Bowhunters That Use Kayaks/Canoes

PNWbowhunter

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2022
Messages
30
Hello,

I bought Dan Branagan's new book "So You Want To Hunt The West For Elk: Low Elevation Hotspots" and now I want to get a canoe so I can access hard to reach public land from the river.

I will be hunting deer and elk so carrying capacity needs to allow for me, my bow, camping gear, and game harvest.

In Washington state the maximum rear overhang you can haul measures 15' from the rear axel. With my truck, that allows me a canoe up to 17.5' total. I already have the BooneDox T Bone for support.

Old Town and Nucanoe seem to have the lion's share of positive reviews. For those of you hunting deer and especially elk and using a canoe to get to your stands; what do you recommend? It seems like Old Town and Nucanoe are the leading contenders but I'd like to hear from those with field experience.

Thanks for reading,
 

GunsAreFun

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
1,361
Not sure how far you’ll have to park from the launch point, but if it is far, try finding a used canoe made from royalex. It will be 20-40 pounds lighter and just as durable. They are 2-3x the price but are basically collector items now due to the material not being made anymore and will hold value or appreciate if take care of.
 

streetdoctor

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 30, 2015
Messages
456
Location
Colorado
I kayak class 4/5 in Colorado. can't imagine any places around here the river would allow me any access I couldn't walk to with less logistics. Maybe Idaho...
 

*zap*

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Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
5,512
Location
N/E Kansas
I have had an osagian 17' canoe for over 10 years....all aluminum and it has been great. Very stable and capacity is 750#, it weighs 70#. They are made in Denmark.
 

RS_Non-Res

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Joined
May 1, 2021
Messages
251
My OT Penobscot 174 has 1410# capacity and glides through flat water nicely. It's not particularly light though. There's reservoirs that border some units and I think it would be fun to paddle-camp-hunt some of them. No way I'm floating any Class II or more with a elk-sized load though. That's a portage job for safety. I would certainly run a effort-benefit analysis on land-access vs water-access though. People do hike in a ways for some stuff and the boat will probably restrict you to just one 'trailhead.' There's also rules about hunting from the boat, maybe the same as "motor vehicle." rules.

+1 to GAF ... Royalex boats (like the OT Tripper) are like unicorns.
 

wesfromky

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Joined
Nov 23, 2016
Messages
565
Location
KY
The Hunting Public crew uses boats fairly often, so might check them out. Also, the meateater deer tour thing just released a hunting by boat video.

If you go with a nucanoe, you would have more options for adding some type of motor, which might be nice depending on currents and/or distances.
 

Brendan

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Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
3,822
Location
Massachusetts
Depends if you have to carry it, or can wheel it on a cart. If you have to carry it any distance, you could pay the $$$ for a carbon / kevlar high end pack canoe. A bunch of small builders of those, but prices can go as high as $5K.

I have an 11' Royalex Old Town - Not the Pack Canoe, but same length and slightly wider and more stable, perfect for one person. Also have a SOT Kayak which I prefer for fishing, but you're lower to the water and open, so get wet easier. Better for, fishing and warm weather or you're wearing waders / waterproof jacket etc.
 

roosiebull

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Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
3,438
Location
oregon coast
Hello,

I bought Dan Branagan's new book "So You Want To Hunt The West For Elk: Low Elevation Hotspots" and now I want to get a canoe so I can access hard to reach public land from the river.

I will be hunting deer and elk so carrying capacity needs to allow for me, my bow, camping gear, and game harvest.

In Washington state the maximum rear overhang you can haul measures 15' from the rear axel. With my truck, that allows me a canoe up to 17.5' total. I already have the BooneDox T Bone for support.

Old Town and Nucanoe seem to have the lion's share of positive reviews. For those of you hunting deer and especially elk and using a canoe to get to your stands; what do you recommend? It seems like Old Town and Nucanoe are the leading contenders but I'd like to hear from those with field experience.

