Moose in Alaska are huge, with bulls weighing up to 1,800 pounds and standing over six feet tall. To keep up their energy, moose feed on buds and leaves from willow, alder, aspen, and other shrubs and trees. Aquatic plants are also on the menu, when accessible. A moose will eat 50 to 60 pounds of food per day in the height of summer. Despite their size, moose can be difficult to find in the wild and patience is a virtue during an Alaskan moose hunt. For the best hunt know where moose are likely to be and can use a variety of techniques to help you be successful in your hunt.
In Alaska, an effective technique for getting your moose is spotting and stalking. This approach involves climbing high above the typical moose cover terrain and, using high-quality binoculars, scanning mountainsides, river bottoms, and boggy areas for moose. Strenuous and time-consuming, this approach requires hunters to be in good physical condition, with proper equipment.
Another approach, not uncommon, is to focus on the moose rut in late September. Using simulated cow moans, guides attempt to lure amorous bulls into the open. Some moose guides will also shake or rattle tree limbs or bones to simulate a moose fight and attract other bulls. This is an exciting and even dangerous approach to moose hunting in Alaska, but it is also a successful way to achieve the goal of getting the moose within range.
Another approach to the hunt is to float a river or lake shore, attempting to spot moose in or near the water. The peaceful nature of the float adds to the spirit and challenge of the adventure. It is, however, imperative that if you are successful, you keep the moose out of the water. Their size alone makes handling one on dry land difficult; throw in some water and you have a real headache.
Both novice and experienced hunters know that moose hunting in Alaska is an experience like few others in the great outdoors. The preparation for such an event is vitally important; from target practice at home to transporting proper equipment to selecting an outfitter, all aspects of the hunt require attention. One aspect of moose hunting that requires special attention is what to do once you have shot your target.
As the target on your hunting adventure is very large, it is unlikely that a moose you hit will go down quickly. Be prepared to spend time tracking while on your Alaskan moose hunt. Guides and experienced hunters allocate the whole day to tracking a wounded animal. Moose can travel long distances after being shot and you must do everything in your power to retrieve the wounded animal. Follow any moose you think you may have hit. If you lose sight of the animal, then mark your location and the spot where you last saw the moose so you can determine a direction of travel. Inspect the area for blood spots or tracks, and then wait a half-hour to carefully follow the trail.
When you come across a downed moose, approach the animal from the side or rear, watching the animal’s eyes. Moose typically die with their eyes open and you can check for signs of life by using a stick to touch the eye area. If you find an animal still alive, you must kill it quickly with an additional shot to the base of the skull. Once the moose is deceased, then it is next tagged with a registration tag. After tagging, the animal is quickly field dressed to ensure a proper harvest of meat.
If you are going on the hunt of a lifetime, then take care of your trophy to last you a lifetime! For your trophy to be it’s best, the first step begins with proper meat handling. Every hunter should know how to skin out his or her trophy, and the more you know the better. However, if you intend on hiring a butcher or an outfitter to do the job, make sure you do your research on them first. The way they skin and handle your trophy will affect the way a taxidermist is able to work on it. There is only so much your taxidermist can do if your trophy has been spoiled through improper care.
There are few experiences more satisfying to a hunter than experiencing an Alaskan moose hunt. The camaraderie of fellow hunters, the beauty of the great outdoors, and the successful harvest of wild game combine to create stories to be told and shared for decades. Hunting in Alaska is always rewarding, but some hunts are better than others. An Alaskan moose hunt can provide the best mix of beautiful landscapes, physical challenges, memorable hunting partners, and a successful kill. While traveling to Alaska is not cheap, the rewards far outweigh the financial costs. There is little question why moose hunting in Alaska remains on most hunters’ bucket list of the hunts to experience in one’s lifetime. Don’t forget to check out our Float Trips Page!
Guided and unguided moose hunting in Alaska is open to both State Residents and Non-Residents, however, Non-Resident Moose hunters must be DRAWN to hunt in Game Management Unit (GMU) #23.
The moose drawing applications can only be submitted online - PAPER APPLICATIONS ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTED. The application process opens November 1st – December 17th @ 5:00p AK Standard Time. The results of the moose hunting drawing are scheduled to post on February 15th @ 5:00p AKST, for the upcoming season of September 1st – 20th. You can put in for the draw at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game Website at AKDF&G Website Read more: The Moose Hunt
The Alaskan moose hunt is the largest of the deer family. An adult male can be nearly 7 foot tall at the shoulder and tip the scales at 1600 pounds or more. That’s about 600-700 pounds of meat after you’ve dressed it out. Read more: Moose Information
We’ve been working hard snapping pictures lately, trying to give you a better idea of what you’ll see on your Alaska moose hunt (or Dall sheep, bear hunt or caribou hunts in Alaska for that matter). Take a look and see some of the results we’ve gotten.