if you doubt that try to book one of those hunts and see how long you have to wait.
they are not cheap and they are not expensive. they are fairly priced for the market.
they are not trying to make them "in touch for most". They are catering to those who have the where with all to commit to it and there is a surplus of people able and willing to do it. you want a cheaper moose go any border province or to newfoundland or enter a lottery and die waiting in the lower 48.
There’s a lot of rich hunters out there. $25,000 for the experience and maybe a set of antlers ? Even a drop camp, you will not be able to afford to bring much if any meat home. Drive to NFLD spend $5-6 thousand have a good experience get a smaller set of antlers, and bring all of the meat home. But if you are loaded with doe, what the heck, you can’t take it with you.
I have been renting my cabin for $2,500 per bow hunter. Its in the same unit guides charge at least $20,000 to stay in a tent camp. At Lisa Lake you're in a very nice, dry, warm cabin with a hot shower.
The only thing is that the winter of 2019/2020 was very hard on the moose population. As a result, I've told guys who had it booked for 2020 and beyond to reschedule for a later year. Moose population should rebuild quickly since there had been a very effective predator control program in the unit in prior years. The moose population expanded fast and likely will again.
Its going to be $5,000 per bow hunter in the future. At Lisa Lake you're hunting on your own, no guiding services, but you have a nice cabin to stay in and you'll mostly hunt from a treestand if your smart.
I have a 2023 northern British Columbia Moose Hunt booked. It is certainly an expensive adventure and was a hard pill to swallow committing to it. A hunt like that will most likely be a one time event for me, but it has always been a dream on mine to have a chance at a giant bull in a wilderness setting. As I get older I realize that my window of opportunity is slowly closing on this type of a physical hunt and my wife graciously supported me chasing my dream.
Two things are for sure; 1. We are not getting younger and 2. These hunts will not get cheaper as time goes on.
Supply and Demand. I gave up trying to do a "true" diy hunt and hired a pricey transporter. High dollar guys are high priced for a reason. Their clients kill moose. Higher price = bigger moose. My guy was $10k. Transporter only. I was waiting for a cheaper guy for years. Finally he said he was so busy he took names and drew from a hat. my first year I had a 1 in 8 chance at hunting 3-5 years away and I have to find a partner (which I did not have). $15k total for 2 transport only.
I give him credit if I had a waiting list of 5 years and had 7 people for each slot I would raise my prices.
It is getting worse. NR restrictions tighter and tighter.
Nothing has restricted NR moose opportunities outside of a very select few draw tag areas having tags set aside for guided hunters vs non guided (something I think is shady and do not support at all). Luckily for would be NR moose hunters, 90%+ of the state is still wide open for opportunity. Just have to make contacts and do some research on WHERE you’d like to go. That’s the driving point for high dollar drops, you are doing a “nonguided” hunt where they take you to their spot. Those with good spots get paid more money than those operating as a transporter charging for the air services.
Trophy potential is another big consideration/factor when looking at prices.
Start dates, antler size restrictions, guided only tags in draw units. I hunted in a general unit about 10 years ago and realized that it took bulls 2-3 years to go from legal for a res to legal for a NR. Guess what? Residents shot them before they were legal for NR. Some guys nearby had take 30 or 40 moose over the past 20 years. They said exactly 1 was legal for a NR and it was BARELY legal - no NR should have ethically taken a shot at it. Eye opening. I have not followed it as closely but it seems every year I get the draw book there are more and more and more NR restrictions.
Do you agree? I definitely want to know if I am wrong.
I guess I'd have to know the general area you hunted, but it doesn't take moose 2-3 years to go from 2 brow tines to 3 brow tines. This was my point about trophy potential. Is someone there for the experience, the meat, or the antlers? Even if all 3 are true then there is still a priority for each over the other. No wrong answers there either it would just dictate how much id budget and where I'd go. NR looking to come up on their once in a lifetime moose hunt and kill a 60"+ bull need to realistically plan to pay 2-5X than someone who'd be tickled to death with a chance to call in a 35-40" paddle bull with enough brow tines to be legal.
Our falls are more and more mild by the year. End dates are typically more important than start dates for season.
