Deadhorse OUtfitters LLC
moose PLANNING INFORMATION
Expectation Management: Moose hunting is a very physically demanding hunt. Expect to have long days with miles of hiking to gain a vantage point for glassing and calling. If you Harvest a Bull be prepared for multiple trips with over 100lbs on your back from the location of the harvest to your camp. Plan on being wet and cold throughout the duration of the hunt.
There is an estimated 1 Bull moose per 2 Square miles in GMU 24A. You will need to be patient and spend many hours moving and glassing. We do not control the animals or the weather your possibility of success is based on how much work you put into your hunt. This area has a 32% success rate based off Department of Fish and Games Harvest reports. But on a positive note of that 32% Harvest rate, there have been 13 Bulls Harvested over 60 inches and 1 Bull over 70inches harvested in the last 3 years.
PREPARING FOR YOUR HUNT: The first rule of thumb with Moose hunting in Alaska, or any other big game hunting, is to expect the unexpected. Your success on an Alaska hunting trip is determined by how much and how well you have planned and prepared for your trip. The success of your trip is more than the harvest. Your overall hunting experience includes all sorts of challenges and rewards beyond a successful harvest. You must accept the fact that there are no guarantees.
Alaska is known for its tough terrain and weather Big game hunting is not a luxury vacation; instead, prepare to be challenged and to live in rustic, cold, wet, sparse wilderness conditions. Additionally, be sure your gun-handling and hunting skills are top-notch. These trips are not for novices or complainers. Challenges such as equipment maintenance or repair also add to the adventure; these types of situations distinguish fair chase hunting from controlled shooting experiences. Again, the pursuit is the experience and knowing personal limitations and thresholds before booking a trip saves everyone potential headaches.
You are an experienced hunter, but you are ready for the next challenge. You want to visit the remote Arctic and test your hunting skills, away from your daily routine. Taking an Alaskan hunting trip demands a lot of preparation for the hunter. Your success not only depends on the location of the hunt but also your physical, mental and logistical planning. The worst thing that most hunters do before taking their Alaska hunting trip is underestimating how much walking/hiking they will do. Sometimes in order to find the perfect trophy you have to walk through dense alder thickets, muskegs and even cross creeks. But even if you get lucky and find your trophy bull near your camp, the real work begins after you’ve taken your shot and now must clean and pack out your kill. Starting a physical regiment 4 to 6 months before your trip will have you better prepared for the Alaskan tundra.
Your time here is the opportunity of a lifetime; to continue the tradition of moose hunting that has existed for eons. Your adventure requires nerve, skill, and even some guidance. We are here to help make your experience as successful as possible.
ARRIVING/DEPARTING COLD FOOT: It is important when booking your commercial airline tickets to COLD FOOT, AK that you arrive the day prior to your scheduled hunt. Contact Wright Air at 907-474-0502 or online at www.wrightairservice.com to find out what their flight schedule is into Coldfoot, AK. If they do not have the 13th or 14th scheduled, you can request they do a fly-in on the 14th. Once you have the flight schedule then book your plane tickets into Fairbanks with enough time to check into Wright air. There is no store in Coldfoot. You can get info and book your room in Coldfoot at https://www.coldfootcamp.com/. When booking your room let them know you will need picked up from the runway and transported to your room. We will pick you up from your room in the morning your hunt starts. When booking your flight out of Coldfoot, AK plan to stay the night of 25th in Coldfoot and fly out on the 26th. This allows us to properly assist you in getting your camp broken down, your animals packed up without having a time hack.
Coldfoot is REMOTE and primarily made up of construction crews, truck drivers, and as such does not have many of the everyday conveniences, we commonly take for granted. Please make sure you have everything you need prior to arriving in Coldfoot.
Once your group has purchased their commercial airline tickets and have scheduled your flight with Wright Air please forward your itinerary information to us so we have confirmation of your arrival and departure flights. Also, we will need to know what room you will be staying in so we are able to link up with you.
A representative of DHO will pick you up in Coldfoot and transport you and your group to the boat launch. It is at this time that you will receive a basic orientation on what to do and not do in the field and basic safety rules for the boat. You will also receive an inventory of your ‘Drop Camp’ equipment if you rented from DHO Rentals. Required paperwork will be completed at the launch and MUST kept while you are in the field.
Bring a copy of your Transport Contract and DHO Rental Agreement with you. The State of Alaska requires you to have these on your person at all times
After the brief and the equipment inventoried, DHO will stage equipment and supplies on the boat for the trip. It is your responsibility to examine your supplied and non-supplied items including food, camping equipment, etc. to make sure you have everything you need - nothing forgotten. You will also be able to change into your hunting clothes and store any gear that you will not need in the field. When you prepare to load the boat, make sure all your gear is on the boat with you! Staging and loading can be hectic at times and with multiple people trying to help they can grab the wrong stuff. Be responsible for your own gear until you see all of it loaded onto the boat. From the launch, DHO will transport you and your group by airboat 25-45 Miles to your drop camp location.
