Friday, January 22, 2010
Plan for Communications During Your Alaskan Hunt
Knowing this now can save you the frustration of being here without enough money to accomplish what you set out to in Alaska. We will cover the subject of budget and other financial details in upcoming posts. First thing we need do is decide what big game trophy you want to give priority to.
Alaska's moose population is widespread. Caribou herds are also quite healthy in most of Alaska but their concentrations are more regional than the moose as caribou migrate back and forth across their migration routes. The two species do have a lot of overlapping territory though. Knowing these spots can help non-resident hunters improve their success rate and make for a great Alaskan hunting experience.
The classic Alaskan big game hunting experience, in my opinion, would be achieved more readily for those NR hunters who opt for a river float trip. I have given those reasons in previous posts and do not want to repeat myself here. (See previous posts for those details.)
How does one prepare for one of these float trips? Many States have rivers and rafting equipment one could rent and learn the basics of operating center oared rafts. Knowing how to operate a canoe is about the same level of difficulty-but easier. In a raft, your are the only one with the oars. Anything goes wrong; you can't blame the other guy as in a canoe. Most folks get the hang of raft oarsman ship pretty quick AND they are a very forgiving piece of transportation.
I dare say that most NR hunters would have more trouble judging where they are each day, how much farther to the pick-up point, and the hardest-recognizing your pick-up point when you get to it. We don't have signs on the rivers!
For example, your pilot will tell you he will pick up at the mouth of the Mulchatna River and French Creek. He will point it out on the map and all you have to do is keep up with where you are each day and realize "this must be "French Creek". Yes, it's tricky for sure. These days a hand-held GPS would give your position at the end of each day. Compare that to the coordinates on your topo and you have it! It was more adventurous in the old days!
There are two pieces of electronic gear you should have on your hunt. The GPS and Satellite telephone. Your regular cell phone will not work in the bush in most areas. There's just to many mountains in the way and too few Cell site towers. However, a Satellite phone is all together different. They work great and can save your life in the Bush. There are several places in Alaska to rent Satellite phones when you get here. JUST BE SURE to reserve yours well before September as local hunters gobble up the supply here pretty quick. The phone will also help coordinate your pick-up by the air-taxi operator. Many non-resident hunters have had a bad trip because they had to wait, and wait, and wait for their pilot to show up. Many times weather will keep them from getting to you and without that satellite phone, you would have no way of knowing it. They are real "nerve" comforting at times like that.
Your weather may be fine where you are, but that does not mean the pilot on the other side of the pass is enjoying the same weather. Prepare yourself for something like that NOW. Odds are, it will happen. Surprisingly these satellite phone costs have dropped considerable from where they used to be. Plan on spending $150. for 10 days and add $4. per minute of useage to that. Your loved ones will enjoy hearing that you are O.K. while in Alaska too.
Word of caution. The number one complaint about satellite phones is battery failure. Make sure you take extra batteries and keep them DRY and warm as possible. Your satellite phone vendor will supply you with a waterproof case for the phone. For more information about Alaska's Satellite phones log on to:
Your gear list grew a little more!
In my next post, I will give you some river options to float, what game you can expect to see and the degree of difficulty the river offers.