The hard truth for Nonresidents to understand is Alaska is huge, expensive, and moose in particular are heavily sought after by residents. One animal feeds a family for a year. There are less size restrictions for residents for that reason. It's also why any easily accessed area will have infinitely more pressure than far to reach areas. If a river boat or quad can access it, rest assured you will have company at some point. Same can be said for any area within easy flight range from Fairbanks or Anchorage/Mat-Su area. Doesn't mean you will have a bad trip, it just means you need to have different expectations than someone hunting 400 miles to the west who paid $10-15k to be taken to an area a transporter purposely keeps pressure low on from year to year.
Guys who want to go moose hunting have WAAAAAY more options than those looking for an inside track to a giant bull. Those leads are few, and they fetch a premium price tag. You can hunt coues deer for as cheap as $500 in Arizona or upwards of $10k in Mexico. Same animal, same "hunt"....far different trophy expectations, success rates, and logistics behind the hunt.
"Guys who want to go moose hunting have WAAAAAY more options than those looking for an inside track to a giant bull".
We will be hooking up with a buddy of mine this Season (he's a commercial fisherman out of Sitka). We will be spending 10 days on (unnamed) Island in the Southeast.
Round trip flight is now under 500 bucks. Moose license/ carcass tag is around 800 bucks for a non-resident. I just need to buy provisions for the boat, and bring my clothes, and my weapon of choice (sorry, I'm taking a rifle this time)!
Antler requirements are 2 brow tines per side, 3 on one side, spike/fork, or 50+ inches. This will be the cheapest moose/ meat hunt ever !
I went to BC on my first moose hunt. No shot. I went to the Yukon on my next hunt and spent a big chunk, but I did kill a bull and a big blackie. The prices have shown no decline.
I now do a yearly diy in Alaska and it’s around $5500 all-in with the cheaper flights available now. I’m hunting an area only accessible to aircraft and there’s only that one tiny airstrip in that big area. Where I used to hunt there were Cubs flying through almost daily, but I haven’t had a low-flying plane through my area in over 4 years. I realize I’m lucky to be locked in and able to hunt moose very affordably every year. It’s incredibly hard to get on a pilot’s list and stay there.
Kevin I’m “only” 55 so you have a few years on me. If ever there comes a time when you bow out can you pass the torch my way? I’m still paying $9500 and that doesn’t include flight up from the lower 48 or shipping meat etc.
There’s a reason it’s so cheap Jeffery. Cuz Southeast moose hunting sucks, haha! Just kidding, obviously you have the right connections. But the weather sucks, the terrain sucks, the antler genetics/legal qualifications suck, the visibility sucks, and the number of guys in areas with reasonably easy access sucks. Which can be most of the islands and local mainland haunts considering the amount of commercial boats in the area. Having said all that, if you embrace the suck it can be pretty damn fun, especially when you fill a freezer! Don’t expect a wall hanger though. I killed a bull in ‘19 that F&G claimed was 5.5 years old. He wasn’t even 30” wide, and barely made legal as a double double. I really don’t know why we have antler restrictions here in Southeast. Anyway, it’ll be one hell of an adventure no matter what though! Good luck.
Kaleb, it's not my first rodeo, we ended up hunting around Gustavus the first time I did it back in 2011. That pretty much sucked, lol ! We did see 17 moose over 7 days, mostly cows/calves, some sublegal bulls, and one legal bull we couldn't get to. That's why I'm bringing a rifle this time.
I know the antler configurations there are not pretty, but at least they have the minimal requirements. Our destination is pretty remote this time, there was only one boat there last Year for the whole 10 days (my buddy's friend). He ended up killing a forky, on his last Day.
Rained almost every Day in 2011, but we "embraced the suck", lol. It was a cool adventure.
TEmbry has some good info! Kevin has a good pilot - I would have paid him $5k to get his name (seriously). Those are difficult to find. If you do put him on your Christmas card list. Hand deliver the card. Give him your first born child.
The truth (not that it's exciting) about my situation, is that I simply got lucky to get in with a pilot who had an opening at the time. That was many years ago. That particular pilot flew hunters as a sideline to his main flying business, and he was very affordable. Unfortunately he decided to discontinue flying for hunters. I was again lucky enough to get in with another great pilot.
