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Shooting Order/Meat Care Responsibily?

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  • Shooting Order/Meat Care Responsibily?

    I'm heading out on my first AK moose float hunt this fall with a couple buddies. We are currently working through the details of the hunt with Mike. I was just thinking of a few items I haven't had a chance to chat with Mike about yet. I am wondering how some of you guys, who have done this a few times, handle the following...

    Shooting Order
    How do you determine the shooting order among a group of 3 guys (2 rafts)? I'm sure something as simple as rock/paper/scissors, high card from a deck of cards, or putting #'s in a hat and drawing can easily determine the shooting order? I would think you could then use that order and change the shooter each day until you run out of days or until a hunter takes his moose? But what about some of the more subtle aspects/scenarios surrounding shooting order? For example... guy in trailing raft behind raft with two hunters (and the hunter with shooting priority that day), sees legal bull on shore but shooter in front raft doesn't see? Take the shot or try to signal shooter in front raft? I'm sure there are many scenarios like that? I've very curious what has worked for guys, what hasn't, etc. I can see where a messed up shooting order could cause some hard feelings on a "1x/lifetime hunt" if not agreed to in advance?

    Meat Care Responsibilities
    Certainly all parties pitch-in to help a successful hunter butcher and get a moose back to the raft/camp. But what about after the meat is back in camp? Do all parties pitch in on the daily caring for meat(checking temperature, periodically checking the meat, repositioning the meat, setting up shade tarps, moving the meat, etc. or does this become solely the responsibility of the successful hunter? What about loading meat into the rafts? All pitch in or responsibility of successful hunter? I think I have answered this item for myselt... it is important to do whatever is necessary to care for the meat and maximize the chance of getting it out without spoilage. Even though the meat is primarily the responsibility of the successful hunter, if help is needed, particularly if requested, it is provided gladly... with the reciprical expected by the other hunters in group. I can see where this is less of a factor if there is going to be a division of the meat among huntes at the end of the hunt vs. successful hunter taking home what he wants and donating rest to the needy vs. getting processed and shipping home.

    Are there other aspects of the hunt where there is a team dynamic that is good to think about and talk about before the hunt? Certainly division of expertise/knowledge building prior to the hunt, providing of shared gear, and equitable division of camp responsibilities. But are there others that a first time group of hunters might not think about, particularly hunters who are use to solo hunts or solo spike camps out of a base camp of hunters?

    Thanks guys!

  • #2
    If there are three of you and 2 rafts I would figure after 2 moose are down then the guy that didnt get a moose will be the first shooter on the next trip. The 3 of you will be doing good to take care of 2 moose. As far as meat care...everyone will be involved to make sure all the meat makes it home and ready for the table. Have a great trip.


    • #3
      COGriz, as far as the shooting order, that is something you need to discuss beforehand as a group and decide how it will work. For our group, whether its 2, 3, or 4, it usually works out to whoever spots the game first. If there are 4 of us, we usually split into groups of 2 and each group works it out together. We have always had good luck with the one who spots it gets first choice. The only real issue is what works for you and what you agree on before the hunt starts.

      For meat care, every member of the group helps out. When its "Bull Down", all hunting stops at that point and everyone pitches in to help. Same thing thing with meat care on the river. Everyone helps with the loading/unloading and care of the meat. Our group always goes into the hunt knowing we are going to split the meat equally. Clear that up beforehand as well.

      You may want to discuss the size of the bull each wants. One of you may be interested in a nice, plump, spike/fork. Someone else may only want a 60 incher, and the third somewhere in between. People in our group have passed on mid 50s bulls looking for something bigger. One of our partners was more than happy to take that bull.

      The main point is to discuss all peices of the hunt beforehand and make sure everyone agrees. This will cause less frustration in the field (normally).

      Good luck and enjoy your hunt. Be sure to let us know how it went.



      • #4
        I agree with the others. Basically its also been who sees it first has first choice. If he doesn't want to try for it, then the next can. You can also draw high card for who has first shot on day 1 then rotate. Previosly said, figure it out before hand. I've done nothing else besides who sees it first gets first choice. Camp chores to include meat care is EVERYONE's responsibility. Nothing will cause harder feeling and resentment than one person busting his butt to take care of the meat while others are sitting around the fire. Everyone needs to be involved to insure the meat remains in good shape.


        • #5
          Shooting order - Whatever you do, if you happen on two moose in the same area...don't try that "1,2,3 Shoot" Bull****!! It never works and I garuntee you'll regret that mistake more than missing a straight up shot.
          As far as anything else...make sure you work well with your partners. The best hunts I've had are where the other person knows what needs to happen (as well as you) and you work in Harmony. If you have to tell partners what to do every 15 minutes or to set the tent, or start the water for dinner, or get more wood for a fire....You'll feel like a baby sitter and resent them.
          Yesterday I ran into an Old Girlfriend and I thought I missed her...
          So I backed up and hit her again, ya know sometimes I really do miss her!!


          • #6
            Flip a coin to see who gets to shot first the first day, then alternate the other days.

            As far as the other chores, no offense but if you have to outline everyones responsibilities on a daily basis then perhaps you are not hunting with the right group of guys.

            When we hunt, we split the meat at the end of the hunt unless everyone bags an animal. So the meat, firewood, digging the latrine, etc is everyones responsibility. If I had to hunt with a group of guys who needed a "manager" it would be the last time hunting with them.


            • #7
              Just relax and enjoy your hunt.

              If you find yourself trying to manage every little duty or task then you need to step back and remember why your out there. You'll know afterwards if you need to find a new hunting buddy. Don't make it worse by calling it out during the trip.


