How do I get there?
Fly directly from your home to Fairbanks Alaska and spend the night in the Best western hotel. The next morning (as early as possible) have breakfast and catch the hotel shuttle bus to Wrights Air Service by 7 AM to the airport. Sign up to Anaktuvuk Pass village with the secretary at Wrights Air Service. You are responsible for all charter costs to and from Anaktuvuk Pass which is about $380.00 per person, roundtrip from Fairbanks. Here we will meet you and transport you to our lodge by super cub plane. The point of outfitting is when you arrive at our main lodge.
Once you arrive at the main lodge you will be given a short tour, meet the crew, assigned a guide and camp to hunt in, and then you can start to unpack, and repack. You will leave your traveling clothes at the main camp, and wear one of your sets of hunting clothes. You will sight your rifle at our range to make sure the highly trained baggage handlers didn’t drop your rifle case to many times, on your commercial flight. After this is done you will purchase you license and tags, complete the paperwork required by the State of Alaska, and make your final hunt payment. You may be flown out to your spike camp the same day, weather permitting, or you may need to spend the night at main camp. Usually your guide will already be at the spike camp getting everything ready for your arrival.
Upon your arrival at the spike camp, your guide will explain the daily routine, and answer any questions you will have. You will start hunting the following morning. We check on each camp every 2–3 days and bring in additional food and supplies as required. Once you have taken your animal, you will be flown back to the main camp to get a shower and relax. Your skin will be fleshed and salted and prepared for shipping. After you have heard all the hunting stories you can handle, or at the end of your hunt, we will call the airlines and make your reservations for your return home.
What items are furnished?
All camping equipment, food, pads, cots, boats, motors and bush airplanes used during the hunt. All licenses and tags will be purchased when you arrive in base camp.
What services are furnished?
You will be personally guided by a licensed guide. All field care of your skins will be handled by your guide. You will be staying in the main lodge or a comfortable tent camps with cots, stoves and lanterns.
What can I expect for weather?
Mild wind and clear skies most of the time. Rain and snow 10% of the time. Temperature is usually 50–80 degrees in early August–mid August during the day . Mid August–end of August 45–65 degrees during day and near freezing at night. Sept 1st–15th 35–50 degrees with nights down to freezing and light snow. You will be sitting for long periods of time (12–14 hours per day) glassing for bears, 4–6 hours per day glassing for Caribou. Warm layered clothing is required. Like I have said for years, if we had white sandy beaches and warm weather in the Arctic, there would be condos there instead of Grizzly bears and Caribou. Plan for the worst weather you have ever hunted in, then if the weather is nice you get the prize for good weather.
When do we start hunting?
You will start hunting the day following your arrival in spike camp. It is illegal to shoot any big game animal the same day you are flying. Our hunting area is approximately 3,050 square miles in size, including over 50 miles of Park Boundary of Gates of Arctic National Park. 5 major river drainages and 13 small streams with char and grayling. The Siksikpuk River on which our base camp is located, supports an excellent Grizzly bear population. We plan to take only 2–4 hunters per Hunt and the rest will fly out to a spike camp. We also try to harvest only mature animals, which helps to maintain an excellent Grizzly bear population. Our camps are located near good vantage points, where you will be able to glass valleys, streams and hillsides.
What kind of sleeping bag do I need?
You do need to bring a good sleeping bag no goose down filled only synthetics good down to 20 degrees. We furnish, pads and cots for all clients. If you are very tall or heavy and want to bring your favorite pad. Please feel free to do so. We will still have one of ours available.
What should I pack my gear in?
Please bring only small/medium duffel bags. The perfect bag is Cabela’s Super Cub duffel bag. Please, no suitcases or 6 foot long duffel with wheels on them, commuter airlines charge for over 50 lbs, and now your gun case counts as one piece of baggage. Our super cubs are 1 passenger aircraft, with 50 lbs of baggage, including your gun case. You will only need two sets of hunting clothes, plus your traveling clothes. If your gear requires an extra flight, there will be an additional $300.00 charge.
How much walking is involved in the hunt?
All hunting is done by walking from spike camps. This is strictly a fair chase hunt. Please be capable of walking three miles daily in ankle–fit hip boots. Your guide will always carry his own rifle while hunting.
Should I bring binoculars?
Yes, you should bring the best binoculars that you have or can afford. Most guides will be carrying 10X40 Zeiss, Leica or Swarovski. Any good 8×30 or 10×40 will be a big advantage to your hunt. Many clients are excellent spotters, and you will be sitting for hours looking through your binoculars. Just make sure they are waterproof, because believe me, Alaska weather will test your gear.
Do I need to bring a spotting scope?
No, every guide will be carrying a good spotting scope and tripod. This will save you about 5–7 lbs in gear weight.
What is your success rate?
Our success rate last season was 100% on Caribou and Grizzly bears and 75% on Brown bear. Usually someone holds out looking for that giant. If any guide tells you he is 100% every year, you should be 100% sure, you don’t want to hunt with him. Since 1971 we have run at 98% success on Grizzly and Caribou and 85% on Brown Bear.
How much should I tip my guide?
This is probably the hardest question I have to answer. I have received tips ranging from $200–$2,000 a hunt for getting the client a nice trophy, to zero for getting a client a super trophy. One man sent his sons on a bear hunt and they took 2 bears in 2 days. He told them to tip the guide 10% of the hunt price, that came to $2,200.00 tip. I paid the guide $2,000.00 in wages, so you can see the guide had a good hunt, as well as the clients. I pay my guides very well to keep them coming back year after year, and they are expected to provide you with a very high quality hunting experience. It’s the additional effort the guide puts forth to ensure you have a great hunt, that you should be tipping for. The average is probably about $400 on a bear hunt, and $300.00 on a caribou hunt. Some clients tip the packers, cook, pilots, as well as your personal guide. The tipping amount is up to you, and I don’t want you to think I am telling you that a big tip is required or expected.
