Who's Moose Hunting Alaska 2020?

VernAK

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Dec 24, 2012
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Delta Jct, Alaska
John, is your friend a traditional longbow hunter also? My buddy Mike and I ran into you and your hunt partner back in 2014 I believe, on an intermediate ridge that 40 Mile uses to stage hunters to their hunting spots. You were kind enough to recall a little of the 2012 adventure for us, I wanted my buddy to hear firsthand what the weather can do up there.
That was an exciting fall on the 40 Mile Ridges. It quickly became a test for tents. Not cold but the wind was clocked at >100 at a nearby airport. When we did get a switch in wind direction, we couldn't fight the wind to Tok so we landed on the Alcan Highway. There's a few locations along the Alcan where you can see that the trees were all flattened as williwaws broke over the range.
 

Kevin Dill

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That was an exciting fall on the 40 Mile Ridges. It quickly became a test for tents. Not cold but the wind was clocked at >100 at a nearby airport. When we did get a switch in wind direction, we couldn't fight the wind to Tok so we landed on the Alcan Highway. There's a few locations along the Alcan where you can see that the trees were all flattened as williwaws broke over the range.
I remember some of your comments on that big wind. Luckily I was camped low down in a river valley somewhat to the north and west of the Fortymile. The high ridges protected my camp, but the wind roared up high like a demon. What I recall most was so many birch and aspen leaves getting sucked high into the sky.....it rained fluttering gold leaves for hours and hours after things settled a bit. Planes were grounded for a couple days and our pilot was frustrated.
 

Akwoodchuck

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Dec 22, 2018
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I'll be hunting in my backyard in 15C, hopefully not eating tag soup as I often do...there's some big ones here, but they are hard to find! Good luck all....
 

AKBorn

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That was an exciting fall on the 40 Mile Ridges. It quickly became a test for tents. Not cold but the wind was clocked at >100 at a nearby airport. When we did get a switch in wind direction, we couldn't fight the wind to Tok so we landed on the Alcan Highway. There's a few locations along the Alcan where you can see that the trees were all flattened as williwaws broke over the range.
Vern, I took my girlfriend to Alaska that fall (we go together about every 2-3 years), so I missed the 40 Mile hunt that year. I remember looking out our hotel room in Anchorage, watching signs getting blown over, and telling her "See what you saved me from this year? I'd be stuck in a tent right now, freezing my behind off."

I did talk to Vanessa a few times, so I kept up to speed on the weather you guys were fighting. To most guys that might have been the worst weather they've faced out there, but I'm curious how you compare that year to 1992?
 

John Havard

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Mill Valley, CA
AKBorn, yes, my hunting partner is a bowhunter like me. Thinking back to that fateful night makes having a bombproof secondary shelter seem like a damned good investment. Nothing like having your tipi literally explode in the middle of the night and finding yourself in hurricane winds and freezing horizontal rain to motivate you to build a survival tarp shelter fast. At least half of the trees on the hillside below our ridge were laying flat all pointed in the same direction the next morning. A quasi-meteorologist friend said it was a microburst. I called it something less suitable for publication.
 

VernAK

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Delta Jct, Alaska
Vern, I took my girlfriend to Alaska that fall (we go together about every 2-3 years), so I missed the 40 Mile hunt that year. I remember looking out our hotel room in Anchorage, watching signs getting blown over, and telling her "See what you saved me from this year? I'd be stuck in a tent right now, freezing my behind off."

I did talk to Vanessa a few times, so I kept up to speed on the weather you guys were fighting. To most guys that might have been the worst weather they've faced out there, but I'm curious how you compare that year to 1992?

The 1992 storm was much colder...below zero stuff and winds were >60 mph........but it snowed 2 feet while leaves were still on the trees.......the birches at Harding Lake are still bent. Small rivers froze leaving boats and hunters stranded. We shoveled our airstrip with small pieces of plywood so the Cub on wheels could get in after 4 days. The Cub was landing on the highway as airports were snowed in. The snow stayed here in Delta until the next May.
This storm started September 11th.

An interesting anecdote from 2012: The extreme wind was from the South out of Prince William Sound for several days and we had a large, strange bird soaring around our ridge. Having fished extensively in Baja and beyond, I keep an eye on birds. I got the attention of my buddy from Seward and he agreed that we watching a black albatross.
 

