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Thread: first alaska hunt; thank you!

  1. #1
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    Default first alaska hunt; thank you!

    Just want to thank all of you for your help and for welcoming a few of us from the lower 48. My friend Mike and I came up for a 24 day adventure that was our first visit to Alaska.
    We fished for a week on the way to Fairbanks to start our moose/caribou combo. (another story) From there we flew to Ft Yukon and then on up to the Brooks range for a 2 week float. On sept 2 Kirk (our pilot) took us in with 2 trips and supplied us with NRS self bailers.
    Heard alot of wolves the first 4 days but never saw them. We were there for an adventure and to gather some meat. We took a small caribou on day 4 and started trying to eat it all! Keeping meat cold was a chore, I dont need to tell you all how warm it was. Did alot of photography and fishing untill day 10.
    Got lucky and found a bedded moose at 3 pm and stalked him to within 50 yards. MIke made a perfect heart shot and we started the butchering process. Moose was 58 inches. Worked on it till 11pm and had all meat in tag bags (worth the $) and layed across the willows. We moved the head about 50 yards from the carcas and packed out 1 load of meat each. Next morning we went in the quarter mile and made a careful aproach and continued packing out meat. By 6 pm we had all meat and caped the head and were back at camp. Never saw a bear. We called Kirk on the sat phone to see if he could come in a day early as it was so warm.(high 60's day/ 30's at night). We were tired from doing what we had to do to keep meat cold. Next day we did 26 line of sight miles to the take-out (35 river miles). Kirk came on time and the next day we were in Fairbanks at the processor.
    This was our first trip to Alaska and a real thrill. I say it was a do it yourself hunt but the truth is this forum was a big source of information and conections. All of you helped us on this hunt and we thank you.
    Ill try to figure out how to post the pix and congrats to all who got what you wanted out of this season.
    Dave
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    Default a few more pix

    lights and small bou
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  3. #3
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    Default more pix

    backstrap, dripped spit on my keyboard
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    Default sorry for all the posts

    havent fiqured out multiple picture sites yet, sorry
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  5. #5
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Dave - Wow, what a hunt you two had! It sounds like all of your planning paid off. I can't imagine doing something like that on your first trip up, but you made it happen. That is a fantastic moose, but what I really love is the aurora shot with the tent. That is one of the best pictures I've ever seen - thanks for sharing!

    Congratulations!

    -Brian

  6. #6
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Congrats to a fine hunt to both of you .Glad that your first visit/hunt was full of memories that will last a lifetime .
    How did you like the rafts ??

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  7. #7

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    Great pictures guys. Those Northern Lights alone were worth the trip. I wish I could have gone along with you. Nice bull moose and a good bou. Did you take two rafts and did you like them? Did all your meat come out okay or did you lose some to spoilage?

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    Default raft evaluation/meat

    Thanks for the coments, it means alot. I have about a dozen good photos of he aroura, dont know how to post them all.
    The rafts were NRS self bailers with frames, about 14 foot. We each had our own raft, they also had suspended webbing front and back. The meat would lay on the mesh about 1 foot off the bottom so it never got wet. It was nice not to have to bail water. Cleaning sand from the boat was as simple as splashing water with a 5 gallon bucket.
    Plenty of room and lots of tie downs. We brought alot of nrs straps so we could strap everything down nice and neat.
    We kept the caribou for 8 days and the moose meat for 3. It all came out in good shape. We ate some bou but still delivered 768 lbs of caribou and moose to the processor(with leg bones).
    Fish and Game were there in the refuge and checked us out. They verified that we did get all the meat and it was well cared for. We photographed and videoed the carcas when we were done for proof.
    The details of the caribou meat care are as follows: Put on the river at 530 am with meat in raft, tarp loosly over top for shade. stop at 11 for long lunch. We would put the meat in heavy duty garbage bags and suspend them under the raft so they were in the cold water and in the shade. Around 5 we would put it back in the raft under the tarp (not in the plastic bags). We would float and hunt till about 9 then stop for the night. AT night we would lay it out next to the river on a log platform we would make from what we could find and cover with tarp to keep the dew off. We would prop the tarp up a couple of feet off the meat for good circulation, kind of like a rain fly.
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    Default tarp deal

    this is how we did the tarps. the picture is from the last night on the river.
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    Default fish and game photos

