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Thread: Float Hunt Logistics: 1 Raft + 2 Hunters w/ Gear + 2 Moose

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    Question Float Hunt Logistics: 1 Raft + 2 Hunters w/ Gear + 2 Moose

    Hey, All. Great site, here. I appreciate all of the wisdom and experiences shared. I've been in the process of planning a hunt for 2016. It'll be a float hunt for moose with a buddy of mine (2 hunters total). It seems that one of the dilemmas on this specific type of hunt is having enough raft to accommodate a payload consisting of 2 hunters, all necessary gear and potentially 2 bull moose.

    If any of you have done this successfully, what rafting gear did you use to accomplish it?

    Thanks for any information/insights you can provide!

    -John

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    My float gear weight with a heavy camp and two hunters is about 900lbs going in and 800 or so coming out with NO moose. This is a heavy camp with cots, propane heater, charcoal, food and drinks. I have done in light and squeak by right at 750lbs. A bull moose will average in the 600 to 700 lb range depending on many things, boned out or not, cape or not, size of bull harvested.

    Many rafts will do the job and all float hunters have their favorite. Size, depth, and class of water should be considered as well.

    If you have no experience, you may want to think about hiring a hunt planner. The owner of this site provides such services.

    http://www.alaskahuntplanning.com/Lo...pany/Home.html


    Couple books that will be of use in planning such a trip.


    http://www.alaskaangler.com/products...e.tpl&vmcchk=1

    http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/a...rtlett&cPath=1

    Mine is a raft that may no longer be available a SOAR Levitator.

















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    Two moose, roughly 1200 lbs right there. Another 400-500 for two people. That maxes out a DeHavilland Beaver already, and you haven't put a single bit of your gear on board yet. I have never heard of anybody getting a one-flight field retrieval of two moose and a hunting party. Would take an Otter to do it.
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    Stid: Thanks for the info and awesome pics. That Levitator is quite the workhorse! Also, believe it not, I've already purchased the books you referenced AND hired the hunt planner you suggested. Just trying to get a feel for how others go about the task.

    Troy: In the event that we tag out (or fill any tags at all, for that matter) a meat haul will be required. We're not looking to accomplish the whole transport in one flight, only the float in one raft.

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    stid, love the meat thermometer!! thanks for a great idea!!!
    pb

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    Unless you use a huge raft 18' or bigger, there is little chance of getting two moose on a single raft.
    I use an Aire Superpuma 13' raft because it fits in planes well, and I can portage it. I bring an IK or Packraft for my partner for when we get a moose. There is no room for a second person after getting a moose. I pack backpacker style light too. When I got a medium moose 46" that weighed in quartered at 680#, I had water over the self bailing floor. It was clearly maxed out. Now, I have pondered getting two small moose in the raft. A couple of the moose I've gotten were probably small enough to fit a second, but I haven't tried yet. One moose is plenty to share between two families. Anyways, once I get a moose, I want to get it in the freezer ASAP. Fall temperatures have been high for some years, so getting the meat out becomes a high priority.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnboy View Post
    Hey, All. Great site, here. I appreciate all of the wisdom and experiences shared. I've been in the process of planning a hunt for 2016. It'll be a float hunt for moose with a buddy of mine (2 hunters total). It seems that one of the dilemmas on this specific type of hunt is having enough raft to accommodate a payload consisting of 2 hunters, all necessary gear and potentially 2 bull moose.

    If any of you have done this successfully, what rafting gear did you use to accomplish it?

    Thanks for any information/insights you can provide!

