Mathews Inc.
School me on Alaska DYI float hunt
Moose
Contributors to this thread:
Teeton 27-Oct-20
Ziek 27-Oct-20
Deertick 27-Oct-20
cnelk 27-Oct-20
CFMuley 27-Oct-20
Pyrannah 27-Oct-20
Teeton 27-Oct-20
Ned 27-Oct-20
Ned 27-Oct-20
Rickm 27-Oct-20
Sand man 27-Oct-20
Rickm 27-Oct-20
cnelk 27-Oct-20
t-roy 27-Oct-20
Sand man 28-Oct-20
Sand man 28-Oct-20
Straight Shooter 28-Oct-20
altitude sick 28-Oct-20
cnelk 28-Oct-20
altitude sick 28-Oct-20
Bill in MI 28-Oct-20
standswittaknife 28-Oct-20
Pete In Fairbanks 28-Oct-20
Nick Muche 28-Oct-20
tobywon 28-Oct-20
NY Bowman 28-Oct-20
Windlaker_1 28-Oct-20
Carbon Defiant 34 28-Oct-20
altitude sick 28-Oct-20
Shiras42 28-Oct-20
Bou'bound 28-Oct-20
Nick Muche 28-Oct-20
Mule Power 28-Oct-20
Nick Muche 28-Oct-20
IdyllwildArcher 28-Oct-20
Teeton 28-Oct-20
Peddle-paddle 28-Oct-20
Panther Bone 28-Oct-20
t-roy 28-Oct-20
cnelk 28-Oct-20
Nick Muche 28-Oct-20
t-roy 28-Oct-20
Panther Bone 28-Oct-20
Teeton 28-Oct-20
cnelk 28-Oct-20
t-roy 28-Oct-20
tkjwonta 29-Oct-20
IdyllwildArcher 29-Oct-20
Kevin Dill 29-Oct-20
Grey Ghost 29-Oct-20
cnelk 29-Oct-20
altitude sick 29-Oct-20
Reload 29-Oct-20
Pete In Fairbanks 29-Oct-20
76aggie 29-Oct-20
standswittaknife 30-Oct-20
altitude sick 30-Oct-20
DonVathome 30-Oct-20
akbow 30-Oct-20
Grey Ghost 30-Oct-20
IdyllwildArcher 30-Oct-20
IdyllwildArcher 30-Oct-20
Norseman 30-Oct-20
TD 31-Oct-20
DonVathome 31-Oct-20
JohnMC 31-Oct-20
Kevin Dill 01-Nov-20
Ziek 01-Nov-20
From: Teeton
27-Oct-20
Ok in 2023 would like to do a 14 day Alaska DIY float hunt for moose. Planning on 3 days to get there and 3 days to get home, add to my 14 days. This is one of my bucket list hunts I want to do. The other is a brown bear hunt. But doing this one first sure would help the learning curve on a bear hunt. No this would not be a true DIY hunt as I'm planning on doing it with another guy, maybe two other guys as I have a guy that said he would maybe tag along just to fish and help. He a big fisher guy.

So where to start. First I have a ton of DYI back country hunting experience. So being in the outdoors a ton, most gear and food is mostly covered, but not all. I guess the first thing I need to get covered (learn about) what areas in Alaska to look into, Tags, and hiring a air taxi to get me in and out of my hunting local. Been thinking of hiring a hunt planner. Any thoughts or recommendations on this idea ???

All in all I think I need to find out mostly about areas and regulations in them so I could make a wish decision. After that I can plan on a taxi service in that area. Trying to get this part out of the way in the next 6 or 7 months. After that I'll have time to get, geared and educated on the other parts of the hunt.

If anyone that done one of these is willing to chat on the phone P-M me with your number and best times to call. Thanks Ed

From: Ziek
27-Oct-20
I haven't done a hunting float trip in AK, but I have a lot of whitewater rafting experience and have hunted several times in AK.

First, don't bite off more river than you can HUNT, not just float, in the allotted time. While you may see critters from the boat, you'll do better setting up and hunting a likely area for a couple to several days at a time. Rivers in AK are like two-tracks down here. Lots of folks use them to get to where they want to hunt. It takes time away from hunting to set up and take down camps at each stop. Use your boat like a transporter, not a hunting platform. Remember, lots of guys hunt successfully from a drop camp with maybe one move after a week.

