You hear the distant sound of a grunt and it gradually gets louder and louder, next thing you know it looks like the forest is moving as a giant bull moose bulldozes his way through the brush.
Moose hunting isn’t for everyone as they are huge animals that require patience, perseverance and grit to not only get one but then to pack one out. But, if you embrace the challenge of moose hunting, you may found yourself addicted to the pursuit of one of the largest land mammals in North America.
When it comes to Moose hunting there are lots of options. My goal is to share some of those options with you and hopefully open the door to a conversation with you.
For most hunters, when they think of moose hunting, they think of hunting Alaska Yukon Moose. Alces alces gigas otherwise known as the Alaska Yukon Moose are the largest species of the deer family. Mature bulls can weigh over 1500lbs, have antlers measuring over 70″ in width and weighing over 50lbs. Western Alaska is known for consistently producing the largest antlered bulls, with the Alaska Peninsula producing bulls over 70″ almost every year. You can also hunt Alaska Yukon Moose in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories
When it comes to hunting moose in Alaska you have two options – 1. Fully Guided Moose Hunt or 2. Drop Camp Self Guided Moose Hunt. If you want to hunt Alaska Yukon Moose in the Yukon or Northwest Territories by law you have to go on a fully guided hunt, unless you are a resident of the province.
Guided Alaska Yukon Moose Hunts
Fully Guided Alaska Yukon Moose hunts are your best option for a successful hunt, however they are very expensive, with most fully guided hunts running between $20-$25,000. When it comes to fully guided moose hunts, you want to make sure you spend your hard earned money with a quality outfitter who provides the style of hunt you are interested in. Options to consider are fly in hunts, float hunts, horseback hunts and lake hunts. If you are a bow hunter, make sure the Outfitter you choose has lots of experience with bow hunters so you don’t end up in a situation where you and your guide are getting frustrated.
Fully guided hunts are also nice, because you literally just show up with your personal gear and the Outfitter will take care of the rest. Most fully guided moose hunts will range from 8-14 day hunts. Your main responsibilities on a guided hunt are to show up in shape, be proficient with your weapon, bring quality gear and be mentally prepared to deal with weather and limited to no action for days at a time. If you can do that odds are in your favor that you will have a successful hunt.
Fully guided hunts in Alaska and the Yukon can be combined with Caribou, Grizzly and Sheep in many locations. If hunting the Northwest territories you can combo with caribou and sheep.
Alaska Drop Camp Moose Hunts
Self guided drop camp/float moose hunts are growing in popularity because they are a fraction of the price of fully guided hunts. These are real adventure hunts in some very remote places that require hunters to be mentally, physically prepared and skilled. Overall self guided drop camp moose hunts have a much lower success rate than fully guided moose hunts. However, with some planning and preparation you can increase your odds of success and go hunt the biggest moose on the planet without totally breaking the bank.
I primarily offer my hunters Outfitted drop camp and float moose hunts. With this style of hunt, the Outfitter will provide your bush flights, your camp equipment and your food. So you get the advantage of not having to transport a ton of gear and food to and from Alaska and hunt Alaska Yukon Moose for about the same price as a fully guided elk hunt. Most of the drop camp moose hunts I offer range in price from $7500-$8500 per person and are designed for 2-3 hunters per group. One of the other benefits of this style of hunt is that you are working with an Outfitter as opposed to a pure Air Taxi service. These Outfitters use their knowledge of the area and of moose to put camps in the best locations.
If you want to try and trim the cost of a moose hunt further, you can go with a regular air taxi provider. Some air taxi services have areas that they have been taking hunters into for years and know that year in and year out there are usually moose in the area. While others simply take you where you tell them. On these hunts you are simply paying for your transport flights. Make sure to ask if there is extra cost for meat and trophy transport and if they will come in early to pick up meat if you harvest a moose early in the trip. If you are thinking about this style of hunt, make sure to do your homework, ask lots of questions, contact fish and game, review the regulations and make sure you plan for how you are going to get your gear and food to and from your hunt.
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When undertaking any self-guided style of moose hunt here are a couple things to keep in mind. Moose are massive, so have a plan on how you are going to pack your moose back to your camp, as Alaska requires you to salvage all meat from your kill and they don’t mess around with this. For most guys this means that they only hunt in about a 3 mile radius from their camp. Make sure to invest in a Garmin inReach or Sat Phone so you can communicate with your transporter or call for emergency assistance if needed. Invest in the best gear you can, as good quality gear can be the difference between life and death in the Alaska bush. Lastly learn how to hunt moose based on the time of year you will be hunting – calling, glassing in the alpine basins, working shore lines, etc.
Canadian Moose Hunts
Canadian Moose are located throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Most Canadian Moose hunts will require you to book a fully guided moose hunt, but on average Canadian Moose hunts are less expensive than Alaska Yukon Moose hunts. They will range in cost from $6250-$20,000 depending on the area and size of moose they are harvesting.
The largest Canadian Moose are found in Northern British Columbia and NW Alberta, however Northern Manitoba will produce some very good moose as well. Northern British Columbia will regularly produce moose in the 50-60″+ range with most hunts running $14,500 – $20,000. The majority of these hunts are done with Horses, Argos or Boats. These hunts can be combined with Mountain Caribou, Mountain Goat and Stone Sheep
As you get further South in British Columbia Moose Hunts start to drop in price as the size of the moose also decreases with most moose measuring in the 40-50″ range. Prices for these hunts will range from $8500-$12,500.
Alberta is a great place to hunt moose and like British Columbia there is a bit of variation in pricing depending on where you are hunting. NW Alberta hunts can run $13-$16k, but once you are out of that small area most hunts will range from $7500-$11,000 with moose measuring from 36″-50″.
Northern Saskatchewan will produce lots of moose in the 40-46″ range and are pretty affordable with most moose hunts being around $6500.
Manitoba – Northern Manitoba will produce some really good moose in the 50-55″ range with some moose pushing 60″+. Manitoba is a great option as they have larger moose with solid 80% success rates on average. Northern Manitoba moose hunts range from $12-$15k on average, plus these hunts can be combined with caribou and/or fishing.
Newfoundland Moose Hunts
Newfoundland has one of the densest moose populations in North America with most moose outfitters boasting a 95% success rate. Newfoundland has a lot of variation in size with hunters taking moose that range in size from 32′-55″+. Newfoundland Moose hunts are also some of the most affordable with 6 day hunts running $4500-$6500
Moose Hunting in the Lower 48
In the lower 48 our moose hunting is limited to Shiras Moose with the majority of tags being issued through lottery draw. Utah does issue some CWMU Tags for Shiras Moose, but because of the limited nature of these tags they are very expensive and you need to expect to be on a wait list for a couple of years.
If you want to hunt Shiras Moose your best option is Idaho, as they do not have a preference point system and they give out a good number of tags. Do your homework and you can find lesser known or more remote units where the odds will be more in your favor to draw a tag. If you want to hunt one of the premiere units don’t expect favorable drawing odds. Otherwise make sure to start building points in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Utah.
If you have questions about Moose hunting or want to start planning for or booking a moose hunt, don’t hesitate to contact me. You can reach Shad at 509-679-0225 or firstname.lastname@example.org