Absolute necessities on a DIY Drop camp hunt

Chirogrow

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Dec 23, 2018
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So I'm 7 weeks out from my first drop camp hunt and between my hunting partner and I we are needing to shave some weight so what are you guys classifying as an absolute need. I'm thinking of dumping the spotting scope and tripod, waterproof rifle case and bow case and I feel like our list doesn't have anything over the top. our food is one mtn house, a honey stinger and snickers per day. we're planning on being successful with fishing and hunting so we are going lite on the food but those are at least enough calories to keep us going strong if the grouse and fish aren't being killed. we are packing a kifaru sawtooth and stove, basic camp gear (folding shovel, saw, and small hatchet) 2 water filtrations, 3 fire starters, P cord 550 and 750, half roll of duck tape, 10 rifle rounds, 12 arrows, bow and rifle and a few other things for toiletries and cooking. pretty light on the clothes, 2 pants, 2 shirts, puffy top and bottom, rain gear, 6 pairs of socks, boots. I may be missing a couple tings but thats the majority of it. Any more insight would be awesome!
 

Nick Muche

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Mar 21, 2012
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Alaska
What is your weight limit and who are you flying with?

That would not be enough food for me to be happy, but maybe it'll work out for you.

We have to be at 50lbs this year for our moose hunt. 11 days. Food will take up around half of my weight.

I do not bring a spotting scope and tripod for moose when weight is a factor.

No water filtration either, but I know there is a fresh water spring near our camp.
 
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Chirogrow

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Dec 23, 2018
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What is your weight limit and who are you flying with?

That would not be enough food for me to be happy, but maybe it'll work out for you.

We have to be at 50lbs this year for our moose hunt. 11 days. Food will take up around half of my weight.

I do not bring a spotting scope and tripod for moose when weight is a factor.

No water filtration either, but I know there is a fresh water spring near our camp.
We have 700 pounds between my buddy and I. We are both big guys so after our weight we are down to about 70 pounds each. we are going with the 60 inch club.
 

AK Troutbum

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Apr 22, 2012
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Chugiak, Alaska
We have 700 pounds between my buddy and I. We are both big guys so after our weight we are down to about 70 pounds each. we are going with the 60 inch club.
So each of you are roughly 280 lbs. apiece and if all else fails you’re going to live off of one Mountain House and snacks, each/day? I say just foot the bill and pay for another load/flight. I wouldn’t even think about a drop camp moose hunt without some creature comforts and that includes adequate and very enjoyable food. It’s one thing to do a little fishing and maybe some small game hunting while on a big game hunt, and it’s something totally different to have to depend on being successful with those extra curricular activities. If you’re looking at having an enjoyable moose hunt, with your best chances of success, pay for another load. Just my 2 cents.


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Kevin Dill

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Aug 26, 2014
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I'm 100% with Troutbum! On the other hand, your post referring to '700 pounds between 2 guys' indicates you're going in by way of a Cessna or a Beaver. If that's the case a second flight is probably way too costly. You need to ask about it to know for sure.

Leave the spotter and tripod. A bow and rifle for each guy? I say pick one weapon each and forget the rest. One filter or none. I don't filter. One pair of boots per man and wear them. Lightest camp shoes possible. Leave the duct tape. Many, many years and I've never wished for it in camp. Fishing tackle would stay behind if limited to 70 pounds each. Put it into food and I don't EVER recommend thinking you'll eat 'local' unless you're willing to eat red squirrels. No fancy cook kit. A way to boil water and maybe a tiny skillet. Light plastic bowl. 3 pr liner socks and 2 heavy hunting socks each. 3 pair of underwear and 2 oz of detergent. Wash them. Micro-size your dopp kit essentials.

What are the '3 fire starters'?

Forget the big rolls of toilet paper. Pre-roll your own 'per-use' rolls and put each one in small plastic zip bag. Throw a couple in your pack for day use.

Don't be banging small game with a gun in moose country. I only shoot small game with my bow, and a bow is all I ever carry for hunting.

Bear spray per man minimum. Handgun preferable, and half (or less) the weight of a scoped rifle.

Sometimes a pilot will fly over your camp halfway through the hunt. You can always get a 'care package' ready and have it air-dropped if they fly through. Have it covered in bright colors and streamers of flagging tape so you can find it. It works.
 

Nick Muche

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I know him, you'll have a great hunt. Take more food :)

Lot's of downtime on a moose hunt...
 
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Chirogrow

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Dec 23, 2018
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I'm 100% with Troutbum! On the other hand, your post referring to '700 pounds between 2 guys' indicates you're going in by way of a Cessna or a Beaver. If that's the case a second flight is probably way too costly. You need to ask about it to know for sure.

