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Thread: DM 427 - Winter Tag on Fort Rich

  1. #1

    Default DM 427 - Winter Tag on Fort Rich

    I drew the either sex moose tag for Fort Rich from Dec 15 to Jan 15. A few questions. I've talked to several guys about this hunt one said it is an easy hunt if you are not picky. The other 2 said it can be a tough hunt and I'd be lucky to shoot something. Right now I work a 2 on 2 off schedule. I'd be able to hunt the last 2 weeks in early January. Would it be smart to take off the first week of the hunt to up my odds? This would mean that I won't be able to use that week earlier in the year for fishing/hunting. Also, I'll probably shoot the first moose I have a chance on, but am wondering if I should hold out for a bull? Will the bigger bulls have dropped their antlers by January? Also, what factor does weather have on this hunt? I'm wondering if deep snow will force more moose down into the easier to hunt areas. I could go on, but I'll just ask for any advice someone can help me with. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    I've had the same permit before. At the time I started the hunt, the numbers were somewhere in the single digits for the total take of the previous hunts. I made up my mind from the start to take the first moose (other than a calf or cow with a calf) that presented itself. I am a meat hunter and, although I woudn't complain if I had the opportunity for a big bull, my first goal is meat in the freezer. With that being said, I went out planning three days of hunting near the start of the season. I arrowed a cow within the first hour and was home in time for the christmas party that night with meat already hanging in the garage.

    I know some were having a tough time finding animals, but I think many of those were the ones who didn't like to step outside of their trucks. I much prefer time on foot over time in the seat any day.

    Snow conditions can be a big factor, not only for pushing the animals around, but for you being able to move. When I got mine, we had a really low snow year to that point and I was able to hike in about 6" of snow over frozen ground (almost perfect conditions). Later in the season it snowed much more and you would need, or at least really want, snowshoes and/or skis to cover much ground. When I got my moose, I talked with some other hunters I saw out there. They were coming down from the "high country" and said they had seen a number up there but they were outside of the legal area. They were hoping it would snow and that would push the animals down to within reach.

    Early season, you might benefit from having the moose exposed to less hunting pressure up to that point and fewer animals will have been taken to date. Late season, you get the benefit of more snow (usually) that can push more animals down, but you have to deal with the snow yourself as well. Probably a toss-up in my mind as to when to hunt. Probably depends more on when you have the available time and what conditions you are set up to handle and what you hunting style is.

  3. #3
    Member
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    Default Ft. Rich BH

    Western, this can be an easy or hard hunt depending on how you do it. I drew this tag last year. I hunted every chance I could. There are a lot of moose out there. It's just a question of whether you'll be there when they come around or will someone else be there? I hunted for a total of 8 out of 10 days starting on 15Dec. I helped one bowhunter (BH) track his moose and another to cut his moose and haul it out. Each, being the gentlemen that they were, offered some meat as recompense, which I declined to take. I wanted to get my own, but if I could help, I did.
    I also talked to a lot of the BHs out there in between, sharing intelligence, stories, and just a general camaraderie. The woods are beautiful in the winter!!
    I shot my cow on Christmas morning at 9:45 a.m.
    Now, to answer your questions as best I can: If you took off work for the 1st week of the hunt, you will up your odds just by the fact that you are out in the field for a longer period of time. Another positive about the first week is it's before Christmas, so most of the other BHs are working. However, as the holidays come closer, more BHs will be off of work and out in the field. I think the pressure would be less during the last two weeks (since BHs will be back to work after the holidays), but I have not the experience of hunting this area in January since I harvested my moose before the end of the year. This being said, there were 27 moose harvested on this hunt last season, with only 7 AFTER 1Jan10.
    Next question: I would NOT pass up a shot at a bull, but also I would NOT hold out for a bull. This is basically a meat hunt. There were 6 bulls harvested and the widest was 39 inches. Bulls may or may not still have their antlers. I hypothesize that the older, more mature, bulls will lose their antlers earlier than the younger ones, but I have no proof.
    Next question: Yes, weather does play a part in the hunt. If there is a significant snowfall, esp. up high on the mountains, the moose will be forced to come down. According to some sources, snowfall doesn't really affect moose movements until it reaches 2 feet plus of depth. Most moose will be down from upon high by this time of year as more significant browse can be found more easily at lower altitudes (again, less snow). When I hunted, I did notice that there was more movement before and after the storms and less movement during the storm. I was out in all of it!
    PM me if I can be of more help.

  4. #4
    Member
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    Default

    Just to add a little to EMRDUX, it helps when you shoot your moose on Christmas day to have a good buddy with a German Shorthair and a harness to drag the moose out for you. Also watch for wolves there are alot back there and you can not shoot them.

  5. #5
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    Default

    This being said, there were 27 moose harvested on this hunt last season, with only 7 AFTER 1Jan10.
    Next question: I would NOT pass up a shot at a bull, but also I would NOT hold out for a bull. This is basically a meat hunt. There were 6 bulls harvested and the widest was 39 inches. Bulls may or may not still have their antlers. I hypothesize that the older, more mature, bulls will lose their antlers earlier than the younger ones, but I have no proof.
    Next question: Yes, weather does play a part in the hunt. If there is a significant snowfall, esp. up high on the mountains, the moose will be forced to come down. According to some sources, snowfall doesn't really affect moose movements until it reaches 2 feet plus of depth. Most moose will be down from upon high by this time of year as more significant browse can be found more easily at lower altitudes (again, less snow). When I hunted, I did notice that there was more movement before and after the storms and less movement during the storm. I was out in all of it!
    PM me if I can be of more help.

    Emrdux pretty much nailed it all right there based from my experience too. Have had the tag by myself and with a buddy 4 times. Took 3 moose. Get out of the truck and walk. Right after a snow dump is the best time. Don't look for antlers even though you "could" be lucky and get one with bones. Our last moose was shot early in the AM, still pretty dark and it looked like a mature cow. Upon retrieving it, the dark flat spots on its head indicated that it wasn't a cow at all, but a 4yr old bull that had lost his antlers a few weeks prior. That was Dec 21st. Have fun and practice shooting with winter gear on. It can get frigg'n cold too. Check your gear. Good luck...

  6. #6
    Sponsor Hoytguy's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    Default Good hunt

    My wife drew this tag a few years ago and managed to go out all on her own and bag a big cow on the 14th of Jan. She seen quite a few bulls but they seemed to be on the wrong side of the road and areas.. So she held out as long as she could.. this year she drew the any bull tag.. she is so lucky..

  7. #7

    Default

    As others have stated, bulls can drop their antlers before that season is over. I've found sheds in late December and early January. I don't know if larger bulls drop their antlers first or if there are just more smaller bulls around and those are the ones you see still carrying their antlers later into the winter. I use to think the former was the case but can't really say I guess.

    Crusty snow conditions may make stalking more challenging as well. Though it seems those conditions may not be as common around the Anchorage area as they are in others parts of the state.

  8. #8

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    Haven't received any mailed info on the hunt yet, but curious if you can hunt both sides of the road. Would like to do some preseason scouting (fishing/grouse hunting) to get to know the area better.

    Thanks for all the advice. Very helpful in setting up realistic expectations.

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