John Havard

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Mill Valley, CA
Let’s hope that 2020 isn’t like 2012. As I recall 2007 or 2008 had a nasty cold spell in early September (negative temps and snow but no wind). Gotta be prepared. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
 

AKBorn

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I missed the 2012 fun...in 2015 we were dropped off on a ridgetop on August 29 for a caribou hunt, and there was snow on the ridgetop and the caribou movement really changed. That was the coldest hunt I can recall for me in the 40 Mile country, I used more of my warm clothes than any other hunt I can recall.
 

VernAK

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Dec 24, 2012
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Delta Jct, Alaska
I missed the 2012 fun...in 2015 we were dropped off on a ridgetop on August 29 for a caribou hunt, and there was snow on the ridgetop and the caribou movement really changed. That was the coldest hunt I can recall for me in the 40 Mile country, I used more of my warm clothes than any other hunt I can recall.

One of those years we had a few days of below zero stuff.

I remember the pilot radio chatter about air dropping a tent to John Havard. Winds were too strong to attempt landing.
 

John Havard

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Mill Valley, CA
We were in the emergency tarp shelter for two days before Leif dropped the tent to us because weather prevented any attempts before that. Leif was under zero obligation to do anything to help us, but he and his entire crew of pilots went far above and beyond to help out.
 

VernAK

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Dec 24, 2012
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Delta Jct, Alaska
We were in the emergency tarp shelter for two days before Leif dropped the tent to us because weather prevented any attempts before that. Leif was under zero obligation to do anything to help us, but he and his entire crew of pilots went far above and beyond to help out.

It's hard to beat service like that!
Leif and Jake take care of their customers.

John....if you should have time after a moose hunt, stop at my house and we'll try to get in some crane shooting.
The Tok guys usually give em a try with me.
 

Kevin Dill

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Aug 26, 2014
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Thinking back to that fateful night makes having a bombproof secondary shelter seem like a damned good investment. Nothing like having your tipi literally explode in the middle of the night and finding yourself in hurricane winds and freezing horizontal rain to motivate you to build a survival tarp shelter fast. At least half of the trees on the hillside below our ridge were laying flat all pointed in the same direction the next morning.
16 man tipi. It was the second floor and dormers that did you in. 🙃

I've never had a catastrophic shelter failure, but really sweated it out once over in the area north of Puzzle Gulch. It was a 5 day extremely wet blow that ended with a healthy August snow. My experiences and those of the real veterans on here have taught me that camp (and shelter) security is generally an illusion we try to believe in. Nature in the form of animals, weather, trees and other things can be counted on to test you eventually if you go there enough. Feeling the frost crystals in your eyelashes as you unzip from a warm down bag is a dose of reality that tells you it's gonna be tough out there sitting in the thermal breeze and watching for bulls.

I've become a believer in having 2 shelters for 2 guys, especially on a longer drop hunt in big country. I also like a bit of bourbon to toast those beautiful alpenglow sunsets.
 

VernAK

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Dec 24, 2012
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Delta Jct, Alaska
"2 shelters for 2 guys"

Absolutely!

Typically there will be four of us go into moose camp. The 12 man tipi is the communal/dining area while I and another sleep in the Sawtooth. The other two guys sleep in Hilleberg Tarras.......I haven't experienced any weather that the Tarra couldn't handle.
 

actionshooter

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Feb 25, 2012
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Wa
Is anyone else getting nervous about the covid restrictions? Looks like if things don't change we wont be able to drive through Canada. Also saw something about a 14 day quarantine coming into AK if you don't test right before... :(
 

John Havard

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Oct 10, 2016
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Mill Valley, CA
I received an e-mail from the State of Alaska about the need for an additional test after 14 days. They said that if I had been maintaining adequate social distancing during the 14 days after entering Alaska I did not need to get another test. I might anyway but being on a remote fly-in ridge top for 14 days with only one other guy who also passed the Covid entrance test I think that qualifies.
 

AKDoc

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May 16, 2015
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Alaska
Lifeboats are the schnizzle when the poo hits the fan.
View attachment 194750View attachment 194751
"2 shelters for 2 guys"

Absolutely!

Typically there will be four of us go into moose camp. The 12 man tipi is the communal/dining area while I and another sleep in the Sawtooth. The other two guys sleep in Hilleberg Tarras.......I haven't experienced any weather that the Tarra couldn't handle.
I'm on the same page with you guys! My hunting partner and I each have our own 2-man Hilleberg Staika's, and then I have a 4-man SO Tipi with wood stove as a communal shelter for eating and warming. We try to wait until we have the first bull hanging before we pitch the tipi...it adds to the motivation...and it's good to know that we have a back-up if it hits the fan, but the Hillebergs have been bomb-proof!
 
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