HOTELS/ARRIVING EARLY/STAYING LONGER: As stated above, the only hotel in Coldfoot is the Slate Creek Inn. Coldfoot camp does have a restaurant available that serves breakfast and dinner. Coordinate lodging by contacting them at 907-474-3500 or https://www.coldfootcamp.com Once lodging is coordinated in Coldfoot ensure that they are tracking you need a ride to and from the airstrip when Write Air drops you off. Again, please ensure you have everything you need prior to arriving in Coldfoot.
If you need to you can always plan to arrive in Fairbanks AK a day prior to your flight up to Coldfoot so that you can get Grocery’s, and anything needed for your hunt. Recommended Hotel close to the airport in Fairbanks is Sophie Station. You can coordinate with them by phone: 907-479-3650 or https://www.fountainheadhotels.com/sophie-station.html
Plan to stay a couple of days in Fairbanks after your hunt is complete. This will allow time to have your meat shipped and any Black Bear or Wolf hides to be sealed at Department of Fish and Game.
All Wolf and Black Bear hides MUST be sealed with Alaska Department of Fish and Game prior to leaving Alaska.
WEATHER: Weather is a variable that no one can control. Mentally, we want you to be prepared for the climate you will encounter while in the field, always be mindful of the weather. You are in a remote area and weather issues can be life-threatening. Keep your tent closed while away from camp. Winds can destroy unsecured flaps and leave you without shelter. The weather can change quickly and bring precipitation; keep raingear with you when away from your tent. Secure camp supplies from the elements prior to departing camp for the day. We make every effort to put you in game-rich areas; however, your success directly relates to the effort you put into your hunt. While it does happen, the likelihood of shooting a trophy moose from your tent is rare. Game is out in all types of weather so you might as well be too.
END OF HUNT PICK-UP INSTRUCTIONS: On your pick-up day, please have your gear packed and ready to go. Depending upon the weather, you may need to keep a tent up for shelter so please have it readied to be taken down timely. Your pick-up time will be coordinated on your drop-off day. Please be patient if we are not there at the exact time coordinated; many variables play a part in getting up and down the river.
EARLY REMOVAL FROM FIELD: Do not plan to be picked up prior to your departure date, if you tag out prior to your departure date there is plenty of opportunities to hunt wolves, or Black Bear (if you have a tag). You must be prepared to care for the meat and hide for the entire 10 days.
COMMUNICATIONS: Your hunt is conducted in a REMOTE wilderness area within the Arctic Circle. Communications are limited in such remote areas. You will not have any cell phone service once you arrive in Coldfoot. We will not be providing any type of communication while you are out in the field. Our only source of communication is INREACH. We strongly recommend at least one person in your party rent/buy an Inreach. You can also bring a satellite phone but that will not be able to communicate with us unless it can send and receive text messages. If you have brought an Inreach, we will provide you our numbers at the boat launch and you can communicate with us that way. If more than one person in your party has an INREACH we ask that only 1 person from the group messages us if something is needed. We have multiple groups of hunters on the ground and if all are messaging it gets confusing and some messages will get missed. If you are buying an INREACH for this trip when setting your name up, please make it recognizable. (example: Conn2128@inreach.garmin.com) That way when we receive a message, we know who it is. For your own personal safety, take extra precautions while doing even routine tasks. Unless you can attract someone’s attention, your ability to make contact outside of camp is NEAR IMPOSSIBLE. This is another reason we suggest an INREACH.
CAMPSITE: Hunters are responsible for the set-up and teardown of their own tents and camping equipment. Prior to setting up your camp look around the immediate area; try to locate your tent(s) next to trees/bushes that will serve as protection from the wind. Look for a level spot to set up, and take time to remove small/sharp twigs, and level the ground surface prior to placing your tent. A few minutes of preparing the ground will be well worth the time. Keep food items out of and a short distance away from your tent. Keep food in the totes with the lids on to reduce scent and protect your cache from rodents. Make sure you set a waypoint in your GPS with your camp location. Look at your surroundings, study the hills and valleys around you to help familiarize yourself with the area. Select an area away from your camp for your “privy,” and cover your waste prior to leaving. Consider burning food items, which are odorous or greasy. Please be sure to bag up metal and other garbage items to be hauled out, this is essential to prevent problems with bears, predators, and rodents. We practice “leave no trace” camping, therefore, do not bury or leave trash behind – it must be picked up and hauled out. Camp clean-up is each hunter’s responsibility -- leave the camp in a condition you would like to find it. You may make small campfires. The use of downed or dead wood products is permissible. Keep fires small and be certain they are dead out when not attended.
