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Thread: License, Terrain Questions for Moose by a non-resident

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    Default License, Terrain Questions for Moose by a non-resident

    I'll be in Alaska next week for a short trip, but will be returning for a non resident unguided moose hunt with 40 mile in September. I'd like to pick up my license, or at least the "regs" as they are popularly referred to and the video "How to Judge a Legal Moose." I think I butchered the latter. Anyway, I'm assuming I can pick them (video, regs, and license) up at any licensing agent? Does pretty much every sporting goods store sell licenses? I'll be in Juneau (first time there).

    Next terrain. We are getting dropped off by 40-Mile on a lake. I have the topo map and we are in a 5 mile valley with 3-4 lakes and an area with lots of <1 acre puddles, and hills on both side. The hill to the east has about 500' elevation gain and is treeless at the top. There is a bigger hill to the west with trees. To the north is a very minor drainage that might be empty when we are there. On the other side of it is major mountain. Here's my question: Where do I expect to find the moose? I read that they are up in the trees, in the elevation, but then I also read they eat in the bogs (our valley). We have 3 of us, which we know is too many people. Is it a bad idea to split up? 2 hunt one area, the 3rd hunt another? Myself and 1 other guy are in very good shape, we run half marathon trail runs. Right now, being a newbie, I'm not scared of shooting a moose 3 miles from our pickup point, especially considering we have 10-12 days in the bush. Is hauling a moose really that bad?

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    mbcijim,
    I wish you the best of luck and hope you get some great replys! All I can say is if you get one, or more down, you will be soooo happy you have 3 guys!
    I don't mind hunting solo and we regularly split up. Whatever you do make sure everyone knows "where" each hunter plans to go - and do your best to not deviate from your planned spot. I would love to be going on a trip with 40 and maybe someday it will work out! If you do get a moose down take the time to take care of it with all 3 hunters pitching in - think twice before shooting one way out in a bog or swamp - hurting yourself getting one out would be a bad way to enjoy such a wonderful trip! The leg of a ( small ) moose is like putting a whole deer on your shoulder - get good pack frames and practice distributing weight on them before you go on your trip...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Call AK Dept. of Fish and Game and see if you can pick up the CD that has "Is This Moose Legal" and "Field Care of Big Game" at the local office when you're in Juneau. Most people order them online and have it mailed to them, so I'm not sure if they have the CD at all of the local F&G offices.

    You can get your hunting license at any sporting good store, make sure to get your locking tag for moose ($400 for non-res) AND the locking tag extension that is needed to fit the tag around mature moose antlers.

    3 newbies hunting moose - splitting up is a bad idea IMO. Big bulls are fairly sensitive to human scent, and the more three of you are traipsing aroung the valley, the more scent you're leaving to scare away bulls that you never even see. At least for the first few days, stick close to your camp somewhere that gives you a decent view of the surrounding area, glass in all directions, and do scrapes on occasion.

    As for where the moose are - I've never seen one in a tree, but maybe I haven't looked hard enough.

    No matter what kind of shape you're in, 3 miles is a LONG way in that swampy area where the lakes are. Walk a little close to camp, and imagine walking through that stuff for three miles, with 100 pounds on your back. Not much fun; easier to call the moose closer if possible.

    Watch the video several times, and be calm when you're judging any bull you might see - the bulls in that area seem to have antlers that turn inward a little bit, so judging 50" width isn't easy; and a lot of them have 2 or 3 brow tines, and the requirement is 4 for a non-resident.

    You should hear plenty of whooping cranes flying high overhead in that area, a really awesome sound that makes you realize how far out there you really are!

    Good luck, enjoy your trip, take lots of pics, and share your story on here when you return. I hope it's a memory of a lifetime for all three of you.

    Michael

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    If you got 12 days out you will likely be into calling season. Learn about calling moose. Maybe you can bring them to you.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Default a little prep goes a long way

    buy this dvd on calling moose, now:
    http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/sto...products_id=30

    Study it up and practice. Worth its weight in gold.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If you shoot one don't let it get in the lake.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Fastest way to ruin a great moose hunt is to kill one.
    Tennessee

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    I'll second the Love, Thunder and Bulls. Get both and watch them. Practice calling while you are watching them.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