Make sure to keep your boat absolutely clean at each stop, especially if your carrying meat. It's your ONLY transportation and you don't want a bear tearing it up.

If you've never floated a river before, it might be a good idea to get some river miles behind you in the type of boat you want to use. The middle of nowhere is not a great place to learn. Rivers in AK can change character very quickly depending on weather that might occur miles upstream of your position.

From: Deertick
27-Oct-20
Pete in Fairbanks ... it's all teed-up and ready for you.

From: cnelk
27-Oct-20
^^^ Yeah - C'mon Pete in Fairbanks - Its been awhile since Ive read your float hunt descriptor :)

From: CFMuley
27-Oct-20
DYI? Do yourself in?

From: Pyrannah
27-Oct-20
Lol I was wondering who always posted their experience with alaska float trips..

From: Teeton
27-Oct-20
Ok how the hell did i put DYI in the title instead of DIY. Me bad!! Well i hope you all know what i mean.

As for rafting experience, i cant tell u the number of times i got dunked in the moose river rafting. Does that count??? :)

Who's Pete in Alaska? I think I remember that name from here, bowsite.

From: Ned
27-Oct-20
There’s an excellent book called Hunt Alaska Now, how to DIY. Check it out

From: Ned
27-Oct-20
By Dennis Confer, he has several good books published

From: Rickm
27-Oct-20
Armed camping trip comes to mind.

Be very careful with float hunts if you want to kill a bull. Quality floats are hard to find.

From: Sand man
27-Oct-20
In Alaska if a nonresident you’re required to have a guide for moose.

That is unless you are family to a resident...

From: Rickm
27-Oct-20
Sandman you don't need a guide for deer, caribou, moose, black bear, wolf.

From: cnelk
27-Oct-20
Sandman - try again. No guide needed for moose

From: t-roy
27-Oct-20
I agree with Ziek......Wait! Did I just write that??!!! ;-)

IMO, guys float past tons of potentially great spots, and never even know it. You probably would be better served doing a much shorter float, and concentrate on hunting good looking spots for multiple days, before moving on.

While you’re waiting for Pete, go and get a pail of sand, 4-5 bags of ice, and fill your tub up with cold water and add the ice. That way you’ll be all ready when Pete responds ;-)

From: Sand man
28-Oct-20
My bad.. Only required for brown bear, sheep, and goat hunting. Been a while since I’ve been there (2007) and it was on a family visit / fishing trip.

I’m “grandfathered in” for the opportunity to hunt without a guide being I am originally from Anchorage and my dad is a retired guide of 35yrs who resides in Haines.

Fortunate, now if I could find the time to do it!

From: Sand man
28-Oct-20
My bad.. Only required for brown bear, sheep, and goat hunting. Been a while since I’ve been there (2007) and it was on a family visit / fishing trip.

I’m “grandfathered in” for the opportunity to hunt without a guide being I am originally from Anchorage and my dad is a retired guide of 35yrs who resides in Haines.

Fortunate, now if I could find the time to do it!

28-Oct-20
T-roy don’t forget to mention the waders!

28-Oct-20
I agree with Rickm. Float hunts mean that locals have access with power boats. Which mean the moose along the water see pressure. If you must do a float hunt get as far from Anchorage as you can get. That means once in Anchorage take 2 more flights to the river.

After my first one. I said never again.

I was much happier being dropped in one location that moose actually live in.

From: cnelk
28-Oct-20
And then you turn the shower on cold....

28-Oct-20
Cnelk, don’t forget to have a powerful fan to blow on him while laying in cold water

From: Bill in MI
28-Oct-20

Bill in MI's Link
Well, not a DIY but a story of how things can quickly go to hell in a hand basket. With that said I still had a wonderful trip.

28-Oct-20
Go with a reputable known outfitter and plan way ahead...years. Also drop hunts, if you talk to outfitters, are much more successful.

