Swanson River Rd
Our trip is getting closer and closer. I'm still looking for guidence please any info would really help. I'm looking at Swanson River Road as well as Falls Creek Road, anyone able to give any info. I plan on calling and glassing mostly. We could rent a boat and float the Swanson. My wife and I have never hunted in Alaska before so we could sure use your help. Any advice on hunting moose would sure help out. Also do you recommend that we should get a satellight phone. We have a cell phone and a GPS. We will be staying in Sterling in a Cabin as a home base.
What we have learned so far from the books and DVD's and your help is.
Don't take a moose more then 1 mile from transportation
Take rope, Bug Goop, wench of some sort, tarp, Boning knife, skinning knife, GPS
Burn all food waste and packaging.
Don't guess on spread, go by brow tines
Remove meat from kill site to try to avoid bear
Hang meat, keep dry and cool
Keep proof of sex attached to main body part
Spray bags and meat with Citric acid
Call morning and evenings Mostly, then wait wait wait Also raking
Anything else, or is there anything I've misunderstood that I need corrected on.
Once again, Thanks
Ed and Debbie
First of all you have to
determine the ownership of the land you'll be hunting on. Assuming it's ok to hunt and you have the correct licensing, then you need to decide if this is a sightseeing trip with a rifle, or a hunting trip with a car and a cabin.
The liklehood of scoring off the road in the Kenai is slim. Not impossible, but less than 50% I'd say..maybe a lot less than 50%.
To improve your odds, get off the road. Find some ponds with moose sign and concentrate there. Well blazed trails will just take you to someone else. If you can, I would urge you to fly the area ahead of time. See where the ponds are, see how to get there. Get some GPS readings, sketches on the map, maybe you'll see some animals. Note the areas where you see them and then look for similar terrains. You may not spot individual animals, but you could see likley habitat.
The road will be crowded, if you're back off the road a couple of ridges things will be better. The quick look at your projected area doesn't show much terrain...any place you can get higher than surrounting terrain and glass will be to your advantage.
The longer you hunt, the more you'll learn...more than anyone can tell you here. Good Luck! Post some pictures after the hunt.
There are several camp grounds and rec sites on Swanson River road. Some of which you have to be a certain distance (1/4 mile I think) away from before you're legal to hunt.
Since that whole area is on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, call the refuge headquarters or stop in there to get the scoop on their regulations. (907) 262-7021.
257wby described things out there pretty well. It's a heavily travelled and road hunted area. Not much in the way of spots out there for you to get elevation and glass a big area. There are areas you can walk in to that open up a bit (lakes, bogs, etc.) and let you glass some.
All the information so far is great. I'll only add this - get as far away from others as you can and still get the meat out. If you're lucky, the temperature will be cool which helps with meat salvage.
Not to rain on your parade, but that is a difficult area to hunt, with success rates of less than 20%. I've hunted it off an on unsuccessfully several times.
Get a copy of the Kenai Canoe Lake Trails book, it is an essential resource. The past several years have been so warm that the rut typically kicks in after the season ends, so calls aren't terribly effective. It is very difficult to find areas to glass from.
A canoe is pretty much essential to travel that country. You can rent canoes in Sterling. The catch 22 is the best area for hunting moose is far enough back that packing out the moose is a serious endevour. I know a guy who took a nice moose out of that area several years back. He and his wife took 2 1/2 days to get the meat out to the trailhead.
You'll also be competing against folks that are scouting the area from the air. Planes can't land back in there, but they can find the came, then canoe right to it.
With all that said, some of my best times have spent camping, fishing, and not finding moose in the KNWR. There are quite a few spruce hens back there, and most lakes have nice rainbow trout.
I know that guy too...lol
Last year I went in to the same place and didn't see a thing - it was too warm. The fresh sign just wasn't there, so I think the moose moved on a bit. LOTS of real estate back in there.
Bears, too. I lucked out and didn't have any problems packing my meat, but another fellow I know lost a bag of meat to a brownie, and he counts himself lucky that he didn't have a confrontation.
Teamwork and commitment to the cause is key - I'd still be there if it weren't for my wife. That was an awful lot of work, but I'd do it again tomorrow...
I was on the Swanson River road last night with my Father-in-Law. Saw three black bears, one sub legal moose and LOTS of road hunters. My brother has gotten a moose from that area almost every year for the last 10 years. You have to get off of the road.
I've ordered the Kenai Canoe Lake Trails book just now from Amazon, it should be here by August 18th. That will give us a little time to research it before we come.
I don't want to road hunt, I've never cared for it. Just doesn't give the same feel, don't get me wrong if I saw one on the way I'd be following it. but I enjoy the outdoors, fresh air and awesome sights. It's so much more about the experience than the kill. I know having my wife with me limits how far we can go but she's a real trooper. She helped me pack out a buffalo, many elk and a few deer. She even helped me skin a snake. I know, I know, I'm lucky. I've packed out a lot of elk by myself but I'm told that Moose is no comparison. When we packed out the buff we had 2 guys and 2 girls so there was four of us and it was still quite a job. Truthfully the hardest part for my wife is that she is super afraid of bears. I've tagged a few and it scared the living daylights out of her. I've taken most of my animals with a bow and she really was worried the bear would charge us. Believe me our bear here is nothing like yours. My average bear is 400lbs., I bet that sounds like a baby to you.....
Well thanks for any and all info, we are both very thankful. We can't believe how helpful you guys are to us nonresidents. It speaks very highly about the level of quaility the people of Alaska are. When we came for a short sight seeing visit last year around the Knik area it was just the same, people the way God ment us to be. Helpful and kind to each other. It seems harder and harder to find true honest straight forward ethical people in the world today. But not in Alaska, it's overwhelming for us. We both keep looking at the site every few hours because we just can't believe the input and concern you have for us who are strangers to you. Thank you, and I really mean thank you so much.
Ed and Deb
I used to float the Swanson in the 80's. We would go in there on the 15th in the canoe. In 6 trips we took 5 moose. We traveled light. Not a lot of camping spots. You will need to be dropped of and picked up at the other end. Have fun!
PM me for info . . .
I can give you an option to go out on foot if you don't mind walking a bit. Send me a pm and I'll respond. I don't want to post on here for obvious reasons. Wherever you go, be aware of bears. I've been hunting out there this week and have seen more bears than moose so far.
Good Luck, DrB
"Take rope, Bug Goop, wench of some sort, tarp, Boning knife,"
If you're lucky to have a trooper for a wife, be careful what you call her... Sorry guys, couldn't resist.
Always take a good wench on a hunting trip...
...buI think a winch or come-a-long would be handy too.
Seriously, that's a beautiful area, or at least it was the last time I was in it. I used to float that river in a canoe every summer during the 80's. Lots of fish and bears then, the occasional moose.
Thanks for bringing back good memories!
Average bear shoud be in the 400-600lb range, there just is more of them! Take a shotgun with Black Magic slugs if you bow hunt!
Alaskans might gripe about visitors, but 90% of the people up here will help you-99% outside of Anchorage!