Sitka Mountain Gear
DIY Moose Hunting in Alaska
Moose
Contributors to this thread:
FullTime 06-Mar-19
akbow 06-Mar-19
MF 06-Mar-19
Charlie Rehor 06-Mar-19
cnelk 06-Mar-19
Kevin Dill 06-Mar-19
Shiras42 06-Mar-19
elkmo 06-Mar-19
bowyer45 06-Mar-19
wildwilderness 06-Mar-19
Ziek 06-Mar-19
BIGHORN 06-Mar-19
Franklin 06-Mar-19
Mule Power 06-Mar-19
thedude 06-Mar-19
BOWUNTR 06-Mar-19
cnelk 06-Mar-19
GLP 06-Mar-19
standswittaknife 06-Mar-19
Tdvorak 06-Mar-19
dakotakid 06-Mar-19
altitude sick 07-Mar-19
Buskill 07-Mar-19
elkmo 07-Mar-19
Kevin Dill 07-Mar-19
Tdvorak 07-Mar-19
Herdbull 07-Mar-19
Herdbull 07-Mar-19
Herdbull 07-Mar-19
Herdbull 07-Mar-19
APauls 07-Mar-19
Nick Muche 08-Mar-19
GGOutfitting 09-Mar-19
Pete In Fairbanks 09-Mar-19
standswittaknife 09-Mar-19
cnelk 09-Mar-19
standswittaknife 09-Mar-19
altitude sick 10-Mar-19
JayZ 10-Mar-19
Pete In Fairbanks 10-Mar-19
standswittaknife 10-Mar-19
map1 10-Mar-19
Tdvorak 10-Mar-19
South Farm 11-Mar-19
HULLHEAVER 11-Mar-19
South Farm 11-Mar-19
Holdout4Nice1 11-Mar-19
From: FullTime
06-Mar-19
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received about moose hunting in Alaska without a guide?

From: akbow
06-Mar-19
Go in with low (realistic) expectations and enjoy the hunt. Their population isn't measured in moose/square mile--it is square miles/moose.

From: MF
06-Mar-19
We didn't get too much advice, just went. Hopefully, Pete in Fairbanks will explain what it's like. Practice being hypothermic, Haha! Akbow is right. It is an adventure!

06-Mar-19
I’ve done 6 float trips for Moose. Zero shots, great fun!

From: cnelk
06-Mar-19
When my pilot dropped us off, he said "Dont go tramping around. Call the moose to ya"

So we did just that. For 3 days we called from 200yds from camp. On the fourth day we were covered up in moose and I shot my moose on day five - 400yds from camp

From: Kevin Dill
06-Mar-19
Take ONE weapon, bow or gun. If you take both, there's a 90% certainty you won't come home with a bow-killed moose.

From: Shiras42
06-Mar-19
cnelk is right. Also, the term "net wet" is what we have come up with our 3 trips for moose. Just meaning there are just differing degrees of wetness, but in the end you are just "net wet".

From: elkmo
06-Mar-19
Don't shoot one let alone two over a mile from however far it is you have to pack it....don't ask how I know.

From: bowyer45
06-Mar-19
There's something very special about being on your own in wild moose country. But you need the time to be successful 2-3 weeks minimum. You may stumble on one sooner but not likely. If you get one in 3 years you're ahead of the game. I'm talking archery now in new country, not your backyard. However each hunt is a blast! For my money the only way to go. Planning is half the fun! My first moose hunt was 1973 my last 2015. If you can't get the time then maybe a guide is necessary.

06-Mar-19
Time and patience.... you need to be in a good area to invest the time and have the patience necessary to be successful.

From: Ziek
06-Mar-19
If you want to kill a moose without expecting multiple trips, hire a reputable guide.

From: BIGHORN
06-Mar-19
A friend of mine and myself flew in about 100 miles from the nearest road and floated a river for two weeks. Didn't see any bull moose but we did get three caribou. It rained most of the time and we got real wet. Gortex will NOT protect you from rain!!! Get some good quality rain gear and a quality tent.

