RAA1 – Unguided Moose Hunts – Renfro’s Alaskan Adventures
Unguided Moose Hunt in Alaska
Our unguided moose hunters have enjoyed tremendous success on this hunt over the years.
If you have the budget for a fully guided moose hunt, we suggest you go that route. That being said though, our unguided moose hunters have enjoyed tremendous success on this hunt over the years. Airport pickup in Bethel, AK. Float plane to camp. 11 days hunting. Unit 18, Yukon Delta. High densities of moose. No antler restriction. Any bull can be taken.
These hunts are not for everyone. They can be physically demanding at times, so we recommend the hunters be in good condition when they arrive. However, if you’re the type of hunter this appeals to, the area houses some exceptional bulls. Also, if you are interested in a black bear, they can be taken without additional fees, other than a tag. Numbers will vary with camp location and food source. Five things to know about self-guided moose hunts.
- Offering both guided and unguided moose hunts.
- Moose tags are are over-the-counter.
- Hunting Season is September 1 – 30 for any bull.
- Trophy quality is amazing with 55″ to 65″ bulls taken regularly.
- Success rates are 75% and opportunity rate is 90 to 100%. (Success is slightly higher on the fully guided hunts)
- Black bear, wolf and wolverines are possible, so get your tags.
- Option to add a brown bear on the fully guided hunts.
- Can NOT fly and hunt on the same day.
- Moderate to Difficult hunts. Thick spruce with tundra and bogs. It can be hot, it can be cold and there will be bugs. Walking on tundra is difficult.
*Only US citizens are eligible for the unguided hunt
- Logistical assistance.
- All transportation after arriving in Bethel, AK
- If you choose the “outfitted camp” the hunt will include all camp equipment and food.
- One bull moose.
- Black bear, wolf and wolverine can be taken without additional trophy fees. Tags required.
- Call in for an early take out if you tag out early.
- Meat and trophy transport back to Bethel.
*Prices subject to change without notice, so lock your price in with a deposit asap.
Camps and Expectations
Camps will vary widely, and some camps are more wet than others.
Unguided hunters are responsible for setup and teardown of their camps.
- Camps will vary, with some more wet than others. Comfortable hip boots are a must! Low impact camps are recommended, as you are in the heart of moose county. Most hunters take their bulls within close proximity of camp.
- The hunting area is 40×70 miles.
- 2 hunter minimum per camp.
- Any legal weapon. Great archery hunt.
- Trophy class bulls are common
- Fly into field by float plane or tundra-wheeled plane. You are limited to 70 lbs. of gear (does not include weapons or food).
- Some camps will have boats provided if they are needed.
- Hunters are responsible for satellite communication devises. i.e. SAT phone, inReach, etc.
- Hunters are responsible for all trophy/meat field care and packing. Meat and horns must be ready for pickup at original drop area.
- It is required that ALL meat is taken out of the field. Bone is required to be left in quarters, rib meat can be cut out. It is the hunters responsibility to review the F&G regulations.
- Antlers may NOT be removed from the kill site until ALL salvageable meat is removed (state law).
- Bring high quality game bags for your meat.
- Once notified, and schedule permitting, the outfitter will pick up meat and horns for transport back to the hangar.
- Early extraction is common due to the high success rates. It is important to realize that schedule and weather dictate early pickups. Hunters need to be mentally prepared that it could take several days. The outfitter will never risk someone’s life to get them out of the field.
- Alaska tundra can be very physically demanding, it is important to arrive in good shape.
- Pre and post hunt logistical correspondence can be expected in regards to travel, tags/license, equipment list, recommended gear list, meat/trophy care and shipping.
- Hunters can rest assured knowing they will be placed in areas that are most productive without other hunter pressure.
The “Outfitted” Camp and Food Option
With this option, the outfitter will provide camp, supplies and food for the drop camp hunters.