              • #8
                I appreciate all the insight. Rest assured, we have a solid group of guys. We are just not use to hunting as a group. We are all 3 very independent and at least 2 of us are use to solo hunts or base camps where we head out on independent spike camps... we see each other when we see each other (e.g. drop camp for elk Sept muzz hunt in CO with intention to spike out away from base). This is good, in that we all know what it takes to pull off a difficult hunt and won't be relying on the others for something we can't do ourselves. But, I expect some challenges making a transition from independent hunters to a group of hunters that rely on team work to be successful. Hence the questions on group dynamics.

                I suspect some of this is 'common sense' to those that are use to hunting in groups, but not for those of us use to solo situations. We have 13 days planned (1 - fly in, 11 hunting, 1 - take out). None of us are use to 13 days with round the clock contact with other hunters during a hunt, so should be interesting!

                We'll figure it out and will be fine, but I certainly appreciate the insight from guys that are use to a group dynamic... and have figured out works and what doesn't! Our plan is to be as prepared as possible, and then as Kevin puts it... "just relax and enjoy the hunt"!


                • #9
                  CoGriz, a couple of things i have learned from years of successful float hunting with small and large groups is this:

                  1. Shooting order should be worked out theoretically befoe you float. But, be flexible when the hammers start to fall. What I have found useful is to agree on which raft goes first and second, and then switch this as needed each day you float. The first raft should be the "on-the-drift callers, and the second raft should follow about 20 minutes behind. The first raft primes the river corridor for moose that happen to be in the vicinity of the riverbanks, and oftentimes the second raft picks up the shots the first raft calls in. many times i have had moose respond upstream of us while drifting, which means that the second raft would have increased opportunity to harvest these moose. It works. Ensure that each raft is self sufficient with game bags and tools, plus a couple of guys to work on the moose. The next day you float, reverse this order to ensure everyone gets the same chance at luck. So, shooting order in our float teams means raft to raft, and then person to person. Each raft has a shooter and oarsman...this, too, is reversed as one man is successful. By the end, every hunter gets fair shooting ops, if luck holds out.

                  2. we gauge shooting order by those who are most eager to shoot, who wants size over legal harvest (50" or bigger vs. any legal bull), and age/experience of the hunters. If we have a new hunter who has yet to pull teh triggger, she might get first crack. I'd put the first shooters in the 2nd raft and follow the vocal calls from the 1st raft by 15-20 minutes as you float downstream. That raft usually gets first shot...i believe this is true at least in general. of course, moose will show up where they may, but you get the idea behind statistics.

                  hope this helps,



                  • #10
                    As for meat care, Everybody should help out the same if everybody is splitting the meat, say 2 of you get bulls, then the 3rd person should work just as hard on the meat to keep it good so he earn his fair share.
                    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.


                    • #11
                      If you lack any other method, shoot a target. The closest to the bull shoots the first bull. The second closest, the second. Etc. It could be fun.


                      • #12
                        A float hunt doesn't mean that you are floating all the time and that is the only time hunting. You float from one good location to another and work that new area for 1 to 3 days. You can split up and cover alot of area. Just be careful about spreading to much scent in an area. Hunt 2 together and 1 solo and then switch it up. When floating Larrys advice is solid and smart.

                        Meat - you did answer it, ALL work together every time and everyone goes home with meat.
                        Semper Fi and God Bless


                        • #13
                          Great tips have been shared for sure. I would echo the others and say that having a firing plan before you hit the water is for sure the best approach. Alpha males have a tendency to be competitive and hard feelings can happen quickly.

                          I will also say that our falls have been getting warmer and warmer. Did not see it mentioned, but 10 days trying to keep meat would most likely be pushing it if someone shot a bull on the first day or so of the float. I would ask about the possibility of a meat haul during your float if the situation required it.

                          I will also say that depending on the Bulls size and what area you hunt. you will be looking at 500 to 700 lbs of meat per bull. Handling that much meat quickly becomes work. The meat will have to be removed from the rafts and hung. Add to this the possibility that there are a lot of critters that also like moose meat and you may have to guard your meat.

                          2 moose harvested between 3 hunters is a success by any standard.

                          I use the raft to float from hunting area to hunting area and then dig in and hunt a few days at each productive spot. While moose are killed from rafts most I have seen have been off river.

                          Floating hunting is work, especially if your hunt requires rowing everyday. That said it is my favorite type of hunting, don't forget your fishing gear, great way to spend an afternoon or fill time if you shoot a bull first.

                          Notice the lack of a jacket, 3rd week of September last year above the Arctic Circle. We had temps in the 70s during the day.

                          Remember those rods!!!

                          The meat from 2 bulls, and this area did not require that the meat stay on the ribs.

                          Be safe and have a great trip!!!

                          "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"


                          • #14
                            great pics, looks like a great time. my brother and are former Army Rangers and we are looking to do a Moose hunt on a river system in Alaska to celebrate his 60th birthday, yeah it sounds old but he is hard core. anyways, could you provide some POC's for gear and float plane to and from the river system? Tks


                            • #15
                              Despite the group's best intentions ... I would also say...don't shoot a moose any farther than you're willing to cut-up/and pack it out by yourself. This way, if a second bull comes into your area (to see what you are up to) and your group reasons to take it, you'll have less help than originally planned. Plus, I've had other able bodied hunters develop bad backs, knife cuts, or otherwise be unable to put forth their true share of the effort.

                              Similarly, if a friend shoots one and it is in the water or makes it to the water, the experience quickly goes from work to more work. Hopefully, they are good friends and stick it out rather than shoot one closer to camp/raft and leave you to your problem.


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