Caribou Hunting Excursions West Des Moines IA

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Des Moines Menace Soccer
6400 Westown Parkway West
Des Moines, IA
 
Sports Authority
(515) 226-9700
Water Tower Place, 4100 University Avenue
West Des Moines, IA
Services
Golf Day Shop, Golf Hitting Cage, Golf Trade-In Program, Hunting and Fishing Licenses, Delivery & Assembly
Hours
Monday - Saturday: 9:00am - 9:30pm
Sunday: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Holiday hours may vary.

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
(712) 642-4121
1434 316th Lane Missouri Valley IA
Missouri Valley, IA
 
Iowa Wetland Management District
(515) 928-2523
1710 360th St. Titonka
Titonka, IA
 
Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge
(319) 523-6982
10728 County Rd X61 Wapello
Wapello, IA
 
Bulldog Soccer Academy
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA
 
Bass Pro Sports
(515) 957-5500
1000 Bass Pro Drive NW
Altoona, IA
Hours
Mon-Sat 9:00am - 10:00pmSun 10:00am - 7:00pm

Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge
(563) 873-3423
401 Business Hwy 18 N McGregor
Mc Gregor, IA
 
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
(515) 994-3400
9981 Pacific Street Prairie City
Prairie City, IA
 
Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge
(515) 928-2523
1710 360th St. Titonka
Titonka, IA
 

Bowhunting Alaskan Caribou

As I lowered the 10X40 binoculars I'd been staring through all day, my peripheral vision detected a rather large clump of hair moving my way. Immediately two realizations came to mind. First, the hair was on the back of an animal way too wide to be a moose. Second, it was time to make a quiet, yet hasty retreat. A pretty good-sized grizzly materialized about ten steps away. Luckily, I was on a bank that was higher than the than the bear's eye level, and was able to quietly get out of the area and leave him to go about his business. One thing is for sure, you never run into a grizzly bear while hunting antlered game where I live!

My grizzly encounter was part of a great caribou bowhunting trip out of Kotzebue that my friend Bob Condon and I made. We have also hunted the Mulchatna herd, where I was fortunate enough to take a small bull with my longbow. While tundra deer are available elsewhere, there is something special about hunting caribou in Alaska. With a little planning, a successful Alaskan caribou adventure is for a reasonable expense. This will typically be a self-guided trip where a reputable flight service puts you ahead of the migration, but after all, that's how Fred Bear did it!

The biggest difference between the Alaskan-style caribou bowhunt and the hunting offered in Canada is that Alaskan trips are typically drop hunts. The other operations usually use a series of fixed-base camps along the migration route. Alaskan caribou trips will not have all the amenities, but have the advantage of being readily adaptable to changes in migration patterns. On an Alaskan caribou trip, a pilot flies hunters into an area ahead of the caribou migration. These excursions are do-it-yourself, thus the accommodations are a week in a tent. While this may not appeal to everyone, a self-guided hunt is an option not offered elsewhere.

Simply getting there is a big part of the adventure. Most Alaskan outfitters and flight services offer three different packages. They will drop you off in good territory and have you bring all of your camping gear and food. Outfitters also will fly to a hunting location set up a camp, then drop their hunters off later. The final offering is a fully guided hunt complete with meals. The biggest variation is the price. The more an outfitter or pilot has to fly, the greater their expenses are. Prices also increase when they provide a guide. Thus the more self-sufficient you are, the more economical the trip.

Outfitters typically check on their hunters to make sure everything is okay. They also fly out meat and antlers if there are any in camp. Many pilots ask their hunters to use a prearranged signal so they don't have to land if it is not necessary. Getting meat out and into a cooler somewhere is certainly a big plus if the weather is warm.

For any Alaskan hunter, resident or nonresident, the success or failure of a caribou trip is dependant on picking the right flight service or outfitter. Hunters should take pl...

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