Do you guarantee the taking of an animal?
No, Alaska state law prohibits guaranteeing success, on any given hunt or trip. But We are the only guide in Alaska that I know of that will let you extend your hunt for free for another 5 days or come back at no charge if you don’t have an opportunity to take a Bull Caribou or Grizzly Bear on our fully guided 1×1 hunts in the Brooks range.
What are Ankle-fit hip boots and where can I get them?
Ankle fit hip boots are hip boots with a tight fitting ankle. This tighter fit keeps the boots from moving up and down when you walk. By not rubbing on your heel, there is less chance for blisters. You can purchase these from Cabela’s, they call them contour ankle fit. They come in both insulated and non insulated, and with regular boot sole or air–bob soles. I recommend non insulated ones with the air–bob soles.
What kind of shape do I need to be in?
The best shape possible. You do not need to be a marathon runner, but you need to be able to walk up to 3 miles in ankle fit hip boots daily. When bear hunting we often are glassing areas 1–2 miles away. If a bear is spotted, that you want, you need to be able to get close enough for a shot. The only time when this is critical, is right before dark when there may not be enough time to poke along at a snails pace. Usually you will have enough time to work into place at a normal walk, unless a bear is traveling and you are trying to cut him off. Most of our spike camps are within 1 mile of a good lookout or vantage point.
To get in shape, I recommend climbing stairs or hills. Walking on flat ground doesn’t help you as much as you think. If you have a pack frame, put it on and start climbing. After a couple of days, add a couple of gallon milk jugs full of water. Climb the hills or stairs and when you get to the top, you can dump the water and start back down. Coming down hills or stairs with lots of weight in your pack is very hard on your knees. Work your way up to where you can climb with 5 gallons of water or 40 lbs. That is more than you will need, but you will think the 20 lbs load off your hunt, is really light then.
Do I need a camera?
Yes, every hunter should bring a camera and extra film to take home pictures of their adventure of hunting in Alaska. I recommend a small waterproof digital camera. A built in telephoto lens is nice and at least one extra set of batteries. Also each guide carries a digital camera and we will be glad to download there pictures on disk for you to take home. The one comment I get often is that “I wish I had taken more pictures.” Alaska is a cameraman’s, dream come true.
Do I need to bring fishing tackle?
We have a good selection of spinning rod and reels and a couple of fly rods at the lodge for you to use. We also have a good selection of lures and flies. If you want to fish with a fly rod bring a few extra flies and leaders 8–10lb tippets.
Recommended Flies: An assortment of bunny leeches, egg–sucking leeches, wooly buggers and flesh flies tied on #4 and #2 hooks should be in every angler’s fly box. Black, purple, olive and dark red are the preferred colors, but throw a couple of loud color ones (chartreuse or hot pink) in your box also if you can. Egg patterns, lots of them, are also a must, and they should be orange, red and hot pink, tied on # 8 & 10 hooks. Spawn sack flies like the Babine Special, the Alaskan Omelette, and the Polar Shrimp, on white or tan with bright orange, pink or red, and tied on #4 & #6 hooks are also hot producers. These flies will work on just about everything that swims in Alaska.
What caliber do you recommend?
I recommend at least a 270 or larger for Caribou and 300mag or 338 for Bears. More Grizzly bears are taken with a 300mag – larger Brown Bears 338 caliber, and more Caribou are taken with a 30–06. If you are buying a new rifle to hunt Alaska, get a 338 mag. The 338 is a perfect rifle for everything in Alaska. Good bonded bullets such as Nozlers, Swift or Barnes are the best.
The guides carry from 270–338 calibers depending on the hunt. Pre 64 model 70’s very popular, with a fiberglass stock. My rifle is light weight, has a 20 ½” barrel, and a 1.5–5 power Leupold VarXIII scope. I shoot only Nozler bullets in Federal Factory loads.
Your scope is actually more important than your rifle. Bring only a good waterproof scope, that will not fog up in the rain. Lens covers are a must. You will not need anything larger than a 2×7 or 3×9 power scope. Please no 6×20 power scopes, we are not shooting prairie dogs
The stainless steel actions and fiberglass stocks are the best for Alaska, because your rifle is going to be wet 40% of the time. Trust me.
What kind of pack should I bring?
You should bring at least a very large good day pack with a hip belt, or better yet would be a framed pack with a good hip belt. You will be carrying your camera, extra shells, rain gear, a jacket, your lunch and snacks, plus your water bottle. Then add about 5 lbs of misc. stuff you will probably never use, but like to carry just in case.
The best frame pack on the market is sold by Barney’s Sports Chalet in Anchorage. It is a well built, with heavy duty shoulder straps and hip belt. This is what 95% of all the guides use. I buy these frames for my packers who regularly are packing 100 lbs of Caribou meat or more each trip.
How much ammo should I bring?
Bring 2 boxes of the exact same ammo that you have sighted your rifle in with at home. Sight your rifle in 3″ high at 100 yards. Then you can hold on the animal out to 300 yards. Very seldom do we ever take a shot over 200 yards. Usually the average shot is 150 yards. Please shoot your rifle at least 50 times before you come and get use to it, and know where it shoots. I had one hunter who came on a bear hunt who had never shot his rifle once, only had it bore sighted at the gun shop where he bought it. Another hunter said he had his wife sight in his 338 for him. He had never shot his rifle either until he arrived at camp.