28-Oct-20
Ah yes..... I am honored that so many people recall my sage advice and of course expect me to share it at times like this! Here we go again...!

Float hunting in AK is over-rated. It has been "discovered" already. Most of the big air taxi outfits utilize the same areas, including the put-ins and take-outs. As I have over the years here on Bowsite, I offer, free of charge, my tried and true advice for most people planning an AK float hunt for moose...

First, run a tub full of cold water in your bathroom. Add some ice cubes to the water you have run. Then turn the shower nozzle (cold side) on to simulate 5 or 6 days of constant rain. For more AK realism, turn a box fan on and aim it at the tub.

Put on all your hunting clothing, including longjohns and your goretex rain gear that is perfectly adequate for a drizzle while hunting deer in a small, flat state. Right before you sit down under the shower, into the tub of cold water, add a cup of sand to the inside of your longjohns.

Now, sit down in the tub and stay there for about 8 hours. You can simulate rowing action by utilizing a pair of 10 lb dumbbells.

Here is the best part though..... this will NOT COST YOU ANYTHING.... You will have saved the price of air travel to AK, the air taxi dropoff, hotels in Anchorage, and the food and gear needed to make the float.

You will have the exact same physical sensation of making a float hunt for moose AND you will see just as many moose as if you got dropped off for most float hunts in Alaska!

No need to thank me............ I actually enjoy helping my fellow hunters!

Pete

From: Nick Muche
28-Oct-20
Lol

From: tobywon
28-Oct-20
Pete....don't beat around the bush, what are you trying to say.....hahaha.

I got cold just reading what you wrote.

From: NY Bowman
28-Oct-20
Pete has contributed to the demise of more moose than any man I know! :)

From: Windlaker_1
28-Oct-20
I did float trip for Caribou back in 2001. While it was the trip of my life, I would do a drop camp instead of a float trip.

We were told by the outfitter we'd need 22 hours (I think) of float time to reach the pickup point. So we drifted for about 6 hours the first day, until we found a spot that looked decent for camping and hunting. We hunted there for 5 days. Had a shot but missed. Then we drifted about 8 hours, set up a quick on day camp, hunted in the afternoon only. Did the same thing our last day. The pickup point was not suitable for Caribou...just moose.

So with all the drifting, we lost a couple days of hunting. But, the scenery, the solitude and the fishing were like nothing I've ever experienced. Like I said, the trip of my lifetime.

Bring a rifle (we did not). We could have killed great bulls almost every day. Another regret. Would have liked to bring some meat home.

28-Oct-20
Pete - It sure would be nice for you to include pictures, it is hard for me to visualize! (grin)!!

28-Oct-20
Add in local hunters flying up and down the river in jet boats shooting every moose that is young and inexperienced enough to expose themselves.

28-Oct-20
I think I read a book once called "float dragging alaska" which gave an alternative workout to Pete's fine option.

As mentioned, you'll be amazed at how far from civilization and how many river miles, locals will travel upstream with jetboat... If you go much further, you will be dragging your raft.

Also, if you've not been to AK, walking almost anywhere can be it's own experience of wading, mucking, bushwhacking, falling, hopping, climbing, etc. I think this understood point attracts the idea of float hunting. After doing a canoe back to civilization trip up there once, I'd opt for a highly recommended drop camp on a lake, unless it's really the rafting experience that you're after, then go for it! Good luck

From: Shiras42
28-Oct-20
Something Pete forgot to mention is to do that day after day and when you get out set up your tent, move your stuff from the tub to the tent. Then the next day, take your tent down and move all your stuff back to the tub before you get back in...

From: Bou'bound
28-Oct-20
That turns livin the dream into livin the nightmare

From: Nick Muche
28-Oct-20
Lol

From: Mule Power
28-Oct-20
We should talk Teeton. I have a float plan very much worth checking out. I always thought I’d do it myself but planned a ridgetop hunt from a stationary camp for 2022.

From: Nick Muche
28-Oct-20
By 2022 all the moose will be dead, Joe!

28-Oct-20
Add to the tub experience, if you have a 15mph wind in your face, which you will because Nature hates moose hunters, you will float about as far as you would in your tub without paddling.

