Author’s note: George Flournoy has made numerous hunting trips to Canada, Alaska, and Africa and is a PSE pro. He also provides information for hunters about hunting in these countries and books trips for hunters.
A big bull trophy moose will weigh about 1,400 pounds. One of the first things to consider if you’re planning a moose hunt, is that every piece of edible meat has to be brought back to the town where your hunt has originated, to the game department in that town. After you have tagged your moose in the field, you have to bring the horns, the hide, and the meat to the game department. When the regulations say all the edible meat, this includes all the meat between the ribs, the neck meat, and the lower leg meat. You’ll have a huge amount of meat, plus a huge cape and hopefully a large set of horns to transport.
If your moose hunt costs $15,000, your charter flight into your hunting camp and back will cost another $1,500. The flight to carry your meat out will also cost about $1,500. That’s an additional $3,000 to get you and your moose into and out of camp, and your moose out of camp and back to your town of origin. Then you will have to pay an additional amount to fly your horns out. If you want your horns brought out in one piece, so they can be mounted, or if you plan to have a European skull mount of your trophy, there will have to be another flight, usually with two or three other hunter’s horns. The cost for that flight can usually be $200 or $300 more. If you’re taking a non-hunter, like a buddy, your wife, or a girlfriend, you can expect to pay another $2,000 or $3,000 for the hunt. In sum, your moose hunt may cost $20,000 to $30,000, if you’re successful.
Driving a pickup from the lower 48 up to Canada or Alaska is still a much cheaper way to get to and from your hunt with your trophies and your meat. Once you get your meat back to your point of origin, and it has been certified by the game department, your outfitter can distribute the meat to the needy people in the area, or the local guides can divide the meat up, and/or you can choose the pieces of meat you want to bring back. If you have taken a truck with some coolers in it, you can bring all your meat back, but if you fly in, you will have to pay for additional baggage to bring the meat you want back home.
In most instances, the moose hunts that you see on outdoor TV shows aren’t the type of moose hunt you’ll have. On TV, oftentimes you see the host fly into camp, get into a canoe, float down a river, and take his moose at 10 to 50 yards from the river’s edge. Some of those hunts may take three years of pursuing a moose to get that 20-minute episode that you see on TV. You have to remember on all these big game hunts you see on TV, they usually don’t take their animals on the first day of the hunt, or the first hunt they go on.
If you see a TV show where the moose is being called in close enough for a hunter to take that moose with a bow, most of those hunts are taking place in the Yukon at the first of October. In British Columbia, the season starts about October 10. In Alaska, most of the moose seasons close about September 25, before the heaviest part of the rut is starting. Therefore, your chances of hunting a rutting moose in Alaska are usually not very good. If you want to hunt moose in the rut, more than likely, you’ll have to hunt in British Columbia or the Yukon. The Yukon has the longest moose season, and that is where most of the TV hosts go to film moose hunts. Most moose hunts are scheduled for 10 to 14 days. Often you will lose four or five hunting days due to inclement weather. If you get lucky and get to hunt all 14 days of your hunt, and your hunt falls between the dates of September 24-28, you will have an excellent chance to spot-and-stalk moose in the Yukon. The moose will be rutting, and you have a good chance of calling in a moose.
An Alaskan hunt will more than likely be from a base camp or a spike camp on top of a mountain. On an Alaskan hunt, the hunting technique you will use generally will be spot-and-stalk. You’ll walk across the tops of these mountains and use your spotting scopes to glass willow flats and look for moose. Then you can spot and stalk down the mountain to try and get in for a close shot at the animal. If you’re bowhunting for moose, you really need to spend some time talking with booking agents and outfitters to learn as much as you can about the hunt before you get there. All moose hunts are a little different, and the demands on the hunter can be quite different–from Alaska to Canada, and from ridge-top hunting to canoe hunting.
Maximizing Your Chances
If I was scheduling a moose hunt for myself right now and taking my best friend, I believe I’d book a Yukon moose hunt in Canada for some time between September 25 and October 10. There are usually two hunts in that time frame. Some years the early hunts are the best, and other years, the late hunt is the best. There is no way of knowing for sure which one of the hunts will be best for your taking a moose. That hunt will cost right around $20,000.
For more information, you can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 1-755-673-5513.
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Images courtesy John Phillips/George Flournoy