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Thread: Koyukuk Adventure 2010

  1. #1
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    Default Koyukuk Adventure 2010

    We made the trek to the Koyukuk with a Moose trophy tag in hand for the first time. The biggest question was - would I be able to pass up a legal bull in hopes of getting a big one? Passing one up would be something that is against my nature. We left from Manley Hot Springs for what came out as a 1008 mile boat ride.
    We left Fairbanks early Sept 2nd for the drive to Manley. The road and ramp were in great condition and we launched and left Manley at 10am without incident. Ground out the trip down river with the kicker till 1am and darkness shut us down.

    Manley

    Down River


    Moving down river at 6am on the 3rd hot coffee in hand and breakfast on the stove. Around 11am we were passed by a boat I believe to be forum members BIG 27 & Stid2677. We then passed them while they were fueling up in Ruby and were passed again shortly past Ruby when I snapped the photo of them going by. They were so intent on the trip down river I couldn’t even get a wave out of them. We continued on down and pulled into the check station on the Koyukuk late that evening with no mishaps along the way. Met my pre trip plan and made it from Manley to the Koyukuk mouth on 45 gallons of fuel. We checked in at the check point and spent an evening of leisure eating homemade apple pie.
    Big 27 and Stid2677?

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    On the 4th we started our trip up the Koyukuk in the rain and mist with the goal in our minds of 1 big bull and 1 small bull to fill our tags. While stopped for a break we were visited by the local Trooper in a super cub – we were amazed he was flying in the poor conditions at the time. As evening approached we saw our first moose – a small bull standing under an ideal hanging tree. Couldn’t resist that opportunity and the subsistence tag was filled – it even stopped raining while we butchered. We were visited by a couple fellas that had gotten turned around on the river and were low on fuel and down on luck. We gave them heart, liver, the head and a little gas to help them in their adventure back down the river and away from our solitude.

    First moose


    Early in the AM of the 5th we started our venture up the River with a steady drizzle. We saw one black bear and a couple cows along the way. We reached our designated hunting areas to find either not enough water to get off the main river or people already in the areas. It appears lots of boats pushed up the river with the same idea in mind as well as numerous locals from Huslia hunting down river from the village. With original plans interrupted we set out to do a little exploring and hiking and see some new country. We visited forum member GARednecks camp twice but they must have been out in pursuit both times as we couldn’t raise anyone. We did glimpse a mid 40 inch bull and a cow headed up the bank and through the woods as well as seeing a few other cows.

    On the 6th we decided that we would hunt our way back down the river to get out of the people pressure – way to far to travel to hunt around the corner from someone. Checked out lots of areas for future considerations and found some nice areas with potential. We did stumble on a little bull standing in a slough only to realize the 3 wolves on the bank had chased him in. Couldn’t grab the rifle fast enough to get a shot as they disappeared into the high grass. I didn’t have the heart to shoot the little guy after saving him from the wolves so off he went. We hunted till dark only seeing a couple of cows - not much moving compared to years past.

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    The 7th found us moving early again hunting a slough and lake with promise – lots of moose sign but no moose. Wolf sign was everywhere we went and we did find a wolf kill that was eaten to the bones. The area is in need of predator control and we weren’t able to help. Another boat moved in on top of us on the lake so after lunch we again started working our way down river. We encountered several boats coming up river but very few established camps. We checked out several areas and once we were back in the general area of our first moose kill we determined that was where we would stay until we found our 2nd bull or it was time to go. As luck would have it a few minutes before dark a small bull decided he needed to be on the other side of the river and began the swim just up river from our first moose kill. I had plenty of time to look at him as we waited for him to walk out on the sand bar. I could not watch that much meat walk away in hopes of using that trophy tag on a bigger set of horns. It made for a late night of butchering in the dark, rain, and wind to get him split open and under a tarp. The cool temperatures and howling wind cooled the meat quickly.

    Moose 2

    The 8th brought a weather change and we enjoyed blue skies and sunshine. We moved the 2nd moose to a better hanging pole and spent the day cleaning, relaxing and cussing at the bugs. The evening was spent relaxing and enjoying some truly magnificent country along with some preparations for the long haul out.

