My Moose Hunt Journey – The Armory Life


This previous fall, I had the chance to work in Alaska for everything of September. I made the powerful choice of leaving my residence state of Utah to achieve expertise searching moose in Alaska with my boyfriend, Hunter. Hunter is a licensed information in Alaska, and I labored alongside him as an apprentice information. Alaska has strict guidelines on guiding, and you will need to apprentice a registered information for a few seasons earlier than you will get your license.

Whereas a demanding journey, touring by horse made packing out and in throughout the writer’s time there a lot simpler.

We began our journey with a one-way flight to Anchorage in late August. Upon arrival, we grabbed some last-minute gadgets and ready to be out of service and off-grid for all of September. The moose hunt was open from September 1st by means of the 25th, and we headed out to moose camp a few days early to organize for the arrival of shoppers.

A Demanding Surroundings

Moose camp was in a desolate spot solely accessible by bush airplane or horse. We departed on horseback in late August and managed to do the 30-mile horse experience in about 10 hours.

The experience was treacherous. We went by means of deep bogs, roaring rivers and rocky creeks, however we survived and rolled as much as the camp spot simply earlier than sundown. I used to be rewarded for my tough experience with an enormous moose shed mendacity alongside the river proper earlier than we arrived at camp. To be trustworthy, that alone made it price it. It was mendacity alongside the glacial river prefer it had been ready for me all 12 months!

alaska moose hunt
Moose searching in Alaska is an expertise like none different. The wilderness is awe-inspiring.

Because it was getting darkish, we had simply sufficient time to throw up some tents and go to mattress. The subsequent day, every little thing damage. I had by no means ridden a horse in such sketchy terrain, or for 10 straight hours in a row! Whereas I used to be sore from my head to my toes, it was time to arrange wall tents, cook dinner tents, and different facilities for the shoppers that will be flying in by bush airplane in a number of days.

The 12 months prior, I had spent September in Alaska hunting caribou by myself. I used to be rewarded with a stupendous bull on the final couple of days of the hunt. Throughout that caribou hunt, I noticed a whole lot of nice bull moose, and I used to be very excited to spend extra time in moose nation this 12 months. We have been capable of spot moose, grizzly bear, Dall sheep and caribou proper from camp.

on the trail of moose in Alaska
A few of the greatest moose searching areas are additionally among the most stunning. To succeed in them requires non-typical transportation like bush airplane and horseback.

Hunter and I had two shoppers for 15-day hunts and we have been capable of assist them each fill their tags. The primary consumer scored an enormous 63” huge bull in direction of the top of his hunt. Looking moose from horseback was a enjoyable and distinctive expertise. The horses are machines, and it’s exhausting to think about searching big animals like Alaskan moose with out their assist. Each morning we’d take them up the mountain for a two-hour experience to the glassing knob. These horses pushed up steep faces in knee-deep mud prefer it was simple.

In Our Sights

The key to killing large moose is spending time behind the recognizing scope and binoculars. Moose are big and afraid of nothing, due to this fact their curious nature and confidence can get them in bother. Some days we’d experience as much as the glassing knob and a bull would present itself by means of the timber because it was making an attempt to take a peek at our horses. More often than not these have been smaller bulls, some authorized and a few not.

moose shed along an alaskan river
Discovering sheds like it is a very clear signal you might be in the appropriate space for moose searching.

Each tag and space varies, however we have been searching bulls that needed to be 50” huge or have 4 forehead tines on one aspect. Except a bull is clearly approach wider than 50”, it’s a lot safer to rely on the 4 forehead tine authorized restrict. Hunter noticed the enormous 63” bull one night earlier than darkish. We have been glassing when this bull began pushing a cow by means of the timber. They have been round 600 yards away and we solely noticed them for a second, nevertheless it bought us excited as a result of he was HUGE!

We left on our horses that day hoping we’d get to see that bull once more someday. Various days later, Hunter was in entrance on his horse when he noticed the bull once more. To our shock, he was in an open meadow simply 300 yards from us this time. Hunter labored with the consumer, and I tied up the horses and mules as quick as I may. The consumer let off some photographs, and the bull went down. All of it occurred in simply a few minutes.

A Titanic Goal

Alaskan bull moose weigh roughly 1,400 kilos on the hoof. Due to their sheer measurement and energy, it’s a secure wager to maintain your shot as shut as attainable. For all our shoppers, photographs have been below 350 yards. The great half about searching moose is after you have a shot, they make for an enormous goal. Identical to every other recreation animal, goal for the center or lungs for essentially the most moral kill.

using a spotting scope for moose hunting
High quality optics are a should when moose searching in Alaska. The glass needs to be clear and the physique ruggedized towards bumps, falls and the climate.

We approached the moose and have been blown away by its measurement. This was my first time strolling up on a bull moose. This factor made our horses look small! The toughest of the work started and we needed to quarter out the moose and lower up all of the meat earlier than we headed again to camp.

moose rack hunting
A profitable hunt shouldn’t be assured, which makes filling your tag an much more thrilling expertise.

A moose fills up panniers on 4 mules, so the usual process is reducing up your complete moose after which arriving the following morning with the mules to pack it out. The consumer shot the moose throughout the early night, and we have been on the mountain reducing it up till 2am within the pouring rain. We then chopped off some pine tree branches to cowl and conceal the meat from the birds. This additionally helps preserve the grizzlies from discovering it.

