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Thread: Moose Dead In The Water

  1. #1

    Default Moose Dead In The Water

    Two of us are flying via 'Cub to an area N & E of Fairbanks to hunt moose in September. We are working hard to get in shape, and to keep our gear list under control. It will be a total DIY hunt with traditional archery gear. My question is this:

    How concerned do you think we should be about having a moose die in the water?

    Do you have recommendations for how to handle this situation sans come-along or winch?

    Many thanks,

    K Dill

  2. #2
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Don't shoot!

    Thats the first obvious answer. Yes you can take a small come a long with some rope. I think that I also read in Mike Starhan's book that if it was to happen that you could put a hole in the rib cage and use your air pump to pump up the chest and float the moose to some shallower water to make it managable. My vote would be not to shoot

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default

    Not to be a wise-acre but the first rule of moose hunting is "Don't kill one in the water!"

    In all seriousness try and get one on good ground--of course even a well hit moose can go far enough from good ground to expire in the nasty.

    Since you're flying in I would economize weight somewhere else and bring the come-along. You could improvise a winch by running rope in a loop from the moose to a stout tree and twisting the rope with a stick, but that takes more rope than the come-along weighs.

    Moose hunt + Alaska = come-along in the gear

    If it is where you can get to it, say waist deep or less, butcher it where it is and deal with the mess. (If you're lucky you'll be a clear running gravelly stream and not waay out in a muskeg.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default scuba

    Just bring a facemask and snorkel with ya!

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    Default

    Went hunting with a guy in Fairbanks once and we seen a legal bull standing in the water up to his knees which didnt seem to deep till we realized how long the longer leg of a moose really is.
    My friend said, "Don't worry I will shoot him high in the lungs and he will walk out". He shot high alright, hit it in the spine and dropped it.
    In all my hunting experiences in my life I never had any as regrettable as butchering that moose.

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    Default

    I have heard horror stories from hunters who killed a moose in water. A moose will sink to the bottom. If the bottom is soft mud its antlers and or legs will anchor the moose to the bottom. Just think of a 1000# anchor.

    I know two guys who had a moose die standing up in a swamp lake. They had to saw down the back bone and cut off its legs in order to get it out. With a hoard of mosquitos flying overhead. They never said if they ate the meat soaking in swamp water full of guts, blood, etc.

    A come-a-long will help; if you have enough rope and a strong enough anchor. A guy at work shot a moose at the edge of Moon Lake. The moose ran to the middle of the lake and died. He said it took half the village of Tannacross to get the moose out.

  7. #7

    Default

    First off, moose float very well. There is no need to "poke a hole in the rib cage and pump air into it" I can't imagine how you would do that to be honest.

    A device called a rop-a-long is a great tool. It is a just like a come-a-long except you can put an infinite length of rope through it. My bro-in-law dumped a moose in a beaver pond a few years back and it was cake to retreive. After attaching the rope to the antlers I pulled the moose across the water merely by hand as if it were a boat. Once I got it to land bro-in-law started cranking the rope-a-long while I helped to keep the antlers from digging into the ground. It went rather quickly and easily.

    I bought mine at AIH along with the proper rope.

    Note: if it is a large antlered moose I suggest attaching the rope to the rear hocks for reeling it in, as the antlers would be less prone to digging in.

  8. #8
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Pulling A Bull Out of The River

    Dennis Confer (Hunt Alaska Now) agrees you can get a moose to float a little higher by pumping air into the chest cavity through a 1-inch incision. He assumes you have a raft pump. If you have a raft, also can pull head onto the raft as much as possible while the other hunter rows... Oh, he starts out with "Make sure the bull is dead".

    Mike Strahan's book (p.234) has a great diagram for using sturdy saplings and a come-along to leverage the heavy end up and out of the water enough to shift the back end around...working in stages to move a moose to where you want.

    It's interesting that Mr. Strahan's book is dedicated to Jay Massey, who I think was a highly regarded traditional bowhunter. Good luck with your traditional archery hunt.

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    Default Noatak River Moose

    I shot a nice 53 inch bull about of a mile off of the Noatak River 3 years ago and it proceeded to take off at a dead run for the Noatak. By the time I caught up with it was way across the river and heading for the mountains. As luck would have it a boat was making its way down river and the moose turned back to avoid the outboard. I was able to position myself with in 75 yards of where it would leave the river. The river bank was the thickest alder and willow thicket I have ever seen so I decided to drop him on the river bank as he got out of the water. Nice thought! I dropped him and he fell backwards into hip deep water.

