AA1 – Unguided Caribou Hunt
Alaska Fly-In, Unguided Caribou Hunt
Unguided, fly-in caribou hunts in NW Alaska Game Management Units 23 & 26
In mid-August through the end of September, the caribou migrate from the North side of the Brooks Range, heading South towards Kotzebue Sound. This transporter will do their best to put you right in the middle of that migration. Over the years, their success speaks for itself as you can see in the hunt reports below.
- Season: End of August-End of Sept (recommend early September)
- 2 hunters minimum
- Trophy quality: Average
- Success Rate: 85% depending on the year
- Opportunity rate: 90%
- Combos: wolf, fishing, ptarmigan
- Difficult hunt. Tundra is very hard to walk in
- Must be a US citizen.
- Camp: Unguided hunters are responsible for setup and teardown of their own tents and camping equipment. If you don’t want to bring your own camp gear, camp rental is provided by the Outfitter in Kotzebue and is returned to Kotzebue when your hunt is over. The camps are placed along the migration route, to ensure you of the highest success possible. Hunters can rest assured knowing they will be placed in areas that are productive. Be sure to read this post on preparing for an unguided hunt in Alaska.
Un-Outfitted Drop: $3,350 (5 – 10 days of hunting)
Outfitted Camp: $3,950 (5 days hunting)
- Five to Seven days of hunting depending on schedule
- One caribou bull
- Air transportation to the field from Kotzebue, AK
- Meat/trophy transport back to Kotzebue
- Transportation to and from Kotzebue, AK
- Hunting License, Permits or Tags. *Hunters are encouraged to purchase a wolf tag.
- Shipping of meat and trophy
Above the Arctic Circle is no place to skimp!
In 35+ years of providing service to their hunters, along with their own Alaska experiences, this outfitter has put together a gear list that provides hunters with not only comfort, but the NECESSITIES of being out in what can be a very harsh and unforgiving environment.
In addition to knowing what hunters will need while in the field, it makes it less expensive to travel on commercial flights. There are also items that can’t be taken on commercial flights. Hunters will bring their own 80 lbs. of personal hunting gear, to include weapon, -20 rated sleeping bag/pad, pack frame, field dressing equipment and game bags.
Camps go in and come out of the field with the hunters.
For every TWO hunters, they will receive a Cabela’s Six-man Guide Tent, which provides plenty of room for the cots and personal gear. Camps are located in areas with plenty of driftwood/willows for makeshift camping, temporary meat caches and building fires for warmth.
They pay close attention to hunters needs, ensuring their camps are filled with enough food, even in the event they are stuck in the field for extra days due to unforeseen issues. In addition, camp gear is closely gone over every time it returns from the field with damaged or worn items being replaced as needed.
Camp Rental Gear
5 Day Rental
- 1 Cabela’s 6 Man Guide Model tent
- 1 Stove/4 one pound propane bottles
- 2 Cots
- 2 Rolls of toilet paper
- 1 Tarp
- 1 Matches/lighter & fire starters
- 1 Cook set
- 4 Garbage bags
- 1 Lantern w/ mantels
- 2 Sets of silverware, plates, bowls & cups
- 1 Collapsible water containers
- 1 Roll paper towels
- 1 Dish soap
- 10 Quart size sandwich Ziploc bags
- 20 Twine
- 1 Coffee pot
- 1 Basic First Aid Kit
- 1 Set of kitchen pots, pans & utensils
For every two hunters
- 5 lbs. of potatoes
- 2 loaves of bread
- 5 onions
- 1 jar of jelly
- 1 jar of peanut butter
- Cooking oil
- Coffee Mate & sugar
- Candy/granola bars
- Instant oatmeal
- Hot cocoa
- Tea bags
- Ramen soup
- Salt & Pepper
Mountain House Meals
- Breakfasts include a variety of oatmeal & scrambled eggs, skillets, etc.
- Lunch/Dinners include a mixed variety of chicken, beef & pork entrees.
- Desserts included are based on availability.
*PLEASE NOTE: If you require any special medicine and/or foods associated with your daily diet and health routine, you will want to make sure you pack it yourself and bring it with you.
Here’s the list of personal gear we suggest you bring along. Obviously, as an experienced hunter, you have a list of things you like to carry, but we’ve been taking people out into the field here in Alaska for over 30 years and there may be a few things in this list you wouldn’t think about.