    -John
    Quote Originally Posted by Troy Hamon View Post
    Two moose, roughly 1200 lbs right there. Another 400-500 for two people. That maxes out a DeHavilland Beaver already, and you haven't put a single bit of your gear on board yet. I have never heard of anybody getting a one-flight field retrieval of two moose and a hunting party. Would take an Otter to do it.
    1200 lbs. for two moose? For two small moose maybe. If you get a mature bull moose you are looking at 700-800 lbs. each. That's anywhere from 1400-1600 lbs. That's the max capacity of a standard 14 foot self-bailing raft. Plus you looking at two guys @ 175 lbs. each. So figure another 350 lbs. Now your are up to potentially 1950 lbs. Now you have to add weight for gear, food etc. Let's say you are going light, you can probably get by with 100 lbs. for each person. So add another 200 lbs. Now you are up to 2,150 lbs. Now you are roughly 550 lbs over capacity. Assuming you are on a class I river with no shallow water to deal with you might get by. But you would be taking a risk. I suggest not taking the risk and either get another boat, or plan on shooting one moose and possibly a caribou or bear. Good luck.

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    I found spec's for stid's Levitator on Larry's website, and it states a max load of 3000#. That seems like a mammoth amount of stuff. Does anyone here dispute that load capability? Not trying to stir up trouble; I'm just trying to determine realistic feasibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnboy View Post
    I found spec's for stid's Levitator on Larry's website, and it states a max load of 3000#. That seems like a mammoth amount of stuff. Does anyone here dispute that load capability? Not trying to stir up trouble; I'm just trying to determine realistic feasibility.
    Good question Johnboy. I'm not an engineer, but I would say that is max capacity in a swimming pool before the entire boat capsizes. Not the same thing as a recommended capacity for standard rafts while floating rivers. Especially while floating Alaska's rivers in remote locations. Not to mention that most rivers that are suitable for float hunting for moose you are going to encounter low water scenarios somewhere along the length of river you are floating. If you had your raft loaded with max capacity you would have to unload a lot of weight just to move your raft downriver. Just my two cents. Perhaps Larry B. or Mike S. will chime in here soon and give you some expert advice.

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    Stid, this is off topic, but I'm trying to get a feel for the size of a moose rack. What do you figure the spread on this beast is? I'll wager a guess of 42".

    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnboy View Post
    Stid, this is off topic, but I'm trying to get a feel for the size of a moose rack. What do you figure the spread on this beast is? I'll wager a guess of 42".
    Not sure let me use my paddle to measure him for ya,, LOL




    I believe he was just under 50, IMHO he was an older bull on his way down, I say this because he was HUGE. I was 15 yards from him at one point. I had already taken a 65 inch bull and my partner one 62, so we were just calling this one in to get some photos.

    This is the bull I took the day before we called the bull above in.




    The Levitator was made specially for float hunting shallow class I and II rivers, they are heavy haulers, with a self bailing inflatable floor, it has no rocker so not the best choice for rough water. It is a beast to row when you get her heavy too. I have had 2 moose, a caribou, 2 hunters plus camp in mine and I know Louis has had 3 bulls plus camp and 2 hunters in his and I believe Larry B has as well. They are awesome moose hunting rigs as the raft alone is about 114 lbs and with the oar saddles, oars and rigging around 150lbs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    My float gear weight with a heavy camp and two hunters is about 900lbs going in and 800 or so coming out with NO moose. This is a heavy camp with cots, propane heater, charcoal, food and drinks. I have done in light and squeak by right at 750lbs. A bull moose will average in the 600 to 700 lb range depending on many things, boned out or not, cape or not, size of bull harvested.

    Many rafts will do the job and all float hunters have their favorite. Size, depth, and class of water should be considered as well.

    If you have no experience, you may want to think about hiring a hunt planner. The owner of this site provides such services.

    http://www.alaskahuntplanning.com/Lo...pany/Home.html


    Couple books that will be of use in planning such a trip.


    http://www.alaskaangler.com/products...e.tpl&vmcchk=1

    http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/a...rtlett&cPath=1

    Mine is a raft that may no longer be available a SOAR Levitator.

















    Great idea. I was wondering what the white thing was sticking in your meat. Thinking, is that a thermometer? Then I see the close up. Great idea.