Equipment Supplied for Two Hunters:
- 1 4-man Guide Model Tent
- 2 cots
- 1 tarp
- 2 chairs
- 1 cook set
- 1 lantern/ mantels
- 2 collapsible water containers
- Dish soap
- 1 stove/ 4 one pound propane bottles
- 4 rolls toilet paper
- 1 box matches
- 2 lighters
- 6 garbage bags
- 2 sets of silverware, plates, bowls and glasses
- 2 rolls paper towels
- 1 box quart size Ziploc bags
- 1 coffee pot
- 6 Salt for capes
Breakfast Supplied for Two Hunters:
- 1 large container of Egg Beaters or 18 eggs
- 2 lbs. bacon or breakfast sausage
- 1 jar instant coffee
- 3 quarts box Milk
- 1 box pancake mix
- 1 bottle of syrup
- 1 box instant oatmeal
- 1 box hot chocolate
Lunch Supplied for Two Hunters:
- 2 loaves bread
- 1 jar jelly
- 1 jar peanut butter
- 20 assorted candy bars/ granola bars
- 2 lbs. sandwich meat turkey or ham
- 1 lb. cheddar cheese
- 6 cans mixed fruit cups
- 10 packages ramen noodles
- 10 packages powdered drink mix (2 quarts each) lemonade/orange
Dinner Supplied for Two Hunters:
- 1 box red beans and rice
- 2 boxes macaroni and cheese
- 2 instant packages of rice
- 2 instant packages of pasta
- 2 cans chili
- 2 cans soup/stew
- 4 cans vegetables
- 3 packages mashed potatoes
- 1 package wieners
- 4 lbs hamburger meat
- 4 cans chicken
- 1 lb polish sausage
Condiments Supplied for Two Hunters:
- ketchup / mustard
- salt / pepper
- 1 bottle vegetable oil
- coffee mate/sugar
- 1 bottle squeeze butter or 2 sticks butter
- Miscellaneous spices and mixes
- Positive attitude and open mind (most important tactic of all)
- Patience and book extra days (we booked 14 days September 13-26)
- Calling and raking
- Calling at the correct times (don’t over call)
- Use wind for setup
- Elevation/vantage-points, climb trees
- Travel routes, natural funnels/corridors, pinch points
- Glass for cows in the morning, move to their location later in the day to draw the bull out
- Calling from same locations for long periods, bulls can take days to come into the calls
- Stealth, maintain a low presence. You don’t want to make it known you are there
- Call near camp in the evening and check for a bull in the morning (this worked for dad’s bull)
- Split up and hunt separate locations to cover more ground (only if you are comfortable being separated)
- Paddle around the lake edge and get out periodically to check open areas and nearby lakes
- Call morning/evening, still hunt the day for bedded moose. This one can be tricky, wind must be absolutely right if you are going to try to still hunt a bedding area. We didn’t try it but some guys did with great luck.
These strategies are either ones that I used or other hunters used while we were up there. All of which were effective under the right circumstances. Take them with a grain of salt. It was the common consensus from all hunters coming out of the field that calling and hunting near camp were the most effective tactics, within half mile at most.
You will fly to Anchorage, AK (ANC), where you will catch a flight to Bethel. Your host will meet you at the airport. It is important when booking your tickets to Bethel that you arrive early in the day that you are scheduled to go into the field, or the night prior. Arriving later in the day may not allow you enough time to fly out to camp. It is important to prepare for flight delays. Weather is a major factor, and the outfitter will never risk someone’s life to get them into or out of the field. If such conditions do exist, be patient. You will be dropped off at your camp via float plane or a plane equipped with tundra tires.
We recommend departing Anchorage the day AFTER you are scheduled to be extracted from the field. The outfitter will assist with room reservations. Hunters are responsible for pre and post lodging.
Here are some travel tips from one of our clients who went on this hunt:
-Fly Alaska Airlines. Our Round trip tickets from Chicago-Anchorage-Bethel and Bethel-Anchorage-Chicago were only $650 bought around June 2016 for the September trip.
-Luggage was $25 for your first and second checked bag, $75 per additional checked bag with weight restrictions (to include fish boxes and skull/antlers)
-We did not ship gear up ahead of time however certain items you may have to if you bring your camp ahead of time. I didn’t see the point of shipping gear ahead of time, it was an added cost and would have eliminated the lost or late gear issue but how I saw it; if we shipped our gear up ahead of time and only traveled with our weapons and we had lost or late luggage we still would have delays regardless.
