Moose hunting and logistics, gear, etc. it’s over whelming!

Southern Heritage

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Jun 14, 2020
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137
Pre warning. I had surgery on both my hands today so I chicken pecked this out and read it twice. However if I sound like a Moron with miss spelled words and bad grammar that’s worse then normal. I’m sorry

Hey guys I’m headed to the brooks range on a 15 day moose/bear hunt on horse back. I’m using Tim’s Alaska adventures if he’s terrible it’s to late but from all my research. I couldn’t find anything bad via search’s. His References where great and talking to him I was very comfortable with spending more money then I’ve I’ve every spent in my life.
I have all sorts of questions as I’ve never done anything like this. But below are the ones eating at me. That’s I can’t get locked down from outfitter. He doesn’t avoid them just says will make it work and keep you comfortable as possible.
Answer some or answer none.

1) outfitter recommends pac boots with linears I’m looking at schnees , Hoffman, and Kendrick.
I like the ones with the less aggressive treads. However that may be a terrible idea. I may need the big lugs for grip. My main question on pack boots. Can you wear them with out the liner?
If so I’ll get good use out of them back home. If not they will be to hot back home which isn’t the end of the world.

2) sleeping bag. It can be very Rainey and wet. We will spike camp most days. Do I need synthetic or down on a bag? Do I need to spend $500.00 on a Kifaru or similar? Money is tight and everything is adding up. I knew it would but man are things pricey.
I have the right clothes minus rain pants which is saved a lot.. But staying dry is something the outfitter really stresses. Day and night time. His number one failed hunters are bad feet. Number two is bad clothes and can’t stay warm and dry.

3) trip insurance I have 4 more days to decide is $1100 in insurance worth it? I got a quote from rip cord. Open to others if you feel it’s needed. Out fitter said quote it’s nice to have Incase something bad happens.

4) Rifle. I have a Styer .300 win mag that I love. Shot it for better part of 15 years. However it’s heavy. I purchased a Christian Arms .30 Nosler last year. I like it but still figuring it out. I have time to put a lot of rounds through it before leaving to really feel confident like I do my .300. I’d be shooting 200 or 220 grain partrition bullet. Depends if the gun likes the 220’s

5) Getting critters home. I’ve been planning this trip for a few years. Talked to 6 outfitters in Canada and Alaska. None seem thrilled about getting all your meat home. and not just donating it to locals. Canada has boarder customers issues. Alaska suggest filling a hopper and checking it.
It’s important to me to be able to share this meat. Also the few time I had it. Moose eMate is flipping fantastic.
Tim said he do what ever he needs to help me get it home but not a lot of insite on how.. I’d like to get 200 lbs of meat at least. Any suggestions on how to from fair banks to Alabama

6) taxidermy I’d like to do a European mount. How do you separate the horns from the skull for transport? I for got to ask outfitter. That specific question.
Outfitter recommends using a taxidermist in Fairbanks thoughts on that. He didn’t recommend a specific one.
I’m also grizzly hunting and would do a rug if that matters.

7) gratitude/ Tips I’ve done two “ guided hunts” both turkeys. One the guy un locks the gate and turns you loose but cooks meals and place to stay. Other was Mexic where the Guide was with us 24/7 but let us hunt and call how we wanted. I gave $200 and $400.00. When I Guided daily turkey hunts I’d get $50 - $100 a day. They where very important to me as we made less then minimum wage from the outfitter considering hours out in.
What’s fair for a hunt like this.
Do you Tip the float plane pilots?

Thanks guys. Just trying to lock it all down and Feel comfortable with All my decisions and the pin the hard part wait for September. Thank you.
 

Larry Bartlett

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1) schnees or kenetreks WITH liner.

2) sleeping bag. Lightest synthetic down 0F bag would be ideal. If you're worried about moisture bring a goretex liner for it.

3) trip insurance: I'm against it because too many variables for payout unless you're hell bent on reliving the "what went wrong." In 25 years of business not one person has activated insurance for a trip gone wrong with us. IMO, insurance is a scam for the average joe.