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    Agree with Stid we had 4 guys (2) Levitators with all the gear for a 10 day hunt, ended up with (6) caribou and big bull moose and Still didn't come close to the capacity. Don't get me wrong you could tell you were rowing a load but it even then they weren't terrible to maneuver. One real killer was it rained hard one night and we didn't think we had that much water in the boats so we didn't drain them. They become extremely difficult to maneuver if you have a bunch of water in the bottom of the rafts. That and because of the rain we covered the meat pile on the rafts with a tarp to try and keep it dry and on a windy day the tarps just served as sails and you couldn't go anywhere without the wind blowing you around.

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    don't forget that load capacity of your boat is NOT the only consideration. I put my moose in a 14 foot SOAR this year(to get him back to camp), and had more than enough flotation to paddle him out. The problem in this case was... loaded like that I was drawing 7 inches or so, and I'd still be there with the river conditions I experienced...had to spread the weight between two boats to make it possible to get through the shallows.

    AND..Stid... that meat care looked pretty awesome!!!! CLEAN!!!!!!


    It's all about the meat, take care of it like you are actually going to eat it!!! 40 degree core temp??.. WOWOWOWOWOWOW!!! I got ONE cooling night this season(night I killed the bull thankfully).. then 60 degree days, and warm nights. Saved it all but it was a fire drill to get out.

    I watched a vid yesterday of three hunters that killed three bulls. Everyone of them killed in the evening, all left till morning to take care of... made me cringe.. GET THE HEAT OFF THE MEAT AS SOON AS IS POSSIBLE FOR THE WIN... what you do in the first 12 hours sets the stage for meat care for the rest of your trip!! If you can cool it the first night you can get away with a few warm events later...bacteria control.

    good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhosera View Post
    Agree with Stid we had 4 guys (2) Levitators with all the gear for a 10 day hunt, ended up with (6) caribou and big bull moose and Still didn't come close to the capacity. Don't get me wrong you could tell you were rowing a load but it even then they weren't terrible to maneuver. One real killer was it rained hard one night and we didn't think we had that much water in the boats so we didn't drain them. They become extremely difficult to maneuver if you have a bunch of water in the bottom of the rafts. That and because of the rain we covered the meat pile on the rafts with a tarp to try and keep it dry and on a windy day the tarps just served as sails and you couldn't go anywhere without the wind blowing you around.
    1 bull moose and 6 caribou is roughly the equivalent of 3 bull moose. 3 bull moose in 2 rafts is a doable scenario. 4 bull moose in 2 rafts is pushing it if you ask me. In Stid's case (no offense Stid), I think he was on a mild class I river. I think I know the river he was on but I'm not saying out of respect for Stid. Anyhow, in the right river situation yes, you can probably fit 2 moose in one raft with two guys, but in most situations I would say it is not advisable. Especially for an inexperienced nonresident. Again just my two cents.

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    I have done a lot of rafting in southwest Alaska. I would not do 2 moose in one raft unless it was a full-on outfitter 18 footer. Maybe...maybe...a wide body outfitter 16 footer. But almost all my raft time is in moderate whitewater. If the stretch of river is 100% flatwater...then I don't have any real sense for what you might be able to get away with.
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    One thing to remember, if you do end up with 2 moose and one raft - should you have to leave something behind to make the float out doable, leaving moose meat will be asking for a HEFTY penalty. You might also consider making arrangements for an air taxi to make a meat flight (should that be necessary).

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    This is a tough question to answer. It's a lot like asking which pickup is the best one for hunting. The answer to that one depends on whether you're going offroad, what kind of terrain (sand, bog, hard pack, rocks...), whether you're driving a lot of highway, whether you're using a topper, pulling a trailer, needing 4WD, etc, etc, etc. With the truck scenario, you have to start with what you plan to do with the rig before you can come up with a meaningful answer.

    It's the same with inflatable boats.

