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Thread: Moose Drop Camp or Float

  1. #1

    Default Moose Drop Camp or Float

    I would like some opinions from any experienced moose hunters out there. For a non-resident party of two, do you think we would have a better chance of success on a drop camp hunt or a river float.

    Thanks Tony

  2. #2
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I don't hunt moose, but do take remote float trips each year in Alaska. If you go that route, shoot me a PM so I can share some thoughts with you. There is no better way to see Alaska than a float trip. In the meanwhile, be sure to buy Mike Strahan's (forum owner) book, "Floathunting Alaska". Incredible resource!! Below are some assorted pics from our trips. Winter time and all, perhaps you have some time to kill. Welcome to the forum man.


    Most pics are from arctic NW, some in SW, a few from SC...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2114408...27567944/show/
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  3. #3
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Nice pics, looked like a great time.

  4. #4
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    I floated and I used Mike's help. I suggest both.
    I can also help answer some questions if you PM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by magnum72576 View Post
    I would like some opinions from any experienced moose hunters out there. For a non-resident party of two, do you think we would have a better chance of success on a drop camp hunt or a river float.

    Thanks Tony
    Both are effective ways to hunt moose, with some different twists. On a float hunt, you can cover a lot of territory, but that's floating and not hunting; gotta make sure you actually stop and hunt the moosey spots, and hike above the river when you get a chance, to see more country (sometimes on float hunts it's hard to see very far off the river without hiking up above the trees).

    On a drop hunt, you'll likely be dropped on a ridge and have a decent view of the surrounding country; it's also likely that you'll be able to glass moose farther away than you actually want to shoot one! So you can't cover as much country, but you should have a view of plenty of country to hunt, right from your camp spot.

    Be honest about the type of shape you and your partner are in - a float hunt is WORK, even without having 500 - 650 pounds of moose in the raft! Dragging the raft through shallow spots, working against the wind, getting around/over blowdowns, etc is all hard work; add to that field dressing a 1200 pound animal and transporting meat every day, and a hunt can create a dangerous level of exertion if you haven't prepared beforehand.

    Good luck, whichever route you choose!

  6. #6
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    Float trip. And I would buy Larry Bartlett's Float Hunting Alaska Vol I video
    http://www.pristineventures.com/prod...lications.html

    Larry is also a hunt planner if you decide to go that route. Float allows you to cover more area as long as you, as previously suggested, stop and hunt the moosey spots. Make sure the length of the float allows you to do that. You want to do a float hunt, not a float trip. Good luck.

  7. #7

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    Both are great ways to hunt moose, and for different reasons, they are both arguably equally effective.

    First of all, the key to filling a freezer is habitat+effort-predators (people)= full freezer. This is why float hunting can be very effective. There are a lot of places that a float plane or supercub can get to, if you add a raft, and float into even more innaccessible country you are increasing your odds of seeing game. So a raft is a way to get in and out of habitat that is otherwise innaccessible to even bush equipped aircraft.

    But, inexperienced float hunters will spend too much time in the raft, and being unable to identify good moose habitat, won't know where to concentrate their efforts. So they spend too much time floating, and not enough time hunting, oftentimes floating right through prime moose habitat. In this way, a raft can decrease your odds of success because you might not know how to employ it to your advantage.

    The plus to drop camps is that you don't use up any hunting days floating down the river. You set up a comfortable camp (think of all the extra food and gear you can take if you leave the raft at home) and then hunt from there.

    On my last float hunt, I remember thinking how I wished we were in a drop camp and we could just hang the meat and sit around the fire for 3 or 4 days eating backstrap and waiting for the pilot to pick us up. Instead, we had two full days of hard floating (a heavily loaded raft is not a relaxing float gently down the stream, it is pure work) ahead of us. Float hunts are very hard work.

    It really depends on the kind of hunter you are and what you want out of a hunt. For a first time moose hunter to Alaska, I would recommend a drop hunt.

    Hope that helps

    Bobble

  8. #8

    Default Float /Drop

    FYI
    The responses are great so far. Please keep them coming. I'm 33 y/o and in good shape. And my hunting patner is 27 years old and also in good shape. We have decided that we will shoot the first two moose over 65" that we see, if that helps. I thought that was funny. We don't mind doing whatever it takes. Trip duration we were thinking around 12 days. Most likely we will be bringing guns instead of bows. I have spoke with at least 5 transproters and I seem to get different stories from all of them. Some think the drop is better, some think the float it better.

    My thoughts are that the float is more adventurous, allows us to encounter more moose, more money, more work, more dangerous, a chance at caribou.

    I feel like the drop is more likely to get us near at least 1 legal bull, allows more time for hunting, limiting on the bulls we can encouter, allows for better camp, easier meat extraction during mid hunt.

    I have 3 books on the way thanks to everybody's advice.

    Thanks Tony

  9. #9

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    What are the suggestions for the totally new person to doing floats? Where do you begin with boat skills, etc?
    _____________________
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  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Buying Mike's "Floathunting Alaska" and Karen Jettmar's "Alaska River Guide" would be my first suggestion. Also, buy Don Crane's "Floating Alaska Rivers" (or similar title). Cut your teeth on some local rivers. Hire a guide to teach you how to row a raft if needed. Buy a few basic rafting and whitewater safety books. Post some questions and read over old threads in the "Rafting" forum here. Tons of knowledgable folks there that are willing to help. Most important thing after that would be picking a suitable river with few obstacles for your first float. Many to choose from of course. Some better than others for the newly initiated.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by magnum72576 View Post
    FYI
    The responses are great so far. Please keep them coming. I'm 33 y/o and in good shape. And my hunting patner is 27 years old and also in good shape. We have decided that we will shoot the first two moose over 65" that we see, if that helps. I thought that was funny. We don't mind doing whatever it takes. Trip duration we were thinking around 12 days.
    LOL! I know you were kidding - but if you and your buddy were lucky enough to take two moose of 65+ inches, it would take all of 12 days to care for the meat, cape and salt the hides, and get the meat flown out of the field. There's not much ground shrinkage on a moose, and none on the 65 inchers.

