Moose hunting in Alaska is a thrilling and rewarding experience for both novice and seasoned hunters alike. This exciting outdoor activity not only creates lasting memories but also provides a unique opportunity for hunters to connect with nature and appreciate the vast wilderness that Alaska has to offer. With an estimated population of 175,000 moose across the state, hunting enthusiasts have ample opportunities to pursue and harvest these magnificent creatures.
Our Moose hunts take place in the Alaska Range south of Fairbanks. This area of the Alaska Range, with its heavy willow draws and large open meadows, provides ideal habitat for some of the best moose hunting in Alaska.
Both Moose and Grizzly can be hunted individually or in a combination hunt. There is an abundant population of both species, with an excellent opportunity for trophy animals. The area regularly produces 60” bulls and Grizzly up to 9’ square.
At this time of year, the full spectrum of fall colors is a sight not easily forgotten. Base camps vary in some locations, from cabins to
Cabela’s dome tents with a separate cook tent for meal preparation.
The Alaskan landscape presents diverse hunting environments, allowing hunters to employ different strategies and techniques to maximize their chances of success. In the fall, moose often migrate from their summer habitats to higher elevations to partake in the rutting season.
This natural movement presents a prime window for hunters to spot and harvest trophy bull moose. The use of jet boats or other efficient modes of transportation enables hunters to access remote hunting locations, where skilled guides and outfitters are indispensable for a successful and memorable experience.
It is essential for hunters to familiarize themselves with Alaska’s hunting regulations and obtain the necessary permits and equipment before embarking on a moose-hunting adventure. Ethical hunting practices, proper preparation, and adherence to safety guidelines will ensure a sustainable and enjoyable experience for all participants, preserving this cherished Alaskan tradition for future generations.
Alaska Moose Hunting Overview
Moose hunting in Alaska usually takes place during the fall season, when the moose population is at its highest and the animals are most active. During this time, hunters can participate in various types of hunts, such as antler-restricted moose hunts or open-season hunting.
When participating in a moose hunt, it is essential for hunters to be familiar with the regulations and requirements set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. This ensures that only legal game is harvested, and it helps to maintain a sustainable population for future generations to enjoy.
Moose hunting in Alaska can be both challenging and rewarding. The terrain is often rugged, and the weather can be unpredictable, requiring hunters to be well-prepared and adaptable. However, the opportunity to hunt the Alaska-Yukon race of moose, which is the largest of all moose subspecies, makes the experience even more exciting.
One of the most critical aspects of moose hunting is locating the animals. Moose are known to be elusive and can be difficult to find, especially in the dense Alaskan wilderness. However, hunters can increase their chances of success by studying moose behavior, habitat preferences, and migration patterns.
Alaska moose hunting is a popular and essential activity that provides both sustenance and recreational enjoyment for many people. By understanding the regulations, preparing well, and respecting the environment and the animals, hunters can have a safe and successful experience in this unique Alaskan adventure.
Moose Species and Life History
North American Moose
The North American Moose, scientifically known as Alces alces, is the largest member of the deer family. They can be found across the continent, with a notable presence in Alaska, where the Alaska-Yukon race (Alces alces gigas) represents the largest of all moose species. These majestic creatures have a complex life history, adapting to various environments and food sources throughout the year.
Moose in North America have distinct features such as:
- Large antlers: Bull moose (males) grow impressively large antlers, shedding and regrowing them annually.
- Long legs: Moose have long legs, which allow them to navigate through deep snow and uneven terrain with ease.
- Size: North American moose can stand up to 7 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh more than 1,000 pounds.
Their life cycle includes a mating season called the rut, which occurs in the fall. During this time, bull moose become more aggressive and actively seek out females, or cows, to mate with. Cows typically give birth to one or two calves in the spring, providing care and protection before the young become more independent within a year.
In Europe, moose are known as elk (Alces alces) and share many similarities with their North American counterparts. Although they are quite comparable in terms of appearance and behavior, some differences can be observed:
- Size: European moose tend to be slightly smaller than North American moose, weighing up to 1,100 pounds and standing around 6.5 feet tall at the shoulder.
- Coloration: The European moose has a lighter coat color compared to the dark brown fur of the North American moose.
