All hunters are required to have a soft gun case/sock for their rifles. Rifles/Guns will be taken out of their hard cases when you arrive in Kotzebue and will need to be placed into a soft case of some sort. Don't worry, we've got plenty of room in one of our Connex's to leave anything you don't need in the field with you (i.e. hard cases, suitcases you brought that you don't need in the field, keys for the truck you left back home at the airport .... you know, the essentials).
You can purchase these items anytime between now and 6 weeks prior to your hunt
They will be sent directly to your home and you will need to ensure you have them on your person when you arrive for your hunt.
Many times the AKDF&G sends out the Licenses, tags & harvest REPORTS, but they fail to send the Harvest Tickets. This has been an ongoing issue for years! So, when your packet arrives, please open it up and ensure that you have all FOUR items. If you don't have the Harvest Tickets, please log back onto the AKDF&G website and request a Harvest Ticket, then print it out on your computer and bring them with you. UNFORTUNATELY - THESE HARVEST TICKETS ARE NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL AFTER JULY 1ST WHEN THE NEW REGULATIONS ARE RELEASED. SO WE WILL SEND A REMINDER TO YOU ALL AGAIN IN JULY TO REMEMBER TO PRINT THESE OUT! You are required to have these when you go into the field, have them on your person when hunting and punch it when you have an animal down.
AKDF&G website can be found at: AK Department of Game & Fish Licensing Store
Weather delays are a normal, sometimes every day, occurence here in Alaska - that's why we HIGHLY RECOMMEND Hunt/Trip Insurance. There is no way to know what Mother Nature is going to throw at us & since we are flying into undeveloped areas (not airport to airport) it requires a healthy dose of humility to know when to allow Her to do her thing and the airplane stays on the ground.
On that topic though, you as Hunters/Rafters/Clients, need to understand that if we are telling you we can't fly - there's a reason for it. The safest place for us all to be is on the ground in inclimatic weather. There is no flight to catch or hotel reservation to make that is worth the cost of someone's life. We all have families to go home to .... so we will do all we can to ensure your safety both getting into the field and coming out.
Here's a "general" list to use (but only as reference, as it may not be all inclusive):
Detailed information for planning for an Alaska Caribou hunting trip or any other trip using a Transportation Service in Alaska, requires lots of planning and information gathering. If you haven't seen what you're looking for on our website, please be sure to reach out to us on the Contact Us page and ask any questions you may have!
When coming up for an Alaska Caribou Hunt, we understand that you guys want to take your meat, antlers and capes home with you. Once you guys come out of the field with you animals, we will get you packing up the meat in Wet-Lock Boxes (Fish boxes), these you can take as excess baggage on the Commercial Flight home with you (by far the least expensive way to get it home).
HOWEVER, Antlers as of 2021 are becoming an issue that has a lot of people shaking their heads on what to do. Although Alaska Airlines claims they allow oversized boxes (which is what an Antler box is), they will ONLY allow ONE/Jet and then any others are taken on a stand-by basis. Otherwise you can use their "Antler Express" Service (which in Kotzebue is almost near impossible to abide by their time requirements and each must be a Known Shipper). Their Antler Express Service is such a far fetched idea for these Bush Operations, it's almost embarrassing for them.
THAT SAID: We have aligned with Tundra Tanning & Taxidermy in Wasilla, AK. They are taking all the antlers and capes (you can have them do as much or as little as you'd like ... from Tanning the hides/Velvet Preserve to Life size Caribou Mount, but he will then also expedite the antlers down to you. Please refer to their website for more information on their services TUNDRA TANNING & TAXIDERMY
Cost for Wet-Lock Boxes is $15/each (wax lined boxes for meat transport). Generally speaking, one caribou will fit in two (2) boxes and Capes can go in another or be rolled up and stowed in a checked/carried on bag.
Cost for getting your antlers down to Tundra Tanning & Taxidermy is a flat fee of $50/person which covers the cost of the antler box and shipping to Anchorage. These shipments are made several times a week and once they arrive in Anchorage, Tundra Tanning & Taxidermy picks it up and gets it to their place for processing.
Your meat boxes can be checked as additional baggage if within the airline guidelines and you will be charged according to your airline rules & regulations. Please verify with whatever airline you book with what their luggage fees may be.
YES ... we have a large supply of propane and jet boils available for purchase when you arrive (we will send out a request for an estimated # needed for your hunt). the Costs associated with these are:
Coleman Fuel (White Gas) One (1) Gallon: $10/each
Small Propane Canisters 1# Bottles: $10/each
Jet Boils: Large Canisters: $15 Small Canisters $10
As a reminder: You cannot bring any of these items on the Commercial flights with you and/or lighters, matches, etc.
BEAR SPRAY is sometimes available at our place if someone has left it - you're more than welcome to it. Otherwise, there are a couple of stores in town that sell this product.