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    Yea, you'll think you are in good shape until you have to drag that raft loaded with 2 65" bulls down a shallow spot in the river. In fact after taking one 65" bull, you just may decide another isn't worht it! Ok, that would be a stretch. It is tough. Does the 12 days include the days in and out? There are oppurtunites for a drop camp on a river or slough with a raft and motor that allows you a bit of both. There are a lot of options and things to think about.

  13. #13

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    Not only will dragging a raft loaded with two bull moose over shallows be rough, just manuevering it in floatable water will be all but impossible. There will be bends in the river where you will just have to tuck the oars in, duck, hang on to your hat, and hope for the best as you bounce around the corner because you were unable to manuever the raft past the riffles without ending up in the swift current that leads right into the black spruce sweepers. Overloaded rafts are unresponsive.

    So, if you do a float, and you want to take two large bulls, take two rafts.

    Here's another thing to consider if you think you each want to take a moose. Moose hunting involves such a large amount of work, that when two people harvest one moose, both have the right to say "I (we) got a moose this fall", regardless of who actually pulls the trigger. Pulling the trigger is the easiest part of harvesting a moose, it truly is a team effort.
    Plus, it would be too bad if you considered your hunt less than 100% successful because you were unable to take two moose. Those are high expectations.

    Maybe get one this year, and then come back next year and get another. My brother and I always go with the plan that one of us shoots the moose, and the other shoots the wolf/bear/caribou, and then we alternate every year. Works for us, we have a great time hunting, and have full freezers.

  14. #14
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    Default reality check...

    You didn't mention how much river experience you have, so please excuse me if I am incorrectly assuming zero, or very little. You also didn't mention anything about hiring a guide for the float trip?

    With limited rafting experience you will be spending 90% of your time trying to get from point A to point B, struggling all the way. Your trip will not be enjoyable. You will have very little time for hunting and only a slight chance at success.

    Also, hauling 2 moose on ANY raft is not feasible; even the biggest, baddest raft out there.

    Save yourself a lot of frustration and do the drop off, unless you have a lot of rafting experience.

  15. #15

    Default Float/Drop

    I was hoping that ofter 3 months of research and reading a couple of books I would have an idea of the best way to kill a moose. It's not turning out that way. To start, I read Strahans, and Bartlett's books that clearly state that a 14 raft will not hold and carry two moose, two caribou and two hunters. I spoke specifically with Ron at Circle Air who told me that he has had two 350 pound football players float with two moose and tow caribou with no problem. I also spoke with 2 outfitters that said a 14' raft will carry two moose and two caribou with it's hunters no problem. The truth is that I have no clue.
    I have realized that the possibility of going with a transporter could mean that there will be other hunters dropped off on the same river by my transporter. I'm not sure if this is a big concern?. Drop camp's will most likely have nobody dropped near me.
    Float Advantages: the river experience, access to more game, fishing, meat packing will be downhill,
    Float Disadvantages: raft rental, time to float river(less hunting) meat preservation, increased hunter pressure.
    Drop Advantages: meat extraction, all days will be for hunting not rafting, less cost, More gear weight allowed on plane, Better base camp,
    Drop Disadvantages: One spot, limited game. pack uphill.
    I have started to narrow my search to Circle Air, Alaska Bush Adventures, Alaska West Air, Papa Bear.

    Thanks Tony

  16. #16
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    I got turned on to the best of both worlds over a decade ago.

    We flew in an achilles/zodiac type boat with a small outboard

    Hunted from a drop camp but motored upstream and floated downstream every day, also hunted around camp

    The river was great for mobility and covering a lot of ground, but we also returned to the same camp each evening, didn't have to tear down load up and float each day even in crappy weather to make it to our pickup site

    No clue as to where or with whom you could outfit such a trip as we had our own raft and motor, but that method sure had a lot of advantages (and was very successful)

  17. #17
    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    You might want to type "Circle Air" into the search block above.

    Also, do the math on thier comment: 700lbs of hunter plus ( using F&Gs numbers from the regs) 1800lbs of moose plus 600lbs of caribou plus the camp load ( another 100-??? lbs) going into one 14' raft is not going to be pretty. If you have to do any manuvering at all you will be hosed.

    As a note, I have to work hard to shoot one of anything much less two of everything on both float and drop hunts so your load might be much smaller than you are planning for.


    The suggestion to fly into a lake or river you can move around with a boat is a good one IMHO. 40 mile books several lakes like this.

  18. #18
    Member Alaska Bush Hunter's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Neither

    I suggest neither.....Buy a good used ATV and trailer and find a good spot to hunt moose and pitch a Tent and camp. Don't make someone else rich by a Fly in or guide service. You will save alot of money!

    Just a note no guide service is required for Moose hunting.

    A nonresident who hunts brown/grizzly bear, Dall sheep, or mountain goat must be personally accompanied by a licensed guide OR by an Alaska resident over 19 years of age who is within the "second degree of kindred".

  19. #19
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    Default Float

    I have outfitted many hunting groups over the years and for moose a float hunt allows you to cover lots of river drainage and all of the sloughs that they like to hang out in. You slip up on them with no noise and you can also stop and spot and stock as well.


    Easy answer Float hunts rule!

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals

  20. #20

    Default

    If you can swing it float hunting for moose is the way to go. If I could afford it I'd do it every year.

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