If you’re going to spend a week in the wilderness of the frozen tundra, you probably have some questions.
The more you know in advance the happier you’re going to be.
Can we bring a shotgun to shoot ptarmigan?
Sure! It is Ptarmigan season up here during the time of your hunt, and they are generally everywhere.
But, we should warn you that shooting at the birds will likely scare away the caribou.
Soooooo… it’s up to you – after all, caribou are the main reason for your visit and we don’t want you to come away with just a handful of feathers and no antlers! Or, bear the scorn of your fellow hunters for scaring the game away.
Also, from a girl’s perspective, they are really pretty that time of year as they are changing their feathers from brown to white, something that would show off nicely if you know a good taxidermist – just not as nice as that big set of antlers.
What do we need to know about our rifles?
You will want to bring your rifles in hard cases on the airlines to and from Kotzebue.
However, when you get to our building, we request you remove them from the hard cases and put them in your soft cases in an effort to save room in the smaller planes you will be riding in. HARD CASES WILL NOT BE LOADED ON THE PLANE TO GO OUT IN THE FIELD – BE SURE YOU BRING A SOFT CASE WITH YOU IN YOUR GEAR!
The hard cases and any items you bring with you that you won’t need in the field can remain in our locked storage containers until you return from your hunt.
We always like to make sure our hunters know this – as someone ALWAYS shows up and forgets to bring their soft case with them. Most hunters don’t want to fly with their rifles exposed, but space is tight – especially on the way back – and the hard cases just won’t fit.
Can we pick up any groceries when we arrive in Kotzebue?
There is a SMALL/VERY EXPENSIVE grocery store in town to purchase items that you may need. When you arrive in Kotzebue – BEFORE – you come to our building when our guys are picking you up, you can ask them to run you by the grocery store before coming to our building if you need to pick up some items. Keep in mind, it’s a small grocery store and may/may not have the items you want …. But yes, you can do that.
What about propane?
The airlines won’t let you transport propane, obviously. You can get that right here in Kotzebue.
Do we need a purifying system for water?
Most the time there is fresh water at all the camp sites we utilize. However, we fly you into places that the Caribou are traveling, so sometimes we have to carry in water from town.
The Camp Rental comes with collapsible 5-gallon jugs that would be filled prior to you launching for your site. Mike always has a good idea where he’s taking you when the time comes, so he will tell us whether or not to pack water.
If you do not go with the camp rental, you’ll want to bring a couple of those collapsible containers and if you need water prior to leaving, we will fill yours.
Can we change the camp rental list?
Short answer, no. But we want to help so let’s talk about it early.
If we don’t buy the camp rental, can we just give you a shopping list of items we want?
It’s really a little more involved than stopping at the local grocery store. Kotzebue is a small, isolated village above the Arctic Circle.
We bring in the supplies by air at the beginning of the season based on the number of hunters who reserve camp rentals. It requires us to plan and that’s the reason we’ve refined it to a pretty specific list.
What if some of us want the camp rental, and some of us don’t?
Unfortunately, the camp rental is set up for a minimum of two people at the $650 per hunter rate – so it would have to go in groups of two.
Now, if you have a hunt group of four, and two want it and two do not, then sure, you can do that.
But to have a hunt party of two and one wants it and the other doesn’t, it won’t work for the weight restrictions for the small planes we fly you into the field with.
Remember, your limit is 70 pounds of gear per hunter, excluding the weight of the hunter’s body and a high-powered rifle for hunting. If you’re NOT getting our camp package, you are allotted 125 pounds of gear per person.
Do I need to get my Alaska Hunting License number right away?
No, but you will need to have purchased it, and have it in your possession prior to your arrival in Kotzebue. Of course, you’ll need to carry it on your person in the field.
We keep your contract on file and I must have it in Kotzebue for review prior to your departure into the field (along with other necessary paperwork).
All licenses and tags are the responsibility of the hunter.
Can we bone out our meat when we get back to Kotzebue?
Actually, our lease lot on the tarmac prohibits us from deboning the meat. So, here’s what happens: One full caribou will fit in two of the wet-lock (wax coated) boxes, so you can purchase the boxes there at our building for like $15/box and my staff will help you get the meat into the boxes. Once in the boxes, you can choose to “ship” or to take with you as checked luggage on Alaska Airlines (generally this is the least expensive way to ship it and the way most hunters choose). Once you get the meat to where you’re going – you can “process” the meat.
We can pack the meat as described above and we can ship it to Anchorage for processing to a meat processing facility we frequently use. They pick it up, process the meat and then ship the processed meat to your house. A lot more expensive, but we have guys do it both ways. Totally up to you.
Can we donate meat from our harvest when we arrive back in Kotzebue?
And, if we are to do this, are we required to donate a whole animal or can we keep part of it, like the tenderloins and a rear quarter?
We don’t require that you donate the entire animal, but we do require that you donate a “whole half” and you take the other half if you are wanting to keep some of the meat. We do this because the people we donate to are local natives, we want to ensure they get a good selection of meat – it keeps them happy and willing to take the donations.
So, for example, we say you take a half and we’ll get someone lined up for the other half – or – donate the entire caribou. That way everyone gets the prime cuts and the other parts that may end up as ground meat.
Are we on our own to find RAM Aviation or is there someone who will meet us? How long will it be between when we get to town and when we fly out to hunt?
Plan on departing from your location and taking a commercial flight into Anchorage, AK., you can either overnight in Anchorage and then jump on an Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Kotzebue on the first flight out the next morning – OR – come straight into Kotzebue the day you are scheduled to fly into the field.
Alaska Airlines has a departing flight from Anchorage at approximately 6:05a and arrives in Kotzebue somewhere around 7:45a. Sometimes the first flights into Kotzebue are later in the morning – book whichever flight gets you into Kotzebue the earliest.
When departing Kotzebue, you will want to schedule your flight for the day after you are scheduled to come out of the field. Best flight to schedule is the morning flight on that day as it will generally give you plenty of time for connecting flights to get you back home.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SEND US YOUR ITINERARY SO WE KNOW WHEN YOU WILL BE ARRIVING & DEPARTING. If we have this information, we will have someone from our staff at the airport to greet you and assist with getting your gear to our building on the airport tarmac. Once you arrive at our building, we will begin our process of paperwork, final payments, preparing you for your flight into the field and staging your equipment in one location so that you are ready to go when the plane is.
Your flight out into the field will be as soon as possible thereafter – you may be on the first flight or the last flight of the day, we don’t really know that until the day is upon us. Sometimes weather plays into our flights taking off/landing, but we do our best to get you out as soon as possible.
Which flight should I book for going home?
We suggest flight #152 or 153 – for the trip back to Anchorage/back home on the day AFTER you are scheduled to come out of the field. There are a few places in town which you can make arrangements for an overnight stay – which you will want to do in advance.
This gives us time to pick you up from your camp, bring you back into town, process your meat and antlers for shipping/donation, ship any items that may need to be shipped and get you over to the AK Airlines terminal for your flight.
Which flight should I book to get to Kotzebue?
You’ll want to book Flight #151 – 7:42am – from Anchorage on the morning that you will be transported into the field. This gives us plenty of time to pick you up from the AK Airlines Terminal, grab all your gear & get you over to our building (only about 500 yards down from AK Airlines on the Tarmac).