I want one big bull and then I will probably never hunt moose again in the back country. This past hunt had the glorious designation as the coldest I've ever been for such a long period. I don't think I was truly ever "warm" for 3 days straight, even when walking up hill because my toes never thawed.

The year prior it rained all 6 days of my hunt and I had a 16 hour paddle out because the wind (and rain) was in my face the entire time.

From: Teeton
28-Oct-20
Pete, how many float moose hunts have you done ??

28-Oct-20
I’d buy and wear a commercial divers dry suit.

28-Oct-20
I’ll stick to coues, mulies and elk. I’m never moose hunting. Thanks, guys!

From: t-roy
28-Oct-20
I’d moose hunt every year if I could!

From: cnelk
28-Oct-20
^^^ Yep. This!

From: Nick Muche
28-Oct-20
^^ I do and I still hate it!!

From: t-roy
28-Oct-20
You lucky dog, Nick!

28-Oct-20
I’ll stick to coues, mulies and elk. I’m never moose hunting. Thanks, guys!

From: Teeton
28-Oct-20
How many of you that posted above have done a moose float hunt and how many have you done?

From: cnelk
28-Oct-20

cnelk's Link
If you’re dead set on a moose float trip, go over to the Alaska Outdoor Forum and contact Larry Bartlett. He frequents that site. See link

From: t-roy
28-Oct-20
I’ve done a couple of river based moose hunts, but not really the same concept as a true float trip. We set up camp in one spot, motored upriver from spot to spot and called potential areas, then drifted back to camp in the afternoon/evening, hitting the same areas on the way downstream. The next day we would start floating from camp downstream, hitting spots, then motor back upstream to camp near sunset.(or when we thought sunset would be. Never saw the sun very many times during either trip!) We probably covered approximately 15 miles either direction from camp during the hunts.

IMO, guys float by lots of good looking spots and never know it. Hard to see and hear what’s there because of the river banks. If you did, indeed do a float hunt, I’d suggest a lot shorter float, and stay multiple days in each spot that you set up camp at.

From: tkjwonta
29-Oct-20
YES! Thanks Pete for reposting your advice, a true bowsite classic.

29-Oct-20
1 float hunt, 1 drop hunt.

I'm actually going to float again next year because I've got to get back to this spot that is a perfect bowhunting spot where I saw a giant bull last year. Chest waders and a good rain jacket, it's honestly not that bad, but I hunt the rut at the end of Sept and it can be very wet and cold that time of year in AK.

From: Kevin Dill
29-Oct-20
I haven't floated. I get wet enough just hunting from a stationary camp along a creek. Water can be fun but too much of it gets tiresome.

You'll see lots of moose country on a good float. You'll also float past moose you can't see due to being low on the water. It's the next thing to impossible to hear a distant bull grunt when you're close to (or on) moving water if it makes any noise.

I hunt a remote camp which is far up a creek and totally inaccessible by anything except aircraft. One year I killed a nice bull at the end of my hunt and my pilot flew the meat, my camp and me to a good-sized gravel bar on a bigger river. I fired up the gas stove and made lunch. While waiting for the plane to arrive I witnessed 3 NOISY jet boats repeatedly cruise the river looking for easy moose. Then along came a raft with 2 hunters hoping to see a bull. This was probably over 80 river miles from the nearest town and boat launch. The lesson: if it's decently navigable, someone has likely already been there, or is there at the same time.

I don't see an upside to floating for moose, in terms of a bowhunter upping his odds of success. Rifle maybe. The changing scenery is an obvious plus. The worst part can be if you kill a moose early on a float and warm weather ensues. You have no way to get the meat picked up and you're forced to push downstream as fast as possible to your pickup point before waste happens. If you arrive with spoiled meat and troopers check you, it's an automatic citation and probable confiscation.

From: Grey Ghost
29-Oct-20
Damn, this thread is a serious buzz kill. A DIY float hunt for moose has been on my bucket list for decades. Now, not so much.

Matt

From: cnelk
29-Oct-20
IMO - An Alaskan moose hunt is synonymous with an airplane. Lake, valley or ridgetop - all good options.

