Bad experience with Transporter

Chirogrow

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
183
This was my 3rd fly out caribou hunt, and the first in a completely new area, style, and with a different transporter.

My coworker and I have been planning this hunt for the past 4 years. We had our drop and pickup planned with a pilot who unfortunately died in a mid air accident early last summer so we scrambled and got set up with Kavik Aviation. We were told our River selection and strips would be fine despite switching from a 185 to a 206. As well as our pilot, who would be the owner who had been flying in the Brooks range the previous year. All of those turned out to be lies.

We drove up to Fairbanks the day before and were in communication with the actual pilot (younger kid who was safe and had a little experience flying a super cub for an outfitter) who’d told us in the morning we were meeting at 0800 for a 0830 departure. At 2200 the night before he calls to inform us that he had been scouting our strips that day in a cub and they were too short for him to bring the 206 in/out of. Fine, (I’m a pilot, I get it) when we asked about other options he found along the River he didn’t scout anything else out, and the owner was there in Fairbanks when he landed and took the 206 from him to fulfill other contracts so getting us into another location wasn’t possible anyway. At that point we’d had a contract for that date to get out in for over a year with the River named and the strip grids given. Why wait until the day before to scout a strip? Why pull the plane from your pilot on a contracted flight? It went so far as the pilot was so distraught in being stuck in the middle that he was giving us other outfits phone numbers to see if anyone could salvage our trip.

We did end up getting out in on a different River, set in on top of an outfitter and guide with 3 other camps set up along the first 10miles of the River, a homestead we knew nothing about (pilot knew about all of it and never said a word to us about any of it until it was too late) who left us a note that we were camped in their back yard from their jet boat. When we called for our scheduled and promised back haul of meat, the pilot didn’t have the plane again, the owner had taken it. Come to find out, about every 4-5 days to work his other obligations. So we came out early to ensure we could get out of the field and take care of the meat bulls I shot.

As a commercial pilot and pilot in Alaska myself I was absolutely disgusted at the way we were treated and the way this operation worked. I can in no good faith recommend anyone use Kavik Aviation or the services of Jamie Hastings or Blue River Aviation. I use real names because I have nothing to hide, nor do I want anyone else to come to Alaska and have to deal with the issues we did.

In true Alaskan hospitality, when I was telling a friend about what we went through, he offered to take us Halibut fishing so my buddy didn’t go home empty handed.
We used that same service last year and ended up pulling out of the field a day early because it was such a nightmare dealing with his service. location and dates changed up till the night before we left and then when i met the "new guy" that was actually flying us he asked where we were going and told me he was not given any cords! i gave him the cords we were given he night before but 3 days later another group got dropped a mile from us. worst trip ever. I thought about posting it but had heard from many people later that the hunt planner we used was notorious for lawsuits and I just didn't have the stones to post and name names.
 

Bmagee

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 24, 2019
Messages
125
Give us the second hand
They were left. Multiple in reach messages over days saying they were at the pick up location were ignored. Others messages stated weather was too bad but another transporter literally a mile away in Fairbanks ways flying no problem. They ended up sending 2 planes by accident to pick us up and we got in 1 and 30 minutes later they got in the other. To top it off we ran into their pilot at a restaurant later that evening. They handled it much better that I would have.
 

Bighorn80

Newbie
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
7
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate honest reviews of services, and do not mind naming names to weed out the truly bad ones. However I think the saying of "you can keep some people happy some of the time, but not all people happy all the time" is appropriate for some folks out there.

If I read the OP correct... there was meat that needed flown back to town, so you killed multiple caribou. Not sure why you are complaining?! You got on animals and brought home meat!

If you don't like how it goes sometimes, stop complaining and get your own plane and take yourself! Just my 2 cents.
 

Sourdough

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 23, 2013
Messages
479
Location
In a cabin, on a mountain, in "Wilderness" Alaska.
Off typic:
When I started you could buy a good used PA-18-150 for $9,500.00 to $11,500.00 (Roughly what guys are now paying for a basic hunt).

Fifty years ago, we sold two on one hunts (that is two hunters on same hunt one guide for $700.00) and we picked them up at the Anchorage airport and drove them to the Susitna Lodge on the Denali Hwy. food and lodging included, took them and their harvested Dall Sheep back to the Anchorage airport. Fully Guided for seven hundred dollars total for both hunters, everything.
 

z987k

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
944
Location
AK
Off typic:
When I started you could buy a good used PA-18-150 for $9,500.00 to $11,500.00 (Roughly what guys are now paying for a basic hunt).