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    I commonly hunt a river drainage far upstream of where any boats can access. Though the bulls often walk up and down the river valley and drainages, I also see them 1500' above camp up on the mountainside. The message...Bulls are where they decide to be at any given moment. I don't think any good rules apply...just generalities. The main lessons I've learned after several years (and several dead bulls) is learn to call, and try to hunt close to camp, if you have to backpack meat. Most guys really have no clue what it's like to pack 80 pound loads of meat through 2 miles (real miles...not imaginary) of moose country. Then go 2 miles back and repeat. If I'm on foot...and that's basically always...I'm not shooting a moose at 2 or more miles from my camp. Maybe that's because I'm older now. Maybe it's because I've shot enough moose to know. Maybe it's because I just don't want to suffer that much for any moose. I think the worst mistake a new-to-Alaska hunter could make would be walking way too far, and then killing a huge bull. I respect you for being in good condition. Put on the boots you'll hunt in. Put on your empty pack frame and go do 3 miles...then take 80 measured pounds and put it on your pack frame. Now go carry that weight up-hill, down-hill, thru wet country, across a river, in mud, and across hill sides for 3 measured miles. Don't do it on a road or hard surface. Drop that 80 pound load and have a snack....then do another 3 miles empty...then 3 loaded with 80 pounds through rough country again. See how it feels. That's 2 loads of moose. If you keep head, antlers, cape and all meat (an obvious must) you're looking at 8 to 10 loads m/l. Then consider how many moose the 3 of you are willing to kill, butcher and backpack.

    If hunting close to water, consider the ramifications. Imagine being in cold water up to your thighs or waist and trying to cut up a dead bull. Believe me...3 men cannot pull a dead moose up onto dry land. 2 men can barely roll one over on dry land. If rifle hunting, I'd recommend NO shots at a moose standing on the edge of any significant water. There's a reason why so many warnings about this exist. Take heed.

    Maybe the best advice I have is this: Consider the MEAT to be your #1 objective and best trophy off the dead bull. The antlers are for show and tell. Take great care to CARE for the meat...treat it like high-value organic natural beef...and value it all. Give it the care and protection it needs every step of the way. Anyone can pop a big bull and carry away the skull. Bringing home 500+ pounds of very deliciously aged moose meat is what separates the wheat from the chaff.

    I hope you have a truly satisfying and exciting hunt!

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    Member junkak's Avatar
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    Here is the link to the ADFG multimedia page which has the Game care video and Judging Moose.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...ons.multimedia

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    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default From A Non-Resident

    Snowolfe is correct - when you pull the trigger on a moose hunt - the fun is over. My resident hunting buddy always says to me "Do we HAVE to do another moose hunt?".

    Moose go whever moose want to go - mountains, trees, rivers, sloughs, whatever. They are never in easy country. Three miles in typical moose country is WAY too far. I would recommend something more like 1/2 mile - but then again, I'm old. The owners of the lodge we used to hunt the John river said to me "If I can't call a moose to the edge of the river, I don't shoot it". Beginners underestimate the hearing of moose & the length of time before a bull will respond to a call. Sometimes it is over 24 hours.

    Just don't think you are shooting another whitetail. Moose are serious business!!!! All the advice so far has been really good. Listen!!

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    Three mile moose like whole marathon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbcijim View Post
    Right now, being a newbie, I'm not scared of shooting a moose 3 miles from our pickup point, especially considering we have 10-12 days in the bush. Is hauling a moose really that bad?
    3 miles on the best of ground would be a lot of work. Consider it would likely take 8, 10, or more trips. Your buddies may help with the first load ... then abandon you for a moose located closer to camp. That would mean 6+ trips for the person that pulled the trigger. At 6 miles round trip per trip ... the miles will quickly add up. But from such an experience, quartering out a moose would definitely be the easy part of that deal.

    Most people shy at 1/4 mile. Some draw the line at a mile. I prefer (and have been fortunate) to be able to drive to within a couple of steps of a downed critter.

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    Famous last words from an ex friend hunter "I am going to shoot him high in the lungs and he will walk right out of that little beaver pond before he falls over".

    One shot, bull hits the water. High in the lungs was actually a spine shot. That was about 35 years ago and I can still see the guts bobbing in the water. The absolute worse hunting experience of my life. Meat was covered with mud, crap, decayed leaves, etc.

    The water might look shallow to a hunter but even at knee depth on a moose if can be 2 feet deep, plus the longer you stand there the deeper you sink.

