Moose Hunting Gear Review – DIY Alaska Moose Hunting

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, DIY hunting, Hunting Alaska, meat, moose
Team Work Makes the Dream Work

On the first day heading into moose camp we experienced strong head winds with a mean rain. We used a 24ft 84inch wide Willie open bow boat sporting a 250 Honda prop driven outboard. These are phenomenal guide boats, almost unbeatable. A perfect vessel for the Yukon river hauling fuel, gear, moose meat, and passengers safely home. What I usually do is keep one dry layer like a vest and quick drying pants in a dry proof bag with my sleeping bag. This layer never ever gets wet. Ever. However, in driving rains on the verge of being snow, ripping a 16foot open bow inflatable for 8hrs straight from base camp…. in head winds going up the Yukon River, just about every layer you got is a necessity. The Ghar jacket goes on first, then the Cirius vest, then the soft shell Dalibor, sealed in nicely with the Koldo. The schoeler fabric on the interior of the Koldo is the star player.

AK-X

Koldo rain shell, ghar insulated jacket, cirius vest, Dalibor jacket in Khaki, and Briareos Gloves.  Winchester Repeating Arms Model 70 Extreme Weather Stainless Steel and Winchester Ammunition Expedition Big Game Long Range. Vortex Optics Scopes and Fury Binos. Spartan Precision Tripods. This was my combo of choice for our 2020 moose hunt on the Yukon River with AK-X. Bringing gear not personally tested on any hunt can be a detriment to the success experienced afield. I’ve used all sorts of gear over the years and have found select garments will usually work when layered correctly. Rain shell, soft shell, and an insulation layer like a down jacket will get you through most hunts.  Keeping the under layers dry and or making sure they are fast drying is imperative.

Hard Work

Once at base camp, I inflated my raft and threw a 20HP Honda prop outboard on the transome. Point of the boat story is, I was in the weather from sun up to sun down. Not like we could see the sun through the rain clouds anyhow. I rocked the Koldo for days in hard core rain. To my amazement, I was bone dry throughout the adventure.

The “Ninja Turtle” gloves as I call them, Briareos gloves kept my hands dry and warm in driving rains, ripping a tiller on the “Orange Crush” 16FT inflatable in all weather conditions. On a few glorious days, we experienced some unreal beautiful weather during the peak rut. I stripped down to my Dalibor jacket and chest waiters to charge through swamps. The joke in camp was that I had a moose string on my back and bulls just kept coming to my calls. My theory was the Khaki Dalibor made me a live decoy.

Talley SS Scope Ringshttps://www.talleymanufacturing.com

The firearm calibers we used on this adventure were 300WM & 30-06 Springfield. The Firearms of choice were the Winchester XPR and Model 70 Extreme Weather Stainless Steel. The ammunition of choice across the board was Expedition Big Game Long Range 190gr. Sure helps heated situations if everyone in camp is using the same ammunition! Fortunately the knockdown power was immense and nothing got too western out there. Having the Spartan Precision Shooting system on board was a bonus for those tall grass big swamp long range shot situations, and being able to film from the Titan Tripod as well. Multiple uses from a versatile tripod.

Hammer Time

The optics of choice were Vortex, a Razor HD LHT 3-15X50, Viper 4-16x 44, Viper 2.5-10X44, and Fury binos. They all worked well together.

Three and half days of travel, three and a half days of hunting, three and a half days travel back home, two and a half days of meat care back home; resulted in 5 bull moose that dreams are made of.  The gear performed as advertised, flawlessly in adverse conditions. For more information on DIY Moose hunting in Alaska and transportation to world class DIY moose hunting check out https://ak-x.com/

8 tips for DIY Alaskan Moose Hunting

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, antler, antler hunting, archery hunting, big game hunting, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, moose, unguided hunting, wild game

IMG_8116

  1. Game plan:

Need to make a good game plan with solid logistics and stick to it. Maps are critical to success, understanding game regulations and the area you are hunting are first priorities.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hunting.main) home website provides great information on where to start and how to finish a successful moose hunt.   This can help answer many of the initial questions someone has concerning a DIY Alaskan moose hunt, this should be the first place to start when coming up with a moose hunting game plan.  You can find things like harvest statistics for your selected hunting area and animal information, hunting license and tags, pictures on how to field judge a moose, and most importantly all the regulations controlling your hunt.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.40.18 PM

  1. Pre/ in-season scouting: internet research – fly over – ground visit

The digital age is upon us and information is more available now than ever.  Internet databases such as outdoor forum directories and www.rokslide.com make scouting a little easier.  Some individuals like to fly into a hunting area and scout on the way, although there is rules that prevent hunters to chase animals the same day they are airborne.  With no pre-season scouting for the majority of hunters out there, they must rely on putting boots on the ground and looking for the freshest moose sign possible.  Printed maps of your area is instrumental for moose hunting.  Know your area and how to move from point A to B (or at least have a game plan for it).

