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Thread: Floatless Float Hunt

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    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default Floatless Float Hunt

    To set the stage for tale, I have been coming up hunting in Alaska for the last several years, mostly moose hunting, but often take opportunistic species as well. This hunt was set in gmu 23, to include ten days on the river hunting solo in my Magnum raft purchased from Larry at Pristine Ventures.

    Arriving in Kotzebue I made my way over to Golden Eagle Outfitters to see when I could get my flight out into the field. Golden Eagle, although very busy this time of year was most accommodating, they allowed me to sort out my gear while they continued to keep up with the steady flow of hunters passing through Kotzebue. After witnessing what a flight service goes through to keep us hunters happy, we really should be appreciative of the hard work they go through. They are working very long days and the crew at Golden Eagle really wants you to have an enjoyable time.

    With a time set to get out, Jared (who runs Golden Eagle in Kotzebue) loaded my gear up in his aircraft and advised me that there have been heavy rains in the area. We would fly up to my chosen spot to see how conditions looked for landing. After flying into my drainage we flew low and slow looking at the normal landing areas only to find nearly all the gravel bars submerged. Jared flew his wings off trying to find a way to get me in there, but it was clear, nothing short of a floatplane was going to be landing in this area.

    Flying around, with at this point nowhere to hunt, I was disappointed. It also was clear Jared shared this same emotion. We both needed a bathroom break at this point so we flew to a air strip he knew of to take care of business while regrouping as to where I might hunt at. A years worth of planning and now I am scrambling through the reg book to find a place to hunt (got to love Alaska).

    I have hunted Alaska before and just reminded myself this is why I bring flexibility and patience with me on these trips. With the decision made after reading the reg book I settled on a spot that although was not prime moose country, might hold some local caribou. Ok, well I brought a caribou harvest ticket with me, so maybe this is going to be a caribou trip; after all I like caribou also.

    After a safe, dry landing of the aircraft into the new spot, I tried to come to terms as to how this will turn out. I am in a new, un-researched place; one I did not have any maps for. Jared flies off, I am left with the silence and solitude I come up to Alaska for. I decided to settle in for the night while organizing my raft and gear. As I began to inflate the raft I saw a set of caribou antlers a few hundred yards away on a gravel bar, this looks like a good place for caribou. Although he is a fine bull, I know I cannot hunt the same day as I flew, so all I could do is take a picture of him.

    After the first bull passed I was able to enjoy other small groups filtering through the area in my first evening at my new spot. As hunger was setting in I prepared dinner, after with nighttime approaching, I settled in for a good nights sleep. It has been a long, rushed journey from Detroit to this place up in the Arctic I found myself in.

    During the first night I stayed up reading the reg book, while wishing I had loaded additional maps into my Garmin GPS. It was a warm night, and I had fallen asleep without zipping the tent up. I awoke around 0300hrs and decided I needed to answer nature’s call, so I crawled out of the tent and after taking care of business decided to walk down to the end of the gravel bar. While down there I found some driftwood and took out some aggression on a willow while I imitated a moose grunt. With that out of the way I returned to the comfort of my sleeping bag for the night.

    While I had enjoyed a good nights sleep, I awoke around 0630hrs. Lying in my bag still half asleep I thought I heard a moose grunt, I said, “no way, I could be so lucky” then I heard it again. It was faint but I know a moose when I hear one, so I grabbed my rifle and I exited the tent. Now sitting outside the tent I thought, do I call or just wait? I decided the moose was getting closer as the sound was coming from near where I called from during the night. Here I am sitting outside my tent, in my boxers belly crawling to the nearest deadwood to use as a rest in case I get a shot at that funny sound. Finally I am sure he is coming out when I see the willows and spruce moving as the moose makes his way onto the gravel bar 250yrds from my tent. I have my rifle ready and as soon as I am sure it is a moose I place my scope on him to see if I can get a look at his antlers to judge if it is legal. It only took a second to see he was over fifty inches and legal to shoot. As I quickly thought, wow, this is really happening, I heard my rifle go off. The shot looked good, right behind the shoulder where I was aiming. As I watched the moose my heart sank as he walked into the river, I remember thinking oh no this is going to get real cold if I have to cut him up in the river. To my disbelief, he came back onto the gravel bar and this is when I placed the crosshairs on his shoulder blade and that shot put him down for good, I had my moose.

    With the moose down for good, I sat thinking of what this meant, it was cool out, but I knew it was going to get warm that day. It was a tough call, but I called Golden Eagle to request an early pickup, as I really did not want to float for days while trying to keep a moose from spoiling. My hunt was now over at this point and I was in a race to get the meat cut and bagged. I had told Jared, give me four to six hrs to get this done before you fly to pick me up. For those of you who moose hunt alone, I do not need to tell you it is a lot of work to handle by yourself. I remember thinking why did I do this? I will never do this again without help, but as I reflect back, I wish I were still out there. Nothing to me beats moose hunting alone up north. My aches are all gone and I still recall the hunt (if you can call it that) like it was yesterday. I am already planning for next year; my only regret is that I have to wait so long to do it again.