    Not trying to paint a picture of horrors for you and your friends. Moose hunting is a blast, just try not to make the mistakes some of us have in the past.
    Tennessee

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    mbcijim,
    A lot of good advice here. Heed this advice. K Dill is right on with his advice. No marathon is going to prpare you for humping a loaded pack across the tundra/permafrost/tusseks. I did my first AK, DIY hunt last fall, with 40-Mile. They are a great outfit and will provide good safe transport. Although we did not harvest a moose, my son and I both shot respectible caribou. My son's bou was shot a mile from camp. Without a loaded pack, it took 2 hours to hike that mile, across creeks, bogs, beaver ponds, alder thickets, downed black timber, and the tusseks. You really have no idea how wiped out you can become, after bending over for hours butchering, and then hiking with a loaded pack of meat. I even did one trip at night, with only a head lamp for light. That trip took me 7 hours round trip, after the up stream rain brought the river up 3 1/2 feet. Do your self a favor and refrain from shooting a moose any more than 1 mile from camp. You will thank us all later. I shot my bou right along the river, 1/4 of a mile from camp, and it was a much more enjoyable experience. The only real advice I can give you, that no one else has, is to read all the books and stories you can about others experiences, good and bad. You must prepare yourself mentally, as well as physically, for what a Alaskan DIY hunt can dish out. Good luck, and know that successful or not, one trip to AK and you will be forever hooked! Knute

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    How far you hunt from camp is often associated with your experience...and hunger. Since you have 12 days, and if being dropped off, hopefully won't be ringed with other hunters, I'd start by calling right from camp the first day you get there (not sure if legal now that I think of it...hmmm....well, just don't shoot that day if one comes in, OK?). And case out the nearby stuff, it's all moose habitat, if after 5 days you are skunked on sign or animals....then take a hike. Three miles would be a hell of a haul, but if you have three in shape guys, it can be done. Remember that the footing is more important than the distance, I'd double the distance to stay on a hard ridge compared to walking tundra.

    The last two years my buddy and I have traveled a ways from camp (and were successful), and returned to find our other pair standing over a nice bull within a quarter mile of camp. One of the crew is a chronic camp caller....he goes hoarse blowing into the bull magnet sitting around the campfire (or maybe it's the cigars and scotch....) anyhoo, the second time it happened it was three days after we got camped, one bull was hanging, and we had enjoyed fires, food, and cigars to our hearts content....I do not believe moose (especially once they're getting rutted) give a tinkers darn about human scent or smoke, or chainsaws....if he catches you moving however, that is a different story.

    Call softly at first, if no responses after a half hour....then let er rip, if you like the spot, call every half hour for a few minutes. As soon as you think you hear or definitely if you see something, SHUT UP. He knows where you are, and will spook if you are still wailing away at a tree and he's 300 yards across the meadow. Soften your calls up or shut up period. Go to soft grunts with just your voice instead of the bull magnet. We did this last year bowhunting, we had a bull at 100 yards...a VERY light scrape and a soft grunt brought him right into us, as he was focused on the distance he thought the sound was coming from....literally like a freight train.

    If you do go on this hike for a long distance bull, have an exit strategy in mind before you pull the trigger. There is lots of time for idle thought during a moose hunt, and if I'm sitting on a spot that I like, I'm already thinking how I would best get one out of there. If the answer is unclear, and I'm more than a mile from camp....I move on to another place. We all want to shoot moose, but HUNTING moose is more about the entire game and as was said, taking care of meat and doing it right is all part of the game, shooting the venerable swamp donkey is cake compared to almost any other aspect of the experience (other than the campfires, cigars and scotch...those are easy too).

    Have fun, be smart, moose are not smart, they are just scarce...heavy...and prefer some godawful habitat sometimes.

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    One hand typing and pain meds here, I'll do my best.

    If you hvae a 500' treeless hill in the middle of it al,l bring your binos and spotter and invest alot of time glassing. Study the terrain and find good spotrs to call from. Moose like aquatic vegetation as long as it is available, small lakes/ponds/sloughs are good areas to catch a moose at the buffet.

    When traveling try to avoid walking out in the open, stay back in the trees/brush whenever possible.