Thanks for reading,
I have a friend who canoe hunts almost exclusively, I use my little jet sled, but if I hunted out of a boat more, I would get a canoe or pram… I think flat back is a good feature for running a Minn Kota, that would be something I wouldn’t personally compromise on for what I use them for

I have hunted out of previous drift boats with an electric motor too, and it’s a great way to cover ground hunting
 

RS_Non-Res

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Joined
May 1, 2021
Messages
251
You can put an outboard on a canoe, but the discussion below is relative to paddling.

That Nucanoe is rotomolded and so probably indestructible. The Nucanoe Unlimited 12.5-footer (the only one I looked up) has a capacity of 400#, weighs 84#, has almost no freeboard, and seats 1 adult (and maybe a kid or dog too).

Last month I paddled/rented rotomolded sit-on-top (SOT) kayak made by a reputable/mainline manufacturer (OT, Perception, Dagger, I forget) and that thing paddled like a slug. I have no doubt that most of the rotomolded kayaks available at Basspro or Cabela's would perform likewise.

Compare that to my OT Penobscot 174 (for example) which weighs about the same, but has 1410# capacity or room for 4 adults, costs $300 less, and actually moves through water with much less effort. Last month, the guys in my Penobscot did three paddle strokes and waited for me in the SOT to catch up, but that only lasted until they got tired of waiting, then they ditched me.

I'd love to get a 43# carbon/kevlar 17-foot Northstar B17 ($3600 @ Rutabaga Paddlesports) but I don't treat my boats gently enough to not tear up such a lightweight boat.

I understand that there are features available on the rotomolded boats that are spiffy/desirable and may be useful. And my girl loves her little 10-footer, because it's hers, not because it's a good boat . I cringe when I see new paddlers buying those things (I got hers for 60% off msrp). I'd take the old Grumman Aluminum 17-footer canoe over a rotomolded boat any day.

I think this is kinda like the scope drop-testing/priorities thing...get a boat that does what a boat is supposed to do first, then add features.
 

Fjellvei

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Joined
Jul 30, 2022
Messages
105
This may start off irrelevant and get more irrelevant but I am compelled to share. My neighbor is an old timer. Told me a cool story once about rowing a metal boat across a lake in Oklahoma to hit a piece of land differently than the other hunters who had also drawn a tag for an elk on state land. He got across, called one in with a 30-06 shell and put the boom on it, dressed it, and rowed it back across to his truck.
 

Rich M

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Joined
Jun 14, 2017
Messages
3,596
Location
Orlando
Don't forget that you can get a set of wheels to strap to the bottom of the canoe. Easier than carrying all yer stuff in 3 or 4 loads.

Good luck!
 

Blockcaver

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Joined
Sep 9, 2012
Messages
1,827
Location
BC
Our 17’ Clipper Tripper made in BC of Kevlar weighs 54#s. Paddles like a dream too. Expensive canoe tho!
 

MightyWhitey

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Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
290
Location
Collinsville Oklahoma
I don’t know if you’re interested in a raft, but my buddy bought a PR49 for an Alaska caribou hunt and when he got there he figured out that he hates Alaska and wants to sell his raft. I think the raft weighs 15lbs and can carry 800lbs. I have one and love it, but haven’t used it for deer or elk yet.
 

bbell

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Joined
Apr 8, 2013
Messages
300
Not an archery hunt but my son and I floated a river once for deer. It was a good time. Finally saw some at the end of our float in town at the boat launch😀 we’ve also duck hunted and fished with it. Old town 16’
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OP
PNWbowhunter

PNWbowhunter

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2022
Messages
30
Thanks everyone for all the replies.

I decided to go with an OT canoe and was initially looking for the 158 in camo but they are sold out everywhere. Fortunately i was able to find an OT Penobscot 164 on FB Marketplace.

I hope everyone punched their tags in September, and good luck to all the late-season hunters.
 
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