14-days of remote solitude moose hunting in Alaska

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AKDoc

AKDoc

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If you need a pot to boil the skull you can borrow mine. I'm in Wasilla.
I've got it covered, but thanks for your generosity and creative adaptation of that old propane tank...nicely done guy (and very Alaskan...love it!)
 

VernAK

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That skull boiling kettle is a great idea and I wish you were closer as I have a caribou that needs cleaning.

Doc,
What are you going to do for an encore? Is there some critter out there that you'd love to include in your bag?

Ii often get asked what my next hunting goal will be and I really have no personal goal as far as shooting a larger bull but if I could call in a big one for my nephew that would be great. I would like to have an opportunity for a big wolf again.

I sure missed moose camp this year but my Drs have me patched up enough to go for it next year. I'm hoping for ten more years of it.

I'm hoping you get to enjoy many more Alaskan adventures.
 
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AKDoc

AKDoc

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That skull boiling kettle is a great idea and I wish you were closer as I have a caribou that needs cleaning.

Doc,
What are you going to do for an encore? Is there some critter out there that you'd love to include in your bag?

Ii often get asked what my next hunting goal will be and I really have no personal goal as far as shooting a larger bull but if I could call in a big one for my nephew that would be great. I would like to have an opportunity for a big wolf again.

I sure missed moose camp this year but my Drs have me patched up enough to go for it next year. I'm hoping for ten more years of it.

I'm hoping you get to enjoy many more Alaskan adventures.
Back at you Vern...sorry when I heard preseason that you were side-lined this year, but sure glad you'll be out there next year guy.

In response to you...I really don't have an animal that I'd love to include in my bag for me. My daughter and I went sheep hunting several times...saw a lot of sheep, just never a legal ram...but I'm so conservative on my full-curl estimations (a ram would need to be a double-curl for me to pull the trigger!!). I'm sure we passed on at least one that was likely legal. No regrets at all...got to be out there with her enjoying the mountains, and was with with her on other hunts to take her first moose and first mountain goat. Was with my son on hunts for his first black bear, grizzly and mountain goat as well. I'd still like to call my son's first moose to him, but his jobs have always had him super-crazy busy in the field during moose season...there you go, I think I just finally answered your question!

Best of luck to you next year old man!
 

Whip

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Nov 28, 2015
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What a great trip. You fellows that have been doing this successfully for years keep the dreamers among us envious. DIY moose hunting is a long term commitment for most and your love for the adventure is obvious.
Congratulations!
 

r1elkins

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Great story, thanks for sharing. I just completed an Alaskan moose hunt in 18 as well. I've never been to Alaska, so this was a lot of firsts for me. That part of the state is an amazing area for hunting moose. Congrats and enjoy the meat, that is the real trophy.
 

AKBC

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I am curious how the meat from the first bull taken early in the hunt was handled. Did you keep it in the field or did the transporter pick it up? If they picked it up, did they freeze it whole, hang it in a refrigerated cooler, or transport it to a processor?
 

r1elkins

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I am curious how the meat from the first bull taken early in the hunt was handled. Did you keep it in the field or did the transporter pick it up? If they picked it up, did they freeze it whole, hang it in a refrigerated cooler, or transport it to a processor?
It took us 2 days to move it to a landing spot. It was 30s at night, 40s-50s during the day. We kept it hanging and in the shade, no issues with the meat at all. Transporters picked it up and took it straight to the processor in Bethel. Couldn't have been any easier.
 
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AKDoc

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I am curious how the meat from the first bull taken early in the hunt was handled. Did you keep it in the field or did the transporter pick it up? If they picked it up, did they freeze it whole, hang it in a refrigerated cooler, or transport it to a processor?
Good question...not a quick answer...

Renfro has a system that everyone uses to let them know when a moose is down and when that moose is ready for pick-up...it works pretty good, wx permitting...but wx doesn't always permit. I actually like to have it hanging for a few days in the field before pick-up, so a delay in pick-up doesn't bother us. The first thing we always do after getting camp set-up is to build a meat pole before we harvest. We also bring a bunch of tarps to shade the meat as it hangs on the pole out of the sun/rain, and allow it to hang in the air and cold temps at night. I don't like having meat on the ground....I know it can be done responsibly with care, but it's not my choice.

