My friend Ryan Mazeska will be heading to Alaska Sept, 28th – Oct 11th for his Yukon Moose hunt. We corresponded about gear and other details of the trip as I’m fascinated with hunting most anything in Alaska. I asked if he’d mind documenting the prep and the trip and let me post it and he graciously accepted. I was actually at the banquet where he won this trip in the auction. Here is Part 1. -WJ
It all started way back in 2010, when rumors started swirling about a Yukon moose hunt being donated to the Maryland Bowhunters Society to be auctioned off at the yearly banquet. The hunt caught my interest instantly. I knew this would be once-in-a-lifetime (though very expensive) hunt and my wife and I decided that the minimum bid would be as high as we would go. After being at the banquet for a few hours, enjoying the tasty food and a few beverages the moose hunt auction began. Right off the bat the hunt climbed above the maximum we were willing to spend. I looked at my wife and said “…hell with it, let’s go for it!” and she enthusiastically bid on the hunt. I think she was as excited as I was and she kept her hand up until we won the auction. The purchase of the hunt has already been well worth the price. The anticipation phase of the pending hunt has only made the last 1 ½ years more enjoyable. I’ll be traveling with accomplished bow hunter, Steve Keithley. He has been the president of the Maryland Bowhunters Society as well as an official scorer for Pope & Young so we’ll have plenty to talk about. Steve is also the person that donated the hunt. Steve also told me that if I were to take a moose early on I could have the option to bow hunt grizzly bears over the remains of the moose!
The pending moose hunt has also given me a great excuse to get prepared for all future hunting adventures. Much of my preparation has been gear-related. Since winning the auction I have transformed my whitetail hunting set up in to a moose hunting bow. Over the past year I’ve been shooting a 450-grain arrow so I could acclimate to the arrow’s drop rate. I purchased 18 Carbon Express Maxima Hunter KV arrows. The arrows are heavier and more durable then my typical whitetail set up. I decided to use Montec CS broadheads. These heads are built well, very sharp and will have fantastic penetration. Combined, the arrow and broadheads weigh 450 grains with a FOC well over 10%. With my compound I am shooting 300 FPS, this gives me almost 90 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.
I decided to primarily use Sitka Gear’s clothing line. For rain gear, I purchased Sitka Gear’s Downpour Jacket and pants. These pack easily and go on and off easily as well and are very dependable. The rest of the clothing I purchased I bought for every type of weather we may encounter. I bought the Fanatic Jacket and pants but after receiving them I decided I will leave them home as they are very bulky and space is limited. I will be taking the 90% Jacket and pants as well as the Ascent Pants and Core Zip T. I also purchased Patagonia level 4 under layers. I will be taking 2 different pairs of rubber boots; the Muck Woody Elites and the LaCrosse Alphaburly Sport 1,200g, for cold days. I purchased the Badlands Rapid Transit luggage and Big Agnes -20 degree sleeping bag. I’ll also be bringing along a Canon PowerShot SX40 and a GoPro to help document the trip.
Last but not least, there is a combined gear and hunter weight limit of 275 pounds. That was a problem as I am 6’ 6” and weighed 260 pounds. With my gear I would have been well over 300 pounds. Over the past 2 months I have lost 35 pounds and now weigh in at 225 pounds. Now I can take all of my gear.
Images courtesy The Will to Hunt