Haul Road Caribou

jnd1959

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Joined
Mar 20, 2019
Messages
58
Location
Texas
I've searched the most recent threads on the Haul Road. They mostly appear to be from 2017 and before. My Daughter, son and I are planning a trip to AK for caribou in 2020. I've done a some reading on the haul road and on transport and such. With that in mind I would appreciate some answers to specific questions. If these have been answered before I apologize and please point me to those posts.

I read in an earlier post that the Haul road herd (correct name herd?) has been migrating later than normal. If we went in early August would this cause a problem?
Is the demand in the management zone (archery zone) as great or greater than outside that zone?
Are the flow rates in the river predictable? If we decide to float the river past the management zone is that an iffy proposition?
If we did float the river, how hard is it to get upriver (can we walk the bank in, I assume the river flows towards the sea, and float out)?
When transport fees are discussed, are these per plane or per person (would three of us be $1,500 - 2,000 or $4,500 to 6,000)?
If we hunted the Haul Road, how would we decide which unit to hunt and is the OTC license for a specific unit or any unit designated HT?
If the 50# per person weight limit for transport just personal gear or all our gear (camping gear)?

Thanks for the help. If the transport fee is per plane that is what we'll likely will do. If not, we're going to have to slug it out on the road. We will drive up and make a trip of it. That's my daughter's senior year and my son's junior year. I'll also be 61 by that time so it is now or never I guess.
 

Kaitum

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Jan 14, 2012
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454
Location
Bitterroot Valley
Air taxi rates are sometimes an hourly rate or sometimes a destination rate. The air taxi can confirm if they charge based on per person, per flight hour, etc.

If looking at a 50 lb gear weight limit, you're probably talking about flying in a Super Cub (pilot, 1 passenger, and 50 lbs of gear total). By gear that includes everything, even food, though they usually don't include your firearm in that weight total.

The Sagavanirktok River (Sag for short) is the primary river that parallels the Haul Road. It's a big, swift river - you can't wade it. Guys do take rafts to cross it. Floating the river does not get you outside the 5 mile archery only corridor. You can hike beyond the archery only zone but it is a feat best saved for those who enjoy suffering.

As far as timing, that's anyones guess with caribou. Late August is generally a good window to shoot for to see animals and avoid mosquitos.
 

Bambistew

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Dec 10, 2002
Messages
5,315
Location
Chugiak, AK
I would suggest you keep doing more research. Lots off good questions, but keep digging, none are easy answers and have lots of caveats. Check out Rokslide, there is a number of threads on the Haul Road, as well as Alaska Outdoor Directory.

  • A year or two of delayed migration is hardly a trend with caribou. They do what they want and are not predictable.
  • Most of the hunting off the road is in the archery zone. Very few venture past it, 5 miles in the tundra is a long ways to walk and pack meat.
  • You could drag a raft in and float out, sure... it would suck for much of it, but doable
  • fees are dependent on lots of things, distance, size of aircraft, if they are air taxi vs transporter, etc. Figure out where before you figure out how much
  • The tags are OTC and open to anywhere a "HT" is allowed. The bag limits are what is important.
  • The 50# limit is dependent on aircraft and generally only for Super Cub size planes. Larger planes have a larger cargo limit per person... its all up, but most will exclude the weight of your rifle.

I wouldn't limit yourself to the Haul Road. The logistics and difficulty are not as simple as they seem compared to a fly out hunt. If you plan to drive up, it will take you a week to get there from TX, or more. :D Probably cost a few thousand dollars in gas/lodging/etc for the RT.

I would look at hunting out of Kotzebue (for the Western Arctic Herd) or out of Fairbanks for the 40-mile or Porcupine herds. Walking 5 miles in to avoid the archery zone on the haul road is a lot of effort, and more so if you kill one or 3. The majority of people who hunt the Haul Road are archery hunters.

Charter costs are all over the place, you need to call and get a quote once you figure out where you want to go. It depends if they are an air taxi or transporter/outfitter. Taxi is usually cheaper and charge by the hour whereas most transporters charge by the person.
 

jnd1959

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Joined
Mar 20, 2019
Messages
58
Location
Texas
Thanks for the responses. I talked to some transporters after I posted. We plan to take both rifles and bows so either way is fine. Thanks for the other options. I'll look into them.
 

brownbear932008

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Jul 15, 2011
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1,654
Location
Abingdon VA.
If your going all the way up there fly out and save yourself the headaches of the road hunt. You won't regret it awesome place to spend a week.
 

jnd1959

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Joined
Mar 20, 2019
Messages
58
Location
Texas
Do air taxis usually have an idea of where the herd is or would we plan some air time for locating them?
 

brownbear932008

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Jul 15, 2011
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1,654
Location
Abingdon VA.
The good air services should know where larger concentrations are. They dropped us right on them probably saw 1000 animals in 4 days. Pick up wolf tags also good chance you will see some. We flew with Mike McCrary and had a great experience. I hear Coyote air is also good have heard mixed reviews on Arrowhead. Wrights out of I think Fairbanks has good reviews different herd I think though. Just do your due diligence and have a great trip. I did a write up on my trip here some time ago if you haven't found it already.
 
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