View Full Version : Alaskan Moose Hunting

February 25, 2001, 09:52 PM
I will be going on a late September moose hunt near Lake Chalatna (SP?) this year. I have hunted deer, elk, and other mammals with sucess, but never moose. I will be going with some very experienced moose hunters, come in via float plane, hunt with them for 72 hours, they leave, and then I hunt the next week by myself. They will return the following week in the float plane. Accomodations are in a wall tent. I have a great deal of woods experience, and feel confident in my woods craft. However, I have never done this in Alaska. I will carry a .338 Ultra Mag, and a .44 mag.

So, for those of you more experienced what advice could you give me? I am very interested in any books that deal with Alaskan moose hunting and grizzly behavior. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



February 25, 2001, 11:39 PM
Where is Kieth??? :D

Where do you live..and have you ever hunted in Alaska before??
Alaska is very, very, very wet, especially during moose season...well, all the time. You said you're flying in and hunting with "experienced" moose hunters....Are these guys friends of yours..or a charter plane/hunt service...or guides?? If they're guides, they'll probably give you a list of musts...hipwaders...bug repellent...a good pack frame...and any supplies that wont be in the tent.
I'm begginning to think this is a partial guided hunt?? they supply the trasportation, good hunting area, accomodations, but you hunt pretty much alone? If you're going to be alone, remote, without a way out you should definately have a coastguard radio, or ham radio (if you're an operator) or a cellphone, if they work out there...(alot of areas here they dont.)
Where in Alaska is Lake Chalatna? I think I've given you more questions than you asked us...but it's such a broad question.

February 26, 2001, 01:11 AM
Kieth? Is that a TFL member or the infamous Elmer? If its Elmer I have read many of his Alaskan adventures. I am hunting with friends. One in particular is rather famous. They know what they are doing, or so I would like to think. As far as radio comms are concerned I have thought of that but have yet to resolve it. To narrow my query, let's start with prefield research: What books do you recommend on Alsakan Moose Hunting? Also what field gear do you recommend?

I should have posted this last week, as I was in Anchorage until Saturday morning. I'll be back next month.


February 26, 2001, 02:28 AM
Kieth Rogan is a poster here who lives on Kodiak...he's hunted up here longer than I have, and has some (bad) bear experience...he was mauled a few years ago and has a very informative web-site set up about that encounter, and bears in general.

Will you have a boat at your camp? A boat is very handy for hunting moose around lakes. Will you be bringing any moose calls?? Depending on the time you're hunting these help too, though I've only used them this year, I haven't had any luck, but alot of hunters do ecspecially during the rut.
Hip waders and bug repellent are probably the most important, though we changed are approach this year...even with hip waders we've gotten wet in the past, so we just bring lots of extra clothes and dry our boots by the fire...theres no way to not get wet, that we've found. GOOD binoculars...the rules up here regarding a legal moose are difficult...some areas are any bull, but alot require 3 brow tines, or a spike-fork, or whatever...these are very hard to find if they're legal, ecspecially if the bull is moving or in brush, so these are a must....Do you know what items are supplied in the tent? Do you have to bring all the stuff in on the plane, and set up camp, or will camp already be there? Moose like to stay in dark swampy stuff during the day and the rut, mostly the guides climb to a vantage point and glass the marshes and then plan a stalk. Good luck.

Keith Rogan
February 26, 2001, 12:49 PM
Here I am. I'm not a moose hunter though, Bad can probably give you better info than I.

I do a lot of fly-in Caribou hunting in SW Alaska which usually coincides with moose season - so I talk with a lot of moose hunters. I know that in general, each small lake will hold one good moose and several small bulls and cows. The antler restrictions are such that it has to be a spike or over 50" (is that right, Bad?), so if the party you are there with shoots a good bull, you are likely wasting your time to stay longer. 90% of the bulls you see will fall into the unshootable category.
The usual strategy among experienced moose hunters is to choose a lake and then hunt as a party. When someone gets a good bull, everyone else just quits and helps with the packing. It's unlikely that another good bull will be around the lake, anyway.

I think my advice would be to ask to be taken to another nearby (unhunted) lake as the first party departs if a good bull has been taken - there are literally a half million lakes, so that won't be a problem.

I don't know where this lake is, but since it has a name... It's probably "popular" and best avoided. The best bulls are taken from nameless little ponds that aren't even on the map. What part of Alaska are you hunting? If you're southwest, buy a caribou tag because the success rate in some areas tops 90%. Moose success is like 10 or 20% - they're tough to find and the antler restrictions make it even tougher.

As for the .44 - leave it at home, you have a .338, right?