-No lost or late luggage issues, I didn’t hear of any others having issues while we were there
-Transporting weapons were not an issue at all. I had my Rifle, Pistol, and Ammo all inside of my Pelican Rifle case. My father had his Rifle and Ammo in his case. We used separate cases in case one didn’t show up we could still hunt. We also made sure we were there as early as possible to check weapons 2-4 hours ahead of your flight minimum.
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Meat and Trophy Options
Antlers can currently be checked on Alaska Air. It is the hunters responsibility to verify. If you are taking meat home with you, meat/cape boxes can be purchased from the outfitter. Boxes can be checked on as luggage and must not be over 50 pounds. Excess baggage fees will be charged by the airlines for additional pieces of checked baggage on Alaska Airlines.
Meat can also be donated to local citizens or to the food bank. You must complete a transfer of possession form (get one from the outfitter) . Partially butchered quarters of meat are not accepted for donation. Remember, it is the hunters responsibility to see the meat is properly donated or boxed for your flight home. The outfitter does not provide boning or boxing. The outfitter has an area in the hangar for deboning meat.
Here’s how one of our hunters suggest handling meat and trophies:
-We brought the meat we wanted back in fish boxes sold for $10 per box from the airline as well as our skull/antlers that were packaged accordingly. Then we donated the rest to the locals. I brought back roughly 150 lbs, my father brought roughly 250.
-Another option for meat is to have the outfitter arrange air cargo of the meat to a processor in Anchorage, as well as air cargo the skull/antlers and cape to Knights Taxidermy. These are the most expensive options. Roughly $1000 for a euro mount, $2500 for a shoulder mount, $1500-2500 for meat all by the time it gets back home to you.
-As for skull/antler transport, we had great luck bringing them back with us whole as checked luggage through Alaska Airlines. As of 2016 the airline began allowing properly packaged skulls to be checked as extra luggage as long as they are packaged according to their regulations found on their website. Next time I would bring a roll of bubble wrap, a roll of packaging shrink wrap, packaging tape, and then scavenge cardboard once I’m up there as that was most abundant but the guys were scraping for other packaging materials.
Suggested Gear List for an Unguided Hunt in Alaska
This gear list was put together by Outdoors International Hunting Consultant, Kyle Hanson who has been on our DIY moose hunt twice. Based on what he learned on his first hunt, he has revised his list to what you see below. You can see the notes from his first hunt at the bottom of this article.
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The first thing to consider is weight.
- Outfitted camps: gear is limited to 60 pounds per person – to include personal gear, weapon, -20 rated sleeping bag/pad, pack frame, field dressing equipment and game bags.
- If you bring your own camp: weight limits are 120 pounds of gear per person.
- Hunters will be weighed prior to flying into the field:
- For any two hunter group with a combined weight over 440 pounds, an additional surcharge will be required in the amount of $500.
- For any two hunter group with a combined weight over 520 pounds, an additional surcharge will be required in the amount of $1,000.
Gear for Camp
Tent: Cabelas Geodesic 6 man *33.15 lb.
Cots: Cabelas lightweight x2 *22.15 lb.
Tarps: 2-3x Lightweight 10×10 ft. *5 lb.
Stove: Coleman 2 burner *8.95 lb.
Lantern: Primus Micron *.27 lb.
Heater: Mr. Heater Little Buddy *4.29 lb.
Chairs: x2 Tillak Sika Ultralight Camp Chair *3.64 lb.
Cook set: Primus Litech pot/pan *2.02 lb.
Utensils: GSI kitchen set *1.16 lb.
Long spoon x2: *.1 lb.
Plate, bowl, cup set x2: Fozzils sets *.5 lb.
Drink ware: Yeti Rambler Bottle *1 lb.
Pocket Boiler: Primus ETA Lite *.9 lb.
TP & Paper towels: *2 lb. (2 rolls paper towels, 6 rolls TP)
Aluminum foil: *.55 lb.
Soft sided Cooler: *.85 lb.
