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Thread: Unit 25C (no) Moose

  1. #1
    Member Diesel Nut's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Wasilla, AK

    Default Unit 25C (no) Moose

    I hunted about 9 miles off the Steese Hwy in GMU 25C this year. Spent a lot of summer weekends on banzai scouting runs and found an area that had a bunch of moose sign but little human sign. On several trips I saw a few cows with calves, and a few without calves, so I figured either there were bears or wolves in the area or there were cows ripe for the rut.

    The rest of my hunting party (Dad, brother, and a friend of the family) drove up from Wisconsin arriving the 6th. We got camp all set-up that night and hit the woods the next morning.

    We spent eight days hunting hard from just before sun-up to twilight every night.

    Picture one doesn't really do this area justice, but it's overlooking a stream intersection. There's one immediately below and another on the opposite side about 280yds away. The hill slopes upward on the left and the pine trees cover about 20 acres total. Moose sign all over the place. I sat in a glorious blueberry pasture and ate my fill for lunch every day I hunted it. Interestingly enough, we saw absolutely zero bear sign. No tracks, no scat, no diggings, nada!

    Picture two is a closed valley with another stream running along the bottom. Willow trees of all shapes and sizes, thick and thin, and another pine forest for shade, shelter and cover. Another blueberry patch, but no berries left in this one. We could glass over 1000 yds in two different directions. Moose had traveled the same trails for so long they were trampled down into the sponge-tundra. Tracks all over the place, and quite a few beds in the bottoms too. No bear sign here either though, which strikes me as kinda weird.

    Unfortunately, we also saw no shootable moose. Between four hunters we saw five cows, a gorgeous coyote (I regret now letting him go) three rabbits and four ptarmigan. Not a very good showing for more than 340hrs of field time. I don't understand what we did wrong, as there was sign all over the place and we hunted hard all morning, noon and night. Guess it just wasn't our year

    Maybe I'll be that guy who sees the 70" bull on the side of the highway, dropping him with a shot taken just off the shoulder of the road so I can roll him into the open bed of the truck and drive directly to the processor. After hiking three miles every morning up these hills on the stupid sponge-moss, and slipping/falling/walking by braille three miles back every night, I gotta get something more than sore muscles and an appreciation for nature's beauty

  2. #2
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Soldotna, Alaska, United States


    What a bummer, I had a similiar situation this year also. I hunted a spot with a lot of tracks, but the moose just didn't seem to be in the area at the time, I think they must be there earlier in the year and the tracks I am seeing are a little older than they appear. This is the third time we have hunted this spot and have yet to take a moose there. Next year I am not even going to mess around at that spot.

  3. #3
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Jun 2007


    There was a place that some friend's of mine found and told it was the bomb of a place, tracks everywhere, cows hangin' here and there some with Calves. Went with them for a scout trip and as soon as we were getting close I gave them the bad news. I hunted the same area before and during "The Season" the moose would move out. The area is more of a young cow/calf area and come Sept they move. To where I don't know. The area use to be a great spot for that late season December hunt......but Sept forget it. I use to hunt it the last 10 days of the season if I didn't bag anything up North and would never find any fresh sign.

  4. #4
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Default sign

    I don't want to even come close to being confused with someone that is anywhere near an expert in moose hunting or behavior but one thing I have found is that good sign doesn't always mean moose come Sept, or lack of sign = no moose.

    I've been lucky enough to be actively involved with the taking of 7 bulls in 5 years and am a big believer in calling (even pre-rut). Initially I learned to call about this time of the year when the season was closed in most areas (I started trying even before I had resident status), less hunters made for a better enviorment to practice in. And I think I kinda figured something else out while doing so; this is also the time of year you should be scouting for next year... instead of doing it when the moose are in different summer areas.

    Just my two bits...


  5. #5


    From what I can tell in those 2 pictures, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of places for them to hide, looks pretty open IMO. Moose need cover and lots of it, sure some get killed out in the open on occasion but they don't feel safe unless they have some cover close by. Find a valley like that with a nice stand of timber nearby and i'd bet you'd see more moose.

    As an aside, the biggest racked live bull moose I ever saw was off the Steese, I was hunting caribou and spotted while sitting behind a large rock to get out of the wind. If I hadn't already made plans prio I would have went back and tried for him. He was less than a mile from the road too.

  6. #6
    Member beautriz66's Avatar
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    Dec 2008

    Default 25C experience

    My son and I hunted 25C on the Yukon, 20+ miles upstream of Circle, from the 13th to the 19th ( I'm nonresident, up from Michigan). Saw a lynx, 1 black bear, and moose SIGN, including a "scrape line" ( or whatever you'd call it in Alaska) made only 20 -30 yards from where we hunted that evening...but made at night.
    We called, busted back into the brush as far as we could, and no moose. Still glad I came. It was a great trip, just...warm, clear "too nice" weather most of the week. Betcha bullwinkle is moving around Now...

  7. #7
    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    camp-go-4-beer fbks

    Default D-NUT i know where u were just from the pic's....

    'hard burn' around there 5 years ago...the moose are there LATE..and they cross thur them hills/mts.. they don't hang ...i've a cabin down the road from there i've stared long and hard at that country..and u wounder why in the world is there so much land/u can see and no game...