February 26, 2001, 05:51 PM
Kieth is right about the 50" spread ristriction, except for a couple details. Since it is impossible to judge 50" on a live animal, even from up close (unless you're VERY experienced...guides can usually guess within 2"!!!) they consider any bull with 3 brow tines (on either side) to be legal. I have a taxidermist friend who hunts an area where the genetics of the animals give them brow tines early. He shot one a few years ago that was about a 35" spread, with three tines on each side....so you may get lucky. Also, MOST areas that are 50" or greater, also allow you to take a spike/fork bull. This is a young bull with either a spike, or a fork horn on atleast one side, the other side can be anything. I don't know if you're after meat, or a trophy, but I wouldn't hesitate to shoot a young bull given the opportunity, moose are great eating, and I wont pass up a legal animal.
As far as the "one good bull per lake" theory...I've heard this from more than one person, but also know guides who hunt with 3 or 4 guys out of a base camp, and they all get their trophies.... I guess it depends on the area, and depends on the lake. As far as hunting a lake with a name, Kieth is super right!! There are thousands of lakes up here, and if that one has a name, it's well known and probably well hunted. Good Luck on your hunt.

March 1, 2001, 11:12 AM
I would like to know what the $'s run for one of those "partial guided hunt's" for moose. And what does it run to bring all that meat back to the lower 48 if you get a moose?

Keith Rogan
March 1, 2001, 12:36 PM
I don't believe moose is a species that requires a guide. Hunting in Alaska is expensive though, even without a guide. To get to 95% of the state you have to charter a small plane. A Beaver can get a party of 3 (or even 4 if you pack REAL light) with gear into the boonies, but it may require two or more round trips to get you and your meat back out (if you're hunting moose and successful).
Then you're looking at air freight to the lower 48.

The money is all in the logistics and there's no way around that if you want a quality hunt. You wouldn't to fly up here and hunt the road system - you can do that at home.

March 2, 2001, 08:22 AM
Other than tags and my gear I don't have to pay for anything. The people I am going with (one is a client) owns the plane. I have helped him do quite well financially lately and he is very happy. He also offered me a dove hunting trip in Argentina.

As far as returning the meat, I was told that we would flash freeze it, pack it in ice chests and send it home as carry on. I have been told the over weight limit might cost $50-$100.

March 3, 2001, 05:30 PM
My two cents--If you plan on using that .338 as a bear defense weapon, make sure you practice from all sorts of positions, and learn to bring it up for quick, close-range shots. There's a world of difference between long-range shots carefully squeezed off when hunting and fast shots fired when a mountain of furry muscle explodes out of the devil's club at you. Most find leverguns easier to handle in these situations. On the other hand, the chances of a dangerous encounter are very slim.

I'd worry a whole lot more about partially submerged logs or rough water on the lake. We get an awful lot of aviation deaths up here--far more than from bear maulings. I'd want to know how many hours of bush flight time the pilot has in that type of plane. Hopefully it's over 4,000. Under 1,000 and I'd have serious second thoughts. Under 100 and there's no way on Earth I'd take the ride, client or no. Don't encourage the pilot to risk bad weather, either.

March 3, 2001, 09:41 PM

Thanks for the advice. I'm still sorting the bear defense/weapons selection out. You mentioned lever action; I would love a Wild West Guns .50 Alaskan, but that's not currently in the budget.

In addition to hunting I know a bit about defensive pistol, rifle and shotgun. You shooting advise is well received. I'll include defensive shooting in my training regimen for whatever weapon(s) system (s) I decide on.

I really appreciate the aviation advice. I think I'll ask my client. However, I believe the pilot has more than the 4,000 hours you mentioned. Based on the occupation listed in your profile, I'm sure you know my client. I'll be in Anchorage again the week of 3/26 for business and further trip preparations.

Thanks again,


March 4, 2001, 07:31 AM
I do not know about FAA regulation, but in CDA a pilot needs at least 200 hrs to have a commercial license issued... But the advice is very sound, althought since the big airlines have been hiring a lot lately, the odds of ending up with a low-hours pilot on a float plane have increased dramatically. But those who survive two or three seasons with the same outfitter are generally excellent, low hours or not.
Just my 0.02$, sorry to disgress, but this comes in my field of competence and I just could not resist! ;)

March 4, 2001, 02:15 PM
I dont THINK hauling hunters and game in and out requires a commercial air license...A guy we know does it and I'm sure he just has a regular (private) license for his own plane. He doesn't work for an outfitter, and just kinda charges people to drop them and come back after the hunt to get them...this may just be done under the table without Uncle sam getting any of the pie:)