4) Rifle. Take the heavier more accurate rifle that you can shoot the whiskers off a cat at 200 yards. Dont want to be F-ing around with fancy new shit with whistles and bells because it saved you two pounds load carriage. Accuracy secures bragging rights.

5) Getting critters home. Alaska Air Cargo probably the safest bet.

6) taxidermy I’d like to do a European mount. Cut the antlers off where the pedicle joins the antler bur, then have the taxidermist install detachables to antlers after boiling the skull. You wont know the difference once completed right.

7) gratitude/ Tips : If you tipped 10% you'd be good by anyone's standard IMO.
 
OP
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Southern Heritage

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Jun 14, 2020
Messages
137
1) schnees or kenetreks WITH liner.

2) sleeping bag. Lightest synthetic down 0F bag would be ideal. If you're worried about moisture bring a goretex liner for it.

3) trip insurance: I'm against it because too many variables for payout unless you're hell bent on reliving the "what went wrong." In 25 years of business not one person has activated insurance for a trip gone wrong with us. IMO, insurance is a scam for the average joe.

4) Rifle. Take the heavier more accurate rifle that you can shoot the whiskers off a cat at 200 yards. Dont want to be F-ing around with fancy new shit with whistles and bells because it saved you two pounds load carriage. Accuracy secures bragging rights.

5) Getting critters home. Alaska Air Cargo probably the safest bet.

6) taxidermy I’d like to do a European mount. Cut the antlers off where the pedicle joins the antler bur, then have the taxidermist install detachables to antlers after boiling the skull. You wont know the difference once completed right.

7) gratitude/ Tips : If you tipped 10% you'd be good by anyone's standard IMO.
Thank you sir great advice
 

rayporter

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Jul 3, 2014
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arkansas or ohio
we flew out of fairbanks twice and had no trouble getting meat frozen once we got there.

we put the meat in contractor bags and in cardboard fish boxes. each box held 50 lbs. we brought 4 boxes back with us on the plane.

take tape with you to tape up the boxes. a marker is handy to mark bags and boxes of meat.

an extra pair of liners for your boots is nice so you can rotate them.
luck
ray
 

Kevin Dill

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Aug 26, 2014
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2,706
1) All 3 brands are excellent. I'd go with less aggressive soles for horseback use and stirrups. From experience, you may need to bail off a spooked horse and (having been there and done that) you want a clean dismount at 25 mph. Big lug soles can be very annoying with stirrups, and they really collect mud.

2) Zero degree bag for sure. Down is superb if you love lightweight warmth and are attentive to simple principles of keeping it dry. If not, go synthetic which will be heavier but more tolerant of accumulated body moisture and dampness. Get the RIGHT size bag! You don't want a too-short or too-small diameter bag. You will be extremely uncomfortable in either.

3) I can't tell you what you should do about insurance. I have never bought it even once and I go somewhere (as in Alaska) every year. But I do understand that 2020 and Covid opened up a lot of eyes while shutting down tons of businesses. It only proves that nothing is guaranteed.

4) No experience with rifles or ballistics. I agree with Larry's advice to go with a rifle you know...have experience with...trust...and can shoot well. Plenty of people have used their trip as an excuse for an expensive new gun and optics when they simply did not need it. Your guide/outfitter will want you to be fielding the gun you shoot the best. If it has marks and scars on the stock, that's just evidence of solid use.

5) You simply MUST get your meat details worked out before the hunt begins. Leaving it to the outfitter and not having a solid plan (yours) is how hunters end up in frustration and others eat their meat. The first question to your outfitter is "Where does my meat go when it leaves camp"? Second question is "Where does the handling of the meat become my responsibility"? From that point it's up to you to deal with it. You CAN do it, so don't get frustrated and give up. If you're back in Fairbanks you'll need cold storage, heavy plastic bags and solid meat boxes. Get it boxed and frozen. You can fly it home as additional baggage if that works, or you can have it flown down via Alaska Air Cargo (a division of Alaska Airlines). Whatever is needed, it's a multi-step process with plenty of effort and some worry....but worth it when you drop over 200 pounds of prime boneless moose meat into your freezer.