Been once - DIY. Successful

29-Oct-20
Matt, Look on the bright side. This thread may have saved you time and money. It’s a real bummer when you spend time and money to get where you think your in the middle of nowhere and have boats jetting up and down stream, hunting or cutting firewood.

Do yourself a favor and pay to be dropped where a moose has actually been seen from the air. Or is a known rutting travel corridor. And let the moose do the walking. If your in a good area the moose will walk by at some point.

99% of why I want to go back is the experience of being dropped off for 2 weeks. But I’m silly that way. And used to climb tall hills only to get to the top. Often not using the easiest route.

I am probably going back to help a couple 1st timers. And may not even buy a tag. I told them I’ll cut while they carry :^)

From: Reload
29-Oct-20
I've done 2 float moose hunts and another scheduled for next fall. For me, its all about the transporters reputation. I can only speak for Papa Bear Adventures, but they strive for you to be successful and not run into other hunters. Inaccessible rivers that local hunters cannot travel is the key. That being said, you'll most definitely portage your gear to the headwaters. If a float hunt is your cup of tea, go the route of a reputable service. Now this will most certainly involve getting on a list, as it is difficult to do so. Those services that simply run numbers of hunters vs minimal hunters can be ripe with activity i.e. locals, other float hunters....The adventure of a float hunt adds an aspect that cannot be achieved with a drop. Set your mind to it and be patient, as it maybe several years before you get your spot

29-Oct-20
Teeton inquires: "Pete, how many float moose hunts have you done ??"

Two. In retrospect I cannot believe I went again the second time, thinking the first float was an anomaly! Plus, I have watched a lot of other hunters do float hunts in AK for the past 50 years I have lived and hunted here. I know what the harvest data looks like from my time on the Alaska Board of Game and the Alaska Guide Board (Big Game Commercial Services Board.)

One time, from our camp in GMU 19, on a river that got a lot of float hunt pressure, we observed 32 parties of float hunters go past our camp in the course of the moose season. More probably passed while we were not in camp. Most stopped to talk for a few minutes. Of all those parties, (usually one raft or two; 1 or 2 hunters per raft) only one hunter had a dead moose. We were about a day/day and a half short of the usual take-out point, so most of the "hunting" was behind them. Interestingly, that one moose that the NR had shot, was sublegal by 2 or 3 inches! The hunter "did not have a tape measure with him!"

There are actually ways to do a float hunt and have a reasonable chance for success. First, do NOT book your trip with a high volume air taxi. They virtually all use the same rivers, put-ins and take outs. Do NOT utilize airtaxi operators who utilize larger aircraft such as Beavers and Otters. Those a/c take a lot of length to land/takeoff; book a guy with a Super Cub who can get in where the big guys cannot. Sure, the big guys have a few photos of NR clients with moose racks, but they seldom post photos of the other couple hundred guys who floated and did NOT shoot moose!

Next, do NOT plan your trip for a river that you heard about! In fact, the best way is to find good moose country (by doing actual research and studying biological data) and select a river with an unpronouncable Native name! Most hunters find it embarrassing to mispronounce the geographical names when contacting air taxi services!

Finally, when you get to do your float, do NOT just float..... actually HUNT. Most guys make a camp (thus using up the evening hours when moose hunting is good) and then take off again in the morning, breaking camp and thus wasting the morning hours when moose hunting is good. Then they float during the crappy (middle) part of the day.

Do NOT expect to see a moose standing on every sandbar like the ones in the brochures and on the calendar for the month of September. Stop often, go up the bank and go actually hunt (especially in the evening and at first light in the morning.) Spend more time on a high spot glassing and less time floating.

But if you really want good moose hunting, get put in to a spot in good moose country and hunt it well and thoroughly, late in the season. Float hunts for moose are, for the most part, a low success operation.

