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Thread: Looking for opinions on a few rivers for moose

  1. #1

    Default Looking for opinions on a few rivers for moose

    I'm planning my first trip to Alaska, and a float trip for moose has been a dream of mine for years and I've finally squirreled away enough funds for a DIY float hunt with a couple good friends. I've already found out that many flying services/hunting transporters are booked tight for 2016, so this may end up being a 2017 venture. I do have options for 2016 on the rivers listed below, but I'm not sure if these would be the best rivers to try due to hunting pressure and easy accessibility. I'm after the solitude and the Alaska Wilderness experience, as much as a bull moose. I would appreciate any feedback or opinions of these rivers/areas and welcome any other suggestions.

    McGrath Area - Big River or South Fork of the Kuskokwim
    Delta Junction Area - Goodpaster or Salcha

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    If this is your first float hunt, you are coming from Outside (lower 48), and you want this trip to be everything it can be, I'd contact the two well known hunt planners on here.

    Michael Strahan (owner of this site). http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner

    or Larry Bartlett (small boat/pack rafter extraordinaire) http://www.pristineventures.com

    Both of these guys are a wealth of information. I'm in no way related to them nor have I used their services. However, if I was coming from Outside I know my trip, and odds of success, would be better with their advice and services.

  3. #3
    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Take Birdstrike's advice and contact Mike or Larry. I'm an Alaska resident hunter and have done a few DIY float hunts. While every trip has been a fun adventure, nine have lived up to being successful, much less epic.

    My take on the rivers you list is that you will see additional hunters, especially on the Goodpaster. If this will be a once in a lifetime trip, save a little scratch and go in 2017. A good hunt planner can match your water skills and hunting needs to the right river and dramatically increase your odds.

    My dad did call Mike Strahan and came pretty close to hiring him. Only hold back was our hunts are always shoestring budget and we can't afford the transporter that would be needed to get into the better hunt areas. It can't hurt to give Mike a call then decide.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

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    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Whoops, darn Tapatalk won't let me edit. None of my DIY hunts have put me one a legal bull. Not nine

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    I can think of some places you can float that could be 'diy' but if I mentioned them here, I'd be flamed by the locals for adding hunters to their spot. Do your research.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pembine View Post
    I'm planning my first trip to Alaska, and a float trip for moose has been a dream of mine for years and I've finally squirreled away enough funds for a DIY float hunt with a couple good friends. I've already found out that many flying services/hunting transporters are booked tight for 2016, so this may end up being a 2017 venture. I do have options for 2016 on the rivers listed below, but I'm not sure if these would be the best rivers to try due to hunting pressure and easy accessibility. I'm after the solitude and the Alaska Wilderness experience, as much as a bull moose. I would appreciate any feedback or opinions of these rivers/areas and welcome any other suggestions.

    McGrath Area - Big River or South Fork of the Kuskokwim
    Delta Junction Area - Goodpaster or Salcha

    Thank you
    There is some really good hunting in the McGrath area. If you use that area I recommend MagAir.

  7. #7

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    Thank you all for your feedback. Please keep the comments coming. I am an "Outsider" so I think I'll reach out to Mike and Larry to see what they have to offer, but I also have a tight budget so this might not be an option for me. Thank you Chugiak Tinkerer for the specific feedback on these rivers.
    Any other info specific to these or other rivers, or advice for a first time "Outsider" would be appreciated.

  8. #8
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    You might consider starting in our HUNT PLANNING SECTION on the main site. Lots of folks get hung up in the forums right away, and never realize that there are a lot of tools right here on the site, that are designed specifically to assist folks who want to do it all on their own. The section includes pages on many aspects of the hunt planning process, and should be a huge help in getting you tracking with this.

    For details on specific rivers, you would do well to take a look at our MASTER RIVERS LIST, which provides direct links to print and DVD resources on over 500 rivers around the state. I just checked, and since we migrated our store to a new software program, all the links go to the store home page. I should be able to get that fixed today, so the links go directly to the product.

    We've gone to a lot of trouble on the site to provide direct assistance to hunters who are doing exactly what you're trying to do, so be sure to review those pages, before going forth with too many questions in the forums. You will find many of the answers you need on those pages. By the time you collect that information, you'll be well on your way.

    There are some inexpensive options out there, but because they are relatively cheap, you should expect to see other hunters. Not always, but you need to plan for that.

    Best of luck!

    -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.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  9. #9

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    I second calling Barney at Magneson Air in Mcgrath. Really nice guy. Will find you moose spot. Goodpaster and Salcha looks like boat ramp in Miami on 4th of July. Avoid.Read regs carefull in unit 19 about where can hunt. Barmey will keep you straight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bodak View Post
    I second calling Barney at Magneson Air in Mcgrath. Really nice guy. Will find you moose spot. Goodpaster and Salcha looks like boat ramp in Miami on 4th of July. Avoid.Read regs carefull in unit 19 about where can hunt. Barmey will keep you straight.
    He is good people. Good pilot too. I have flown with him possibly ten times (our school district used him quite a bit) and I decided if I ever did a fly in hunt anywhere near him, I'd use him.

  11. #11
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    Barney is the man! I use him a few times a year, stand up guy.

  12. #12
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Skip the Salcha and Goodpaster as mention if your looking for a solitude hunt. There all options but man oh man you would have to find someone to fly you way up by way up I am talking places that are hard to land and skinny skinny water.

