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Thread: 2010 40 Mile Hunt

  1. #1
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    Default 2010 40 Mile Hunt

    This september my father and I drove up to Tok, Alaska from Council Grove, Kansas to hunt moose on the middle fork of the 40 mile river. We had researched hunts for several years, and we had chosen to go with 40 mile air. My Father had just turned 50, and i had recently graduated college, so a hunt was the best way we could celebrate each. We were flown out by 40 Mile Air, and dropped off on an unguided hunt. we set camp close to the river, were past hunters had set camp as well. The first 3 days of hunting were slow, we spotted a few bou, and a couple cow moose. Our calls were not working yet, and we were yet to even see a bull. On the 4th day, I had decided that I would take a bou if one were presented to me. we had hiked to a higher elevation where we cold glass the river bottom easily, we spotted a large cow, but still no bulls in our area. Around 9am we started to see movment acros the river, about a mile away, and large numbers of bou were headed our way. We had several young bou come within 20yards of us, and then we spotted a small group of larger bulls. I do have to say, it was hard for a Kansas whitetail hunter to hold off on a young bou, they are still so much larger than anything we encounter. We watched this group of larger bulls work their way toward us, and we postioned ourselves on a ridge where I should get a shot. Sure enough they walked right under us, and at 12pm I made a 227yard shot down the steep ridge and dropped my first caribou with my .30-06 Springfield with 185gr Berger Bullets. Since we were in zone 2 of the caribou hunts, we were able to place my moose harvest tag on a bou because we had fille dout the caribou registration ticket as well.
    After pics were taken we got right to work on quartering the bou. Once we had both quarters and neck meat off one side, i packed them in Tag Bags, strapped them on my pack, and headed for camp. now I like to think I am a strong guy physically and mentally, having played 4 years of college football here in kansas, but hiking a bou, around a mile, back to camp, was the hardest thing i had ever done in my life. I can not even begin to describe it, and there isn't a terain quite like it. It took me 3 hours to get the first two quarters back to camp, and then return to the kill site. And it was late into the night when the last pack of meat was return safely to camp. My father and I were exhausted. We ahd prepared ourtselves for this hunt, but there is not a terain like that in kansas that could give us a simulation of the Alaska interior. bUt we completed it, it was hard, but the feeling of accomplishment when finishing was amazing.
    The next day was dedicated to some serious meat care. we hung our bags on a meat pole that was left from previous hunters, and we hung a tarp over them to keep the sun off of the bags. We were happy that the weather was turning colder, and the meat kept very well. Then it was a dinner of fresh bou heart, and i do have to say, the bou meat is some of the finest I have tasted.

    The next several days we hunted closer to camp, knowing that if my father harvested a moose, we would not be able to make another hike like we did on my bou. I called everyday, glassing the country side, but there was still no response from any bulls. We had heard before we flown out that the rut my be postponed because of warmer than normal weather, and we were starting to think that might be the case. on our 8th day in the bush(september 13th), My father and I had a serious talk about what we should do. we came to the conclusion that if he is presented with a nice bou, then he will take it since we have yet to see any bull moose activity, and the season will close in 4 days. We also did not want to pass up on these caribou that were in our area, not get a moose, and then not see any more bou. So we decided to put ourselves in a postion for my father to take a bou. We sat on a large gravel bar 1/4 mile up river, where we had noticed was a common crossing point for the herd. After sitting 2hours, the bou crosse dthe river behind us. I rolled video footage as my father spotted the bull he was going to take. Once this bull crossed the river and was on dry ground, my father dropped his bou from 99yards with his.270

    Then the work started again, but this time it was a much easier hike along the river. As my father quartered the bou, i hauled it back once again, but htis time a round trip was a mere 20 minutes. We finished the pack with over 2hours of daylight left. ANd our hunt was now over. The next day we flew out, and were happy to be successful on our first hunt in the great state of Alaska. Eventhough we had our hearts set on moose, we were completely happy to both take home a nice bou. The hunt was hard, and extreme. It tested our physical and mental toughness, and pushed our bodies to limits we ahd never seen before. But in the same sense it was the most amazing thing we had ever completed. It is safe to say that we are now hooked, and we will make it back to Alaska one day, hopefully to get that moose.