6) I believe I would defer to your outfitter, as correct trophy handling (per your plans) is his responsibility.

7) 10% maximum for me. Gratuities are best targeted toward those who are directly working on my behalf. Guide, wrangler, cook (probably all the same person) and maybe the actual outfitter if he's in the field with you. If he's somewhere else (not on the actual hunt with me) all my tipping will go to those who worked for me. Oh...and don't forget the possibility there will be an expediter somewhere behind you. If used, they may be a key component of getting logistics to run smoothly on both ends of the trip. From picking you up at the airport or hotel; driving you to the next departure point; handling your left-behind luggage; and maybe handling your moose trophy and meat....this person can be a make-or-break member of the team, very deserving of a healthy gratuity.

Best of luck!
 

PNWGATOR

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Oct 14, 2014
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Rathdrum, ID
Larry and Kevin have you covered with their answers above.

I will add that Hoffman makes an incredible pac boot and it’d be my first choice of the three if fit was equal. I own Schnee’s and have for 25’ish years. However, they are not what they once were in terms of handmade USA quality. My next pair of pacs will be from Hoffman’s.
 

AKBorn

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Aug 14, 2018
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Tennessee
Great info above, I won't add to other than to say bring the rifle you have had for 15 years, especially if you just had hand surgery on both hands. In the off chance that one of your hands is acting up in September, you want to be using a rifle that you are very accustomed to using in varied conditions.

Don't try to skimp on the rain pants. You don't need Sitka or Kiui, but quality rain pants like Helly Hansen's or similar will make riding all day on horseback in the rain at least bearable. If you are riding for hours there isn't much chance to move your arms and legs to stay warm, so your clothes will have to be doing that for you.

Is the air taxi flying you out of Fairbanks to the field, and flying you back to Fairbanks once the hunt is over? If so, do you have an initial plan on where you might stay in Fairbanks coming and going? In addition, if you need any last-minute items before flying into the field, Fred Meyer or Sportsman's Warehouse in FBX should have them.

Good luck, there's no feeling like hunting remote Alaska for the first time.
 
OP
S

Southern Heritage

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Jun 14, 2020
Messages
137
Great info above, I won't add to other than to say bring the rifle you have had for 15 years, especially if you just had hand surgery on both hands. In the off chance that one of your hands is acting up in September, you want to be using a rifle that you are very accustomed to using in varied conditions.

Don't try to skimp on the rain pants. You don't need Sitka or Kiui, but quality rain pants like Helly Hansen's or similar will make riding all day on horseback in the rain at least bearable. If you are riding for hours there isn't much chance to move your arms and legs to stay warm, so your clothes will have to be doing that for you.

Is the air taxi flying you out of Fairbanks to the field, and flying you back to Fairbanks once the hunt is over? If so, do you have an initial plan on where you might stay in Fairbanks coming and going? In addition, if you need any last-minute items before flying into the field, Fred Meyer or Sportsman's Warehouse in FBX should have them.

Good luck, there's no feeling like hunting remote Alaska for the first time.
Thank you sir and sound advice. Hands hopefully will be okay but to late to turn back now. Just some tendon reconstruction in both hands and elbows form a old injury. Should be able to start shootings again early July.
I plan on staying at Pikes. Flying out I may stay the night in cold foot. We haven’t locked that down.
 

Kevin Dill

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Aug 26, 2014
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Pike's Waterfront Lodge is a neat place, and I've stayed there several times. I no longer do because the rooms are small and hvac units tend to be hit-or-miss. We now stay at Sophie Station Suites (near Safeway) because they have huge rooms, great kitchenettes, lounge, clean parking lot and usually main floor access. But we always eat at Pike's at least once for old times sake.