From: Franklin
06-Mar-19
I couldn`t imagine being on that hunt for 3 weeks. That would be grueling...mentally and physically.

From: Mule Power
06-Mar-19
If it breathes it leaks. For boots and rain gear go rubber!

From: thedude
06-Mar-19
Do your research and find a GMU that has 2-3 moose per square mile and allows for any bull as a NR and has a season that goes into the last week of september. The rut really doesnt start until that last week and I have seen more bulls rutting in october than september. I have flown over some areas of alaska for hours and its devoid of life. Beyond that someone in your group needs to shoot the first legal animal you can unless you dont like eating moose.

From: BOWUNTR
06-Mar-19
Zero for three for me... 30 hunting days... no moose. Passed on some small ones. Be prepared for long boring days getting ready for that 5 minutes of excitement. Loved every second of it and cannot wait to go back. Ed F

From: cnelk
06-Mar-19
Here's a sub legal bull we called in to 8 steps away - listen for his grunts :)

From: GLP
06-Mar-19
I am pretty sure Kevin Dill has a lot more good advice

06-Mar-19
I've done two and honestly they were both amazing in their own ways.

From: Tdvorak
06-Mar-19
Consider hiring a professional guide for ONE day over the phone or face to face and just ask him to tell you everything you should expect when you get on the trip and what to do in different situations. Hunting Alaska is different enough from other places that there is a good chance this will shorten the learning curve a bunch. That’s a big deal.

From: dakotakid
06-Mar-19
For sure. That’s always the most intimidating thing when hunting some where new. Just don’t know what to expect. A meeting or long phone call with someone knowledgeable would help a ton.

07-Mar-19
As said above. Research and find a high concentration area. Start there. Buy good gear Opinions vary. The actual hunting part is not rocket surgery.

From: Buskill
07-Mar-19
Consulting the area biologist was my best move prior to the hunt . During the hunt , calling st my tent morning and evening resulted eventually in a kill very close to the tent .

From: elkmo
07-Mar-19
+1 on lots of areas seemingly void of anything, find the densities thru the bios.

Start research years before the hunt as many logistics options book up in advance.

From: Kevin Dill
07-Mar-19
Use your head more than your legs.

Find multiple vantage points to watch/listen for moose. Keep them reasonably close to camp. The advice to stay back on the edges and watch/call is spot-on. Wait for the bull to show and make your move after evaluating him and his movements. Don't overestimate your physical abilities. Can you really properly attend to to a dead bull 3 or 4 actual air miles from camp? Can you repeatedly pack 80+ pound loads of meat, plus the head and maybe a huge cape for 3 miles? In moose country? Don't let your desire to kill a bull get you in mud, water or terrain that's over your head. Sometimes you have to let them walk. Your legs won't be able to overcome a mistake by your brain. It's a chess game more than a soccer match. Be patient with your thinking. The day you wander a mile or two from camp is the day a bruiser will walk past your tent. I know THAT from firsthand experience, and have seen it multiple times.

From: Tdvorak
07-Mar-19
Getting SOLID Moose hunting advice can be tricky because most people only go moose hunting once in their life, especially if they are successful. If their success comes from being lucky it is easy for them to misclaim that it was from skill. Compare that to hunting whitetails or elk for “20 years”. That is a subtle yet significant difference with moose hunting compared to other stuff. I disagree that you can increase your chances significantly with consult of a person to get you into an area with “high moose density”. Granted, getting into an area with moose is ESSENTIAL but I think all outfitters will put you there. However, unlike elk or deer hunting, the moose density is figured in much lower numbers...so low that an area with triple the number of moose REALLY only increases your chances by a hair splitting amount over an area with a third the number of moose. Failure to understand this part of the equation and lack of skills and duty to the “hunting” part has caused many hunters to go home empty handed with feelings they went into a poor spot. It is easier to insist the outfitter put you in a poor place than admit you were unable to find a moose simply with grit and determination coupled with extensive experience hunting other stuff. Aside from getting a side job as an assistant guide to a boba fide moose guide for years, hiring him for his expertise for a day during his off-season will result in increased chance for success at a fraction of the cost of his guided hunt. It’s kind of a compromise of going on a DIY trip and hiring a guide for the full guided experience. This little trick might help a hunter who has been “doing it for 20 years” but unfortunately doing it wrong for twenty years improve his game. I think it is smart money.