    One thing that helped us greatly on our hunt was all of the knowledge we aquired from all of you on this forum. We would like to thank all of you. If anyone has any questions about our hunt, feel free to ask. we are happy to share our story

    -Mfox & Knute78





    These our pics of our base camp
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  2. #2
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    This is my Bou. And the Pack out. Hard work, but rewarding
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    Here is how we hung our meat bags, and my father cooking some fresh bou heart. Good stuff
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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Congadulations to the two of you. What a wonderful way to send time with your father. I miss that. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    Here is my fathers Bou. Right next to the river
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    Here is my father finishing up the quartering, and we are loaded down for the last pack of the hunt
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    The SuperCub Loaded down, and a double Rainbow next to camp
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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Didn't get a moose? Sounds like an excuse to come back next year!
    Congrats on a real successful hunt.
    Thanks for the story and pics.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  9. #9
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    My thoughts axactly martentrapper

  10. #10
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    Congrats great story and great photos.

  11. #11
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Great story - Congrats. The 40 mile heard is my favorite hunt. Start planning next years hunt now. Again Great story.

    Drew
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

  12. #12
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    I looked around Tok for a Kansas license plate but missed you. I flew into the Bush on the 5th. Glad you got some critters as it indeed was too warm for calling moose. I saw several bulls that wouldn't respond and worked on one for five hours and finally just before dark [as it cooled] I was able to call him out in the open.

  13. #13

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    Awesome story, and congrats on a great hunt! I'm glad the hunt turned out to be everything you hoped for, and an awesome birthday/graduation gift indeed!

    I asked about you guys when we flew back into Tok, but you were still in the field. Not bagging a moose is a great excuse to come back! I'm starting to think about next year's hunt, and moose keeps popping into my head...

    Tell your Dad congrats for me, and good luck starting your post-college career.

    Michael

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by VernAK View Post
    I looked around Tok for a Kansas license plate but missed you. I flew into the Bush on the 5th. Glad you got some critters as it indeed was too warm for calling moose. I saw several bulls that wouldn't respond and worked on one for five hours and finally just before dark [as it cooled] I was able to call him out in the open.
    Vern,

    You know that's not gonna suffice brother. We need a thread, more details, and pics please.

  15. #15
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    MFOX and father,
    I just wanted to take one moment and compliment ya on the meat salvage effort pictured in post number 6. I admire your excellent job getting every forkful of edible meat....clearly the two of you have a lot of meat salvage expeience.....and I'm thinkin the ravens were screaming for more scraps, but you kept everything for yourselves!
    dennis

  16. #16

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    Congrats to you and your dad. Hard to beat the weather we had this September, but it sure made the moose hunting difficult. Luckily we had cow tags and it seemed like they were all over the place. Hope you guys get the chance to come back and fill those more expensive tags.

  17. #17
    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    A big congrats on your first Alaska hunt from a fellow Kansan. My father and I have been on two caribou hunts up here and both have been great. We're hoping to do a sheep or moose hunt this coming fall. Anyway, as others have said you now have an excuse to come back next year so hopefully you make it up north. Again congrats.

  18. #18
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Congrats on a successful hunt with your father and good job getting all the meat off the bone!

    I have to agree with martentrapper sounds like you all need to come back next year and give moose another try.

  19. #19

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    Nice Caribou. But don't get all hung up on the Moose killing. I would trade a whole moose for one mess of Corn Fed Kansas Whitetail Steaks.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
    ~~Abraham Lincoln~~

  20. #20
    Member Knute78's Avatar
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    Just want to add my 2cents worth to my son's tread. First off, just let me say that all the time, effort, and research done prior to this hunt, was well worth it, and all the advice and suggestions from many on this forum was invaluable. When I first started my planning, I did not have a committed hunting partner, but when my son decided to do this adventure with me I knew it would be a memoriable trip. He was and is my perfect hunting partner!