Propane & Isobutane Canisters: Purchase in Alaska as you can’t take them on a plane
Salt for Capes: Purchase in Alaska or prior to trip 5-10 pounds
Total weight: 86.53 lb. (not including fuel and salt)
Breakfasts: Off Grid Predator Fuel and “real food” (egg beaters, sausage &/or bacon)
Lunches: Misc. dehydrated & real food (Off Grid, Peak Refuel, Mountain House, PB&J, Salami cheese n’ bagel)
Dinners: Off Grid, Peak Refuel, Mountain House
Snacks: Probars, Probar Bolt Energy Chews, Dehydrated snacks, jerky, PB
Coffee: Dark Timber packs
Drink mixes: Hot Chocolate mix, Propel packs, Renu go packs
Real food for breakfasts & lunch: Meats, egg beaters, bread, PB&J
Seasonings & Olive oil: Garlic powder, Sea Salt, & Pepper, Olive oil packets and small bottle
Supplements/daily vitamins etc.
Total weight: 25-30 lb. or less
5 gal collapsible jug: GSI folding cube x2 *1.4 lb.
Bladder in pack: 4L MSR Dromlite with drink hose*.37 lb. (may forgo hose attachment)
Nalgene Bottle: Bottle with human gear cap *.44 lb.
Chemical or pill form: Aquamira A&B *.14 lb.
Steripen; Classic Steripen with batteries *.41 lb.
Pump: Katadyn Hiker Pro *.92 lb.
Total weight: 3.68 lb.
Game Processing Gear to Take to Camp
Game bags Moose & Bear: TAG Bags, Caribou bags or Black Ovis Game Bags
Knives & blades: Havalon Piranta & Baracuta
Gloves: HME Kits
550 cord: 50ft reflective orange
Citric acid: Caribou gear kits
Large Contractor Bag
Total weight: 5.31 lb.
Game Processing Gear to Leave at the Hangar
Packaging for skull: bubble wrap, shrink wrap, cardboard, duct tape, packaging tape
Meat storage/freezer bags: Gallon & Quart Ziploc freezer bags
Knife set & sharpener: Outdoor edge kit
Hard Cooler: Igloo 100
Rifle & ammo: *11 lb.
Pistol & ammo: *5 lb. (optional)
Hard travel case: Pelican 2 rifle with customizable foam *N/A
Soft case for small plane travel: *1.14 lb. (optional)
Total weight: 17.14 lb.
Base layers top/bottom: Sitka Merino Core top/Bottom, First lite Merino boxers & T’s x2 *1.96 lb.
Intermediate layer top: Sitka Heavyweight Core Hoodie *.9 lb.
Puffy top: Kifaru Full Zip Parka*1.45 lb.
Soft-shell top: Sitka Jetstream *1.49 lb. (optional)
Vest: Sitka Mountain Vest *.52 lb. (optional)
Pant bottom: Sitka Timberline *1.89 lb.
Rain Gear Top: Sitka Kodiak *1.94 lb.
Rain Gear bottom: Sitka Stormfront *1.54 lb.
Gloves: Sitka Mountain & Merino liners *.44 lb.
Beanie/Hat: Sitka Jetstream & Merino, Baseball cap *.39
Lightweight bug net: Sea to Summit *.1 lb.
Extra Clothing: Sitka Apex top/ bottom, lightweight core hoodie, Sitka Kelvin Active puffy, Exofficio Give & Go boxer *3.5 lb. (Extra Base Layer, boxer, pant, mid layer, puffy)
Total weight: 16.12 lb.
Hiking boots: Lowa Tibet GTX *5.13 lb.
Rubber boots: Irish Setter neoprene uninsulated *4.29 lb. (may forgo)
Gators: Outdoor Research *.63 lb. (may use Sitka Stormfront)
Waders: Match your waders to the area you will be hunting. Consult with your outfitter. *.9 lb.
Socks: Darn Tough & Farm to Feet 4 pair *.75 lb.
Total weight: 11.7 lb.
Sleeping Bag: Kifaru 20 degree Slick Bag *2.84 lb.
Air pad: Big Agnes Q-core SLX *1.56 lb.
Pillow: Nemo *.19 lb.
