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Thread: Canoe moose hunting suggestions needed..

  1. #1

    Default Canoe moose hunting suggestions needed..

    It's been many years since I have been moose hunting and I have never hunted them by canoe. I have been thinking that next Fall I would try and get a tag for unit 15A (Swan Lake area) and take my canoe in 3 or 4 lakes and hunt before it opens to float planes..I will take a Prospector 16 ft. probably made up of composite material (haven't bought it yet). I'm looking at a We No Nah, Bell or a Nova Craft...haven't decided..Anyone out there hunted this area by canoe before...any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated...thnx

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    I've had the same thought myself & have spent a couple of weeks (total)canoeing the lakes (not hunting).
    Here's the conclusion I came to....
    If you are in far enough to get away from other hunters you are in far enough that you've got your work cut out for you if successful.
    Let's say you are 4 lakes in... 3 portages. The problem is the # of portages you need to make to get the bugger out. I usually double portage when camping out there (one trip with the canoe, another with the pack).
    That means every portage is 3 trips. Now add a fair sized bull. You just added 5-7(+?) loads of meat. Let's say 6 loads for round numbers. That means you have 8 loaded pack trips accross (with the canoe & backpack) each portage.
    That = a total over & back of 15 trips per portage. Thus each short, say 1/4 mile portage becomes 4 miles tolal walking. 3 portages = 12 miles total, 6 of them loaded. Then figure that you have to load & unload the meat from the pack frame a total of 15+ times. Load & unload the meat from the canoe each time.... Lots of work ahead of you.
    But I keep thinking about it...............
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  3. #3

    Default Yeah....I've been chewin on that one...I was sorta

    thinkin of bringing a pard along and figgerin half a moose at a time...any way I would not want more than I could do in one day...Still like you I'm tryin to think it out where it might be doable...

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    I would guess that a decent bull is going to require two, maybe three trips just based on canoe capacity alone. Even assuming a calm lake, by the time you add two people + camping/hunting gear there isn't a whole lot of capacity left in a 16' Propector. I personally use a 17.5' Prospector made by Hellman Canoes, and wouldn't put a whole moose in it except under ideal conditions. i.e. boned out, minimal gear, and flat water.

    Canoe moose hunting is something that is very high on my list of things to do. I've got some ideas, and one of these days....

    Anyhow, I would look at getting a larger canoe than 16' and certainly taking a partner. Sound's like fun to me.

    Yellowknife

  5. #5

    Default The lakes up that way aren't very big (long) and

    the advertised cap. of the Nova Craft Prospector is 1,000 lbs...my pard and I each weigh 200 and with 70 lbs total gear between us and a moose...........well!! any way I think we"ll give it a go...my pard has a digital camera so if we get the tag I'll post the pics.....I'll stick with a 16 footer cuz I do a lot of solo paddling........

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    All the drift hunting I do is out of a 16ft Winona. One suggestion if you plan on hunting with a pard ya might want too choice one with his own canoe! That boat will fill up quick when you start packing out and gear+two 200lbs guys+even half a moose=one uncomfortable padle! If you both have a canoe and only one of ya scores your looking at one trip out, even if ya both score one guy, gear, and a quartered moose is doable, slow going and cramped, but doable.
    BHA Member
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    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    Have you thought of looking at the Old Town Predator SS150? It is kind of heavy but it will haul something like 1300 or 1400 pounds.

    OOps I was wrong, it will haul 1717 pounds...but it weighs 113 pounds.

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    Cool Old Towne

    I used my Old Towne Discovery 169 to pack out a moose that I took up by Fairbanks. It is a good solid canoe that I have did everything from. The moose I packed out was a small 35in with light gear and two people. Have a good one.