    Moose move

    Relax

    Finally good weather

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    Shortly after daylight on the 9th we were on the move down river with 2 moose loaded and the weather was perfect for the long haul. We didn’t miss a beat and rolled into the checkpoint at 11am for our duties there. After a quick chat and good report card we were back on the go and ran until 9pm. Ended up just shy of Tanana for a days run of over 300 miles. Relaxed around the campfire, ate another great meal and knew the journeys end was in relatively easy striking distance if all went well.
    We were up and moving at 7 am on the 9th for the remaining 75 mile run and we pulled into Manley at 10 am. Nice daylight drive back to town with a huge sense of accomplishment planning for the next year. We had achieved our goal of hauling two moose back without stopping in any villages for fuel and even brought 60 gallons back to spare.
    Two days of butchering and the winter’s meat was put up and it was time to start the sausage making.

    Loaded Boat


    Koyukuk Fog


    Final Night


    A fire to remember

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Awesome photos and a great hunt report. Thanks for sharing!

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    what kind of boat is that? great story and super photos. thanks

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    RR, That was Tim and I for sure. Sorry we did not get to chat on the river, would love to buy you lunch one day and talk about our trip and to thank you for your advice. You guys sure got it dialed in, great photos and great report.


    Steve

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    Congrats on a successful trip. I'd love to do that hunt one of these years. Is it shorter starting from Manley vs. the Dalton Highway bridge?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sh View Post
    what kind of boat is that? great story and super photos. thanks
    1980 Whitewater Marine - Doesn't look quite the same as it did when I bought it in 1980.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    Congrats on a successful trip. I'd love to do that hunt one of these years. Is it shorter starting from Manley vs. the Dalton Highway bridge?
    Launching at Manley cuts 100 miles off the trip. With the price of fuel and the poor mileage of the boat it has been worth it for us.

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    Very nice! Thanks for sharing!

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    Awesome photos!!! Thanks for sharing.

  13. #13

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    The Koyukuk during the fall with its crystal clear water and beautiful colors is straight up magical and I miss it. I have reports that it was a tough year and the bulls just started moving and the season is done. The late warm weather really messed it up. The people are wonderful up there too. They have a belief that their relatives go moosehunting with them as well and you feed part of your dinner to the fire to keep them warm and their bellie full. Awesome pictures...someday...I will get lucky and pull dm830.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by rambling raven View Post
    Launching at Manley cuts 100 miles off the trip. With the price of fuel and the poor mileage of the boat it has been worth it for us.
    I'm presuming that is 100 total miles cut (50 miles each way)?

    Did you log your travel speed, gallons, and GPH? I've tried putting the numbers together, and it looks like at the 1000 miles, 25mph average at 10gph (conservatively) would be 400 gallons of gas. I figure I can comfortably carry 160 gallons on board, so I'd have to fill up at least twice along the way. I'd be doing the trip in my 20' Predator with the 200 optimax.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    I'm presuming that is 100 total miles cut (50 miles each way)?

    Did you log your travel speed, gallons, and GPH? I've tried putting the numbers together, and it looks like at the 1000 miles, 25mph average at 10gph (conservatively) would be 400 gallons of gas. I figure I can comfortably carry 160 gallons on board, so I'd have to fill up at least twice along the way. I'd be doing the trip in my 20' Predator with the 200 optimax.
    Jerod, Tim and I used his Extreme Shallow with the 200.

    Our moving avg was about 21 mph and about 12 GPH avg. We burnt about 550 gals and almost 11 gals of oil. We left Galena with 195 gallons on deck and that was really only enough for one tank hunting. A heavy jet boat burns a lot of fuel, way more than when empty.
    Another tip I would offer is seek out shallow water, we could only get up to 18mph loaded in deep water, we could get up to 27mph or so running right next to the shore using "ground effect to push the boat up on step".

    Steve

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Starting at Manley means you have to get thru "squaw crossing". Can be pretty tricky if it's a dry year.
    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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    Thanks guys. I'll post other questions later if I'm lucky enough to draw the tag. I don't want to end up highjacking this thread. I appreciate the info though!

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    Default 5 bulls after you left steve

    sjx.jpghi steve,ended up getting 5 after you 2 left,mine was 63,58,56.5,56,48,,in 4 days
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    WOW! Sounds like quite a trip... looks like you've got the right rig for the job, Nice Boat.


    would have been nice to get a big one but who can resist when all that tasty, high protein, low fat, goodness walks right into your sights (I have the same problem). Made moose tacos last night and realized how low on moose I'm getting have to wait till next year I suppose...

    great photos as well.

  20. #20
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Great story congrat on the moose.

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