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Thread: 2006 float hunt

  1. #1

    Default 2006 float hunt

    Just got back from our 9 day of float hunt for moose with the best hunting partner I have ever had the priviledge to hunt with. Day one we left Fairbanks with Sean of Wright Air Service for our remote destination to begin our float hunt. Roughly 15 minutes from our drop off point we started spotting moose in the meadows and creekbeds, several bulls and a few cows. One bull was an absolute brute,with an antler spread of well over 60 inches. After being dropped off we got the raft aired up and gear loaded and proceeded to float downriver. We didn't float all the far, just far enough to get away from all the air traffic that was in the area. Set up camp in a very nice location and got a good nights sleep. Awoke the next morning to some fairly warm temps and of course, bugs. While standing around drinking our morning coffee the same bull i described earlier steps out of the willows and gives me a full frontal view of his headgear, massive is all I can say. I ask my buddy what he wants to do and he thinks on it abit and he decides to pass on the bull for fear of having the meat go bad before we can get back to town. I know this is probably one of the hardest things he will ever have to do but we both agree, it's the right thing to do. A few hours later we hear 3 shots downriver from our camp, needless to say I was quite surprised to hear them thinking we were the only one's on this part of the river. 15 minutes later a Beaver lands not to far from where the shooting was, then 30 minutes later it takes off. Feeling dejected from all the shooting and air traffic we pack up camp and float 4-5 miles further on and find a good location to put in a camp and a great spot to glass for moose which is camp 2. After glassing all afternoon and early the next morning we decide to move to camp spot 3 which ended up on a nice little island surrounded by thick timber and high brush. My partner Scott decides to get in a quick bath before settling in for the night and he handles it well for someone not accustomed to the temps of Alaskan rivers. Day 4 finds us floating once again and we find a beautiful meadow with a pond on the far end so we set up for some calling with proved to be fruitless but I did manage to find the skull and antlers of a very nice bull that had died a few years earlier. We continue on with our float and enjoying the warm weather, at least for floating. We round a corner going to our right when a cow and calf come running out of the brush to cross the river but we surprised them and the head back the way they came. 20 minutes later as we are rounding an island while I am searching downriver and to my right, Scott yells "Johnny, look left" so I look left, he yells again "No, more left" so I look more left and there he is, walking down a creekbed right at us. Scott wants me to jump out of the boat and shoot him but it is moving way to fast and it's a little to deep. So we get the boat to shore and i settle the cross hairs on his shoulder but was so excited i jerked the trigger a little and shot behind the shoulder, hitting the liver, the bull continues to walk then stops, I shoot again hitting him squarely in the shoulders, he just stands there looking at us. Finally, i put the 3rd shot in his neck and he drops like ton of bricks, dead. I was so excited I couldn't stop shaking, after shooting a few moose over the years you'd think that it wouldn't affect a person that way but it just proved to me that the excitement was still there. After much celebration and picture taking, with some video added, we went to work. After 3 hours of cutting and bagging meat we finally got it all in the boat but quickly realized we should have put the boat back in the water before loading the meat as it was pretty difficult moving it fully loaded, a rookie mistake but a lesson learned. On to camp 5 which ended up about 3 hours further downriver on a gravel bar. The next few days were pretty uneventful, with recovering from all the hard work and the floating we stayed in camp 5 for 2 days. We kept a serious eye on our meat and changed bags as needed but all was going well, the meat was cool and the weather was decent for camping. Our last 20+ miles on day 7 we use to float and scout for another moose but have no luck locating one for Scott. We arrive at pickup spot and camp 6 2 days earlier than planned so we make the call for an early pickup which is later confirmed as a go for Saturday afternoon. We use the rest of the day to set up camp and get things organized for pickup. The next morning I awake to brush and tree's breaking 50 yards from our tent so I grab my rifle and wake up Scott who asks me whats wrong, then we hear a very large tree snap in half. I am about to come unglued being trapped in the tent but we sit tight and it remains very quiet. After 15 minutes I decide I need to go check the meat, which is still there and in good shape. We both walk down the bank from the tent and 50 yards away we find some very fresh grizzly tracks and see where he was running, jumped up on the bank and walked into the woods. This was the only encounter with a bear during our entire trip, though we did some lots of bear and wolf tracks while floating. We ended up with over 530 lbs of meat at the butcher and another 40 or so at home. I know this is a little long so I'll end it here with this parting shot. Thanks to Scott, my hunting partner for making this trip with me, an experience I will never forget. Thanks to Pristine Ventures for setting up the hunt and all the raft equipment, Larry, you run a first rate shop!!
    And finally, thanks to all the guys at Wright Air for getting us in and out without a hitch!!

  2. #2
    Member Spanman's Avatar
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    Glad you had a great hunt John, I look forward to Pictures!!!!!

  3. #3
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Cool story. Sounds fun. Pics?
    There is regular statements here about how much meat is on a moose. Sounds like you got a fairly accurate weight, since you took most of yours to the butcher..........is that right? So is the 530 figure all MEAT? Did that include any bones, such as ribs?
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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    That is one GREAT story! Congrats on an outstanding hunt and post a pic or two when you get a chance.

    Also a big SALUTE for passing that big bull early - a tough call to make.

  5. #5

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    MT, we deboned the ribs and it went in with the burger meat, that meat weight was hanging with the bone. That bull was one of the smaller bodied bulls over the 50 inch range that I have ever shot. He had been attacked by what I am assuming was a bear due to the large chunk of meat that was torn from his right hind quarter. We put a lot of effort into making sure the meat came out in good shape and the hard work paid off.

  6. #6
    Member Spanman's Avatar
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    Did you use the T.A.G. bags as discussed in an earlier thread? How did they perform in your opinion?

  7. #7
    Member FishingBum's Avatar
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    Great Story, look forward to seeing the pictures posted. Sure sounded like a lot of fun.

  8. #8

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    Spano, we did use the T.A.G. bags and they worked great, we washed them a few times during the trip and they dried in less than 2 hours. Breathability is awesome and they are long enough to cover the front shoulder of even the biggest bull moose. A huge thumbs up!!

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up

    Awesome. Congrats and enjoy basking in the memories.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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  11. #11
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Congratulations!!

    Nice work Guys! Sounds like you had a great time and it didn't take a ton of work...20yd hull isn't bad!

    Nice pics on the other site.
    bnr

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