    By the way, i mentioned that we ran across fish and game. They had a photogapher with them and we were looking at each others stuff. Turns out they wanted a copy of my pics to add to a show that they are doing on anwr. It should be showing around Anchorage this fall sometime.
    NOt really hunting related but I just had to tell somebody!! thanks for listening.
    Dave

  11. #11
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Dave

    Thanks for the raft update and more photos .

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  12. #12

    Default Questions???

    You mentioned 768 lbs of meat, with leg bones. Is that accurate or a typo? I assume by the pics, that was for three caribou and one moose.
    What were the instate costs of the trip?
    Nice Grayling BTW

  13. #13
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    Sorry, typo, should be 668. we weighed it on the scales at wright air service seperatly from our gear and paid 48 cents per pound. Thanks for catching that.
    The instate costs if you include our week of fishing and the gear that we purchased up there was about 16,000. This includes two guided days of fishing, the rental vehicles, flights, hotels, laundry, everything. Some of it still hasnt been paid as we are waiting for the meat from the processer.
    If we just went straight to Fairbanks on comercial airline and only hunted we could have done it for 12-13 g's.
    Backstraps for dinner...Priceless!
    dave

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    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default weight?

    That seems a bit low last year I took in 802lbs of moose meat from my moose (he was a hawg) but still seems low for all? Hate to bring it up dont want to be one who gets this going.
    How did you like that tent? was it a XWT tent from cabelas ? congrats on your trip it really is a big accomplishment you guys undertook again congrats!

  15. #15

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    It looks to me like they took 2 wolf kill type caribou heads. There fore one young bull caribou and 1 moose. I hope my assumption is correct, if not the poundage seems light.

    Awesome pics, and sounds like an amazing trip.

  16. #16
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I thought someone told me Kirk Sweetsir didn't do hunters. Must have been wrong. Cool trip, congrats
    Was this a pristine ventures plan?
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  17. #17
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    Utarded is correct in that we found a few old heads that we kept. They helped keep space between the meat and the tarp. We took one small bou and one moose. I had one moose tag that went unfilled.

    You guys are also right in that it was a small caribou. Check out the pictures and give me an honest opinion on our meat salvage. To be honest, I dont get hung up in the body size of animals much. Dont get me wrong I do like a nice set of horns, but the body size can vary a bit and I just dont seem to care, unless the animal looks unhealthy. If the animal is legal and the situation is right, it is usually about meat at that point.

    Not knowing much about moose, I would say it was not that big either.

    As for Kirk, I dont know if he takes many hunters. Mike knows someone that knows him but he didnt say anything that would make me think he was doing us a favor or anything. He sure knew how to load his plane with meat and horns, he had obviously done it before!

    The tent was great. It is a Marmot 2 man 4 season tent, backpacker style. It is small and light, in the 4 to 5 lb range. We do a fair amount of winter camping and this tent has held up well. We each brought one just in case but never set up the spare tent.

    For those of you that do river trips, I found one of the most useful things to have on the trip was an empty 5 gallon bucket. I cant tell you how many uses this item had but it was alot. I never saw it on anyones packing list but it is in mine now!! We used it to help with bathing, rinsing off the boats, as a seat, to hold water for filtering. as a trash container. as a creel to hold fish for dinner, the list goes on.

    Thanks for the feedback!
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  18. #18
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    Default weight seems right to me

    say 150 for the caribou leaving 518 for the moose. i think jeff;s moose was truly a hawg if it was 802. i don't think i've ever seen one that big.

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