  1. Vantage point glassing

If you don’t have the option of scouting the area you will be hunting and have not targeted any particular bulls then gaining a vantage point to glass your hunting area is key.  One technique used by saged Alaskan moose hunters is to hike the closest hill then climb a tree, allowing them to survey their hunting area. Climb a spruce tree or cottonwood or use techniques such as climbing a telescoping ladder to get above brushy swamps. Hiking above tree-line in the mountains and letting your optics do the walking for you increases your chances to see animals as well.  In general visibility diminishes at lower elevations and gaining a vantage point could be your saving grace.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.30.39 PM

4.Wind direction

Always plan morning and evening hunts around wind direction. Moose (even rutting bulls) will usually circle 100-900 hundreds yards down wind before closing the distance.  This early season archery bull circled 100-200 yards down wind before bedding permanently this 2014.

IMG_3643IMG_3633

IMG_3641

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Calling – antler raking

Antler raking or scraping is great for moose hunting because not a high level of skill or knowledge of the moose language is needed.  Simply breaking and scraping spruce tree branches can be enough. Listening for a response to your call is crucial.  Sometimes bulls approach silent, other times they will rake their antlers and/or grunt.  An old moose shoulder blade, plastic oil container, milk jug, protein jug, commercialized fiberglass calls, birch tree bark scrapers, they all work to some degree.  The last moose hunt I went on we made a moose scraper out of a jug of Muscle Milk protein and called in a dandy bull fit for the freezer.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 11.53.16 AM

 

  1. Be prepared to sleep out: survival kit essentials

You can add more items to this list, but I wouldn’t subtract any of these items or be caught dead in the field without them.  Moose are just like any of the other member of the deer family, they move most at first light and last light depending on the photo period and rut phase.  Knocking down a moose at last light can lead to a long evening away from the shelter of base camp, if you leave your survival kit you’ll be wishing you had one.  If your not prepared to siwash* then your not prepared to harvest a bull moose.

Survival kit – bare minimum

  • flagging tape
  • rope
  • sleeping bag (emergency blanket, and/or bivy sack,etc)
  • two sources of ignition(bic lighter, magnesium fire starter, etc…)
  • small fold out saw
  • a knife
  • 8×12 tarp (or bigger)
  • emergency rations of food (cliffs bars, beef Jerky, etc)
  • compass and GPS

IMG_3761 2

  1. Correct gear: a few guidelines

Gear selection can make or break a hunt, rough weather and terrain are inevitable on an Alaskan adventure.  Your gear will experience some wear and tear, no doubt. GEAR: Hunting methods differ and depend on the individual hunter but here are a few guidelines for equipment.  A heavier rifle caliber capable to shoot 200+ grained bullets out to 300 yards should do the trick. Quality binoculars 8x32s work great, these help hunters field judge moose on those late evening sits in low light conditions.  Tent camp with the option to spike camp(1x bigger and 1x smaller tent ), sleeping bag and pads for everyone(0 degree rating mummy bags), and one action packer(tote or cooler) filled with a camp kitchen. An 8×12 (or larger) tarp works great to keep rain off your meat and doubles as a clean surface to help in field processing.  A small fold out saw is nice to have along for splitting the sternum, removing antlers, limbs, and gathering firewood.  A minimum of eight game bags should be brought, I like to bring 16 in case we drop another moose and/or need to change the game bags in the field if they get wet or dirty. Bring a big enough back pack or packing frame to fit 80-150 pound hind quarters/shoulders in it, day packs simply will not suffice. Cordage, you need much more rope than you think. Extra rope of all sizes along with a giant role of B-50 cord will really help you out in the long run, especially if your buddies aren’t their to lift those heavy moose quarters.  An old guide trick I learned a while back was to tie a moose leg with B-50 cord to the closest tree limb you can find, this relieves pressure on the hunter to hold the leg, the knife, and then make the cut.  Much more could be said about the correct gear needed for a moose hunt, this all circles back your game plan and methods for transportation to get you in and out of the field.

Moose Load

  1. Mental and physical toughness:

Moose hunting is tough, one must be mentally and physically ready to handle the task at hand.  Once you knock down a moose the “fun is over”, after getting some beautiful trophy shots the slicing and dicing begins.   It will take an average hunter about 3-8 hrs to field dress/quarter a moose in preparation for the pack out.   Rule of thumb in Alaska is to not shoot a moose more than one mile away from your transportation; this is where physical toughness and mental toughness play a huge role. There are many bulls that go noticed yet untouched because hunters don’t want to deal with all the work, the big boys are out there you may just have to work harder than you bargained for.  That being said, there are even bigger bulls that go unnoticed and untouched you just have to be semi-insane to go after them.  This bull (pictured lower left) was a few miles past a public hiking trail. It took five days of meat packing up and over 2,500ft mountains to get this moose in the freezer, hands down one of the most grueling pack outs I have personally been apart of.

A back-country pack after a successful harvest

 

Take these tips with a grain of salt. There are many seasoned moose hunters out there that have come home and filled their freezers using different tactics. Point is, you can’t kill them from the couch… Do your research and get out there!

Hit hard,

AM

*Siwash: verb – camp without a tent.

 

Moose with Alaska logo on it

Austin with Vince(aka”Moose Sensei”) and their 2013 Alaskan bull.