From: Herdbull
07-Mar-19

Herdbull's embedded Photo
Herdbull's embedded Photo
Moose hunting in Alaska is very exhilarating and daunting. I have packed out four bulls from four different mountain ranges, and have hunted solo on the majority of my trips. I agree with what most have brought up here, that moose can be scarce, so I tend to find a location with a couple of landing spot options. I have had to move my camp between these pickup locations during multiple hunts. Like Clint Eastwood says "You have to know your limitations!" I do a lot more calling in hopes of bringing bulls to me and reduce packing, but you need to work hard to find the right bull, or have enough time to let your patience play out. I would not go with out some tool or pseudo antler in my pack to flash a bull that locks up. We always have the freedom to shoot or not shoot. For this reason I always carry a video camera which helps me redefine my definition of success. Don't let the fear of failure prevent you from following the Alaskan allure or being tested. The following are photos of a few bulls I did not kill for one reason or another. Mike

From: Herdbull
07-Mar-19

Herdbull's embedded Photo
Herdbull's embedded Photo

From: Herdbull
07-Mar-19

Herdbull's embedded Photo
Herdbull's embedded Photo

From: Herdbull
07-Mar-19

Herdbull's embedded Photo
Herdbull's embedded Photo

From: APauls
07-Mar-19
I have no Alaska experience, and only 2 straight years of Northern Manitoba, but I think it bears saying again that the most obvious part of the planning stage can not be overstated. If you want a good moose hunt, you need to get to where there are good moose numbers.

I see SO MANY guys from here just get so jazzed up to get up north that they do a little bit of research and just end up flying into some lake. Sure it's fun to be up there, but if you really want to make sure your hunt is worthwhile you have to make sure you are in animals. Whether that means saving a little longer so that you can fly further or whatever, but even "action packed" moose hunting is halfways boring, so it can turn into a 10 day (often wet and cold) camping trip pretty easily. I've wanted to hunt moose for 10-12 years, but it took until recently for the right cards to line up where I felt comfortable and pulled the trigger on plans.

If you get into country with good moose populations and have the ability to kill a squirrel, you can kill a moose. If you only have 1 or 0 chances on your trip, it's pretty easy to come home empty.

From: Nick Muche
08-Mar-19
Go with Willie the two handle poster from AK, who is also a guide in AK. Second best, be sure to call every single client they’ve ever guided.

From: GGOutfitting
09-Mar-19

GGOutfitting's Link
My first post on Bowsite... Harvested my first moose 30 years ago and have been hunting/guiding/outfitting moose hunts ever since. Advice for a 'new' DIY archery moose hunter? It will be HARD. Just play safe and don't get in over your head. Some of the first things that come to mind - in no particular order: -Most of the comments here... seem pretty fair, will try not to repeat... - You will need to call the moose to you. So you need to learn how to call. The good news is that it isn't that hard... so don't be intimidated, but... you will need to call. - The big bulls (and you can't shoot the little ones in AK) are old and smart. Older, bigger and smarter than you think. Which (along with the low densities) is why it is hard. They don't often walk out into the open 20 yards away and ask for an arrow. They will almost always circle down wind to make sure you are what they think you are, before they show themselves. And/or they hold up at 50 yards... behind a tree. - I have called 3 bulls to within 100 yards, while guiding a bow hunter, and not even known that they were there until one caught our wind and... notified the entire forest... we just heard them leave... - When in doubt: do nothing. You're almost always better to sit still for another hour, than to wander around and mess something up. If you can see that there are no moose within 200 yards of you, then you're set up in the wrong spot for a bow shot. And if you can't see for 100 yards, that big bull could be right there waiting to step out. So... not sure what to do next? Just wait a little longer. - It's not really that hard to call in a bull moose during the rut, the the hard part is waiting for it. They can take hours, or even days. - If the wind is wrong you're wasting your time.