We do all of our paperwork in advance as part of our Renfro procedures in the hanger before heading out into the field...Renfro comes out for pick-up of the meat, gets it back to Bethel, and then same day gets it directly over to Evert's Air Cargo in Bethel for shipment back to ANC. It goes right into Evert's cooler/freezer in the game bags that it was hanging in the field, and when it arrives in ANC (usually the next day) it goes right into the Evert's Anchorage freezer. Evert's then directly contacts the processor of our choice (Indian Valley Meats), who comes to Evert's for pick-up and transport to their processing shop.

So, regarding your question about the first bull that we we took early in the hunt, all of the aforementioned happened while we were still in the field holding out for the second bull. My wife texted me on the inReach to let me know that Indian Valley had the first bull and the total weights. Please keep in mind that we are residents, so the logistics are a bit different for us. What I described has worked extremely well for us for the past nine years with Renfro. We take pride in our care of the meat in the field...and it is always excellent.
 

actionshooter

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Thanks for the write up! Alaska is a special place no doubt... I've been fortunate to spend a good deal of quality time up there but it seems like it's never enough...

Thanks for sharing!
 

ReinsuranceShooter

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I am curious how the meat from the first bull taken early in the hunt was handled. Did you keep it in the field or did the transporter pick it up? If they picked it up, did they freeze it whole, hang it in a refrigerated cooler, or transport it to a processor?
AkBC- akDoc is full of great advice there and clearly outlines the caveat of living local. My brother and I take a lot of pride in processing our animals entirely. That is not always possible though but with some planning and some good fortune, we were able to do that this year.

Renfro’s doesn’t have a place to store meat long term so you have to make a plan. The options are donate, send it to a butcher or come out with the meat. Renfro’s is very high on hunter safety and (as I understood it) they believe it to be a safety concern to leave a solo hunter in the field - so if you are a duo, that can present a challenge.

We had built a hanging place as suggested by AkDoc, were tarped and prepared. We had great hanging weather and as a result we were able to harvest my brother’s, get it hung and then go after mine. After I tagged out we called for transport… after some wx delay we were extracted.

Back at the hanger we spend the evening and the next day processing both moose. We placed it in 11 is the 12 fourteen gallon roughneck totes I shipped up (3 stacks of 4 each zip tied together). One stack had the top bin filled will sparse processing equipment- two 8 inch victornox knives, sharpener, 100 2.5 gal zip locks, a sharpie to write meat parts on ziplocks a bunch of zip ties and sixteen 30 gal trash bags to line totes. We also took 3/4 pipe foam 3 8’sticks, a couple layers of cardboard, duct tape and Saran Wrap for the heads.

From there the Renfro’s guys were awesome about running us with the meat and the heads to Alaska air cargo to have it all shipped back to the lower 48. Cant say enough about a couple of the guys at the hanger - just helpful, good people. One was a bethel local and new to the operations and in my opinion a hell of a pickup for wade!

All said, plan it out and it you can easily end up with plenty of great meat after making your memories
 
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AKDoc

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AkBC- akDoc is full of great advice there and clearly outlines the caveat of living local. My brother and I take a lot of pride in processing our animals entirely. That is not always possible though but with some planning and some good fortune, we were able to do that this year.

Renfro’s doesn’t have a place to store meat long term so you have to make a plan. The options are donate, send it to a butcher or come out with the meat. Renfro’s is very high on hunter safety and (as I understood it) they believe it to be a safety concern to leave a solo hunter in the field - so if you are a duo, that can present a challenge.

We had built a hanging place as suggested by AkDoc, were tarped and prepared. We had great hanging weather and as a result we were able to harvest my brother’s, get it hung and then go after mine. After I tagged out we called for transport… after some wx delay we were extracted.