Leave the spotter and tripod. A bow and rifle for each guy? I say pick one weapon each and forget the rest. One filter or none. I don't filter. One pair of boots per man and wear them. Lightest camp shoes possible. Leave the duct tape. Many, many years and I've never wished for it in camp. Fishing tackle would stay behind if limited to 70 pounds each. Put it into food and I don't EVER recommend thinking you'll eat 'local' unless you're willing to eat red squirrels. No fancy cook kit. A way to boil water and maybe a tiny skillet. Light plastic bowl. 3 pr liner socks and 2 heavy hunting socks each. 3 pair of underwear and 2 oz of detergent. Wash them. Micro-size your dopp kit essentials.

What are the '3 fire starters'?

Forget the big rolls of toilet paper. Pre-roll your own 'per-use' rolls and put each one in small plastic zip bag. Throw a couple in your pack for day use.

Don't be banging small game with a gun in moose country. I only shoot small game with my bow, and a bow is all I ever carry for hunting.

Bear spray per man minimum. Handgun preferable, and half (or less) the weight of a scoped rifle.

Sometimes a pilot will fly over your camp halfway through the hunt. You can always get a 'care package' ready and have it air-dropped if they fly through. Have it covered in bright colors and streamers of flagging tape so you can find it. It works.
I always love your in-depth feedback! You're spot on about the flight, it's the most expensive part of our trip so we can't have the pilot take another trip in for more gear. my fire starters are weather proof matches, trioxine and lighter. We have a jet boil for water and a small pot and pan cook kit. one of those light back county things.
Thanks for your insight!
 
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Chirogrow

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Dec 23, 2018
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So each of you are roughly 280 lbs. apiece and if all else fails you’re going to live off of one Mountain House and snacks, each/day? I say just foot the bill and pay for another load/flight. I wouldn’t even think about a drop camp moose hunt without some creature comforts and that includes adequate and very enjoyable food. It’s one thing to do a little fishing and maybe some small game hunting while on a big game hunt, and it’s something totally different to have to depend on being successful with those extra curricular activities. If you’re looking at having an enjoyable moose hunt, with your best chances of success, pay for another load. Just my 2 cents.


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haha my post sounded crazy when I was writing it but when reading your comment it sounds even crazier! my buddy and I have been working hard to drop some pounds so we can bring more stuff but our gear and food list has been cut about 5 times now just looking to save weight!
 
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Chirogrow

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Dec 23, 2018
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I know him, you'll have a great hunt. Take more food :)

Lot's of downtime on a moose hunt...
I haven't talked with anyone that knows of him or him personally so I'd love any insight you may have as to what we're in for! haha a good friend of mine is a hunting guide down here in southern utah and he had a client hunt with troy and had a great time so that was my only reference!
 

Nick Muche

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From what I can gather, his moose hunts are damn good. He has a ton of videos online with all sorts of AK hunting. They don't take many clients, his price is in stride with the other highly successful outfits but he won't run you through the ringer like a hunt factory or anything like that. He certainly knows moose and I think you're in for a treat. Come prepared and enjoy the experience!
 

Kevin Dill

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I'll lay one other tip on you. Sometimes a pilot has a reason to be at 'your' location (airstrip, camp, lake etc) before you arrive. They may be picking up other guys in the area. They might be scouting, or maybe doing airstrip maintenance. In any event, there might be an opportunity to have them drop something in there ahead of your arrival. You'd need to ask about it. If they say yes, pack it up and ship it to them. Be sure it's water-tight and unlikely to attract a bear. A smart pilot will stash it out of sight and away from easy notice by bears or people.
 

Gunnersdad49

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Colorado
Ditch the gun and bow cases for sure. The tripod and spotter? As mentioned above, ditch them if you need the weight. I'd rather 10 more pounds of food than a spotter any time I was dumped someplace only accessible by air in Alaska. There are many, many hunts that get unexpectedly lengthened due to weather or plane or pilot issues. I wouldn't want to run out of grub.

You can ditch the shovel for a trowel if you need to dig a cat hole. Or if you are in the tundra, kick the moss over, do your business, then flip the moss back over the top.

I would pick between the hatchet and the saw.
 

Dexter Grayson

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Feb 13, 2017
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Kenai, Alaska
Tent, sleeping bag, clothes, food, and weapon are absolute necessities. A lot of other things you mentioned are nice, but not a necessity. definitely take more food.
 

AKDoc

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May 16, 2015
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Alaska
Sir, I saw your post this morning when getting ready for work, but I didn't have time to respond. That said, you have gotten a lot of great feedback already...

I'll simply add the following for now:

I strongly underline what others have already said...you are way too skinny on food. Every fall I always spend two to three weeks in my tent in the middle of nowhere DIY hunting for moose. There is NO WAY that I would pack the food allocation that is referenced in your OP...no way. I always eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day....and I still lose at least five pounds by the time I get home....and I'm not heavy. You are way underestimating your daily caloric need sir! MH meals are not heavy, but they do have volume in your bags...be sure to pack MH meals that are high in protein.

If you are going to an any bull area, then dump the spotting scope for sure. 10x42 binoc's will do you just fine. If you need to count brow-tine, then it might save you unnecessary walking, but.....

