into an area, drop you off, and then come back a week later and pick you up? It seems like the type of hunt that I would be interested in but if they dropped you into a bad spot... you might be screwed. I have heard examples of outfitters that will relocate you if the caribou aren't there but I was wondering if this is the exception or the rule.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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I have a couple of close

I have a couple of close friends who have done it, and I looked into it and am still interested.  Where they went, to an outfitter in Quebec, they had a southern and a northern camp.  If the migration had not hit yet at one camp, they would send you up to the other one.  It was all part of the same outfitter.

I am not sure if that is the norm or not, but it looks like the way to go.

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I did a DIY drop camp Caribou

I did a DIY drop camp Caribou hunt out of King Salmon, Alaska quite a few years ago.  There were 5 of us.  We drove from Montana to Seattle, then flew to Anchorage, then to King Salmon.  We then hired a bush pilot to fly us out.  We took all of our own camping gear and food.

We were all experienced hunters, and one had done that same hunt the previous year.  Be prepared for WET weather.  It rained everyday we were there, and there was almost a constant wind.  I wore hip boots the whole time.  There wasn't a tree for miles.

After 3 days, the pilot flew in to check on us, and flew two of the guys and the meat from 4 caribou back to King Salmon.  Two of us stayed another 3 days to help the 5th guy get his caribou.  We all got decent bulls.

The float plane could only fly two guys and their gear at one time.  I volunteered to be the last one out.  I kept the tent, my sleeping bag, some food, and my rifle in case the plane couldn't make it back because of weather.  Luckily the plane made it back that day.  Here's my caribou.

 

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sounds great

buffybr wrote:

I did a DIY drop camp Caribou hunt out of King Salmon, Alaska quite a few years ago.  There were 5 of us.  We drove from Montana to Seattle, then flew to Anchorage, then to King Salmon.  We then hired a bush pilot to fly us out.  We took all of our own camping gear and food.

We were all experienced hunters, and one had done that same hunt the previous year.  Be prepared for WET weather.  It rained everyday we were there, and there was almost a constant wind.  I wore hip boots the whole time.  There wasn't a tree for miles.

After 3 days, the pilot flew in to check on us, and flew two of the guys and the meat from 4 caribou back to King Salmon.  Two of us stayed another 3 days to help the 5th guy get his caribou.  We all got decent bulls.

The float plane could only fly two guys and their gear at one time.  I volunteered to be the last one out.  I kept the tent, my sleeping bag, some food, and my rifle in case the plane couldn't make it back because of weather.  Luckily the plane made it back that day.  Here's my caribou.

 

 

man that sounds like a FANTASTIC hunt!

Great looking caribou that you bagged too.

Thanks for sharing the story and the photo. 

It gives the rest of us something to dream about!

 

As to teh originally posted question - I'd say that you need to check with your outfitter before booking and get an explicit in writing promise to move you for no charge if it is necessary.  If you can't get that, then I'd recommend going with a different outfitter!

 

 

 

 

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i too am interested in this

i too am interested in this type of hunt. i really don't want to do an outfitted caribou hunt, i really just want to show up, find a tent to sleep in, and go caro-wack on them the next day.

i think the drop camp style would be awesome for moose and caribou.

maybe another year or two i'll do a caribou hunt.

groovy mike's picture
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prices up

I've noticed that the prices are climbing and teh eastern caribu heards are declining.  Makes me wonder if I waited too long and now won't be able to afford to go...time will tell I guess, but I'm still dreaming of doing it someday - God willing!

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I'm with you on the prices

I'm with you on the prices and waiting too long. Everything I've looked at lately I could do two or three good hunts for other animals here in the lower 48 or maybe including sitka blacktail in Alaska. If I'm going that far the blacktail are what I've been looking at lately. Not quite as exotic as caribou or some of the others but appear to be a better deal and I would love to put some sort of deer slam together the more I think about it.

12 years ago I knew som guys that said they did caribou in Alaska for less than 3k total per person and had a great hunt. Now it would cost you almost that much just to get there and back.

ndemiter's picture
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i think if we wait any

i think if we wait any longer, the price of the hunt will be close to nothing, but the cost of fuel and travel will make it almost unaffordable for average citizens.

at work, we've been having difficulty getting fuel deliverd. we have plenty of work to do, but we're cutting off early and wasting time because we don't have the resources to move our equipment. i think this is foreshadowing how life is going to be in the future. one upside of this, when we have to start using horses again for transportation, is that there will be a huge population reduction when all the green-horns fall off and get injured and killed... leaving tons more caribou for us.

North of 67's picture
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WACH Caribou

Hi guys:

 

Hunting in Bush Alaska is an expensive deal plain and simple. I work out of Kotzebue which is the home of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd-WACH. I write a blog called the WACH report which helps DIY caribou hunters find ways to Ger-er-Done without breaking the bank. 

 

Keep in mind that the most important piece of the hunting puzzle is knowledge and if it aint local well it is not that valuable. Unit 23 is huge and so is WACH. The unit is larger than the state of Indiana and host over 400,000 bou every fall and winter. WACH is by far the largest of the caribou herds and is growing not in decline like the Nelchina or Mulchatna Herd. 

 

High prices in Bush Alaska revolve around how costly  it is to get anything up to places like Kotz. Its is 560 air miles and cost in excess or $1.30 a pound to ship most things up on the jet. Just bringing my rafts and camps up each fall bites into my profit line a bunch! Good planning can be the key.

 

A hunting trip begins with maps and lots of talking working with people who know the country you're looking at and then comes the numbers. A successful and cost effective trip needs to begin 12-15 months out, really! There are so many things that need to be looked at and done before you begin to plop the money down in the form of deposits. Keep in mind that one of my pilots that I set my guys up with was books for 2012 by Nov of 2011 and he is 50% booked for 2013 right now!

 

Look carefully at the Package Drop hunts that you see being advertised. "Super Hunts" only $2,400! A little research will help you to understand that this hunt with 3 guys will run you well over $7,200 after you arrive in Kotzebue! With a little work that 3 man hunt can be cut down to under $6,000 easily, and you will have a much better hunt minus the crowds. I don't know about you but getting dumped on a strip that has 4-5 other camps already there is not what I call a good hunting experience!

 

Consider the benefits of Float Hunting Vs. a drop hunt. Float hunting allows you to hunt 10x+ the amount or country while a drop camp can be an expensive camping trip if the Bou or Moose don't come past your camp. 

 

 

Lots to research and now is the time.

 

I look forward to talking with you.

 

Walt

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