The life history of European moose is also quite similar to that of their North American counterparts, with mating occurring during the fall rut and calves being born in the spring. However, hunting regulations and conservation efforts may vary between countries, impacting the overall European moose population differently.
Moose Habitat and Food Sources
Moose inhabit various types of habitats in Alaska, with their diet changing depending on the season and availability of food sources. Their diet primarily consists of vegetation, including willow, birch, aspen, sedges, grasses, forbs, and leaves. Moose are also known to feed on aquatic plants found in water sources such as ponds.
Moose in Meadows
Moose love meadows due to the abundance of forbs, grasses, and sedges that make up their summer diet. Meadows provides a variety of nutritious plant sources that moose can graze on from leaf-out in May until September. Aquatic plants found in water sources within meadows are also an essential part of the moose’s diet, providing them with additional nutrients and hydration.
Moose in Brush
Moose can also be found in brushy areas, where willow, birch, and aspen trees dominate the landscape. The leaves of broad-leaf trees and shrubs serve as a significant food source for moose during the warmer months. These habitats provide moose with shade and cover from predators, making them ideal spots for these majestic creatures to thrive.
Moose Season and Timing
Moose hunting in Alaska is a popular activity, drawing hunters from around the world. The moose hunting season varies depending on location and time of year, with opportunities available throughout the year. In this section, we’ll discuss the specifics of moose hunting during different seasons.
Spring Moose Hunting
During the spring, moose are often found near their wintering grounds as they start to migrate toward their summer range. Hunters who venture out during this time may have the chance to spot moose in more open areas as they forage for newly sprouted vegetation. It’s worth noting, however, that spring is not considered a prime time for hunting moose in Alaska, as most of the hunting seasons typically begin in August and September.
Summer Moose Hunting
As the summer progresses, moose can be found grazing in lush, green habitats, usually within close proximity to water sources. Though hunting moose in the summer may present unique challenges with warm weather and dense vegetation, success can still be achieved with careful planning and preparation. Please note that specific regulations and permits may apply for summer moose hunting in Alaska.
Fall Moose Hunting
Fall is the most popular time for moose hunting in Alaska, with many hunters targeting the pre-rut and rut periods. During the pre-rut in late August and early September, moose begin to prepare for the breeding season. This is an optimal time for hunting, as their behavior becomes more predictable, and they are more likely to be in open areas.
As the rut begins in late September and early October, moose become more active, with bulls looking for cows to breed. This heightened activity can make for a more exciting and challenging hunt. However, it’s important to note that regulations vary by hunting unit, with specific tags and permits required for different areas and moose populations.
Winter Moose Hunting
Winter moose hunting in Alaska can present some additional challenges with colder temperatures and harsher terrain. However, moose may be easier to spot against the backdrop of snow-covered landscapes. In some areas with large moose populations and where local subsistence needs are met, hunting may be permitted year-round. As always, it’s crucial to check the local regulations and requirements before embarking on a winter moose hunt.
Moose Hunting Techniques
A popular and effective technique when hunting moose in Alaska is to call out to the animals, primarily focusing on attracting bulls during the rutting season. Using a combination of both cow and bull calls can increase your chances of success. To create a realistic cow call, cup your hands and imitate the moose’s nasal and guttural sounds, while a trombone-style call or megaphone can mimic the deep and rattling grunts of bulls. Make sure to practice these calls regularly before your hunting trip, as moose can be quite responsive to well-executed vocalizations. Remember to be patient and alert, as it may take a while for a moose to appear after hearing your calls.
Glassing for Moose
Another effective technique for moose hunting in Alaska is glassing, which involves using binoculars or spotting scopes to survey the landscape and locate moose from a distance. This method is especially useful in open, rolling terrains where moose are more likely to be spotted. Start by scanning the area slowly and methodically, taking note of any potential movement, changes in color or shape, and focusing on places where moose might be resting, like near water or in thick brush.
When glassing for moose, keep in mind the importance of differentiating between bulls and cows. While both can be spotted relatively easily, bulls have large, distinctive antlers during the hunting season which makes them easier to identify. Additionally, take note of the time of day, as moose are often more active during the early mornings and late afternoons.
Utilizing these techniques, such as calling and glassing, can significantly improve your chances of a successful moose hunt in Alaska. Just remember to practice your skills, be prepared, and remain patient in the field.