  13. #13

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    Neither the Salcha or Goodpaster meet your criteria. Both rivers will have a lot of jet and air boat hunters. We flew in and floated 100 miles of the Salcha hoping to get away from the boats, but boats were that far up as well. The 100 mile float down to the hwy was annoying with all of the boat traffic. It's a motorized river not a floaters river.

  14. #14
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pembine View Post
    Thank you all for your feedback. Please keep the comments coming. I am an "Outsider" so I think I'll reach out to Mike and Larry to see what they have to offer, but I also have a tight budget so this might not be an option for me. Thank you Chugiak Tinkerer for the specific feedback on these rivers.
    Any other info specific to these or other rivers, or advice for a first time "Outsider" would be appreciated.
    There are many entry points into planning each hunt here. You could start with a preferred species such as moose or caribou. You could start with a preference of a float or a drop camp hunt. You could begin with preferred dates, or dates that are required because of job commitments or other scheduling issues. In this case it seems like budget might be the beginning point for you, as it is for a lot of us. My first hunt here was mostly decided by financial constraints, so I know how that is. A friend told me we could wrangle a floatplane ride for $300 for each of the four of us. We drove from Anchorage to Lake Louise in order to contact a guy who worked at the lodge there, who supposedly had connections. The connections didn't pan out, and we were basically laughed out of the place, with a recommendation to check with Al Lee, of Lee's Flying Service, just down the road. We pulled into Lee's place and, after some wheeling and dealing, which included all of us digging into our cash reserves, Al finally took pity on us and told us to drag our gear over to the Beaver, and soon I was soaring off into the Alaska wilderness on my first of many float plane rides. We killed three legal bulls on that hunt, and our fourth man could have shot a bull, but he preferred to hang around camp, knowing we would share all the meat equally anyway. That was in 1986, the first year I qualified as an Alaska resident. My total cash outlay was about $500, and back then it was all I could afford.

    Some years later as I started helping hunters put their hunts together I soon realized that the budget is often one of the best starting places. After all, it matters little to recommend something that's completely out of reach financially. There are many opportunities to hunt Alaska, and the cost for each can vary greatly.

    If it's not too intrusive, would you mind sharing with us how much you have budgeted for this hunt? That will help us make some recommendations that might work for you.

    Regards,

    -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.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  15. #15
    Member MaxBaglimit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pembine View Post
    I'm planning my first trip to Alaska, and a float trip for moose has been a dream of mine for years and I've finally squirreled away enough funds for a DIY float hunt with a couple good friends. I've already found out that many flying services/hunting transporters are booked tight for 2016, so this may end up being a 2017 venture. I do have options for 2016 on the rivers listed below, but I'm not sure if these would be the best rivers to try due to hunting pressure and easy accessibility. I'm after the solitude and the Alaska Wilderness experience, as much as a bull moose. I would appreciate any feedback or opinions of these rivers/areas and welcome any other suggestions.

    McGrath Area - Big River or South Fork of the Kuskokwim
    Delta Junction Area - Goodpaster or Salcha

    Thank you
    A good chunk of the South Fork of the Kuskokwim requires you possess a registration tag for moose which is only attainable in person at McGrath, Nikolai and Takotna. Definitely study the regs at length before progressing in this endeavor.

  16. #16
    Member MaxBaglimit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBaglimit View Post
    A good chunk of the South Fork of the Kuskokwim requires you possess a registration tag for moose which is only attainable in person at McGrath, Nikolai and Takotna. Definitely study the regs at length before progressing in this endeavor.
    I need to add that since you are apparently a non-resident, the registration tags (for any antlered bull) don't apply. Keep in mind that the lower portion of the South Fork of the Kuskowkim is in a part of 19D that I believe is out of bounds for a non-res. Definitely pour over the regs.

  17. #17

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    To answer Mike's question about budget, I'd like to stay at or under $6,000 port to port, which means with commercial airfare, extra bag fees, hotels, licences/tags, rental car or transfer flight from Anchorage or Fairbanks to a smaller jump off point, and all the misc expenses, I figure I've got a about $3,500 to spend on bush flight, raft rental, and hopefully flying or floating a moose out.
    Does this sound realistic?

  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pembine View Post
    To answer Mike's question about budget, I'd like to stay at or under $6,000 port to port, which means with commercial airfare, extra bag fees, hotels, licences/tags, rental car or transfer flight from Anchorage or Fairbanks to a smaller jump off point, and all the misc expenses, I figure I've got a about $3,500 to spend on bush flight, raft rental, and hopefully flying or floating a moose out.
    Does this sound realistic?
    Not trying to solicit your business (really I'm not), but you really need a hunt planner to walk you through all of this. You are asking some of the right questions, but you're going to miss some critical steps, and you've got some things out of sequence.

    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.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  19. #19
    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Pembine,

    If you haven't called Mike or Larry yet (or any other qualified planner) you really ought to. Can't hurt to call, heck you probably won't even pay long distance charges. Get their info and then consider your options.

  20. #20
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    A very critical question is meat disposal. After getting your meat out of the field, what are you doing with it? Off bone, processed weight can easily exceed 500 lbs. Add antlers and cape and a big bodied moose you could be north of 800 lbs.

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