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    Oneriver, that isn't a draw tag. It's over the counter.
    I will tell you that I believe you'll find that unless the moose you get is on the smaller side you are goint to find that 16' AWFUL full with the two of you & your gear. Floating the Swanson we always took 1 canoe per person.
    Have you hunted the area at all before?
    Nice country. Do you gun or bow hunt?
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  10. #10

    Default Thnx guys for the input...I haven't hunted moose

    since I moved into town years ago...I don't even know the process to get a permit...I have done many wilderness paddles up to 3 weeks and have done fly out walk back hikes...I hike ultra lite and have trimmed lbs. off may gear..I have been into the Swan lakes area twice before, the last time I did 13 lakes in 4 days...My pard and I were sitting on top of Gravel Mtn. at Denali when we came up with this trip...since I'm a paddler and I saw some good bulls out the Sawn Lake way on my last trip out there we thought we would combine a paddle with a hunt....soo now I figger its time to start working out a plan...I assume that a over the counter tag is a walk in and buy kinda thing...? I hunt with a gun, I got a short barreled .338 with iron sights, my bear gun that I'm going to use...

  11. #11

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    Moose hunting via canoe is something I'm considering one day as well. I'm looking pretty hard at getting a canoe for this summer and though I don't plan on taking a canoe moose hunting every year, I'd like one that would handle such a trip should I get the urge. As for a canoe, I think I've settled on an Old Town Penobscot. I like what I've researched about them and they paddle nicely (I'm mostly looking at calm water trips). I figure with 1,100 lbs of capacity, a moose trip may be doable. Of course I wouldn't put myself in a situation where I'd have to portage a bunch. Basically I'm looking at a canoe's utility for moose hunting as a portable means of getting me to areas that I wouldn't want to walk to and that a boat or atv can't get you to. Perhaps a specialized niche, but I know there are areas out there like that, somewhere

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    A canoe bigger than 16' can be hard to paddle solo. I have thought towing a second canoe with 2 paddlers in the first might be easier.

    But, I have never towed a canoe behind one so I am not sure how well that works.

    Any comments on that?

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Samwe
    On small water it's kind of a hassle to tow a canoe but doable but be very careful this can be dangerous especially on big lakes and rivers.

    PS Guided for canoeing and Kayaking for many years. Former competitive surf kayaker and build canoe's and Kayak's
    BHA Member
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    The 3 fold way: Every step we take as we walk through life effects, our family, our comunity and ourselves. One should walk thoughtfuly.

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    I certainly no expert on canoes; however, I think one of the biggest poblems with going solo in a tandem canoe is being able to balance the canoe and being in a position to best use what strokes you can use. I find just turning the canoe around and sitting backwards on the forward seat doesn't get me to where I want to sit in the canoe. This is made even worse with molded in butt slots.

    When we ordered our Mad River Explorer we talked at length with the dealer about how we would use the canoe and thought I would be going solo plenty. He suggested an extra thwart be installed. When the canoe arrived he said the factory had installed a white water thwart, a better and more expensive option. This was a slightly slanted board about 3" wide fitted lower than the seats just aft of the center. It's not to sit on, but to lean the back of the butt against while being on my knees in the bottom of the canoe. The canoe has good balance and I seem to have good control when in solo mode.

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    Lots of work - I know firsthand. I doubt it's a whole lot worse than moose anywhere, though...

    Once you get the sucker to the trails, it's really pretty easy - the really (REALLY) crappy part is packing over the off-trail soft ground. Trail packing is just time-consuming, but it's so flat in there that it's not all that hard.

    You'll want to get off the beaten paths a bit, but unfortunately that means walking in thick spruce/brush or soft moss (or both). The moss is uphill both ways type stuff.

    You'll ferry one moose in two trips across water, in general. In the right canoe (17.5' + with high freeboard), it can be done in one.