Pete

From: 76aggie
29-Oct-20
Grey Ghost, don't let your buzz get killed by the opinions of others. If a DIY float trip is on your bucket list, do it! You will never know until you do it yourself. It can be difficult and it can be uncomfortable at times. I have been several times and the cold is what is starting to kick my old arse. Do your homework. Talk to a lot of other hunters. Most people won't tell you what actual drainage they were in. That is a guarded secret! lol

Try to steer clear of waterways that can be run with motorized rafts or boats. Many times we do have to float drag (that is not fun). Get away as far as you can from villages. Have the proper equipment and don't skimp. There is not a moose or a caribou around every bend in the river as some would have you believe. One poster said they could have killed good bulls with a gun almost every day. I'd like to know his spot for sure. We have never had that experience. Some years we come home with no animals and some years we get lucky and bring home several critters. Several guys on this site live in AK and can give you a lot of advice. Others don't live there but can give you equally good advice. I have a lot fewer hunts in my future than I have had in my past. Go for it my friend. Don't get old like me and wish you had done it. Do it. You can decide if you liked it or not.

30-Oct-20

standswittaknife's embedded Photo
standswittaknife's embedded Photo
I’m telling you.. just do a drop off hunt with a reputable long term outfitter...

30-Oct-20
That’s Papa Bears loading dock and Plane. If you can get a spot for the final 2 weeks. Send your deposit and Sign up now.

From: DonVathome
30-Oct-20
Ditto to stands with a knife. My AK word doc is 150 pages long mostly for moose. I have been researching it for over 15 years. I gave up trying to draw tags and go what I think is true diy. I paid a lot of $$$ for a great transporter and I killed a good moose. I did the work but no question I paid for that moose. I found no other way to hope for success (so you do not have to return) with a rifle on a 55" plus moose.

A float trip is the last way to hunt moose I would pick. I guess parking anywhere accessible is less likely for success BUT not the torture of a float hunt. Torture is when it goes smooth, it only goes downhill (from torture) with weather etc.

Hire a good transporter. He should cost over $7k each and have stunning references.

From: akbow
30-Oct-20
I'm an AK resident and would like to throw a different perspective. I love float hunting. But, I also love floating/camping. I own two rafts--one cat and one round boat. We use them all the time (summer and fall anyway), so my view is probably skewed toward the experience and not the odds of "success". My moose "drop hunts" (I only call them drop hunts in the sense that a buddy with a plane dropped us off) have been more successful in terms of bringing meat home. However, some of my most memorable experiences have been on float hunts up here. Floating rivers in AK with the fall colors is something to do even if you aren't hunting. That said, the float hunts have not been as successful in terms of meat brought home, but I would still do them just for the experience. Plus, I think I've learned alot in each float trip that will up my odds on the next float trip. I think the same can be said for drop hunts, but I think the learning curve is much flatter on a drop hunt than a float hunt. The most successful float hunters, with a ton of experience, are probably more successful than drop hunts. But, if you are only making one or a few trips to AK in your lifetime, I think it's probably safe to say that drop hunts will still give you the AK experience and your odds of success are better. But, I'll still be learning and experiencing the float hunt in the meantime.

From: Grey Ghost
30-Oct-20
A float hunt sounds appealing to me for several reasons. First, I own a drift boat and do a lot of float fishing, so I'm an experienced oarsman. We often do overnighters on the river, so I'm familiar with that whole routine. Basically, I'm very comfortable with navigating and camping on a river. And an Alaskan float hunt would combine 2 of my favorite hobbies...hunting and fishing.

Having said that, I have to admit, my tolerance for the cold isn't what it used to be. I can definitely see how Mother Nature could turn a float hunt into a miserable experience. I also wasn't aware that rivers in Alaska are used like 2-tracks on BLM here in the states. Seeing 32 other hunting parties float or jet boat by you on your once-in-a-lifetime moose hunt would be a bit disheartening,

Maybe I'll just go catch some more tarpon in Florida, instead.

Matt

30-Oct-20
Teeton, I know there's been a lot of negative posts on here. Nobody can decide your adventure besides you, but as many guys on here have experienced or recognized, float hunting may be the pinnacle of challenge, reward, exposure of moving parts, weather as a factor, reliance on hunting party and gear, risk of life/limb, etc. It certainly is very attractive for many reasons, I agree, and I'll likely do a float hunt in the future, but it won't be my first, last, or only AK moose hunt.

