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Thread: what's up with 40 mile moose??

  1. #1

    Default what's up with 40 mile moose??

    I've spoken with both Lief and Vanessa of 40 mile air, and both are scratching their heads. I think it was like 38% success this year(40 mile air only, around 10% for all registered hunters ) That may actually be from just their ridge hunts, but I know their middle fork hunts did poorly. I am thinking it was area wide. The Spring was by Lief's estimation almost a month late. All I know is I drove from the south fork bridge to Tok with 4 fresh inches of snow... and did not see ONE set of moose tracks, and there are several areas along that road I used to see cows regularity. Last year saw a spike in hunter success, but I am thinking partly due to increased pressure from displaced Kenai penn hunters, and increased effort in general. This year was just not that good.

  2. #2
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    I have noticed a large change in population decline over the last few years especially out here. We fly regularly throughout the summer and we Saw maybe a dozen moose this whole last summer, thats hundreds of airmiles up and down the highway and around. Bears and Wolf population has been growing and we Saw them regularly in the air. Between that and the 100000 hunters every fall they are just bring pushed farther and farther out I guess.

  3. #3

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    Me and one of my friends floated the Middle Fork Fortymile River about 5-10 years ago. We saw a decent toklat grizzly bear, which I shot, a pack of about 4-5 wolves, which we couldn't get close enough for a shot, hundreds of caribou, which we couldn't shoot because the zone we were in had reached its quota and shut down (go figure), and only a few moose. My impression of the country is that it is a fantastic area for predators and a decent caribou area if you go the right time, but I personally would not choose to float that river (at least that fork anyways) again for moose. My guess is that it is a low density moose area. Whether it is a lack of habitat or an overabundance of predators of both, it seems to be a mediocre area for moose in my opinion. However, I know there were some large moose taken up that way. About the one thing nice about the area is that it is an any bull area for moose. I also think that area is highly dependent upon forest fires for creating prime moose habitat. You don't have glacial rivers up that way, so the riparian habitat is not as fertile as the areas located around glaciers. Glacial rivers carry and deposit lots of silt which creates fertile soils for willows, which is prime vegetation for moose browse.

    As for 40-mile Air (Leif, Randy, Vanessa etc.), they are some of the best people to work with in my opinion as far as air taxi operators go. They are honest, safe, dependable, and friendly. The only reason why I don't hunt with them more often is I don't care very much for the area they transport people to. Their sheep hunting locations are great. There are a few locations that they do fly into that I think are really good areas for moose, but I won't mention their names here. Some of the places they fly into they won't fly people into unless you hire services from Larry Bartlett. Apparently he has some arrangement with them to only fly people into these places if they go through him. Not exactly sure why, but I think it has something to do with pack rafting or air dropping gear into a tight spot.

  4. #4

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    Yea, it is definitely a low density area. But I think it was even lower than normal this year. I had a big boar griz come after me while calling this year... stopped only at 20 yards when I let him know I wasn't a moose. Predation is definitely a factor, but something else is going on is my guess... there are areas in the state with equal or more predators not as barren for moose as the 40 mile. I was 2 for two the last two years.. this year.. NADA!.. But I was limited in time by work, and 40 mile air's lower numbers speak to a greater trend.

  5. #5
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    There appears to be multiple problems with this years moose hunt.......the weather was way too warm and those bulls in winter dress are not interested in moving when it's warm. Predation is a problem even though the wolf population has been reduced there are a lot of grizzlies......I typically see a half dozen in a week of moose hunting. This low density moose population is experiencing more pressure from ORV hunters accessing off the Taylor Highway deep into the interior of the GMU.

  6. #6
    Member sheep man's Avatar
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    As a long time moose hunter of the 40 mi country, Id have to say the late rut was the major problem for success this past season,warm summer etc.... Pressure has some effect but all in all the moose numbers are up, predication down, things are looking good in my opinion....
    I ♥ Big Sheep

  7. #7

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    I think the weather was the main issue. But bears are also a big issue. Help a moose, shoot a bear when given the opportunity.

  8. #8

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    I wish I had taken the time to read the regs on griz. I could have dropped that bear and tagged it later... one of the nicest looking bears I've seen.. nice color change at the tips.. but I hate smelling up the camp with bear before I kill a moose anyway.

    My 38% for 40 mile air was optimistic... I just heard their river hunts were 20%.. two successful hunts. And the way they do the accounting., three guys go hunting, kill one moose, that is 100% for the group. None of their hunts on the middle fork were successful.

    I still think the late Spring hurt the population.

  9. #9
    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    If you want big moose, hunt where populations are thin, and cover is light. Not an absolute rule of thumb, but a good one. There may not be a ton of bulls in the 40mile country, but there are BIG bulls. Leif's hunters have the trophy's to prove it.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    I think the weather was the main issue. But bears are also a big issue. Help a moose, shoot a bear when given the opportunity.
    I'd love to shoot a bear, an could easily have shot a nice griz ths year on my caribou hunt...if I was a resident. Sure wish the non-resident guide requirement wasn't in place for grizzly, but that's not happening any time soon...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdhunter View Post
    Sure wish the non-resident guide requirement wasn't in place for grizzly, but that's not happening any time soon...
    It seems like it would be a good idea to allow non-res tags in areas with little or no resident pressure. It sounds like there are some areas with inland grizzlies where most of the hunting pressure is from fly-in non residents. Bear populations appear really high throughout the state, and residents might not have to work all that hard to find bears.

    Take this with a heavy dose of salt, as I have never been there, and have only done research for an upcoming hunt.

  12. #12
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    A major problem with low moose success rate on the middle fork this year was an overabundance of hunters floating the river. 40 Mile Air has always done a great job limiting the amount of parties they drop into the Middle Fork but another expeditor dropped multiple additional parties.

  13. #13

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    We have been flying with 40 Mile for almost 20 years, 10 for moose. P personally feel the late spring held everything back. It was not only the 40 mile country that was slow but lots of areas throughout the state were slow. I think the population in the 40 Mile country is doing fine but it never hurts to give a helping hand; drop a boar when you can. Or 2.

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