Kyle Oraskovich, DIY Moose Hunt Report
September 13th – 23rd, 2017
My dream hunt for as long as I can remember has always been a DIY Alaska moose hunt. After receiving a commitment from my dad that he’d join me in a hunt, we began to seriously look into booking a moose hunt during the fall and early winter of 2016. After much research, both online and through phone conversations, we decided on booking a hunt with this one. We didn’t know it at the time, but our decision turned out to be an excellent one, as we couldn’t have asked for a better trip.
My dream hunt for as long as I can remember has always been a DIY Alaska moose hunt. After receiving a commitment from my dad that he’d join me in a hunt, we began to seriously look into booking a moose hunt during the fall and early winter of 2016. After much research, both online and through phone conversations, we decided on booking with Outdoors International. We didn’t know it at the time, but our decision turned out to be an excellent one, as we couldn’t have asked for a better trip.
In late July of 2017, after packing and repacking, we shipped three crates of gear up to Alaska in order to minimize the amount of luggage we’d have to drag with us on the flight. When the time finally came for the hunt, we couldn’t contain our excitement. After arriving in Anchorage, we settled in for the night, and then made the trip to Wasilla the next morning. Once in Wasilla, we checked into our hotel, the Best Western on Lake Lucille, and then went into town to buy the remaining items needed for our hunt. That evening, we unpacked and organized all our gear for the flight into the bush the following morning. The next morning, our pilot arrived in his float plane and met us in the hotel to go over the necessary paperwork and decide on a location to which we’d fly to pick out our home for the next week and a half or so. We ultimately decided upon GMU 16B, so after gathering our gear and loading it into the plane, we were off to our destination.
While on the flight out, it seemed that we saw nothing but rivers and standing water beneath us, so we had a great view of the terrain we’d be up against. While nearing the area to which we’d ultimately drop down and hunt, we spotted a monster bull with a 60+ inch rack in a long clearing, about a 1/4 mile away from a lake. That was all we needed to decide that was the spot we’d hunt, so we touched down on the lake and unloaded our gear on a floating bog. After unloading all our gear and saying goodbye to the pilot, I pulled out my moose call and made a few cow calls in an attempt to keep the bull in the area. While preparing to bring our first load of gear to shore, I heard a noise behind me, so I turned around and discovered the big bull to be standing in an opening approximately 150 yards away. Much to my surprise, he had responded to my call. My dad and I watched in amazement as he kept walking closer and closer to us, to within about 50 yards. Being that it is illegal to hunt the same day you fly in Alaska, unfortunately, we could not shoot the bull. After being spooked, he trotted away and into the brush. We then hauled our gear to shore, set up camp, and scouted for the evening.
The first and second days of our hunt did not bring us anything to shoot; however, on the third day, our fortunes changed. My dad and I were sitting in separate clearings about a 1/4 mile apart for the morning hunt, and then met for a quick lunch around noon. It was at this time that I learned my dad had seen a nice bull that morning, but was unable to get a clean shot, as his scope was fogged up due to the rain. After eating lunch, we returned to our hunting locations from that morning for the afternoon and evening hunt. Much to my delight, I heard a gunshot that evening, and then another. After waiting a bit, I met up with my dad and discovered he had downed a nice 54″ bull. We were both ecstatic! Our dream hunt was turning into just what we had wanted. Then the work began. We headed back to camp, grabbed the necessary supplies for skinning and quartering the moose, and headed back to the kill site. We cut up the moose well into the darkness of the evening until we had completely finished quartering it. The next morning and early afternoon were spent backpacking the meat to camp, where we made a meat pole and hung the meat in the game bags.
It was not until the 9th day of our 11 day planned hunt that I had an opportunity at a legal bull. By this time, I was becoming nervous that I’d leave without a moose. However, that all changed that evening when a bull came out of the brush and crossed the opening I was sitting in. Although I frantically tried to gauge the size of his rack as he crossed the opening, it was not until he was completely across the opening that I could get him to stop. However, I was unable to tell through the brush whether or not he was legal. After turning and walking away from me, I quickly snuck into the opening and could see he was around a point on the edge of the opening. I dropped to my knees, made two cow calls, and he turned and trotted straight towards me. After he came to a stop, I pulled up, saw that he had the required number of brow tines, and shot. The bull took off and disappeared, although I was sure I had hit him. After walking a bit, I could see him wounded, but still standing in the opening, so I put another round in him. My dad then met up with me, and the work began then again. As before, we cut the moose up well into the evening darkness. We returned to our tent and called the pilot to let him know the news. He indicated that he’d fly out to pick up the meat the following day, before returning the pick us and our gear up.
After rising early, we packed the meat to shore and waited for the pilot. However, we later learned that the fog was too dense to safely fly. As a result, we hunkered down in our tent for what turned out to be a long remainder of the day. When we awoke the next morning, we found that it didn’t look much different than the day prior – rainy and foggy. We spoke with the pilot several times throughout the day, but the fog was still too dense to fly. Then, much to our delight, we heard a plane nearby that afternoon. After loading my moose, the pilot headed out to drop the moose off while we packed up our belongings for the flight out. After he returned, we loaded our gear and headed back to civilization, where the work then began for the return trip home.
The trip turned out to be everything and more than my dad and I had hoped for, and the Outfitter was truly a big reason for that. It should be noted that GMU 16 is certainly not a unit for those not up for a challenge, specifically in regards to the terrain and weather. It rained approximately 80% of the time we were in the bush, and dry ground was nowhere to be found. Quality rain gear and waders were an absolute must, not only because of the constant rain, but because we walked through knee high + water to get from the lake edge to our campsite. Despite these conditions, the trip was worth every penny and every moment. Just properly prepare and you’ll be ok. I would highly recommend this hunt to anyone up for a challenge, not only with the environment but also with the DIY moose hunt experience, and also because of the service provided by our Outfitter.
A few additional words of advice are as follows. Due to the uncertain weather that can be encountered in Alaska, I would caution those who partake in this hunt to be prepared for delays in getting out of the bush. Because of this, a minimum of two days on the back end of the hunt should be planned for preparing for the trip home and to account for any delays that may be encountered. A backup camp stove should also be considered. The camp stove my dad and I had malfunctioned two days before we flew out of the bush, so we had to create a makeshift camp stove with a propane bottle and torch we happened to bring along with us. I would also highly recommend flying Alaska Airlines out of Alaska, as they have very liberal regulations in regards to carrying big game on their planes compared to other airlines.
- Overall, my trip was amazing, I couldn’t have asked for more. I would highly recommend this outfitter. He was very helpful and accommodating before, during, and after our hunt.
- My outfitter’s communication before, during and after the trip was perfect, I couldn’t have asked for more.
- Physically, the trip was moderate.
- The food and accommodations were not an issue.
- My consultant’s communication before, during and after the trip was perfect, I couldn’t have asked for more.
- My consultant was very knowledgeable, and a pleasure to talk to.
- Would you book another trip with us in the future? Yes
- Can we use your stories and/or photos on our website? Yes
- Can we use this in social media? Yes