Moose Trophies and Harvesting
Alaska is home to some of the largest moose in the world, making it a popular destination for hunters seeking trophy animals. A trophy moose is typically characterized by the size of their antlers, which can span over 70 inches in width. Hunters in Alaska have been known to harvest moose with antlers up to 77 inches wide, showcasing the impressive size of these animals in the region.
Hunting moose in Alaska also provides a bountiful source of meat. Each year, hunters harvest over 7,000 of Alaska’s estimated 175,000 moose. The substantial size of these animals translates to a significant amount of meat, often ranging between 500 and 700 pounds of edible meat per animal.
When it comes to harvest reporting, Alaska requires hunters to report their moose harvest, providing valuable data on the overall success of the hunting season2. These harvest statistics help the Alaska Department of Fish and Game manage and maintain a healthy moose population, ensuring the sustainability of the Alaskan moose hunting tradition.
In summary, moose hunting in Alaska offers both the opportunity for impressive trophy animals and a plentiful source of meat. The state’s abundant moose population and careful management through harvest reporting ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for this popular sport.
Moose Hunting Regulations and Permits
Alaska Board of Game
The Alaska Board of Game is responsible for creating and managing the moose hunting regulations in the state. This includes setting the season dates, bag limits, and the conditions for the issuing of moose permits. Each year, the regulatory year begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th the following year. In Alaska, moose hunting regulations are designed to manage the moose population in a sustainable manner, ensuring that this popular big game species remains abundant and accessible for hunters.
Moose hunting in Alaska typically requires obtaining a license and a permit. There are various types of permits, such as registration permits (RM), draw permits (DM), and Tier II permits. The specific permit a hunter needs depends on the location and the type of moose hunt.
Registration permits, like the RM865, are available online or in person at certain ADF&G offices and select vendors in some locations. The RM865 permit, for example, allows the hunter to target one bull moose with 50-inch antlers or antlers with 4 or more brow tines in specific areas during the season.
Draw permits are issued through a lottery system, and hunters can apply online. The success rate and availability of these permits depend on the number of applicants and the allocated hunting slots for specific areas.
Tier II permits are for subsistence hunting and are open to Alaskan residents only. They are issued based on specific criteria and the needs of subsistence hunters, helping to preserve the moose population for traditional cultural practices.
It is important for hunters to be aware of and follow the specific regulations and requirements for their chosen moose hunt. Many areas also require hunters to complete a Basic Hunter Education course before they can participate in a moose hunt. Additional information about moose hunting regulations and permits can be found on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.
Hunting Opportunities in Alaska
Guided Moose Hunts
Alaska is home to a large population of moose, making it a popular destination for hunters seeking a thrilling and rewarding experience. One option for those looking to maximize their chances of success while moose hunting in Alaska is to participate in a guided moose hunt.
Guided moose hunts provide hunters with an experienced guide who is knowledgeable about the best locations and methods for hunting these majestic creatures. These guides are familiar with the terrain, weather conditions, and moose behavior, significantly increasing the likelihood of a successful hunt. Alaskan Yukon moose are some of the largest moose in the world, making a guided hunt an unforgettable experience for any hunter.
High Success Rate Hunts
Another great option for moose hunting in Alaska is high success rate hunts. These hunts are often organized in areas known for their abundant moose populations and are designed to maximize the probability of hunters filling their tags during the moose season.
High-success rate hunts typically involve carefully scouting and tracking moose movements, and some may even involve stalk hunting, an exciting and challenging method that requires patience and skill. By participating in a high success rate hunt, hunters can increase their chances of bagging an impressive Alaskan moose, making their trip a truly memorable one.
When hunting for moose in Alaska, considering both guided moose hunts and high success rate hunts can provide hunters with the best opportunities to make their trip successful and enjoyable. With the right hunt opportunities and expert guidance, moose season in Alaska can be an unforgettable experience for every hunter.
Moose Predators and Competitors
In Alaska, moose populations face a variety of natural predators and competitors. Understanding the relationships between these animals is crucial for successful moose hunting and conservation efforts. This section will discuss three primary predators and competitors affecting the moose population: wolves, bears, and wolverines.