    We can't give enough props to Lief, Randy, Brian, Jake, and Dick, from 40-Mile Air. What a great group of hard working men. I see why they come so highly reccomended, and I will hopefully have the opportunity to use them again.

    We had no prior experience hunting in AK, but with the many hours of reading the stories of the forum members here, helped prepare us for what we could and would experience. Thank God, I also started walking/jogging/packing 6 months in advance, or I would probably be laying dead somewhere along the Middle Fork of the 40-Mile River. The tundra/perma-frost/tussicks (sp), is the hardest stuff to walk across known to man.

    After Matthew shot his caribou, I started in with the skinning and butchering. According to our GPS, we were a mile from camp as the crow flies, but I know it equates to a lot further when you figure in the up and down hills, across beaver ponds and creeks, through alder thickets and black spruce deadfalls. He made the first pack out with a front and hind quarter on his pack. I continued to butcher and fight the bugs. The caribou kept passing through the whole afternoon, watching me carve on one of their own. They seem to be a really curious animal. When Matthew returned, I was nearly done with the quartering and deboning. We loaded him down with another front shoulder and the head/antlers. This left 2 meat bags to haul back, one hind quarter and the loose meat. We loaded my pack with these 2 bags and started out. After about 300 yards, it became very evident to me that I wasn't going to be able to carry so much weight, aprox. 140 lbs. Matthew kept going and I stopped and dropped one of the bags off and covered it with a tarp. I was then able to hike pretty good, and ended up passing my son, and got back to camp about 30 minutes before him. After he got to camp, around 8 o'clock pm, we hung the meat and I decided to return for the other meat bag. Probably not the smartest decision I've ever made, but I didn't want to leave the meat out there all night. I grabbed a head lamp and and a small flash light, my pack and rifle and headed out. Man, it gets really dark in the black spruce. It took me about 2 hours to get to the general area that I left the meat bag, then I couldn't find it. It took me nearly an hour and a half to find the bag, and at 11:30 pm I'm loaded up and heading back. We had been having a few light showers and mist, but nothing heavy. Up stream however, there must have been quite a down pour. In the time I left to retrieve the last meat bag, the river came up more than 3 foot. All my landmarks changed. The feeder creeks and beaver ponds I had to cross all back flooded and I had to make much bigger loops around them to find places to cross, all this at night with a bag of bait on my back. Its really hard to describe what a person can pull from their inner self to accomplish a task. I was so physically exhausted, but I wasn't prepared to spend the night away from camp. I would count out at least 50 steps, sometimes more, and find a log to sit on, turn off the head lamp and power rest for 5 to 10 minutes. When I would start to get chilled, I knew it was time to get up and start hiking again. I knew that my son was probably getting worried, so that helped me forge ahead. It was a long hike, but finally about 3:00 am, I was able to see the light of our camp fire about a 150 yards through the trees. What a welcome sight for both me and Matthew!! As he stated earlier, we had a more relaxed day around came the next day.

    My caribou was a much easier hunt and pack, and thanks to Matthew for waking me from my mid-morning nap to shoot my animal.
    All in all, this hunt was the hardest thing physically and mentally I've ever done. We were in a beautiful, pristine location, that could be very unforgiving if you let it, and I had the best hunt partner a father could have. It will probably be a couple of years, but yes martentrapper, I will return to try and bag that moose, and if not I will take another bou!

    We drove to AK all the way from Kansas, but had problems on the return trip. In northern British Columbia, my truck engine gave out and we had to purchase a truck in Fort St. John, still 2300 miles from home. What a nightmare! Then we had quite a time getting it imported.
    I'm still trying to get the truck titled and registered.

    Agian, thanks to all who contributed to my research, answered my questions, or provided advice. Special thanks to "mdhunter" for his input. As I stated earlier, high marks for 40-Mile Air, and the new TAG bags from Larry Bartlett and Pristine Ventures worked great. We returned home with nearly 500 lbs. of great meat that we hauled in a freezer. We finished butchering and grinding meat a few days after returning, and my son is working on the skulls, doing euro mounts.
    Knute

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