All weapons must be removed from the hard cases & transferred into a soft case for transport into the field (this includes PISTOLS). You'll want to bring a soft case for this transfer & your hard cases and anything that you pack that you don't want to go into the field with you, can be stowed in our buildings until you come back out of the field.
Many of you like to pack in LARGE Cabela's Bags or something of that sort for the Commercial flights to save on costs associated with checked baggage. This is perfect,
HOWEVER, when you arrive in Kotzebue, we are going to ask that any of these LARGE bags, be broken down into smaller bags as the smaller planes don't handle these large bags. So, if you pack your small/medium bags into your larger bags for your commercial flights - it makes pulling them apart easier when we stage you for your departure into the field.
When looking at booking your flights into and out of Kotzebue for your Alaska DIY Caribou Hunting - we do recommend trying to stay with Alaska Airlines all the way from the Lower 48 up. HOWEVER, we do realize this isn't always possible .... so when making your reservations, you'll want to use the Airport Code "OTZ" as your final destination.
We like for you guys to schedule your flights into town on the evening before your scheduled date into the field. On the way out of Kotzebue - we suggest you look into "FLEXIBLE" or "REFUNDABLE" tickets and book them on the day AFTER you are scheduled to come out of the field. For example, if you are scheduled to hunt: September 3 - 9th you'll want to look at flights for:
September 2nd (the night before & secure a room in town) departing Anchorage for Kotzebue.
Departing Flights should then be booked on flight out of Kotzebue on September 10th. That way you have time to deal with your antlers, capes and meat when you come out of the field on the 9th (weather permitting of course).
You can learn more about Alaska Airlines Change & Cancellation Fees by clicking here.
Once you have booked your flights, be sure and send us a copy of your itinerary so we can ensure we have someone at the airport to greet you when you arrive.
Remember we are constantly updated our ongoing Questions & Answers section - so be sure and check back often so you know what to expect when you arrive. If you have something you don't see here on, shoot us an email with the title "Alaska Hunting Q&A" and we'll get right back to you!
The Hunter Contract provides personal information on you for planning purposes. As you know, we are not flying large airplanes from airport to airport - we are flying small Bush Airplanes for off airport landings and weight limits are a key element in planning for a safe flight. We do ask that you guys are sincere in the answers you give us as it plays a big factor if we have someone who is 6'4" and 260#'s vs someone who may be 5'10" and 175#'s. Again ... just for flight planning purposes - and SAFETY IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE!
Long and short of it is ... No. There is a LOT of logistical moving parts that go into getting the food and camp gear out into the field with you. We supply you with a Supplied Gear & Food List, so if you see something you can't have or need specific food while in the field, you need to plan on packing it for yourself. REMEMBER - anything you pack will go towards your weight limit restrictions.
Absolutely - keep in mind, Kotzebue is a small/very expensive place to live. The Grocery stores are stocked by supplies that are either barged in or brought in by plane. It's not like running down to your local Walmart back home, they have the necessities and then some - but plan accordingly, as you may go into sticker shock on some items.
Kotzebue is known as a "Damp Village" - this means liquor is available at the local City Run Liquor Store, but there is no liquor served at the restaurants in town.
Kotzebue is a small Village, however, it happens to be the largest Village in the NW Arctic of Alaska, the "Hub" of several small Villages in the outlying area. Kotz used to be a "Dry" Village ... meaning Alcohol was not sold or available for purchase and was regulated on the amount any one person could bring into town. In a "Damp" Village, Alcohol is sold and available in town through the City run Liquor Store (that happens to be attached to the City Jail) - however, it is still regulated on the amount any one person can purchase (on a permit you must purchase before purchasing the alcohol) on a daily basis and also regulated on the amount you can bring into town with you when you arrive.
As with most things in the remote areas of Alaska, things can be quite pricey - the Liquor store is NO exception to that rule. (for example: a 6 Pack of Beer can be $19.99) Whether you choose to bring it with you or purchase in town and take with you into the field - remember, there are SPECIFIC restrictions on what you can bring with you. Currently, the City is listing the following as the Importation List:
1 Liter of Liquor
2 Liters of Wine 1 Gallon (10 - 12 oz Cans) of Beer
1 Liter of Liquor
2 Liters of Wine
1 Gallon (10 - 12 oz Cans) of Beer
Purchasing from the store has a little different limits, but are similar and have daily limitations on a per person basis. You can check out the City of Kotzebue Website if you'd like for more specific information.
As a side note: Although we have enjoyed a drink or two, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT GUNS AND ALCOHOL AREN'T A GOOD MIX. Please drink responsibly! We are not endorsing or suggesting anything with this article - it is just a specific answer to a question that has been asked several times.
Go to the City of Kotzebue website for more information on the store hours and a Guide to Legally Obtain Alcohol in Kotzebue.
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