    Be patient ! Love, Thunder & Bull explians it well and is an excellent video resource. I find that cow calls have yeilded the best results for me on average but a bull responding to a grunt or scrape at a rush/charge is very exciting and late in the season grunts and scrapes become more and more the method of choice. If a bull responds to a bull call and then decides to leave, give him some cow calls and often they will calm and stay, or present time to make a well aimed shot. The last bull I shot I encountered as we ( myself and 2 bulls) were traveling across a burned meadow in opposite directions around 4pm. We all stopped and looked at each other( I had only noticed the sub-legal satellite bull at the lead at first), I lifted my binos to confirm he was sub-legal then caught an antler flash through the burned spruce of a 58" bull. Then they decided to take off at full tilt, a quick cow call stopped them in their tracks, briefly, they ran agian, another cow call stopped them again, I continued a cow murmur while taking aim and dropped the big guy in his tracks... cow calls are not to be disregarded. Try not to call too agressively ( sound like too big a bull ) it can be a deterent.

    Do not overlook the minor drainage, it may well be a bedding area or travel route of choice.

    Do not take the size of a moose for granted when glassing, they can blend into the brush exceptionaly well and prefer to bed in the thickest nastiest stuff around.

    Study the regs well, be sure to understyand what qualifies as a "point" on antler formation and how to determine a bay tine from a brow tine.


    Expect some 100lb pack weight or more. When you get one down flag the easiest, most expedient route back to camp on the first trip, it will save you all much energy and will help prevent injury. Every pass I make along a pack trail I make it a point to kick ankle turners off the track and break off/move aside branches etc.to ease walking. Typicaly a moose is 9 packs out; 1 per each quarter, 1 per each rib cage, 1 straps and misc cut meat, 1 neck, 1 antler, 10th if taking the hide.

    When in doubt, do not shoot.

    Most of all, enjoy your hunt !

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    In response to "is hauling a moose really that bad?" - As a non-resident I shot my first DIY bull moose last fall. I am a young guy who lifts weight/runs on a daily basis, and my hunting partner is 6' 8" 260 lb ex-college football player who is also in great shape. Before the hunt I tried to prepare myself mentally for the process of processing and hauling a bull moose by imagining it in the worst possible terms. Sad to say, it was much worse than I could have anticipated. Granted, we were in an area that mandated all meat must remain on the bone, so our options of processing/hauling were limited. Approaching the dead bull was more reminiscient of approaching an economy-sized car than any other animal that I have harvested. I have killed many large bull elk in nasty mountainous terrain numerous miles from the nearest road, and none of those efforts come close in comparison. Just my 2 cents - DO NOT under estimate the effort required to process and haul a bull moose. However, with all that said - I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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    Even if it's not prohibited, deboning hampers the effciency of hauling a moose, just cut em at the knees and you have a nice handle and the meat stays much better in a field situation. Unless I had a roadside moose and a cutting table on my tailgate, I will likely never debone a moose in the field, I'd much rather carry a boned, ridged quarter than a sloppy bag of meat.

    Don't let bugle.elk's post make it seem too gloomy once the moose is down. I solo'd my first 2 moose, had a 600-800 yard drag/carry for both and I go a whopping 5'10"....170 pounds....and smoke and drink too much. It was a lot of work for sure, a second person somehow makes it more than 50 percent easier, and three to four is just a party (unless you are three miles away). Cut and hauled the first one in 5.5 hours, the second one I had probably had 6 hours into (had more daylight for that one so I took my time).

    Always have the rudimentary stuff to start cutting with you when you go out, that way one person can start getting the skin off while the other goes for the packs/sleds/bags/come along.....or whatever you need. (learned this one the hard way on a first morning "scouting trip" when ol bullwinkle had to go and show up.) Luckily the partner had a knife and gloves but I had to beat feet back to camp, via boat as well, for all the rest....sillyness.

    The idea of glassing from up high and to find likely calling areas is definitely the way to go since it sounds like you have the elevation. But once it hits Sept. 5 or so, I'd just get to those chosen areas and call em up. Then you could split the guys up and cover three areas, and promise each other not to shoot two at once, and basically after hearing a shot, the other two come with butchering gear in hand and get to it.

  20. #20
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Common theme

    There seems to be a couple of common themes within the responses. One is, shooting a moose is serious business. A second is - I enjoy hunting them - over & over.

    Don't be discouraged - heck, I have shot 3 in Alaska, 1 in New Hampshire, & I'm trying to draw a Shiras moose tag that doesn't put me in the poor house. And I'm just 11 days shy of being 77. I even want to do another float hunt somewhere in Alaska - again.

    Just read, watch DVDs, study, and pay attention to the best advice you might ever get - "If in doubt - DON'T shoot".

    Since we do a lot of float hunting, this advice (again) - keep them out of deep, cold streams.

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