Contributors to this thread:
Unguided Moose Hunting
Unguided moose hunting in Alaska can save a LOT of money compared to hiring a guide. I put together some numbers that might be helpful if someone is wanting to enjoy a great Alaska trip. Assuming a guided hunt costs about $30,000 and an unguided hunt costs about $6,000, the Unguided Moose Hunt is possibly a great bargain. Flight to AK...$1,000 Hotel/meals in AK...$500 Licenses/tags...$1,000 UNGUIDED Hunt...$6,000 GUIDED hunt...$30,000 Specialty Gear/unguided...$1,000(one time purchase) Suspected success rate and the cost required to expect to harvest a moose... 10%...$86,000 20%...$43,500 30%...$29,300 50%...$18,000 80%...$10,000 Compared to an expected success rate of about 80% on a GUIDED hunt the UNGUIDED Hunt might be a great deal. I think we can also assume that many hunters can have an awesome time even if you never harvest a moose. Time required to “expect” to harvest a moose is also a consideration. I’ve put these numbers together figuring the hunt duration of equal lengths for both guided or unguided to be 10 days. I’ve factored in 2 days of travel on the front side and one in the backside for all trips. This is the amount of time you’d be off work/away from home. Success versus time... 10%...130 days 20%...65 days 30%...44 days 50%...26 days 80%...17 days I don’t think these numbers are absolute or rocket science but I think it might help a regular guy that is planning or comparing a guided/unguided trip for moose. I hope these cowboy figures has some value for somebody in the planning stages. If you’re a good hunter and catch an average amount of luck you might save a giant amount of money. Or you might find hiring the right guide is a better option. You have to make that choice. You might find you can get “guided” success rates if you can get a job working for a guide for a few years. I hope this helps somebody.
I dont understand your figures.
Success rate and cost: 10%.... $86k
And success vs time: 10%... 130 days
My place at Lisa Lake is booked out for several years, but its $2,500 per Bowhunter. Cost to get to the lake from Wasilla is less than $1,000, so maybe $500 each. Its not as great as some places in western or northern Alaska, but everyone sees a bull or two. You don’t have to spend even $5,000 to go Moose hunting in Alaska once you get yourself to Anchorage. I killed my first moose walking off the Parks Highway north of Wasilla. I just helped score a bull that went 209 that was killed in an urban area of Anchorage this past fall.
Cost of satisfaction of relying on yourself, stretching yourself, and experiencing the high of completing all that by yourself?
Thunder flight...what I did was figured the cost of going ten times (if you experienced 10% average success would mean that you’d have to go ten times to fill the tag). Sorry I didn’t make that more clear. The number of days you would have to set aside would be 13 days per trip times 10 days equals 130 days. But if you were a better hunter and/or a bit luckier you might be closer to the 50-80% number. Remember “average” is what 80% of us think were above!
Drop camp in a great area with high success... 10 grand. If you’re an elk hunter you have most of what you need. Flight cost with air miles from Alaska Air visa card.... zero.
What Mule Power said^^
I think you could even widdle it down to $8k but $10k is probably more realistic for all in cost. I have NO experience though. Just been doing my homework and talking to guys on here to see what it would take.
Tdvorak, thanks that makes a lot more sense.
Heres some info for you....your DIY moose hunt success is directly related to the expertise/ quality of your transporter.
Beendare is right and I am hoping not everyone gets on here and starts dropping a certain name because their price has already doubled since I started using them and it is a 3 year wait to get with them now. But 7 for 8 on bulls for my group with 3 over 60" and 1 making B&C I think they can justify it. And no I am not saying who it was.
"your DIY moose hunt success is directly related to the expertise/ quality of your transporter."
Just curious as to what you mean by that Beendare?
You can DIY moose hunt Alaska for way less than $10k. Way less.
DIY: It's not going to get less expensive with time. I used to budget around $5000 door-to-door except for trophy or taxidermy cost and shipping. It's closer to $7000 now, assuming a kill with added cost to fly out meat and antlers. You can likely get in and out for under $7k if you work with a less expensive transporter and find ways to cut costs wherever possible.
The current thing I see is demand (hunters) far exceeding supply (good transporters with openings). That situation is causing a lot of transporters to turn down work, while looking at their competitor's prices. Tok Air is pricing a successful moose hunt at $7,000 ($5500 + $1500) and is turning down clients. The guy flying for $2500 is paying attention to that and his prices will go up, so long as he can stay booked tight. There are plenty of hunters who will pay $10,000 to hunt diy-dropped versus $20,000 to $30,000 guided. I think the era of good diy moose hunts under $8000 (again, door-to-door) is aging out and headed into history.
I agree Kevin. Of course a guy can be dropped :30 out of Anchorage for $1500 if just camping and walking around are the goal. But to consistently be in moose, those spots are limited, and so are the logistics. And so up goes the demand and price.