AKBorn brings up a great topic in rain pants on horseback. They'd better fit right or the crotch will be gone the first day. Also, horses are notorious short-cutters.....meaning they'll put you against trees and brush without mercy. I shredded my rain pants in the Yukon many years ago, and that was after 2 days use. While not necessary, I suspect the higher-quality (and durable) rain gear such as KUIU Yukon would be fine for horseback use...but expensive.
 

AKBorn

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Based on Kevin's post above, I want to add a bit of detail to my earlier post -

I have used Helly Hansen rainwear on many remote Alaska hunts, NONE of which were on horseback. Kevin makes a great point about a horse riding through brush and the wear that can take on your pants, as well as the fit issue. My Helly Hansens have worked fine for all my hunts where we fly out and then walk, but I cannot comment with any knowledge about how they would react if on horseback and rising through lots of brush...thanks for the great point Kevin.
 
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Southern Heritage

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Jun 14, 2020
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137
we flew out of fairbanks twice and had no trouble getting meat frozen once we got there.

we put the meat in contractor bags and in cardboard fish boxes. each box held 50 lbs. we brought 4 boxes back with us on the plane.

take tape with you to tape up the boxes. a marker is handy to mark bags and boxes of meat.

an extra pair of liners for your boots is nice so you can rotate them.
luck
ray
Where do you get the fish boxes?
1 roll of tape or 4 rolls of tape?
 

AKBorn

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Tennessee
Where do you get the fish boxes?
1 roll of tape or 4 rolls of tape?
Can get the fish boxes at Fred Meyer or Sportsman's Warehouses. They had gone up some the past couple of years, if I recall they cost about $10-12 per box...

The fish boxes I bought had a large visqueen (strong plastic) bag inside them, we put bags of ice in those and then put the meat bags in the box on top of the bagged ice. But this was only for the 6 hour drive from Tok to Anchorage, not for flying the meat home to the east coast.
 

Kevin Dill

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I'm not 100% sure, but I think you can also get meat boxes from Alaska Air Cargo at their terminal. If they still have them, they are strong and big....holding up to 100 pounds of meat. Do keep something in mind if you're flying home via Alaska Airlines: Every baggage item after the second will cost you $100. Every one of those bags or boxes can weigh up to 100 pounds and it doesn't change the cost. But a 50 pound box of meat (#3 and up) will still be $100 each. Think about it.
 

TAGPUNCHER

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THE SIP
Thank you sir and sound advice. Hands hopefully will be okay but to late to turn back now. Just some tendon reconstruction in both hands and elbows form a old injury. Should be able to start shootings again early July.
I plan on staying at Pikes. Flying out I may stay the night in cold foot. We haven’t locked that down.
Nomad makes a nice big poncho that will cover you and a pack while on horseback. Have rain pants handy for when your feet hit the ground. If horse starts going against brush just sling poncho to the side.
 

CBar

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Oct 30, 2018
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Jackson, WY
Adding on to some of the thoughtful advice above - having worked in a hunting camp before here are a few quick ideas but I'd first say look at River's West - waterproof fleece camo clothing. The Ambush bibs are all we wore in October and November here in the high country of northern Wyoming. They're super waterproof and durable, perfect for long grueling days in the saddle. Not the best for hiking but they're affordable and will kick the hell out of anything from FirstLite Kuiu or Sitka for time in the saddle. Generally in AK once you get wet it's difficult to get dry again.

1) Schnees Kenetrek etc come in several options for insulation, usually 400g/800g/1200g liners. I'd go with a pair of 400s if mostly hiking, maybe higher if mostly riding. Schnees Hunter 2s are terrific and absolutely bring a second pair of liners to alternate while the other is drying out. You can't bring enough dry socks to hunting camp!

2) Sleeping bag - look into Nemo if you're a bigger fella or side sleeper. I agree synthetic down is a great option if you can keep it dry. Nemo makes a "spoon" shape bag that will be more comfortable than the mummy style, and 0 degrees is the right temp range. A liner will keep the stink down, too.