    Long story short it was 5 hours of wet and cold work to butcher him in the Noatak. We removed the s, dropped the gut pile and then were able to rope him on to the river bank to finish the job. It turned out to be a great experience and a nice bull but Dont drop one in the water!

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    Something to be avoided for sure with moose. As far as other alaska big game animals like caribou, many thousands of them have met their end in lakes. Kayakers with spears, one thrust behind the last rib and near the spine, move quickly on to the next swimming boo. Lakes filled with dead floating boo and plenty of hard work ahead.

  11. #11
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Good Advice

    My last moose in Alaska was shot in the shallows of an oxbow lake - BY MISTAKE. I really thought he was standing on dry land. So much for thinking.

    Fortunately someone had cached a canoe nearby and I was able to remove the front quarters, clean out the gut, and saw the moose in half. After that, two of us could drag the parts of the moose to shore to finish the job. Fortunately the water wasn't freezing and the job turned out to be less of a pain than I thought.

    However, from now on I will carry a come-along. One word of caution - either have steel cable or Kevlar rope on the come-along. Something that doesn't stretch.

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    Default Bull in the water

    I shot my first bull on dry ground. He got his revenge by promptly running into a nearby beaver pond to die. The beaver pond was about a quarter mile across and the bull died about 200 yards from shore. I had to wade/swim out to get him and yard him back. I was able to pull him up a beaver run near the lodge. From there we hooked the 4 wheeler winch to him and inched him out of the swamp. It was hard enough work to clean him like that. Without the winch it would have been miserable. Bring the comealong.

  13. #13

    Default no win situation

    If you shoot a moose in the water your hunting companions will give you endless crap, force you to do the wet work, and still take their share of the meat. Conversely, if you don't shoot the moose, those same buddies will call you a fool, boast how they shoot moose all the time in the water, and give a dozen proven methods of beaching the animal.
    Either way you lose.

  14. #14
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    Wink one thing is for sure...

    if you have a moose die in the water you will be amazed at how fast you will decide that a european mount will be just fine. <GRIN>
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  15. #15

    Default

    If you're trying to save weight, bring some webbing, static rope, and 5 or so pulleys and set up a mechanical advantage system if you are unfortunate enough to shoot a moose in a body of water. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulley

    If you use this, keep the number of pulleys you use to the minimum you need, and bring plenty of rope. Practice it before you have to use it, it is easy to set up, but doing it in the dark in water with frozen fingers is a whole different story!

  16. #16
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    Default

    Rope-Along x2! They have the correct rope at AIH and it works better than a come along cause you don't have to start and stop 5000 times to re extend the come-along to pull the animal another 3'.

  17. #17
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    Default No joking matter

    If your buddy shoots one in the water, just make sure you dont make fun of him. My father did that and the next three moose he shot all died in rivers or swamps. Karma sucks like that.

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    Two years ago partner shot a Moose. I had told him to take a shoulder shot to drop it where it stood. No, He had to take a heart lung shot. Moose jumped onto river and started swimming. Died in the middle, started floating down river. Partner jumped into raft and chased it. We broke camp and followed. Found him a mile down river with Moose lying in two feet of water. We managed to get it into six inches of water, and that was as far as we could move it. "Dressing out that Moose standing in water was horrible. It only took three hours, but our feet was numb for the rest of the day from standing in that cold water.

    I agree a rope-a-long is far better than a come-a-long. Just takes big rope.
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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    Mike Strahan's book (p.234) has a great diagram for using sturdy saplings and a come-along to leverage the heavy end up and out of the water enough to shift the back end around...working in stages to move a moose to where you want.

    This is a pretty interesting concept. I wonder if it would really work like they show it working or if it would be another one of things that looks good on paper, but...
    I don't have any experience with the rope-along but a friend of mine uses one and doesn't go moose hunting without it. From what I understand this is the kind of rope you want to use.http://www.amsteelblue.com/index.cfm

  20. #20

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    If you have to butcher one in the water, a twelve inch "french knife" works great for removing the legs (with the hide on). Essentially follows the procedure where the animal is butchered without removing the entrails. Once out of the water can be skinned, cleaned and DRIED.
    Obviously best to avoid working in the water but things happen.
    Good luck
    Joe (Ak)

    Quote Originally Posted by K Dill View Post
    Two of us are flying via 'Cub to an area N & E of Fairbanks to hunt moose in September. We are working hard to get in shape, and to keep our gear list under control. It will be a total DIY hunt with traditional archery gear. My question is this:

    How concerned do you think we should be about having a moose die in the water?

    Do you have recommendations for how to handle this situation sans come-along or winch?

    Many thanks,

    K Dill

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