It helps a lot for non-Alaskans to get a heads-up on the differences in hunting AK versus the lower 48. Ask most guys that have come home empty handed...successful guys usually say something like "I worked hard, did my research and got some luck..." I think there is more too it than that. Do they call it the X factor? I'd say that is the biggest difference between success and no success. Of course having moose in the area is necessary. A lot of really great hunters in the lower 48 have a lot of confidence going into the bush only to find that they are overwhelmed when they get there. Naturally, even a blind dog will find a bone once in awhile so one-two filled tags mean something but its hard to tell how much. Researching in magazines, videos, blogs, the water cooler and TV is a distant second place to visiting with a professional moose hunter who has been in on many successful hunts in the past 3-4 years. Get his ear for 10-15 hours of chatting before you go and you'll be ahead of everybody perusing the internet. Work for him for a few years would be better yet. Moose hunting has changed a lot in the last 5-10 not to mention the last 20-30.
Man, inflation has upped the cost. My first trip in ‘84 cost me $2,300 from Denver to the south slope of the Brooks. I arrowed one moose and one caribou, and the tent got sniffed by a Grizzly inches from my head.
My 1989 trip to the North Slope was $3,000 and I got a nice P&Y moose. That time the tent got sniffed by two grizzlies inches from my head.
As A Pauls says, those DIY trips were priceless...and a lot of work with the meat!
Thanks to the original poster for giving some good info to prospective moose hunters
#1 determining factor on any hunt is the quality/population of the animal you are after. This gets even more important when the density of prey is low - like moose. Hunting moose in an area with no moose is like hunting caribou when they're not there, is like hunting mule deer in Vermont. Dang tough to come out successful.
I'd rather hunt half as often and spend twice as much and get myself to the right spot than try and save a few bucks and spend my time hoping. But some guys have fun "just getting out there."
I’ve been trying to do hun there myself for two decades. To do a hunt yourself and reasonably expect to take a nice moose is more difficult than most can possibly imagine. I couldn’t figure out away without getting really lucky and drawing a tough permit.
I gave in and called one of the top transporters. It requires two people so I could not go alone which I was hoping for.
$14,000 total. Yes at 7000 each. I have all my own gear so I do not need to borrow any.
I was then informed for the privilege of paying that much I had to get in the drawing for a spot years away. His own private drawing. I did not get lucky there were seven people for every open spot.
Think about that I may never get a chance to hunt with him and have the privilege of paying $14,000 for a flight in and out and use of some gear for a couple weeks not to mention my own cost getting there and back. I’m not coming down on the transporter in fact if it were me I would be upping the price 25% a year until I got as many hunters as I had spots.
My point is if you want to have a good chance at a decent bull it’s going to cost you or you have to know someone or get extremely lucky.
Nonresidents are getting restricted more and more every year.
I’ve hunted 17 different species of big game in the United States and nothing and I mean nothing comes close to trying to plan a moose hunt in Alaska. Nothing.
If anyone is considering one of the transporters please message me I need a partner.
PS my word document for Alaska is over 100 pages long and I save everything I read good and bad about transporters and I still have no real plan in place
I often get asked for advice on finding a transporter. The truth is that all you can do is explore every nook....every cranny....and every clue you pick up. I believe one overall truth is that you sometimes have to take what's available from whoever is available. Rarely can you go on your first diy moose hunt with your most preferred air service, unless you are able to book years ahead. Many pilots just won't book beyond a year because they want to give their steady customers first chance to return the next season. Pilots almost always favor returning customers over new ones...it's just how things work. So you do the best you can and hopefully you get there. If you try to arrange the ideal hunt for yourself, you might never get there. Is it better to book with an average pilot going to a fair area?....or hold out for your #1 prospect? That's an individual choice for sure.
find an outfitter, kill a moose, and have the memory for the next 40 years. it's pretty cheap when amortized over the life of the memory.
DonVathome hit on something in his last sentence...I truly believe when it comes to moose hunting, more so than any other animal, guys get too carried away with planning and trying to ensure EVERYTHING goes perfect. That's all fine and dandy, great intentions for sure, but I honestly feel if you do that the next thing you know 10, 12, 20 years can slip by and you still have never set foot in moose country. There's a point of diminishing returns when it comes to planning a moose hunt...the longer you wait the more the price goes up, outfitters and transporters fill up, population and trophy densities can change, tag allotments and draws can change, etc. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, say enough is enough, and put your deposit down. Or, you can be the guy with portfolios full of notes, names, and numbers still DREAMING of that big rack above the mantle.
If you want a moose, pick a spot, find an outfitter, and beg steal or borrow to put down a deposit! Or keep on dreaming..
South Farm is talking reasonable. The dreamers talk but never go. It takes a LOT of courage to go. The trip can be one of the best experiences of your life. “My moose hunt wasn’t better than my first piece of A$$ but it was better than my last.” I think that says it all. Haha
I used the Yukon river for access. Could be a option for guys with boating experience. I did not realize the increase in demand for air transports. I know at the time we went, plenty of hunters were boating up from the Fairbanks and Tanana area. Extreme idea...buy a boat and have its sell lined up after you use it. I sold a used zodiac and outboard I took as a backup after my hunt, no place would rent them at the time. I had it all prearranged before the hunt.