My experience: 3 weeks hunting bear and moose with alaskan friends (kenai peninsula and up around Tok) including a canoe back to a bridge takeout. I've never been so wet for so long. I took 4 pairs of boots and 2 sets of rain gear and I was rarely dry, nobody else in the party was dry ever; and it didn't even rain that much, just everything is wet and didn't dry out. Basically this creates baseline misery. Of course we flipped the canoe twice, no surprise there. Along the river bank there were very few places to get out and walk, those that were decent spots had plenty of camping and boot tracks on them. Obviously some of these features will drastically vary river to river, segment to segment. As far as floating/rafting, in the lower 48, I've done a lot, and weather can make a rough trip miserable fast. Gear failure can be a trip ender and put your life in grave danger. Secondly, any river can become a dangerous obstacle in the blink of an eye--BILL IN MI old post he dug up-- that is a tale any experienced rafter will agree has happened to them. Every significant river trip I've ever been on, there is a night where new river mates recall close calls, some with death as a result to friends or clients, it's sobering to say the least. My brother, who lives in AK, couldn't go this year because he spiked a high fever with sore throat the night before getting on the bush plane for his first DIY drop float hunt with other locals in a draw unit. The rest of the crew went, but had issue after issue until they finally portaged around a known log jam, killed a meat bull, then headed home with other tags in their pockets, because they were "over it". My bro said he wish he went for the experience, but thinks he dodged a bullet truthfully.

This next point is what has slowly driven me towards getting a reputable transporter/outfitter. I too attempted to plan a drive to AK with overhead camper and Jon boat rig for 65 days. After calling multiple taxi services, I came to a conclusion that I later affirmed from multiple sources over the last few years. Each time I successfully identified a promising looking River or area to hunt, the air taxi service declined to drop me in that area, largely because they either knew people who hunted that area, or they flew for an outfitter who utilized that area. One outfitter I called with hopes of booking a hunt, or even paying for consultation, about an area that I knew he hunted, when I drop the name of a particular river, he hung up on me, it seemed rather obvious that I stumbled upon his river, I later located an air taxi that would drop me there, or close enough to make it work with a lot of effort. If I ever do a float, it will be on this river, but I will say that more research has demonstrated this may be a dangerous float. Good luck whatever you decide. And plan, plan, plan. Plan on having reasonable expectations no matter what you do, unless you fork over $18k, then have high expectations and still plan to be miserable at some point, but most of us bow hunters are really vegetarian masochists anyways, so float hunting is right up our alley.

30-Oct-20
GG, a couple things:

Any river that you can navigate with the boat you're talking about, will have cabins and motor boats or jet boats on it. If it doesn't have little waterfalls and/or areas where you have to drag a raft, there will be an armada of people in boats going up and down the river.

Secondly, late September rivers in AK are not all the same and many are essentially fishless. Many rivers are a long ways from the ocean or any water that doesn't freeze solid so don't just assume because you're out on water in the "wilderness" that you're going to be able to fish. Some rivers are a half dozen confluences removed from ocean or deep water and require fish to spawn a long ways to populate them, making some areas of some rivers, fish deserts. There are places to fish and times to fish them and it's not everywhere all the time. There's a lot of moose country in the interior that overlaps with these areas. And there's a lot of moose country that just plain and simply doesn't have any river/creek that has enough water in it in late Sept to reliably float.

Sounds like you'd be best served taking a fishing trip earlier in the year and rethinking your moose plans.

30-Oct-20
Another thing to add in consideration of a float hunt, is more of a fly in destination hunt, whereas you find an area that looks really good, but doesn't have a good place to land so you get dropped upstream with a goal of getting to that spot and hunting it till you float out or land at a spot that you hunt with the hope of getting picked up there if you kill something, but after so many days, if you're not having any luck, have the ability to float down to another spot that looks moosy and hunting there where you can get picked up or before floating to another spot where you can get picked up. Basically a float hunt, but you're not floating every day with the goal of finding moose while you're floating nor losing a large part of your hunt floating.