In addition to your normal camp gear (i.e. camp stove, tent, cots, propane, etc) this is a suggested personal gear list, therefore, it may not be all inclusive and is subject to change.
- Framed backpack
- Folding saw with bone blade
- Rifle with 20-40 rounds of ammo
- Good sleeping bag and pad (recommend down to -20 degree bag)
- Hip boots/Waders (for crossing creeks or dealing with rain)
- Flashlight and/or headlamp
- Camera with extra batteries
- Water bottle (with filter)
- Insect repellent (100% Deet)
- Stocking hat and gloves
- Top quality rain gear
- Camp shoes
- Insulated leather boots
- 1 pair insulated hunting pants
- 1 pair top and bottom insulated underwear, med-heavy weight (DO NOT BRING COTTON)
- 2-3 hunting shirts
- Heavy weight wool socks (1 pair for each day)
- Heavy coat with Gore-Tex
- Game bags
- Personal toiletry items
- Handheld GPS unit
- Batteries for any electrical device. Keep your batteries in something warm (like a wool sock) while you are in the field. Cold will drain them.
- Be sure to bring DUCT TAPE so you can tape up your meat and antler boxes for shipping back home!
- IRIDIUM Satellite Phone is recommended for unguided hunters (1 phone per group). Iridium is about the only satellite phone that works well above the Arctic Circle. SOME SORT OF SAT PHONE IS A REQUIREMENT FOR THIS HUNT… PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU BRING ONE WITH YOU AS THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE IN KOTZEBUE.
- Soft Gun Case. When you arrive in Kotzebue, you’ll be asked to take your rifles out of their hard cases and put into a soft case for transportation into the field.
REMINDER: EACH HUNTER IS LIMITED TO 70 LBS. OF GEAR (does not include the weight of your rifle)
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You will fly to Anchorage, AK (ANC), then catch a flight to Kotzebue, where your Outfitter will meet you to the airport. It is important when booking your commercial airline tickets to and from Kotzebue that you arrive on ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT #151 on the day you are scheduled to go into the field. This will put you in Kotzebue at approximately 8am. Arriving later in the day may not allow enough time to fly you out to the field. This will allow us the most time to get you out to your hunting area. At times we must wait for the weather to clear or frost or snow to melt off the wings before we can start flying. If such conditions do exist, be patient. *This outfitter will use either a float plane or a plane with bush wheels to get you into the field. Their schedule and caribou movement depicts which plane will be used.
We recommend departing on flight #152 or #153 back to Anchorage on the day after you are scheduled to be extracted from the field. This flight departs Kotzebue at 7:50pm.
TIP: Book “flexible” return flights and we HIGHLY recommend trip insurance! *Weather is a variable that no one can control. Weather conditions may prevent us from being able to fly. Such instances are rare, but can occur.
Be sure to get a wolf tag!
Although wolves tend to be elusive creatures, they are abundant in the Arctic! Wolf tags can be purchased over the counter and hunters can purchase UP TO 20 TAGS!
The fishing can be great too!
Also, don’t forget the fishing. Approximately 95% of the camps end up on a river or stream. This means that there is WORLD CLASS Arctic char and grayling fishing.
Unguided hunters should bring good quality game bags with them. The Outfitter will provide burlap sacks to haul/load meat. Meat will stay in the field with you for the entire time unless arrangements are made between you and the pilot. The Outfitter is not permitted to store meat at their facility in Kotzebue. Kotzebue does not have freezers or processing facilities to accommodate hunters.
For people wishing to take meat home with them, wet lock boxes can be purchased from the Outfitter for $15 each. Boxes can be checked on as luggage. Boxes must not be over 50 pounds. Excess baggage fees will be charged by the airlines for additional pieces of checked baggage on Alaska Airlines. Remember it is the hunter’s responsibility to see the meat is properly donated or boxed for your flight home. Deboning meat is not permitted by airport regulation at the airport facility. Fee for boxing game meat is $50 per box, plus the box fee, and is only done on a time available basis.
For those of you wishing to donate meat: you must complete a transfer of possession form (the Outfitter has them). Meat can be donated to local citizens or to the food bank. Partially butchered quarters of meat are not accepted for donation.