09-Mar-19
#1 piece of advice?

Don't book a DIY hunt where a big air taxi service drops you off and you float down a river where 100 guys have already floated..... and expect to see a big bull standing on every gravel bar in the river!

Maybe enough time (couple of years) has elapsed since the last time I posted my more detailed standard "advice" regarding float hunts? Anyone ready to hear it again?

Pete

09-Mar-19

standswittaknife's embedded Photo
standswittaknife's embedded Photo
Couple pics from our expeditions:

From: cnelk
09-Mar-19
"Maybe enough time (couple of years) has elapsed since the last time I posted my more detailed standard "advice" regarding float hunts? Anyone ready to hear it again?"

Hell ya Pete!

09-Mar-19

standswittaknife's embedded Photo
standswittaknife's embedded Photo

10-Mar-19
Great bulls.Looks like Papa Bear in Bethel

From: JayZ
10-Mar-19
That bull on the left is a stud. What's he score? Bow or rifle?

10-Mar-19
Back by popular demand....

There ARE good places to float and hunt in Alaska. But what usually happens is that a group of NR hunters books a float hunt with a large air taxi out of Anchorage or Kenai/Soldotna. They get dropped off at the same place the service dropped off the last 30 to 50 hunters. They float for multiple days, through country that the other 50 guys already looked over (and the next 50 will look over later...)

Remember that if you book a couple hundred drop hunters per year, the odds are some of them are BOUND to get moose! And their racks and smiling faces will be on the brochure for next year. But MOST will not...

So, if you are thinking of booking a float hunt, here is what I suggest.

First, draw a tub of cold water. (Add a few ice cubes for realism; Sept in AK is chilly.)

Put on your longjohns and your Gortex "rain" gear. And a pair of WET hip boots or waders.

Take a 1/2 cup of sand/gravel and pour it down into your longjohns.

Sit down in the cold tub. Turn the Cold water tap for the shower on. This simulates the normal drizzle so common in AK in September.

Sit there for 4 or 5 hours to simulate being on a float hunt.

At the end of those several hours, you will have the exact sensation of being on a float hunt. You will have seen exactly the same number of moose that you would have seen floating that popular, overhunted AK river.

And the best part? You will have saved close to $8000!

Yer welcome.....!

Pete

10-Mar-19
yes was papa bear back when Steve owned it.

From: map1
10-Mar-19
First, draw a tub of cold water. (Add a few ice cubes for realism; Sept in AK is chilly.)

Put on your longjohns and your Gortex "rain" gear. And a pair of WET hip boots or waders.

Take a 1/2 cup of sand/gravel and pour it down into your longjohns.

Sit down in the cold tub. Turn the Cold water tap for the shower on. This simulates the normal drizzle so common in AK in September.

Sit there for 4 or 5 hours to simulate being on a float hunt.

At the end of those several hours, you will have the exact sensation of being on a float hunt. You will have seen exactly the same number of moose that you would have seen floating that popular, overhunted AK river.

And the best part? You will have saved close to $8000!

Yer welcome.....!

TOO FUNNY

From: Tdvorak
10-Mar-19
Pete, that is AWESOME.

From: South Farm
11-Mar-19
Two things..

1. It will NEVER be cheaper to go than now.

2. Planning is great, but don't spend years planning to the point where you never get there because you're unsure of some detail or another. None of us are getting any younger.

From: HULLHEAVER
11-Mar-19
X2 South. 100% Just pulled the trigger on AK Moose with a couple friends. Never know how many trips around the sun you get.

From: South Farm
11-Mar-19
Planning is great to a point, but experience is better. Have a good hunt and shoot a big one!

11-Mar-19
Went on a DIY / fly in moose hunt last season. Totally awesome. Expectations were to enjoy Alaska and maybe see some moose. Followed the stay close to camp advise, pick your vantage/calling spots, call, wait. Worked well. Saw several moose but didn't connect. Knew that it would be waiting game and not a big hiking around hunt.... if this is the style you choose make sure patience is in your DNA!

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