If you go to a transporter and say, "I'd like to hunt here," they'll tell you if they can put you there and if not, where they can land you and pick you up. But this is key: They will absolutely not spend hours upon hours doing this with you. You are just one client and a small piece of their annual incoming money. What they want is a guy that says, "I want to get dropped off here and picked up here on these dates." Even then, you're a pain in their ass.

Another thing to remember is that if they're a transporter and not a guide, they're not allowed to guide you to spots.

Since I moved to AK, the one thing I've always said is that, "I want to start a air-taxi service so that I can tell everyone to kiss my ass too."

Not until you're on a first name basis with the owners after multiple flights with them, will they start to open up and give you more time to ask questions about what they can do for you and where they can go. Or even get the good dates!

From: Norseman
30-Oct-20
I was wet and chilled most of the days on my 8 day, 98 mile Ak float trip .....

And that was in July! If not for constantly battling sockeye and kings, I would have died of hypothermia.

From: TD
31-Oct-20
Pete.... we can't all just step out on the back porch and shoot a moose in our garden..... =D

Always messes with my mind (like to take it out and mess with it sometimes....) how YUGE Alaska is. Hard to even conceive how big, wrap your brain around it. Yet how crowded it seems at times in competition for moose, etc. I guess the topography naturally funnels folks to points of access? Cubs, rivers, roads etc. all have limited range. That and I guess "crowded" is relative. Expectations are different. Moose not really a herd animal in great numbers and the pressure of hunters trying to take a good one. Taking all this discussion in cuz one day I'm going to add myself to the problem.

A few years ago, talked to a bunch of local hunters at a get together in Seward (a nephew was from there) It was striking to me how the hunters talked about moose hunting. Heard some, but really very little from them about how big a moose they killed, how many inches, etc. All the bragging seem to relate to how soon in the season they got one (how few hunting days) and how close to a road or boat access they killed it. Closer the better, that took the prize. Sounds like they've had to deal with dead moose before. Learned lots of tips listening that evening, such as hunting shorelines from a boat.... goats float.... bears don't....

With so much needing to get done in such a short window of the year, most were just trying to get as much done as possible while still daylight......but moose hunting was always still on the schedule!

From: DonVathome
31-Oct-20
There are ways to float and see far fewer people and get more remote. This will take more money (or else everyone would do it) and/or a lot of work. Like days portaging or just covering ground. I know a group that just did great. Tough experienced hunters. Good moose. no one ever wants to do it again. 4 guys 3 moose. 7 or 8 days after killing moose doing nothing but raft, set up camp, meat care, sleep, wake up pack up, repeat. That does not sound fun.

It takes a lot of work and money to do a float that is remote and higher success - especially for mature moose.

From: JohnMC
31-Oct-20
Hard to wrap my mind around people floating everywhere and it awful miserable experience that almost no one is successful at. Makes me ask why some many people are doing it if it sucks so bad??? Then again it sounds a lot like a OTC Colorado elk hunt and people piling on top of people to that.

From: Kevin Dill
01-Nov-20
Right or wrong, I go to Alaska to get as far away from other hunters as humanly possible. I don’t want other hunters ahead of or behind me. I’ve seen enough old camps where charred wood, tin cans and pieces of blue tarps remain. I don’t go there to walk in other’s boot tracks. Hearing a jet boat in that silent wilderness is akin to a giant fart at a quiet restaurant....it kind of ruins the experience. I get more than enough noise while hunting here in Ohio. I see plenty of hunters looking for some place to set up. When I head north I know my goal is to be somewhere that NOBODY else is getting to....and I’m paying for that. If you could find my camp, all you would find is a few stones moved. No evidence of fires....no trees cut...no flags or ribbons. I love spending 2 weeks there and never even having another plane fly through....let alone rafts with men in them floating past.

From: Ziek
01-Nov-20
"Makes me ask why some many people are doing it..."

Because, on the face of it it sounds like a great idea to combine two (or 3 if you include fishing) great experiences on one trip, and the folks who provide these trips naturally want to sell one to you? And as many have said, it can be a great adventure, if that's what you're primarily looking for. It's just that there are more successful ways to hunt, at least unless you use the boat only to get to one or two hunting spots, and not plan on boating every day or even every other day.

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