In my mind his identity is not a secret and it's not like I'm hiding anything. A few years ago he made it clear that he was completely booked tight for moose hunts, and he had a waiting list of previous clients to choose from IF he ever had an opening. He also made it clear that he wasn't going to be taking on additional clients and there was no point putting his name out there. So I don't. And even if I was to stop going, there's no way he'd take anybody I'd refer. He would go to his list of waiting clients and choose who gets the offer.
Additionally, he informed me he was considering cutting back on flying guys for caribou. I've found that it's an exercise in frustration to figure out a pilot's mind or what he's likely to do. So I just keep going back and he knows I'm 100% in. I see the same guys every year. We eat dinners together and compare notes before and after the hunts. We all know we've got it pretty good and we don't sweat the small price increases.
Demand for affordable moose hunts is definitely exceeding the supply. I hope it stays that way too....not because of selfishness, but to protect the resource (moose) and our opportunities to hunt them without a guide in Alaska. I love flying through many miles of roadless bush and mountains on my way in. I love it when I look over my pilot's shoulder and see my tiny airstrip ahead. And I especially love how I feel when the Cub lifts out and fades up the valley....nothing but the sound of wind and water remaining.
One tip if your are willing to work and I mean WORK. Some pilots have ridgetop hunts no one wants - most guys want river, water, lake for meat transportation. If you are willing to work hard once your moose is down ridgetop hunts open up more opportunity.
I loved my hunt but I have a lot of points for other species (and moose) in the lower 48 so it will be a while before I go back.
Water has it’s pros and cons. It’s usually pretty swampy some distance from the water so if you kill a bull away from the water it can be a ball buster to get it to the plane. Also they run out into water when they’ve been shot so there’s always the risk of having a dead moose in 2-4+ feet of water. All I can see is the pic of T Roy’s bull laying in the stream! Yuk
Flights, hotels on each end of the trip, rental vehicle to get to the transporter, $1kish in license and tag, shipping gear/meat/horns to and from AK will likely exceed the $2500 mark. That said a lot of these can be avoided by having friends in Alaska and using airline miles. I think $5k is a realistic minimum to expect to pull this trip off for.
"I think $5k is a realistic minimum to expect to pull this trip off for."
I agree, and in my experience a guy is going to need to be extremely frugal. I'm at about $4800 including commercial air fare before I kill anything. Add $1k to get a moose out of the bush and about $1 per pound to fly meat / antlers home.
The guys paying transporters $4k to over $8k just for transportation and a campsite are getting rocked a lot harder.
I think why Papa Bear and Wade Renfro are able to charge what they do for a drop camp and have people in line to pay them. Is because the unit they hunt for drop camps has an above objective moose population. The state has no minimum size requirements and they allow hunting up until October to reduce the herd. But the two outfitters still limit harvest by limiting hunters. Which also keeps the age class above average. I think To the chagrin of the biologists.
"Moose hunts" are all different. Some offer a more diverse experience in terms of expected trophy size, care and transfer of meat and hides, other available species to view or hunt, length of stay, fishing, upland bird and waterfowl hunting, cultural experiences, camp amenities, sight seeing, outfitter entertainment ( plane flights for enjoyment) etc, etc. I have been on several and all were very different, and rich in experience and memories.
Altitude is correct. I went with them before the huge price increases and cannot justify it anymore. Went last year with another pilot in unit 16B and was horrible. You definitely get what you pay for... but there are some good ones out there if you dig and keep on their list less than PB.
Flight in has been $800 round trip. Plane easily handles two and their gear. Even though this particular bow hunter seems to emit an odor of some kind, I'll pick you up in Anchorage and get you and your moose back there. Any nights required, within reason, on the road system can be stayed at the house in Wasilla.
The best way to learn how to hunt moose is to go moose hunting. That’s not a smart ass reply either. It seems daunting to gear up and go pursue a huge animal you’ve never hunted in very wild country. Just remember I was there too. The HUNT is the gigantically fun part and worth the cost of admission at the diy level. A kill is the bonus you try to earn.
Drop $25k on a guided hunt and it often becomes about the results.... the need to kill... something to show for all the expense. You spend big and maybe you kill. But how much of that kill is really yours? DIY moose hunting is an amazing experience. I truthfully wouldn’t trade it for any type of guided moose hunt. I wouldn’t mind renting the horses for a couple days though!