3) Trip insurance is up to you but most airlines are super accommodating now regarding flight credits and the outfitter should have some agreement in place to reserve your deposit for next year if this one is beyond your control (re: border closures).

4) Rifle - as others have mentioned, shoot what you know. This isn't the time to dink around with a new toy unless you are more proficient with the new toy. Practice your follow up shots.

5) Alaska Airlines is super helpful when it comes to moving frozen game, they even store your game in freezers pre flight. However there are strict packaging requirements for game and skulls/horns. No leakage! If something leaks it will get thrown out. you can fill as many 50# boxes as you want and they'll count as check luggage (for checked luggage fees, and significantly less expensive than freight shipping the meat to AL). Pieces of garden hose should go over every antler point, the baggage handlers won't move a sharp object. Wrapping the antlers then in cardboard for protection seals the deal. But as mentioned before, ask those questions about "What happens to my meat after we harvest a bull" and "When does the meat become my responsibility?" to fully understand the logistics of moving from the site of the kill to camp to town to the processor to the airport.

6) For taxidermy the above comments have covered it well.

7) Tips - staff, yes, pilots, no, unless they get you out ahead of schedule or help you through some nasty weather issues. The staff I guarentee makes no money and rely entirely on the good graces of clients to make it somewhat affordable as a lifestyle. You'd be blown away by how much work it takes to keep a hunting camp running smooth. Those wranglers pull their weight. If the food is good, help the cook out! And your guide deserves 10%. Don't skimp on the folks helping out. Their pay will go guide the most, then cook then wrangler. Help out the little guy!

Finally - get the contact info for a few of the guides. Ask them these questions. They do this for a living and could perhaps offer some advice tailored to the camp or the specific environment they're in that will be super useful. Learn from their sweat equity and hard yards.

Have a good hunt,
JBC
 

Hostile1

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Jan 15, 2021
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If your on horse back don't buy light weight gear! Bring a warm bag with a liner and maybe a bivy ( I keep my bag and pad in my bivy so it never gets wet) boots that will keep you warm in 10deg wet weather but also not give you blisters if you have to walk 2mi. Bring the gun you feel the most comfortable shooting no matter what. Alaskan locals are pretty cool people and you could probably find someone who will put your meat in a freezer and sent it to you when you get home for a small donation.
 

twincedar

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Dec 2, 2018
Messages
441
Great info. So won’t repeat.

We love Pikes for lodging based on the restaurant and beer just next door. They have free shuttle same as Sophie’s.

For meat transport another option is AK Trophy Express, a truck based consolidator of meat shipping to lower 48. while it may be slight more expensive, there’s a certain luxury to dropping off your meat upon return to town, with no prep needed.
Just leave in game bags, label, and toss In a freezer truck along with your intact skull & antlers for the ride home. No special packing for the meat or skull needed. It gives u time to focus on attending to gear and repacking and rewinding for the travels home.

Then maybe 3 weeks later your home and settled in, gears been take Care of for weeks, and with fresh spirit you can pick up and do the needed with your meat and skull.
 
OP
S

Southern Heritage

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Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
137
Great info. So won’t repeat.

We love Pikes for lodging based on the restaurant and beer just next door. They have free shuttle same as Sophie’s.

For meat transport another option is AK Trophy Express, a truck based consolidator of meat shipping to lower 48. while it may be slight more expensive, there’s a certain luxury to dropping off your meat upon return to town, with no prep needed.
Just leave in game bags, label, and toss In a freezer truck along with your intact skull & antlers for the ride home. No special packing for the meat or skull needed. It gives u time to focus on attending to gear and repacking and rewinding for the travels home.

Then maybe 3 weeks later your home and settled in, gears been take Care of for weeks, and with fresh spirit you can pick up and do the needed with your meat and skull.
I really like Ak trophy express option.
Thank you
 

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