My Different Companion

Due to the grizzly inhabitants in Alaska, I select to hold the Springfield Armory 1911 chambered in 10mm. We certainly noticed grizzlies or grizzly tracks daily, so I by no means went anyplace with out my sidearm. After I was on my horse, I had it all the time connected to my leather-based belt and on my hip. After I was off my horse climbing with my backpack, it was holstered on the hip strap of my backpack. It’s extra frequent than you suppose to get attacked by a grizzly in grizz nation. So for those who determine to do a visit like this, you must think about carrying an applicable sidearm and be correctly skilled in its use!

springfield 1911 on a moose hunt
Grizzly bears are quite a few in Alaska, and you do not need to come across one unprepared. A handgun like this Springfield 1911 in 10mm can be an effective tool for bear defense.

We arrived the following morning with a string of mules. Loading the meat continues to be a well timed course of. Every pannier should weigh the identical on both aspect of the mule or it would tip and slide on the pack saddle. After loading all the meat, we began our lengthy journey down the mountain.

All through the 30 days at moose camp, we solely noticed sunshine for 2 of the times. The damp, moist climate was tougher to take care of than I anticipated. Typically it might rain all day and all night time; it was unbelievable.

Looking moose in Alaska throughout September takes place throughout the rut. Though we noticed a whole lot of bulls pushing cows, the rut was not as scorching as we anticipated. Regardless of the depressing rain, temperatures stayed fairly delicate all through the month; the moose probably wanted a chilly snap to actually get fired up.

My Recommendation

If you wish to hunt moose in Alaska, I’d plan on bringing a whole lot of rain gear. Day-after-day I wore base layers and midweight searching pants topped off with waterproof pants. Up high, I wore a fleece base layer lengthy sleeve paired with varied down jackets and rain jackets relying on the day.

packing out a moose after a hunt
Be ready for the ever-changing atmosphere when searching within the wilds of Alaska. You gained’t be capable to run again to the truck if it begins to get chilly.

Moreover, plan on spending a whole lot of time behind your binoculars and recognizing scope. The excellent news is that moose are big animals and so they genuinely aren’t that tough to identify. The dangerous information is that they prefer to dwell in thick alders and timber. There have been a number of instances I noticed big bulls and so they solely confirmed themselves for a break up second. With increasingly more time behind the glass, you’ll get used to on the lookout for paddle flashes within the timber.

The moose paddles are so large that as they transfer by means of the thick stuff, you may be fortunate sufficient to catch a glimpse as a result of their big, vibrant paddles give them away. Moreover that, their grayish our bodies stand out when they’re within the alders. In September, the alders are a wide range of stunning fall colours like orange, crimson, and yellow. An enormous bull may be simple to identify in a subject of shade if he makes the error of feeding in a gap.

using donkeys to transport moose after hunting
Handle your transportation and it’ll deal with you. If you’re utilizing horses and mules, be sure you take care of them in addition to your self.

Many individuals discover success calling moose throughout the rut. We did some calling, however actually, it wasn’t as useful as I assumed it might be. The nation is so large and glass-able that each one our alternatives got here from nice spots from Hunter or me.

My subsequent piece of recommendation could be to be ready for the pack-out. Not everybody will get the chance to hunt moose with horses and mules. There isn’t a denying that mules make the pack out simpler as a result of they’re carrying the load, however there are nonetheless challenges that go together with it.

Relying on how many individuals you’ve got, reducing up and processing the bull is a couple of half-day job. Packing it out takes an extra day to a day and a half with mules. Should you have been to hold a moose in your again, I’d hope you had a military of buddies to assist. A hind quarter can weigh roughly 150 lbs. Entrance quarters are nonetheless over 100 lbs., and on high of two of every quarter, you’ve got two backstraps, two tenderloins, ribs, roasts and every little thing in between. Alaska has strict meat guidelines, which I love. The hunter leaves behind just a few bones and guts from their harvest, and that’s it!

author with horse during alaskan moose hunt
Rugged is the order of the day with regards to moose searching in Alaska. With the appropriate tools and cautious planning, it may be the expertise of a lifetime.

We did stumble upon some individuals who have been packing their bull off on their backs, and it was a multi-day job for them. Should you’re planning on doing this, be sure you have an exit plan to your meat. Most individuals rent bush airplane transit providers for drop camps and meat transportation.

We had one other consumer later within the month tag out in an analogous approach. He harvested a barely smaller bull with some nice character and paddles. That pack out was a lot simpler and sooner, perhaps as a result of we had the expertise of the earlier bull below our belt and extra daylight to spare!


Go into your guided or DIY moose hunt with every little thing deliberate beforehand. Know the place you’re going to camp, the way you’re going to get there, the place you’re going to hunt, the way you’re going to get the meat out and the place you’re going to get the meat processed. Have a very good satellite tv for pc messaging gadget to speak with the mandatory individuals when you’re within the backcountry. Spend the money and time getting good gear, with an emphasis on the rain gear! Most significantly, all the time have your sidearm in your hip and be alert for grizzly bears — and be skilled with it.

In case you have a profitable hunt, you’ll be rewarded with among the most scrumptious, free-range, natural meat on the planet. Did I say “some?” I ought to say prepare to purchase an additional chest freezer since you stroll away with TONS of moose meat! Shoot straight my buddies, and good luck on the market! If you’re on the lookout for a information, please contact us at to guide your dream hunt. 

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