  8. #8

    Default feel your pain

    I too hunt the Steese, for the past 4 years. Every year I have scored and I was beginning to think this year I wasn't going to. I hunted 10 straight hard days, and ended up shooting a 2 year old after going down to the creek on the 4 wheeler to wash up. It was 4 pm, he was right off the trail I was riding back to camp on. He did not get away
    All the other years I got them within the first 3-4 days, and in the EXACT same spot, within about 30-40 yds or so.
    In my picture you can see where it is. Notice the pronounced burn line. Moose RARELY ever hang out in that stuff. During my wait this year I saw upwards of 30 cows. A few would come out and wander up in that stuff EARLY in the morning, but just about as soon as I could see through the bino's that it was a moose, they started on their way down back into the cover. The more cover the better! They LOVE having cover near.
    Just because I can see your pics I think I might be able to offer a little advice. I think you are to far up in the hills. I saw many many cows up in the hills, including dang near the summit of some, BUT, only where there was dense cover. The cows are not afraid to come out in midday to feed up there it seems.
    I did see cows in my spot during midday. They were ALWAYS on the move, and quickly too. Poor calves were struggling to keep up. I got lot's of video of their movement.
    Another important aspect. You say you hiked 3 miles everyday to get to your spot. Was it still dark? I get up at 0430 and go sit. It get's cold, but if you are still it makes a big difference. I make it a habit to camp where I hunt. Literally. The little hill I sit on in the pic, the bottom of it is 10 feet from where my tent stays. Getting up before you can clearly make anything out, and camping where you hunt is essential in my eyes. I study and study the terrain the night before so that in the morning I will be able to tell ANY differences in the way it looks. Many times I notice a, "black spot" only to find out it is a moose when it gets light. I will also let out a little secret for the upper Steese area. The magic hour of movement is between 6 and 7. Lot's of movement happens then. Sadly people like to get up and motor up the trail at that time, coffee in hand, radio playing. Irritating....
    Find cover, best is midway up a drainage, i.e. halfway from the Chatanika up your pick of creek to whereabout you hunted this year. Pick your spot, and keep it. Keep waiting, until you feel stupid for staying and looking at nothing. Thats when they come out.
    Be quiet and be still, no hiking around at that time of day. Even on foot we are too loud for them.
    Get up early. Early enough that you feel like you just went to sleep. Like I said I get up at 0430.

    My father-in-law also pulled a moose out of the same spot 2 days after we did last year. A 48 incher. He got his right before sundown. Good for him. I tried hunting then. Didn't like it. Too tired for the next morning, and I really don't want to be cutting up a moose into the nighttime.
    Good luck.

  9. #9


    the pictures again
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Default No moose for me in 25C either...

    N2AK. It sounds like you hunt the way I do in that country. I have a couple spots that offer excellent glassing into spruce and brush valleys as well as natural crossings (saddles with cover). I don't set up a base camp down low and then hunt off a wheeler. I pitch my tent high, above or at brush line, no cooking, no fire, no woodstove, etc. Boil water in the tent for instant breakfast, crawl out at dark thirty and glass, glass, glass... nuthin... Hunt in evening until we cannot see to shoot... still nuthin.... call at night and am, listen, listen, listen..... nuthin.... I've seen bulls in the past up there that gave me the slip but this year in 7 days we did not see a one, no other hunters either except 3 4-wheelers about 5+ miles away on a ridge, but.... we did see 3 Griz in the valleys we were hunting. And, in one area that is usually full of moose sign nothing but griz tracks. Here's my story this year. I did get one of the Griz.

  11. #11
    Member Diesel Nut's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Wasilla, AK


    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    From what I can tell in those 2 pictures, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of places for them to hide, looks pretty open IMO. Moose need cover and lots of it, sure some get killed out in the open on occasion but they don't feel safe unless they have some cover close by. Find a valley like that with a nice stand of timber nearby and i'd bet you'd see more moose.
    The pics don't do the area justice. The pine trees in the first pic cover at least 20 acres, and they're all mature-growth trees, some over 40' tall. The attached pic shows the area from a different POV about 2.5 miles away.

    I think you may be on to something though, as the second area had a small pine growth, and only heavy willow growth for cover. Granted, you could pilot a tank through some of the willows and not be spotted, but you couldn't do it forever, and not very quietly either. We saw and heard animals in the first stand, but nothing in the second, even though it was closest to all the beds we located.

    I think next year, I'll be in the general area, but a little lower down, and much closer to a larger stand of trees.


    You're right most of the region was burned awhile back, but somehow these two areas escaped with trees still remaining.


    We only had a few really early morning hunts where it was still dark when we got to the areas, but we hunted every night until it was too dark to see through the scope. I think I need to give more respect to the morning hunt than I normally do. All the cows we saw in mid-day were moving across the open stuff, but slowed down to graze on new shoots when they got just inside the burnline. The cows we saw near dusk were grazing along in the open without a care in the world. I guess planning on cows to bring bulls isn't a surefire game plan.

    My thanks to everyone for your thoughts and input. I'll use them to plan next year's hunt, hopefully with better results.

    Any thoughts on why there were/are no bears in the area?


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