    -JV

  16. #16
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Unit 15 moose hunt

    This can be a pretty good hunt if you plan to take your time.
    The guys that have 3 days to do the trip,, and want to go back in several lakes,, are the guys that don't enjoy this trip..
    If you don't have a calendar controlling your life,, ( at least too much),, you can do pretty good,,
    Now here is my experience...
    Calling is about the best thing you can do in this area.
    Calling does not get into full swing until later in the hunt..
    I prefer the last few days....
    Last year we had some2 nice fella's rent a canoe and gear and do the upper swanson river they went in from the paddle lake and portaged straight away to the river.. this took a full day...
    When they got down to Swanson river,, they were surprised to see that the river was so shallow and full of beaver dams and dead falls...
    They dragged the canoes and paddled,, dragged and paddled..
    finally they got to McClain lake.. ( they had the cabin reserved)...
    Someone was in the cabin.. and other people on the lake camping..
    they kicked out the squatters and stayed only one night.. and then left to go down stream.. ( they had 4 nights reserved)..
    I got a cell phone call from a guy that found service along the swanson river road that these two guys were waiting for me to come pick them up early at the take out..
    I went out and got them..
    they were very disapointed..
    I suggested that I send them to an area that would have little if any people using it.... A lake area that was not on the trail system, but within the Refuge system.. ( I did not plan the Swanson river trip for them, that was something they dreamed up themselves. This time it just did not work out)..
    I told them that this new place.. they would have to walk over a mile with no trail to follow,, just the map and GPS...
    >>Without giving this area up >>>> They were able to call in 3 moose, with one of the 3 being a legal 50 inch plus bull...
    they shot it ,, and it jumped in the lake and died..
    they spent a full day working on the moose.. and then came out of the system over a 2 day hike out....They hauled about 80 lbs per trip...
    They used a leap frog method I suggested.. ( use this with your canoe load of meat too... just do more trips... Don't over load)
    What you do.. is to load up with meat (No huge loads).. and walk 400 yds..
    put down the meat. and go back for anouther load..
    bring all of the moose to that point and do it again.. and again.. and again.. ( remember the cape and horns always come last as per ethics and the Reg's)
    You can usually keep the bears from wrestling the meat from you if you keep it in meat bags and cover it at night with a good tarp,, tucked in and around the meat to keep the smell from getting out and around..
    The bears will usually find the carcass and hang out with it for a few days,, so this way you are away from the gut pile and the strongest drawing card for a bear,,
    anyway..
    it can be done.. and you can do it and enjoy it,, if you don't haul to big of loads..or.. go to far with each load.. and make sure you put your gear and canoe down before you are dead tired...
    I used to haul those 100 lb pack loads and go until I was about to die,, and then get up and go again.....
    Its stupid and hard on your body to do this.. you will pay for it later in life..
    You impress no-one by hauling huge loads... Especially your bulging Disk's in your back.....
    anyway...
    You can do it,, you can be successful and you can have a great time...
    We have had several people have success in the canoe system over the years... and we have had some people not have success....
    The main thing though is..... Get out.. do it safely, and have the greatest time of your life..
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Default Moose River

    I have been thinking of doing this only going upstream from Sterling on the Moose and then floating out when I am done. Never been on the Moose yet tho. Does this fill up with other hunters since it appears to be fairly straightforward access to Moosehorn?

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    I've never gone up the Moose, but I have come down. I can tell you that it took us about 10 hrs to do the 16ish miles down from Swan. I kept watching for the little creek that goes up to Moosehorn but missed it. Talked to a couple of guys that say it's not passable with a canoe.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  19. #19
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Moose horn

    the stream from Moose horn is way to small to float a canoe or any size.
    I like the way you think though..
    That is not a bad plan..
    The Moose horn lake is less than a half a mile from the Moose river,, ( as the crow flies )..
    If you just take your time, use your GPS as your guide. Make sure you pick a little higher ground,, you can portage to Moose horn..
    here is an idea..
    You can use a small motor to get you up the moose river..at least to the (non motor part).
    Portage to the lake.. plan on a few hours or more..
    go easy and deliberate..
    you will have the place to your self I believe.. Or would hope,,lol.
    then when you get a moose ... take a full day to get it back over to the moose river and then paddle out .. ( small loads )
    It will be a good work out.. but its a good cheap hunt, and maybe a successful one at that..
    http://kenai.fws.gov/overview/maps/pdf/swanlake.pdf
    http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=...83&layer=DRG25
    Max
    Last edited by Alaskacanoe; 12-26-2007 at 19:36. Reason: add map
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Default Thanks for the info

    Thanks Max and Vance. I wasn't actually planning on paddling to Moosehorn anyways. Figued on camping along it somewhere and hunting the brush around Moosehorn and Clam. If I get nothing thats alright too just being out somewhere off the beaten path is good enough.

    If I don't buy a canoe by breakup I'll be getting a hold of you Max to rent one. I'd like to get in earlier and check the area out.

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