- Category: Moose
- Published: Sunday, 24 September 2006 18:11
- Written by Greg
Alaska Moose Hunt
Since I was a kid back in the 70’s, I’ve always dreamed of hunting and fishing in Alaska. My dad and I had talked about making a trip to Alaska one day, but such a trip never materialized. I vowed that if I had a son, I would one day take him to Alaska hunting and fishing!
Well, that day has come and I now have a teenage son of my own. It was this past summer when it really hit me...if I didn’t get an Alaska hunt planned soon, the opportunity would quickly slip by and my father/son Alaska trip would never happen.
My Alaska hunting trip really began several years ago when I met Corby back in 1996. We met at work and it was there that I found out that Corby was from Alaska. We talked often about a "dream trip" to Alaska. It really came together this past summer (2005) when Corby’s dad (John) was in town, visiting from Alaska. We met for the first time over lunch in a small sit down restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was there that we scribbled notes and made rough maps of an area that we figured would be a great place to go hunt. We decided then and there that a September 2006 trip was on!
We didn't quite figure out exactly what this trip would entail, but our plan was to hunt grizzly bear and moose and to give river fishing a try. Who knows, maybe we will get wolf and black bear tags as well...? The thought of hiring a registered guide did cross my mind because having the opportunity to bag a grizzly myself would be awesome…but so far this trip is shaping up to be a “do-it-yourself” hunt of a lifetime!
December 11th 2005.
The last few months have flown by! I remember (what seems like yesterday) when our trip was over a year away. We now have less than 9 months before we’ll be in Alaska. The anticipation of the trip has been a lot more fun that I thought it would be. I thought that the months of waiting would be painful and that time would drag on. But that hasn’t been the case at all. I’m spending time compiling the list of gear that we’ll need to take by mentally imagining the hunt itself. I don’t quite know what to expect, but since I’ve hunted here in Utah my whole life, I do have quite a bit of experience to draw from. Also, I watch every Alaska hunting show that comes on TV and try to pick up little tips here and there to prepare for the unexpected Alaska wilderness!
One of the benefits of taking a trip like this is the opportunity (excuse) to update my hunting gear. I’ve always wanted to get a bigger gun than my 7mm mag, now I have one. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Remington model 700 BDL 7mm, but I can’t help but wonder if bigger is better… Since a trip like this can be hard on the pocket book, I started keeping my eye open for a good deal on a used gun. After months of looking, I finally found a nice used .340 Weatherby magnum Mark V with a synthetic stock for $400. This gun should be perfect for the big Alaskan moose!
In all of my excitement to see the area that we will be hunting and fishing in Alaska, I’ve been using Google Earth to drill in on the area of the Yukon where we’ll camp, hunt and fish. Unfortunately the resolution of the satellite images from Google Earth don’t have the detail that I wished they had, but I can get a pretty good feel for the tributaries that we will be hunting. If you haven’t used Google Earth to view an unfamiliar hunting area, you should give it a try. Again, most remote areas don’t have the detail/resolution that the populated areas have, but I’m sure that will change as time goes on. And I’m not suggesting Google maps as a replacement for a good topographical map, but at least you can get some idea of the area you’ll be hunting before you get a hold of your maps.
July 25th 2006
It has been months since I have added to this story...the time is getting close! Since I started writing this blog, I've added a Bushnell spotting scope, an Alaskan frame pack, hip waders and some Cabela's rain suede gear to my equipment inventory. Also, I've got the .340 Weatherby magnum dialed in and I've got a son (and the dad) who can't wait for Sept. 7th!
Here is a pic I got from a friend in Alaska that was taken this year...
July 28th 2006
We now have our flight booked for Sept. 7th, returning Sept. 18th. We are leaving from SLC, Utah and arriving in Anchorage. Then we head from Anchorage to Anvik where we'll rent some boats and head up the Yukon. There will be a total of eight people in our group and we'll have half of us hunting and the other half scouting/fishing.
