View Full Version : International Sportsman's Exhibition was very cool! (And African hunts are cheap!)

February 3, 2002, 12:29 AM
The Sportsman's Expo in San Mateo,CA, was very cool. Lots and lots of great taxidermy, and outfitters for hunters and fisherman.

I was amazed at the disparity in prices between Africa and Alaska (or any US destination). Basically you can get an all expenses covered plains game safari (kudu, gemsbok, impala, oryx,etc.) for 7 days for under $2300.00! And a friend checked the airfare- it's under $2500.00!!

In Alaska, it's pay for the air taxi (rumor has it the air taxi has doubled or tripled in the past years-Any feed back?), pay for the hunt and guide, and the trophy fees. Most hunts were more than $4,000. For $14,000 you could shoot a grizzly, moose, and caribou. I'm not sure what this $ doesn't include...

Here in CA, the hunting pressure is immense. It's very hard to find good deer hunting, and most of those are medium to small black tails. I'm looking for a good meat hunt that's under $2,000 total- including tags and licenses, fuel, groceries, etc. Maybe cow elk in Oregon?...

February 3, 2002, 09:14 AM

For a meat hunt, may I suggest Colorado this next (2002) season. Take a look a CO reduces non-resident elk fees (http://www.dnr.state.co.us/cdnr_news/wildlife/2002114131546.html) ... looking for a major reduction in cow elk this year & by all accounts, we'll be able to also buy an over the counter cow tag in addition to whatever else you get originally. CO DOW big game hunting main page (http://wildlife.state.co.us/hunt/BigGame/index.asp) for some more info. E-mail 'em & they'll mail you the big game brochure when it's printed up end of Feb.

Tags for cow/either sex are traditionally for specific areas though they've had years where these were good for most areas of the state. '02 looks to be another of those years & really not to be missed.

Even a lowly cow elk, boned, will fill up about 1/2 of a goodly freezer.

February 3, 2002, 11:53 AM
I've been to CO. twice both times to the Meeker area. I had cow elk tags and muley tags. And although I helped drive the biggest buck I've ever seen to a partner, I only shot a little fork, and never saw any elk at all.

I do love the country, and especially want to fish the White River. But it is a 2200 mile round trip, and unless the cow elk population is booming, I won't go back to hunt.

BTW, The Sleepy Cat Lodge out that way is a very nice place to eat a big steak and check out some good taxidermy...

February 3, 2002, 11:59 AM
CO's cow elk population IS booming - hence the expanded bag limits this year. They're gonna try (again) to get 'em back in line with what they've decided is proper carrying capacity.

Last few years just haven't had the expected results & the cow harvest has been way down from what was expected. Too, the non-residents' fees have been dropped from ~$400 to ~$250 (check the site)

Elk, no doubt, can be a real pain - you're either in 'em or not, seemingly, & depending on time of year, those that were here yesterday may be 20 miles away (or further) tomorrow.

Helps to know the area/s, fer certain.

February 4, 2002, 02:53 AM
I was a bush pilot in AK about 10 years ago. And what has happened with the prices are this. You used to get quoted a price based on flight time per hour. I.E. $250.00 per hour. If you had four guys and there gear and it would all fit into a CE-206 well split $250.00 four ways for however many hours and you got it. Meat hauls have always been free because they are just a stop at your camp on the way back from another charter, the trip is paid for. Great deal.
Whats happened is that the bush operators particularly in the larger cities have figured out that they can sell you package deals now and the average shmo from the lower 48 will never know the difference. So here's the gig, they say hey we'll drop you at such and such location for only $1300 per person and that includes a meat pick up mid week. Ain't that a cheap price for a Moose or Caribou hunt?
Well most of the drop points are about an hour from base, the shorter the better for your scaming bush pilot because he's already got your money he doesn't waqnt to find the game because he's not charging by the hour!!! And as far as the "free meat pick up mid week" that's just a courtsey stop from some one elses paid trip on the way back to base.
So with this in mind your looking at a realistic 2 to 3 hours of flight time in say a Beaver that runs about $450 an hour on the out side so your charter fee by the hour would be $1300. So if you have four guys you just got rapped on the "package deal". When these Bush operators see hunters they grease up the old rod and let you have it.
As a rule never go out of Lake Hood, major tourist trap and most of these guys won't take you to good hunting as they want you to come back next year and spend more money. Lake Clark is the major Anchorage destination and it's the most over hunted Caribou range in the state.
I'd suggest one of two things A. if you must go out of Anchorage find where you want to go and call around for charter rates if they won't give you charter by the hour rate don't use that operator. B. For some really good caribou and Moose hunting go up to Kotzebue and use either Northwestern Aviation owned by Jim Roode or use Buck Maxton. Both of which will bring you to the game and both of which will only charge by the hour no bull**** packages. Both of which can be found by calling 907 information Kotzebue is the town. Whenever I'm taking someone Bou hunting thats where I go. Oh and by the way a non-resident can buy as many as 5 Bou tags up in unit 23. Good Black Bear, Moose and Grizz hunting as well. As a matter of fact I've never hunted there with out seeing at least one Grizz and last year having one eat my buddies Caribou right out of the tree we thought was high enough.
Rusts Aviation in Anchorage (Lake Hood) is one of the worst as far as scam deals.

Here is what to expect for honest charter rates.
DHC-2 Beaver $400-$450 an hour
CE-206 or 185 $200-$250 an hour
CE-180 or Maule $180-$200
Pa-18 Cub or Husky $100-$150
Single Otter Turbo Prop $750-$900 (hold as many as 8 hunters + gear)
Twin Otter $1200 + per hour.