Finally heading to Alaska: Caribou 2022

119bowhunter

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Feb 23, 2017
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104
Location
North Carolina
I've been dreaming about hunting in Alaska my whole life, figured I'd put it off long enough and booked a transporter for September 3-10 2022 out of Kotzebue for me and one of my best friends. I'm pretty sure I've read through every thread on here about caribou hunting in Alaska and I'm super excited, even if it is still almost 2 years away. This will hopefully give me plenty of time to refine my gear list and acquire anything new that I may need. I'm particularly interested in any gear lists that anybody out there who has done a similar trip would be willing to share. The biggest thing I'm concerned about is what people have done as far as shelters go, I have a Marmot backpacking tent that has been great but I've thought about looking into a seek outside tent/tipi as I've seen several people using cots to keep themselves up off the damp ground. I should be set as far as most other gear goes but also we will either pick up a garmin inreach or rent a satellite phone. Open to any other advice anyone is willing to share also, can't wait for this trip!
 

Salmonchaser

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Nov 12, 2019
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502
I’ve used both a sat phone and an in reach up there. W/O question get an in reach. I’m in an air taxi 3 or 4 days a week all summer , haven’t seen a sat phone in years but all the pilots have InReach. Good luck I’m sure you’ll have a great trip.
 

Gary

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Jul 4, 2009
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One thing to consider is the weight limit on the plane the air taxi will use to fly you in/out. 2 hunters (@200 lbs each), rifles & ammo (another 20 lbs) and you're more than half way on an 800 lb limit. Are you flying on wheels or floats? Floats will also require wagers/hip boots. Are you going to do a drop camp or float? Rafts can weigh in at 100 lbs (+/-). Make a list of HAVE TO HAVE items with their weights and figure out what you can add and go from there.
 

Bambistew

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Dec 10, 2002
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Location
Chugiak, AK
Floorless tents are a funny item... almost everyone that uses one brings a floor. :D I wouldn't worry too much about snow, more so winds and prolonged stays in a small tent when its raining for a couple days. A tipi with a stove wouldn't be a bad option, but wood may be hard to find depending on where you get dropped. The only real wood up that way is willow and green alder.

There are lots of gear list threads here and on Rokslide.

Weather could be 20-50 degrees and humid/wet foggy, plan clothing accordingly. No heat in a tent can turn into a cold camping trip. Make sure you can keep your gear dry, and plan your camp spot accordingly. A propane lantern puts off quite a bit of heat (and condensation) same with other propane stove options.

Go with the inreach over the sat phone. They work well. Sat phones at times will not work for an hour or two. I've had some minor delays with inreaches, but they usually always go through.
 

AlaskaHunter

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Jan 20, 2017
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750
Location
interior Alaska
White Sox (tiny blackflies) can be nasty in western Alaska especially if the wind slows down.
The seem to concentrate especially when butchering an animal...so a headnet and gloves that cover up shirt cuffs.
 

119bowhunter

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Feb 23, 2017
Messages
104
Location
North Carolina
Thanks for all the replies so far, we are allowed 80 pounds of gear per person and also we've added a third person to our party that lives in Alaska and has a fair bit of Alaskan backcountry experience/camping gear including a couple of 4 season tents that we can choose from. That should save me from having to buy another tent and maybe address some other items that I was less concerned about upgrading. Sounds like the in reach will be the way to go, I know from experience that satellite phones can be tricky but had never used an inreach so I assumed they would be the same way. I haven't asked but would actually be surprised if our other friend that is going to be joining us now doesn't already have one so that may be another item that we don't have to worry about buying before we go. Keep it coming, how far in advance would y'all try and reserve accomodations in Kotzebue/commercial flights?
 

Salmonchaser

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Nov 12, 2019
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502
The biggest issue with booking your flights out to Kotz will be determined when if and how a regional carrier is up and running by then. Last spring when Raven/Penn when bankrupt Alaska air stepped up but the only reason they were able to keep up was Covid kept the loads down.
I’ve no confidence on what’s will happen for spring to fall 2021.
Let’s assume for 2022 Alaska Air is your only option. Booking early will be your best value, pay very close attention to updates because Alaska will change your flights. Six weeks before you fly actually get a cup of coffee, go online and confirm your flight information. It likely will have changed.
Then again two weeks before. I am constantly frustrated dealing with clients who don’t read emails, don’t follow up with Alaska and miss their flights.
Particularly if we don’t have a regional carrier I wouldn’t wait to book your flights to the last minute.
 

shrapnel

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Aug 27, 2015
Messages
635
I would buy trip insurance. I planned on a salmon fishing trip this past August and due to circumstances, had to cancel. I got my money back, tickets to Alaska aren’t cheap.
 

beardbuster

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Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
7
I am doing this very same trip next September as well. We booked through the same company. The only thing that sounds different is we did the rented gear/food option. We are all pretty excited!
 

Backofbeyond

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Jan 2, 2018
Messages
328
Location
Boise, ID
My hunting partner and I are doing the same trip as well, 2022 must be a good year, and Kotzebue Caribou must be the new "it" thing.
 

TN VOL

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Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
96
My son and I want to do a caribou hunt and fish In Alaska..looked into doing a hunt out of Kotz for 2022 or 2023..unsure on what dates are best..the velvet bulls earlier In August are beautiful animals, however we were told they’re a pain to deal with (the velvet) plus it can be warmer and tough to deal with meat. Does anyone have date suggestions? 1st or 2nd week of September?? Thanks!
 

jejack26

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Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
64
All good advice that I've read. I always take a bivy sack for my sleeping bag up there

Best rain gear for hunting you can afford

Last time I actually hunted most time in hip boots, your transporter can advise

Talk to folks who have hunted caribou if possible they like any else I've hunted
 

jejack26

Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
64
I thinking about this some more

I take at least a package of over the counter Benadryl

A tourniquet

If possible anti biotic

And if there is question I get my teeth checked, a tooth ache in the bush is a bummer
Sat phones and in reach are great, but you got to be prepared to be weathered in
 
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