Fifty years ago, we sold two on one hunts (that is two hunters on same hunt one guide for $700.00) and we picked them up at the Anchorage airport and drove them to the Susitna Lodge on the Denali Hwy. food and lodging included, took them and their harvested Dall Sheep back to the Anchorage airport. Fully Guided for seven hundred dollars total for both hunters, everything.
There were like 8 legal rams counted in the Talkeetnas this year. That can't support hunting in general, but certainly nothing cheap. Sheep and goat populations aren't even half what they were 50 years ago. The southern caribou herds the same or much worse.

11k won't even buy you a wrecked pa18 frame.
 

Cowbell

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
306
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate honest reviews of services, and do not mind naming names to weed out the truly bad ones. However I think the saying of "you can keep some people happy some of the time, but not all people happy all the time" is appropriate for some folks out there.

If I read the OP correct... there was meat that needed flown back to town, so you killed multiple caribou. Not sure why you are complaining?! You got on animals and brought home meat!

If you don't like how it goes sometimes, stop complaining and get your own plane and take yourself! Just my 2 cents.
There is a lot more to a hunt than killing. As long as he paid for services that he thought were not accommodated, he has the right to complain. It's America. He doesn't have to get his own plane and take himself because he paid somebody to do that.
 

Unckebob

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 21, 2022
Messages
301
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate honest reviews of services, and do not mind naming names to weed out the truly bad ones. However I think the saying of "you can keep some people happy some of the time, but not all people happy all the time" is appropriate for some folks out there.

If I read the OP correct... there was meat that needed flown back to town, so you killed multiple caribou. Not sure why you are complaining?! You got on animals and brought home meat!

If you don't like how it goes sometimes, stop complaining and get your own plane and take yourself! Just my 2 cents.

1) The idea that OP should buy his own plane is ridiculous.

While DIY has some appeal to many people, all of us need to pay for expertise, experience and equipment from time to time.

2) If he paid for a service and didn't get what he paid for, he has every right to complain.
 

thedutchtouch

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
23
As a lurker/listener, these threads are more educational than 100 positive threads on the same outfitter. There's like 2 names that get mentioned on a regular basis on here... So reading about others in any form is helpful.
 

Natekraft

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
11
This was my 3rd fly out caribou hunt, and the first in a completely new area, style, and with a different transporter.

My coworker and I have been planning this hunt for the past 4 years. We had our drop and pickup planned with a pilot who unfortunately died in a mid air accident early last summer so we scrambled and got set up with Kavik Aviation. We were told our River selection and strips would be fine despite switching from a 185 to a 206. As well as our pilot, who would be the owner who had been flying in the Brooks range the previous year. All of those turned out to be lies.

We drove up to Fairbanks the day before and were in communication with the actual pilot (younger kid who was safe and had a little experience flying a super cub for an outfitter) who’d told us in the morning we were meeting at 0800 for a 0830 departure. At 2200 the night before he calls to inform us that he had been scouting our strips that day in a cub and they were too short for him to bring the 206 in/out of. Fine, (I’m a pilot, I get it) when we asked about other options he found along the River he didn’t scout anything else out, and the owner was there in Fairbanks when he landed and took the 206 from him to fulfill other contracts so getting us into another location wasn’t possible anyway. At that point we’d had a contract for that date to get out in for over a year with the River named and the strip grids given. Why wait until the day before to scout a strip? Why pull the plane from your pilot on a contracted flight? It went so far as the pilot was so distraught in being stuck in the middle that he was giving us other outfits phone numbers to see if anyone could salvage our trip.

We did end up getting out in on a different River, set in on top of an outfitter and guide with 3 other camps set up along the first 10miles of the River, a homestead we knew nothing about (pilot knew about all of it and never said a word to us about any of it until it was too late) who left us a note that we were camped in their back yard from their jet boat. When we called for our scheduled and promised back haul of meat, the pilot didn’t have the plane again, the owner had taken it. Come to find out, about every 4-5 days to work his other obligations. So we came out early to ensure we could get out of the field and take care of the meat bulls I shot.

As a commercial pilot and pilot in Alaska myself I was absolutely disgusted at the way we were treated and the way this operation worked. I can in no good faith recommend anyone use Kavik Aviation or the services of Jamie Hastings or Blue River Aviation. I use real names because I have nothing to hide, nor do I want anyone else to come to Alaska and have to deal with the issues we did.

In true Alaskan hospitality, when I was telling a friend about what we went through, he offered to take us Halibut fishing so my buddy didn’t go home empty handed.
Thanks for posting this!
 
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