Save weight by going with lightweight game bags, e.g., TAG bags. They are so much lighter than standard game bags...and I'm not talking about mesh bags...those are not adequate to transport that wonderful meat from the field. Get the large TAG bags, i.e., 60". You will need at least six big ones and a couple of smaller ones for each moose.

Take hiking poles with you...humping out a moose is a b-buster. You will need those poles to steady yourself.

Do you have a reliable and sure way of humping those super HEAVY meat bags from the kill site back to camp, e.g., reliable and durable pack, sled, etc. ?

Make sure you have several tarps to tent the meat when it hangs. On that note, you need to be sure that you can make a meat pole to hang the meat off of the ground, preserve the meat, and take it home...that means a saw, LOTS of cord to hang the meat pole and the meat bags, etc. Moose meat is the very best!

Don't skimp on water purification...giardia sucks!

Are you going to a wet area?
 
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Chirogrow

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Dec 23, 2018
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Sir, I saw your post this morning when getting ready for work, but I didn't have time to respond. That said, you have gotten a lot of great feedback already...

I'll simply add the following for now:

I strongly underline what others have already said...you are way too skinny on food. Every fall I always spend two to three weeks in my tent in the middle of nowhere DIY hunting for moose. There is NO WAY that I would pack the food allocation that is referenced in your OP...no way. I always eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day....and I still lose at least five pounds by the time I get home....and I'm not heavy. You are way underestimating your daily caloric need sir! MH meals are not heavy, but they do have volume in your bags...be sure to pack MH meals that are high in protein.

If you are going to an any bull area, then dump the spotting scope for sure. 10x42 binoc's will do you just fine. If you need to count brow-tine, then it might save you unnecessary walking, but.....

Save weight by going with lightweight game bags, e.g., TAG bags. They are so much lighter than standard game bags...and I'm not talking about mesh bags...those are not adequate to transport that wonderful meat from the field. Get the large TAG bags, i.e., 60". You will need at least six big ones and a couple of smaller ones for each moose.

Take hiking poles with you...humping out a moose is a b-buster. You will need those poles to steady yourself.

Do you have a reliable and sure way of humping those super HEAVY meat bags from the kill site back to camp, e.g., reliable and durable pack, sled, etc. ?

Make sure you have several tarps to tent the meat when it hangs. On that note, you need to be sure that you can make a meat pole to hang the meat off of the ground, preserve the meat, and take it home...that means a saw, LOTS of cord to hang the meat pole and the meat bags, etc. Moose meat is the very best!

Don't skimp on water purification...giardia sucks!

Are you going to a wet area?
Haha I appreciate your enthusiasm and directness! I knew my caloric intake was way under the necessary limit but figured we'd make it work. After reading your comment and every one else's I will absolutely be taking more food. I have tag bags, great pack for hauling, 6 tarps of different sizes. We are going to a wet area so I have some simms waders with boots.
This group has been an absolute blessing and has been such a big help! I'm sure I'll have more questions and please keep the help coming!
 

FLAK

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Jan 22, 2014
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Daphne, AL.
carry the small shovel and a small tarp. Dig a hole, place the tarp in it with rocks around the edge to hold it down. Plenty of drinking water after a few days of rain.
Mix with Gatorade powder and keep those electrolytes up.
Carry plenty of Underwear. I was developing an infection after 10 days on a brown bear hunt using the same undies from all the sweat/salt/chafing/walking. Rank!!
 

AKDoc

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Alaska
Haha I appreciate your enthusiasm and directness! I knew my caloric intake was way under the necessary limit but figured we'd make it work. After reading your comment and every one else's I will absolutely be taking more food. I have tag bags, great pack for hauling, 6 tarps of different sizes. We are going to a wet area so I have some simms waders with boots.
I'm glad that you could see my response was well intended and supportive in purpose...I'm even more glad that you are taking more food! Hopefully you won't be living in your waders, but they pretty much are a must take on a moose drop hunt in most/all areas.
 

mcseal2

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May 8, 2014
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Lots of good advice so far.

A few things I consider necessary:
-Wet wipes, dehydrate them until you are in the field
-blue paper shop towels are better than toilet paper. Cut a roll in half with the bread knife from the kitchen and make 2 rolls
-take lotrimin. Treat your feet every night and other areas if necessary. Prevention is better than ruining a hunt having issues
-I took 25lbs of food for 10 days packing light. I had 4 extra freeze dried meals too. I planned for 3k calories per day. Didnt eat that much but the extra was for snacks on those extra days
-Tarps can get heavy quick depending on what type you have. We had 2 seekoutside 10x10 tarps and tyvek sheets for meat
-Trekking poles are a must
-We lived in waders. I took only waders with wader boots and rain pants/tingley rubber boots plus socks, and base layers for my lower half. No need for regular pants where we were. Aerowool next to skin, fleece over that, merino socks, and sometimes a kifaru lpp under the rain coat and waders was our set up. Only extras I used were a shirt, socks, underwear, and a aerowool 200 base layer.

I have only moose hunted once so take my advice for what its worth. I got a lot of this from guys who went before me and wished they had these things.
 
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