Woobie: Kifaru *1.89 lb. (optional)
Total weight: 6.48 lb.
Pack frame/bag combo: EXO 500 or Kifaru Hunter frame, DT2 bag, Guide Lid, small belt pouch, Nalgene pouch *7.38 lb.
Hauling attachments: Cargo net & lashing strap, & gun bearer *1.5 lb.
Walking sticks: Easton Carbon Trekkers *1.05 lb.
Lightweight tarp: Kifaru Sheep tarp with MSR Groundhog pegs*.9 lb.
Total weight: 10.83 lb.
Binoculars & harness: Vortex Razor 10×42, Sitka Bino harness *2.86 lb. (w/rangefinder & pouch)
Rangefinder & pouch: Leupold TBR 1000, FHF pouch ***
Bino tripod adapter with qd plate: FOR adapter w/qd plate *.19 lb.
Spotting scope with qd plate: Vortex Razor 27-60x85mm angled w/qd plate *4.38 lb.
Tripod & head: Slik 624, Manfrotto 700RC2 panhead *2.93 lb.
Foam butt pad: Z seat *.08 lb.
Cleaning items: Lens cloth, Lens pen *.2 lb.
Total weight: 10.64 lb.
Phone with case: *.55 lb.
Phone Scope bracket: *.08 lb.
External chargers: Poseidon x2 *.55 lb.
Charging cords: Poseidon cord, Suunto cord, wall charger *.24 lb.
Flashlights: Petzl Tikka & E-lite headlamps *.19 lb.
Total weight: 1.61 lb.
Total weight: .79 lb.
Batteries: AAA & AA Energizer Lithium Ion
Patch kit: Misc. glues and tenacious tape patches
Weapon cleaning & maint. Kit: Leatherman Skelatool CX w/ bit set, misc. small tools for rifle & oil (bits for scope caps and lug bolts) *.5 lb.
Tape: duct tape & leuko tape
Fire kit: Trioxane, flint/steel, lighters, waterproof matches
Insect repellent: 100% deet
Extra 550 cord: 50-100 ft.
Total weight: 2 lb. or less
Call(s) and Decoy
Total weight: .9 lb.
Meds: pain killers, anti-diarrheal, antibiotics, energy
Total weight: 1 lb. or less
Dry Bags: Outdoor Research 55L & Ditty sacks
Compression sack: Kifaru 5 String Medium
Lightweight pullouts: Kifaru Lightweight Pullouts
Contractor bags: 1-2 Large heavy duty
Lightweight trash bags: 2-3 Hefty trash bags
Ziplocs: Quart & Gallon, small assortment
Total weight: 2-3lb or less
Tooth paste & brush
Total weight: 1.5 lb. or less
License & Tags (Non-Res Hunting License, Harvest tickets for bear & moose, Locking tags for Moose Bear & Wolf, everything signed)
Alaska Regulation booklet: Hard copy
Copy of Contracts: Both Agent and any from Outfitter/Transporter (Inside ziplock)
Transfer of possession forms: From Outfitter (inside ziplock)
Write in the rain journal and Pen
Total weight: 1.5 lb.
Hunter Body Weight: ___________
Overall Total Weight: 204.73 lb. + [Body weight]
*Weights will vary, but should get you close. Be sure to do your homework so that you are properly prepared for you hunt. If you have questions about this unguided moose hunt gear list, be sure to contact us or your outfitter.
Kyles gear notes on the 2016 Unguided Moose hunt gear list he used:
Clothing: Everything I used from my unguided moose hunt gear list performed well and kept us warm and dry. My father used almost the identical setup without any issues either. If I had to do it over again I would go with First Lite rain gear as it would have matched my kit better for layering. By the end of the trip I tore a couple eyelets out of my wading boots from hiking in them. Maybe go with a better boot. If given the chance I would have also liked to bring a slip on rubber boot for around camp. I highly recommend the Sea to Summit lightweight bug net.
