Caribou Gear

Air taxi in Brooks Range

Apr 20, 2012
So my Buddy and I have decided to do a drop moose hunt in 2017. So seeing we are in the begging stages of planning, we're trying to get an idea of air taxi prices. Any and all info would be great.
For moose, you're mostly looking at south side of the Brooks. Coyote Air out of Coldfoot is the friendliest / most professional air taxi I've used to date. Wright's out of Fairbanks is a solid operation as is Shadow Aviation. Northwest Aviation in Kotzebue is good (most of that area is a draw for NRs). Since you're likely looking at south side Brooks and it's easier to get to Fairbanks than more remote areas, I'd consider an air taxi out of that town. The slightly farther flight from Fairbanks will be offset by the easier logistics of not having to get yourself, gear, and hopefully moose to and from a remote village. For rates, I've paid around $900 / hr for a Beaver and $700 / he for a C206 / Helio Courrier. But rates in Fairbanks may be slightly cheaper.
Thanks for the info how many trips for 2 guys and there gear on a 10 day hunt? Our guess was about $2000 a guy for the air taxi I know this all depends on how far and how many trips it takes. But just trying to ballpark it.
Two guys and gear can do one Beaver flight going in. Expect two Beaver flights coming out if you harvest one moose. Same with a C206 as long as you're not bringing a mountain of gear. Rough estimate: 1,200 lbs payload for a Beaver, 700-800 lbs for a C206 / Helio Courrier.
Ask for the payload when you talk to the air taxis...I thought a Beaver might be around 900 or 1,000 pounds, but I could be off a little bit.

On a drop hunt, figure 2 guys and 300 pounds of gear would get you a REALLY comfortable camp - could take 2 tents, different types of food (i.e., not all freeze dried), extra clothes, and other extras. You can do the hunt with a lot less gear, but why scrimp when you probably need to pay for the full plane anyway. And, scrimping on gear (let's say you went in with 150 pounds of gear total) still wouldn't allow you to fly out in one load if you get a moose.

Good luck, nothing like a flyout hunt in Alaska. I'm planning my 10th flyout in the past 13 years for this fall, and every trip feels like a new adventure.
Two guys and gear can do one Beaver flight going in. Expect two Beaver flights coming out if you harvest one moose. Same with a C206 as long as you're not bringing a mountain of gear. Rough estimate: 1,200 lbs payload for a Beaver, 700-800 lbs for a C206 / Helio Courrier.

Oops - sorry, Kaitum had the Beaver payload already, and my numbers were closer to the Cessna 206. Check out the pics from his hunts this fall, will help you get an idea of the country and the weather swings.
Do some air taxis refuse to take hunters into areas because have wink wink nod nod agreements with outfitters that use those drop zones?

Probably, but might be tough to get any to admit such. I asked an air taxi out of Kotzebue something similar once. He said he and the other air taxis work together to not step on each other's toes to the extent possible. Its big country and plenty of room. Sounded like a reasonable approach to me. Of the air taxis I've worked with, I tell them which drainage I want to go and they'll tell me where they can land me in that drainage. I've only ever hunted public land but have yet to have another air taxi drop someone in the same area as me. Probably not the case all the time for everyone though.
Ok so wich do you guys prefer dropped on a ridge or creek bottom? If the walking is tuff I can see advantage to both. Ridge good for glassing but if the hiking is tuff what good is it to see a moose 3 miles away if you can't get to him? Then on the flip side in the drainage you may not be able to see but your likely closer to there hang out. Am I on the right track here?
That'll mostly depend on the area / topography you're hunting. I'd venture a guess most south side Brooks hunts are starting off on a gravel bar or lake. I almost always float hunt so I select gravel bar landing areas. Just depends on the area and the plane configuration. Probably not many Beavers doing ridge top landings.
My personal preference is the ridgetop, I like being able to see a long ways to glass before I start hiking or calling. You can call moose from a long ways off if they decide they are coming to the call.

You do have a point about being closer to the moose in the river bottoms...the one tradeoff I don't like is that I can't see very far, and when I try to walk quietly it's really hard to be quiet I the places I hunted. Some guys do it and are very successful, I'd go with whichever type terrain you prefer and adapt your hunting style to that terrain.
Sometimes the moose will come all the way to you, and sometimes they will hang up if they don't like something or worry because they can't see the moose making the calls. Guys use cardboard decoys to overcome this problem, and I've heard they've done so with good success.

But, if they do hang up sometimes it's worth taking a shot and going to them (rake brush while you're moving to mimic the sound of a bull moving through the brush).

We called 2 different bulls this year from distant ridgetops about 2 miles away. One of the bulls wasn't 50" wide, but we thought he might have 4 brow tines, so called him in only to find he had three tines. The other bull was also under 50" and might have had 4 tines, but we ran out of light before we could confirm the 4th tine, so we didn't shoot.
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