My bro-in-law and I decided on a float for moose (archery) next Sept. We decided to go with Papa Bear (Steve Powers) he provides all the flying, camp equip, an area he knows (to the best of his ability) should hold moose. Going this route has enabled us to focus on our boating skills (HA!) gear, and finding and hopefully getting our bulls back to the river. That being said there is still a ton of things to plan on and prepare for...(Thanks to Mike's book) and have heard nothing but good about Steve and his crew. Still glad we planned this for next year!
For some, this might be the only time we get a chance to do this...the more memorable the better...even if I gotta work my ass off! (jmo)
Originally Posted by 4merguide
It's only an opinion, and there are many to hear...
I prefer the fixed camp moose hunt. My partner and I are 100% on close opportunities with big bulls every season. The only reason we don't double up on bull kills is an errant breeze or decision not to shoot that day. We've been bringing out at least one mature bull every season for several years. We hunt with longbows and very conventional equipment. Our strategy is to get 'up' and watch the moose movement each day. We look for opportunities and patterns...study the terrain and look for features which funnel game. After a few days of recon, we have a good grasp on the area and where we're likely to kill. Our last 3 bulls were killed at an average of 14 yards and one arrow each. Butcher and pack meat back to the airstrip, then we call our pilot for retrieval of meat. It works very well for us.
I personally want to hunt maximum time, and would not be satisfied to move camp 3-5 times during my hunt. The rivers I've all hunted along produce some degree of noise, and you can't see into the bush (typically) from water level. That means you may be unaware of 'Big Sixty' out there a half mile from your drifting raft, even if he's fired up in the rut. Don't get lost in the images of big moose standing in water to be shot as you drift past...not saying it can't happen, but reality is different. Having handled my share of cast-iron heavy moose meat, I simply would not be pleased at having to load and unload meat multiple times. You must know how to care for it properly, and wet meat usually is very bad news. I know without doubt that float hunting is more physical work than a fixed camp. A mishap with a raft can be anything from funny to miserable.
In the end, we prefer staying put...keeping a low profile...hunt smart...and get to know the area. I think this method gives a bowhunter his best opportunity to kill a bull at close range. Rifles definitely have an advantage on float hunts due to their extended range and less dependence on getting a bull in your lap to kill him.
It is so refreshing to read about a couple of hunter that know how to hunt moose.
You mention “The rivers I've all hunted along produce some degree of noise”. May I ask you a question, do you or your partner have exceptional hearing? The reason for the question is my partner has exceptional hearing and it has open up a new way of hunting moose. Well it not a new way more like a better way.
good post k dill...your comment on the importance of hunting the maximum time during your hunt is exactly why a drop hunt would make more sense to hunters unacustomed to river hunting and the efforts required to make a float trip run smoothly. float hunting is a grand adventure, and river life is an experience all its own...i guess my point here is to emphasize on the importance of knowing ones expectations and skill levels when picking between the two. your first float hunt is the wrong place to learn how to navigate a river safely, and the "unknowns" every alaskan hunt potentially provides can be quite detremental to time in the field actually hunting and success.
Originally Posted by K Dill
i love to raft, and i've loved rivers as long as i can remember. i do float hunts every year for one species or another, and i wouldnt quite get my yearly "fix" if i didnt at least spend twenty or so days floating a wild river in our state every year...its a unique experience and an amazing way to see the country. but i'll have to say that the average hunter without rafting experience, or moose hunting experience along major rivers would be more productive in a stationary camp in good moose country. If a little elevation is provided any hunter would do well paying attention to k dills recent post...pretty basic, smart, way to hunt moose from a stationary camp with any weapon. just my opinion based on quite a bit of experience with both types of hunts...
Unit 23 hunts
Hi Elk Hunter:
Up in unit 23 I would look seriously at doing a float hunt. There are plenty of Bou to hunt but those critters can change migration paths for no apparent reason and a drop camp can leave you high and dry! Float hunting a river like the Kelly or Nimmi allows you to cover 40+ miles of drainage and see lots more game plain and simple. For moose hunting float hunting is a must. Lots of moose but keep in mind it is a draw hunt and the odds are good at about 50%.
Our Float Hunters have a much higher success rate that out Drop groups and the animals tend to be larger as well. Most of my clients only move their camps 2-3 times in a 7-9 day hunt. You only move when you have to. No game then move down river a few miles and go get them. The rivers also tend to be natural funnels for game movement and if your camp is on the river, well you get the idea. I have had Many groups take bulls right from camp. Caribou will walk right through your camp site often.
A float hunt is a little more pricy but an extra $700 bucks is a small price to pay to make sure your hunt has a greater chance of success.