    Things that worked for me:

    Golden Eagle, these guys rock if you need flights out of Kotz. Took a tough situation and handled it well.

    Larry Bartlett/Pristine Ventures, handled all the rafting shipments and general support

    My old 30.06 (some guy was in disbelief I would come up with an old gun like that, I think he laughed at me)

    NAC & Everets Cargo, both handled cargo without a hitch

    Alaska Wildlife Troopers (checked my game and from all impressions are professional, tough, but fair people) I have heard negative comments concerning troopers, I have nothing but positive impressions after meeting one.

    MT, you also get an “atta boy”

    alaska2010 083 (Large).jpg

  2. #2
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    Great moose, would love to see more pictures if you have them.

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    Sounds like a blast. What was the width on that guy?
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    The next time I provide you with help................I will be going along. You got the luck!
    Congrats. I want to know exactly where he dropped you.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  5. #5
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    The next time I provide you with help................I will be going along. You got the luck!
    Congrats. I want to know exactly where he dropped you.

    Yea I will pic you up on my way, I was thinking about you when I stopped in Nome. Just dumb luck really MT.

  6. #6
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Congrats on a great moose hunt and a nice looking bull Jeff!!!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Fantastic! What a way to turn a less than idea situation into a great ending. It's just too bad that you didn't get much time afield. Beautiful bull, though - I would have taken the shot on morning #1 as well.

  8. #8
    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    Great job Jeff, glad to hear you got one. Next year wait a few days and enjoy Alaska alittle more before all the work begins!! Where's the rest of the pictures man!!?

  9. #9

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    Awesome job Jeff. Dandy moose no doubt. Any chance to get into the AK wilderness is a good one. Congrats to you!!

  10. #10

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    Dandy bull Jeff! Can't beat being in the right place at the right time. Throw up some more pictures and let us know what the spread was on that bad boy. Love the dark chocolate antlers!

  11. #11
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Jeff,
    Take your shots as you get 'em. Every now and then something good happens, somebody has a good day.
    And a giant bull moose dead on the gravel near camp makes for a pretty good day for you, and a "good death" for the moose.
    Congrats on your monster moose. (I guess your good day was the mooses bad day.)
    By the way, I do not believe in simple luck. You did the planning. You did the work. You risked the resources. You deserve the bull! You deserve to enjoy those backstraps!
    If it was too easy for you, then next year go find a bull farther from camp, in the water, on a hot and bad bug day.

    dennis

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    What a wonderful animal and way to go on the hunt and being flexable. I think that I would had a meat pick up and continued with the float. Congrats!!!

  13. #13

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    Great story with a perfect ending! Curious as to what you meant that the troopers were "tough" ?

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Congrats Jeff!
    Funny how some of the best hunts happen when all plans go haywire, dandy moose I am jealous.
    Oh, will there be a new line of "mossy oak " briefs out soon?
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    nice moose great story

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    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 257wby View Post
    Great story with a perfect ending! Curious as to what you meant that the troopers were "tough" ?
    Tough as in they take their job seriously

    I did not have but a 50" tape with me but if I set them on the floor and kind do the sweep thing they seem to be 63-64 inches wide. I actually though it was a little bigger but am def not complaining. It is a neat rack and some great meat for sure.
    Thanks for all the comments everyone.

  17. #17
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    Oh, will there be a new line of "mossy oak " briefs out soon?
    That's what I was thinking, So, did you get those boxers at Cabelas, those Camo ones ??? My wife gets such a kick out of the "camomania" when it gets to the boxers in "Mossy Oak," but your story now......., can't wait to tell her about it...
    Hard Core Man, hey maybe they'd pay something for the story, toward your next AK adventure y'know??

    That is a really cool shot of a big Bull Moose, if you have more pics ya gotta post 'em. But that one is really a great photo,

    Oh yeah, pretty good hunting also, adjusting to the water flow, then the middle of night Gruntin', and Solo Moose dressing...
    you're one pretty serious guy, Glad it worked out so well.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  18. #18
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Congrats on a super bull! Bummer the hunt was so short, but kudos for realizing that the meat care comes first. I agree with someone above who said you should have had them pull the meat, then continued to enjoy a float or float hunt for bou...thanks for posting the story..

  19. #19
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff p View Post
    My old 30.06 (some guy was in disbelief I would come up with an old gun like that, I think he laughed at me)


    alaska2010 083 (Large).jpg

    LOL, there's always "some guy" who needs to learn. Great story.
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  20. #20
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff p View Post

    My old 30.06 (some guy was in disbelief I would come up with an old gun like that, I think he laughed at me)

    alaska2010 083 (Large).jpg
    This may be my favorite part of this story also, I love that,

    so what kind of "Old 30.06" was it? Got any pictures of "the weapon of choice"

    Good choice, I believe, as do apparently a LOT of others in Ak
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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