Back at the hanger we spend the evening and the next day processing both moose. We placed it in 11 is the 12 fourteen gallon roughneck totes I shipped up (3 stacks of 4 each zip tied together). One stack had the top bin filled will sparse processing equipment- two 8 inch victornox knives, sharpener, 100 2.5 gal zip locks, a sharpie to write meat parts on ziplocks a bunch of zip ties and sixteen 30 gal trash bags to line totes. We also took 3/4 pipe foam 3 8’sticks, a couple layers of cardboard, duct tape and Saran Wrap for the heads.

From there the Renfro’s guys were awesome about running us with the meat and the heads to Alaska air cargo to have it all shipped back to the lower 48. Cant say enough about a couple of the guys at the hanger - just helpful, good people. One was a bethel local and new to the operations and in my opinion a hell of a pickup for wade!

All said, plan it out and it you can easily end up with plenty of great meat after making your memories
Extremely well described and done P!! You and your brother crushed it!!!

I also agree with you about helpful guys working for Wade.
 

Kwa_bena

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Aug 14, 2021
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I humbly and thankfully say that I’ve harvested many moose over the years, but this was the longest shot that I have taken on a moose (200yds). I much prefer the thrill of calling them real close to me…I think I’m a bow-hunter at heart! He measured 56”, a 4x4 warrior with a lot of character and untold stories just looking at his rack. Many of his tines were either scraped or broken from fighting other bulls. To take a warrior with a rack like this was truly a bonus and an honor for me.

We field butchered him and got all meat bagged and hanging on our well tented meat pole by last light. Two days later, he was picked-up by Renfro pilots…

View attachment 331310 View attachment 331311
Y'all for real own planes? I'm sorry but you're living my dream up there in Alaska.
 

live2huntelk

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Ohio
AkBC- akDoc is full of great advice there and clearly outlines the caveat of living local. My brother and I take a lot of pride in processing our animals entirely. That is not always possible though but with some planning and some good fortune, we were able to do that this year.

Renfro’s doesn’t have a place to store meat long term so you have to make a plan. The options are donate, send it to a butcher or come out with the meat. Renfro’s is very high on hunter safety and (as I understood it) they believe it to be a safety concern to leave a solo hunter in the field - so if you are a duo, that can present a challenge.

We had built a hanging place as suggested by AkDoc, were tarped and prepared. We had great hanging weather and as a result we were able to harvest my brother’s, get it hung and then go after mine. After I tagged out we called for transport… after some wx delay we were extracted.

Back at the hanger we spend the evening and the next day processing both moose. We placed it in 11 is the 12 fourteen gallon roughneck totes I shipped up (3 stacks of 4 each zip tied together). One stack had the top bin filled will sparse processing equipment- two 8 inch victornox knives, sharpener, 100 2.5 gal zip locks, a sharpie to write meat parts on ziplocks a bunch of zip ties and sixteen 30 gal trash bags to line totes. We also took 3/4 pipe foam 3 8’sticks, a couple layers of cardboard, duct tape and Saran Wrap for the heads.

From there the Renfro’s guys were awesome about running us with the meat and the heads to Alaska air cargo to have it all shipped back to the lower 48. Cant say enough about a couple of the guys at the hanger - just helpful, good people. One was a bethel local and new to the operations and in my opinion a hell of a pickup for wade!

All said, plan it out and it you can easily end up with plenty of great meat after making your memories
Ditto this ......we had the same experience with Renfro's and shipping totes & supplies up prior to hunt.....brought de-boned meat back home via Alaska Air Cargo to process our selves. My experience was very good....only lesson learned for me was to not use polypropylene plastic totes (ie 27 gal commander totes )....learned after the fact that they do not do well in cold temperature (totes in cooler/freezer) busted on sides/bottom. Polyethylene totes do better in cold temperatures.
 

TAGPUNCHER

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THE SIP
Congrats on a Bull that many many DREAMS are made of! Enjoyed your story as well. NOW back to dreaming of my own. GREAT JOB.
 
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AKDoc

AKDoc

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Thank you all for the kind feedback...lots of good people here.

Gunnersdad49 just made an excellent point on his thread about the real reward of getting the meat back, and I share that perspective 100%.

We just got back our half of the second bull, and both freezers are now full. Next comes the sharing with five different families, as we do each harvest, every year.

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