Going to Alaska to hunt isn't cheap, even on a do-it-yourself hunt (of course it's cheaper than hiring a registered guide). Our flight from SLC to Anchorage is $512. Then we have to jump onto another plane to take us from Anchorage to Anvik and that will cost us another $410. One thing to keep in mind when planning a trip like this is that you need to get your plane tickets well in advance. Well, at least you should book all flights into the interior of Alaska well in advance or you will end up like us, having to take a late flight, wasting almost a whole day.
July 29th 2006
We decided to book our own charter flight from Anchorage in order to arrive in Anvik mid-morning, but that will cost each of us an additional $140 for procrastinating. Today Corby and I went out and shot the .44 mag one last time before we head out. Again, this pre-hunt preparation is a total blast!
August 2nd 2006
Yesterday was an interesting day. To start off with, we were totally lucky and were able to change our flight so that we now arrive in Anvik 5 hours earlier due to some cancellations. This will now give us time to pack up all of our gear into boats and head to our base camp before dark. Also, we'll now have time to hunt on the way in on the first day we arrive (if you take a commercial flight, you can hunt the same day your fly). Later in the evening, I had the opportunity to go with Corby and buy a .338 rifle for his brother Ben. Since I would never have had this chance to go hunting/fishing in Alaska if it weren't for Corby, John and Ben, it was the least I could do. Wow was Ben ever excited when we showed up to his house with a .338 Ruger M77 with a black composite stock and a stainless steel barrel! The gun was just one more thing added to his growing pile...there in the middle of his living room was his back pack, gear bags and camo, heaped up and ready to go. These last 4 1/2 weeks will fly by for Ben now that he has a new rifle that he has to get sighted in, along with all the other last minute details involved with pulling off an Alaska hunting trip.
September 24th 2006
We are back! The good news...we had a blast! The bad news...the weather was way too warm. How can the weather be too warm in Alaska you ask? Well, when you don't need a jacket and a short sleeve shirt is plenty comfortable, it's way too warm to find rutting moose. And the mosquitoes did not disappoint. Again, the worst part of it all was that the moose hadn't started rutting. Each and every day we saw plenty of fresh moose tracks, but the tracks all seemed to be from the cows that we were seeing along the river. One of our group was lucky enough to get a small bull, but that was it.
Moose tracks...another cow seems to be the culprit Fresh grizzly bear tracks
Another thing lacking was our ability to spot a bear. Daily we found plenty of fresh bear scat and tracks along the banks of the river, but seeing one of the elusive grizzly bears was another story. The country was quite a bit different than I had expected, it was flat. The only way to get a vantage point to see more than a few yards was to either climb up a tree or to happen upon a meadow. That being said, the walking was still very difficult. Not only was the cover extremely thick and swampy, but without visible landmarks walking in circles was inevitable.
We never did see a wolf, but we did hear them howling at night, that was really cool! The one part of the trip that was fantastic was the pike fishing. We had hoped to catch a few salmon, but I think the pike ruled the river. We had great luck fishing and caught a whole bunch of northern pike. After reviewing the pictures that we did take, I know wished that we had taken more pictures of the fish we caught. Because catching fish became so expected that we didn't get pictures of some of our biggest fish.
Another really enjoyable part of the Alaska hunting trip was the fact that we had fresh moose meat in camp for days! We had plenty of fresh steak and even made our own jerky. As you may or may not be able to tell from the picture, we dried strips of meat by the fire very slowly and made our own homemade moose jerky. It was unbelievably tender and tasty!
Making our own moose jerky! Wild blueberries, ate our fair share
In addition, I had never experienced the ability to pick and eat fresh blueberries while hunting. The blueberries were everywhere! I literally gorged myself on blue berries as I walked along hunting bear and moose. Something else to consider when hunting a river is the purchase of a waterfowl license. We saw ducks everywhere! Unfortunately I didn't have a waterfowl license or a shotgun, but I'll make sure to bring one next time!