    My philosophy is to "let the river choose the boat". That's because some rivers rule out some types of boats and others will allow just about anything.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that there are no objective industry standards for calculating boat capacities. In the past, most manufacturers posted numbers of various kinds, but it gets dicey because the whitewater guys want a light, fast and nimble boat that punches through holes and can turn on a dime. Float hunters don't necessarily want that, although some are pretty comfortable on Class II-IV with loads. You just have to have the appropriate experience for that. Many float hunting rivers in Alaska are Class I-II, which is ideal because float hunters tend to pack heavy, and they end up shooting game. So you need a boat that can take the weight, AND remain maneuverable (if the river you are floating requires a lot of maneuvering). Anyway, most boat companies no longer post capacity stats, because they have no idea what you're doing with the boat.

    One of the companies mentioned in this thread calculates their capacity at how much weight it takes to push the boat down to the midpoint of the tubes. In my opinion, this is WAY overloaded. But that depends on what kind of water you're floating. If you load that heavy, you have to forget about much maneuverability and responsiveness. Still, it could work on lakes and slow Class I rivers, assuming you don't have any chop to deal with (otherwise you get splashover and your meat gets wet).

    What we really need is a chart showing how much DISPLACEMENT each boat has, with certain amounts of weight aboard. How much does it take to draft 1", 2", 4", 6", etc? That would be useful data, as it would allow hunters to simply look at the chart, figure out how much displacement would work on their river, and choose a boat that fits those guidelines. I hope to put such a chart together next spring, but I could use some help if anyone is interested.

    Finally, you should plan for enough lift to handle you and your partners, plus gear and food, and the total amount of game meat and trophies you will have if you fill all your tags. Plan on filling all your tags, by the way (do you want to be the odd-man-out once your partners fill their tags, and be told that the boat doesn't have enough room for your animal? Probably not.

    That said, The only two off-the-shelf boats I know of (besides the big 18' round boats which are nearly impossible to find, impossible to pack, and really hard to load into an airplane) are AIRE's two largest catarafts, the Cougar and the Super Leopard. Those are the only two rack boats I would feel comfortable with packing three guys and three moose, plus camp and personal gear. To be honest, I do not know what those boats will displace with that kind of load though, and it's possible that the Levitator could do the same loads without sinking. You can read more about the Cougar and the Super Leopard on our Catarafts Page, which contains a section on big load haulers. The menu on the left-hand side of that page contains links to pages on the boat types, including round boats, sport boats, canoes, hybrids and packrafts.

    Speaking of the Levitator, there are two variations of that boat. The first one had a totally flat profile, with the no kick at all in the bow and stern. This gives you more lift, but at the expense of performance and a very splashy ride. The next gen Levitator has 4" of kick in the bow and stern, and behaves itself much better in this regard.

    As to a direct answer to your question, I'm not totally comfortable putting two guys, two moose, personal gear, and a complete camp in a 14' round boat of any kind. You will get some push-back from some air services on this issue, but in my opinion, it's time we pushed back on this issue too. Some air services are refusing to carry passengers that don't use their boats now. In my opinion, that's going way too far. A 14' round boat might work great for summer floaters, but hunters need to carry a lot more weight. Simple as that. You would be better off with an AIRE Cougar cataraft, or the AIRE Super Leopard cataraft if you want to get it all done in one boat.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Some air services are refusing to carry passengers that don't use their boats now.

    -Mike
    What did you mean by that sentence Mike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    What did you mean by that sentence Mike?
    I spoke with an air service last week who told me that they are not allowing passengers to bring their own boats. They must use the boats the air service supplies. This situation was inevitable, I suppose, because hunters often overpack, which has created a situation where some air services have gotten into the equipment rental business along with flying. Naturally, they choose equipment that's relatively inexpensive, and loads well into the aircraft.

    My position is that the air services need to let us know what their load limits are. We should be able to bring anything we want as long as it fits through the door and is at or below the limits specified by the air service.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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