Wolves are one of the main predators of moose in Alaska. Being highly social and intelligent animals, they are capable of hunting large prey like moose by working together in packs. Wolves primarily target young, old, or weak individuals, helping maintain a healthy and robust moose population. It’s essential for moose hunters to be aware of the presence of wolves in their hunting area and how their hunting strategies may impact the local wolf population.
Alaska is home to two species of bears that pose a threat to moose: the black bear and the larger brown bear. Both species are known to prey on moose, with brown bears being more likely to hunt adult moose due to their size and strength. Black bears, on the other hand, tend to target smaller prey, such as moose calves. In addition to being predators, bears can also be considered competitors for moose hunters, as they may be attracted to the smell of a fresh moose kill and potentially cause conflicts with humans. Moose hunters should be aware of bear activity in their hunting areas and take necessary precautions, such as proper bear safety measures during hunting trips.
While not a significant predator of moose, the wolverine is still considered a competitor within Alaska’s moose-hunting ecosystem. Wolverines are known for their scavenging behavior, often looking for leftovers from other predators’ kills. Although they typically do not pose a direct threat to moose, their presence may indirectly impact moose populations, as well as the success of moose hunters. Being aware of the role that wolverines play in the ecosystem can help moose hunters make informed decisions about their hunting strategies and contribute to a more balanced and healthy environment for all species involved.
Moose Hunt Transportation and Equipment
Moose hunting in Alaska requires proper planning, transportation, and equipment. In this section, we’ll discuss the essential aspects of preparing for a successful moose hunt, including spike camps, jet boats, and passes.
Spike camps are small, remote base camps used by hunters to access prime moose hunting areas. They typically include a basic tent, camp stove, and essential supplies for a few days of hunting. When choosing a spike camp location, it’s important to consider the proximity to prime hunting areas and the ease of transportation.
To set up a spike camp, hunters often rely on various transportation methods, such as floatplanes or helicopters, which can transport them and their gear deep into the Alaskan wilderness. Keep in mind that weight limits apply, so pack your gear wisely.
Jet boats are another popular transportation method for Alaskan moose hunting. They provide easy access to remote rivers and allow hunters to navigate shallow waters effectively. These boats can be rented or purchased and are an efficient way to cover large hunting areas quickly.
Before using a jet boat, ensure you have the required license and tags for moose hunting in Alaska. Also, familiarize yourself with local regulations and restrictions, which may limit boat usage in certain areas.
When planning your moose hunt, you’ll need to secure necessary passes for access to certain hunting areas. Some popular hunting locations may require an access pass, while others may only demand a standard hunting license. Research your chosen hunting area beforehand to determine any required permits, passes, or tags.
In addition, be prepared to transport your harvested moose and equipment from the hunting site back home. An average moose can yield 400 to 700 lbs of meat and up to 65 lbs of antlers, so proper transportation planning is crucial.
Remember to always respect wildlife and follow the required regulations to ensure a safe and successful moose hunt in Alaska.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of a moose hunting trip in Alaska?
A moose hunting trip in Alaska can vary widely in price depending on factors such as outfitter, location, and duration. Typical hunting trips can range anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000.
How many moose are you allowed to hunt in a season?
In Alaska, each hunter is typically allowed a bag limit of one bull moose during a hunting season. However, specific regulations and limits might vary depending on the region and hunting unit. More information can be found through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Do non-residents need a guide to hunt moose in Alaska?
Non-resident hunters are not required to have a guide for moose hunting in Alaska. However, inexperienced hunters are strongly encouraged to hire a professional guide or a reputable outfitter to ensure a safe and successful hunt.
Can non-residents purchase moose tags?
Yes, non-residents can purchase moose tags, which are called “harvest tickets” in Alaska. In 2019, the non-resident hunting license fee was $160.00 (source).
How does Alaska moose hunting compare to other states?
Alaska is often considered the top destination for moose hunting. With an estimated 175,000 moose and over 7,000 harvested each year, the state offers a higher moose population and more hunting opportunities compared to other states. Additionally, the remote and rugged landscape of Alaska provides a unique and challenging hunting experience that attracts hunters from around the world.
Is moose meat commonly consumed in Alaska?
Moose meat is indeed commonly consumed in Alaska. Alaskans value moose not only for their impressive size but also for their nutritional benefits. Moose meat is lean, high in protein, and low in fat. Hunting and consuming moose is an important part of Alaskan culture and tradition.