Pack: Worked out awesome! That being said I believe any Kifaru pack combined with a grab-it would work just fine. Next go around I will probably bring the new cargo panel for ease of loading. It’s tough loading those giant moose parts into a tube style bag. Also, a guy can get by just fine with a more affordable frame style pack such as a Cabelas guide frame model. I saw a little bit of everything up there, the guys that had the hardest time packing were either smaller guys or they just didn’t prepare for it… nothing to do with the pack.
Shelter: Those tents are tough and affordable; my only complaint is that they can be a little tight for a longer hunt. More annoying than anything. I would bring my own shelter next time. If you are bringing your own I wouldn’t recommend a floorless tent as most of these areas don’t have the solid ground for it. Also don’t bring too large of a tent because the flat spots that you can find usually are not much bigger than the 4 man Cabelas tent we were provided.
Sleep System: I went with more of a lightweight backpacking setup than I really needed to. My father used a much larger Big Agnes 0 degree square camp bag with the big thick air paid that slides into it. You are on cots for ten plus days; make the best of it since you won’t be carrying camp with you!
Optics: I feel that a decent 10×40 or 8×40 is adequate. I didn’t bring a spotter but at times it would have been nice. Personal preference. I will be bringing a spotting scope next time.
Cook System: no issues
Food: We had the outfitter supply the food. It was just fine however some of the stuff was a little more elaborate than what I wanted to take the time to prepare. I would bring my own food next time consisting of things that are fast to prepare combined with some fresh items purchased in bethel. Starbucks instant coffee packs are awesome!
Water purification and storage: The Nalgene bottles were our go to. I kept a bladder in the tent next to my cot just to have handy for later at night. The outfitter supplied 5 gal collapsible water containers that were awesome to have on hand. The pump “clogged” right away. Come to find out I just needed to lube the seal. I’m not that versed in water purification, especially when it’s out of a stagnant lake so lesson learned there. We ended up just using the aquamira for the 5 gallon containers and then steripened what we poured into our water bottles just to be safe. Everything we cooked with got boiled so that works great also. Definitely recommend multiple purification sources as it just gives a guy more flexibility. I may go with a bigger bladder next time for camp water, maybe 6-10L MSR.
Fire starting kit: Definitely bring something as a fuel source such as wet fire or trioxane tablets. We waited until we killed both our bulls to have a campfire.
Kill Kit: Basically an overkill version of the one on Rokslide. The interchangeable blade knives are awesome. My theory on using the havalon and the outdoor edge was that I would use the larger thicker bladed outdoor edge for the main butchering and the havalon for the detail work and fine caping. Never broke a blade with either and they both performed exactly as I thought although I thought for sure I was going to break the folding outdoor edge while making the cut up the back of the hide.
Hygiene Kit: Definitely bring this!
Photography/Videography: My smartphone was my go to; I honestly never even got the gopro out of the tent because it was much more convenient just to reach in my pocket. That being said don’t forget external chargers, they are awesome. Dad’s solar charger only worked for brief periods on 2-3 days. Very over casted.
Comms: Would not go back without my Delorme! It was awesome!
Land Navigation: A decent GPS and a compass are important. Lots of these areas are flat and everything looks the same when you start getting away from camp. Especially in the alders, would be easy to get lost. Learn to use some kind of coordinates whether it is latitude/longitude or UTM grid coordinates simply because if something were to happen, being able to communicate precise location is necessary. Also good to set waypoints when you find good calling spots.
Weapons: I saw different setups from 7mm rem mag up to 338 lapua; the 300 win mag seemed to be the more common as well as the Barnes bullets. I’m very satisfied with my choice and wouldn’t hesitate to use it again. I also wouldn’t buy a new gun over it if you have something in that range. According to an article I read that surveyed 1500 moose hunters from Canada the most popular calibers were 270 win, 30-06, 308, 7mm rem, and 300 win mag. Side arms; matter of preference. I left it in the tent as something to make some noise with if something decided to get at us in the middle of the night. Thankfully that was a non-issue. The glock was fun for ptarmigan hunting after we shot our bulls.
Misc.: I used the crap out of all the stuff on that list. Kind of wish that I had brought the “Moose Magnet” calling funnel as I ended up making a makeshift funnel by the end that worked well. With the funnel it not only projects volume but gives you more of a raspy sound.
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