FOOD/BEVERAGES/WATER: Food will not be provided for your camp you must bring what you want to eat with you. (We understand that our video’s state that we provide MRE’s that will change once we have a chance to re-record our packing video) We recommend Mountain house meals since they are light and easy to pack. If you have rented your drop camp you will have a small cook stove and pots and pans. If you want to cook fish or anything else, you will need to bring oils and seasonings. The weather is typically cool enough to keep things like onions, potatoes, and vegetables if you decide that you would like to bring fresh food.
Most of the small villages in Alaska are dry, including Coldfoot. If you wish to have alcohol, you will need to pack it from home or purchase it in Fairbanks. Water from the rivers in the area is quite safe to drink. If you have rented from DHO Rentals, DHO Rentals provides a 5-gallon water jug to fill up at the river and keep at your camp for drinking. It is your responsibility to bring water bottles. Water does not need to be boiled before drinking. This area of Alaska does not have pollution or Giardia like many other areas. For your peace of mind, we recommend bringing a filtered water bottle. This will allow you to drink from ANY water source you come across if needed. It is very important to stay hydrated when hunting; drink plenty of fluids constantly. Do not wait until you are thirsty, as you will quickly become dehydrated.
Remember, alcohol and guns do not mix. Please remember weapons safety at all times, there is absolutely no reason that you should have around in the chamber at any time unless you are ready to pull the trigger on an animal. Your hunt is conducted in a remote area where accidents are perilous.
LUGGAGE INFORMATION: Please remember that hunter’s luggage and rifle cases typically look alike. Have your luggage clearly labeled to aid in keeping your gear properly identified. Weight is limited to 70lbs of gear per person, not including your weapon or cooler. Note, we do not transport hard-sided weapon cases into the field; they are kept in locked storage at the boat launch. Also, do not use extra-large bags or large hard-sided suitcases; they do not fit well into the truck or boat. You are limited to one Drybag and one empty frame pack for your gear going out to the field. (please watch our packing video’s those will tell you exactly what you need) Review your commercial airline's restrictions on the weight/size of baggage items. Our packing videos are available on our website, Youtube, and Facebook please watch them.
WEAPONS AND AMMO: Alaska law does not separate licenses or seasons by weapon. Both firearms and archery gear are acceptable. Black powder hunting is permitted but only if you are driving to Coldfoot. Airline transport regulations do not permit the transport of black powder or percussion caps. Purchases of these items would need to be in state, driven to Prudhoe Bay, and disposed of before flying home.
FIREARMS: Appropriate caliber selection is important. We recommend .30 caliber or better. More important than caliber is ammunition. Select and sight in your rifle with PREMIUM AMMO (note this is in bold print on the equipment list). Select premium bonded ammo that shoots well in your weapon. These rounds shoot more consistent and the bullets perform better. DHO wants you to be successful when the opportunity presents itself. We do not want to see animals wounded or injured that cannot be taken cleanly and recovered promptly. Bullets are the cheapest part of your hunt and perform the largest task. When packing your ammo for your commercial flight it needs to be in the original box or in a container made to hold appropriate ammo. All persons, in the field, should carry their weapons loaded with an empty chamber. There will be ample time to chamber a round prior to taking your game. Carrying with an empty chamber ensures no accidental discharges from your weapon; it cannot fire if there is no bullet in the chamber.
ARCHERY: Alaska bow requirements are:
40lb minimum draw weight for caribou, black bear, Dall sheep, wolf, and wolverine
50lb minimum draw weight for mountain goat, moose, brown bear/grizzly
Minimum 7/8” blade
300-grain minimum shaft/tip weight
No mechanical broadheads for species requiring the 50lb minimum bow weight
As a bowhunter, you should be consistent in hitting your target out to 40 yards or more, both standing and kneeling.
Crossbows are not considered archery in this GMU. They can be used but in Alaska, a crossbow is considered a firearm in most GMU’s.
You cannot use artificial light optics in the state of Alaska.
FIELD CARE OF TROPHIES: Do not get in a big hurry with your knife. Make sure your weapon is safe, secure your tag on your trophy, and complete your harvest ticket. Take time to clean up, pose and take some good photos of your animal. Consider lighting and fill the frame with hunter and trophy. Take multiple shots in several different poses. Do not straddle or sit on your trophy; these do not yield quality photos. Prop the animal up and sit, or kneel, behind it. We recommend you consult with your taxidermist for instructions on caping and fleshing if you are not familiar with how to perform these important tasks.
While in the field, keep your capes open and out of the direct sun; preferably hung in a small tree or bush for air circulation and cooling. The cool nights will help drastically. We recommend you ship capes and antlers to Fairbanks, AK to be fleshed if you choose not to do this in the field. They will expedite your antlers and capes to you or your taxidermist. The taxidermist we recommend is Caribou Ridge Taxidermy (907-687-7417), located in North Pole, AK. If you choose to have your animal taxidermy done here in Alaska, Caribou Ridge Taxidermy (CRT) will pick up your trophy in Fairbanks. Once picked up, CRT will contact you directly and take care of your mount.
We discourage transporting raw trophies to your home via airfreight. This method is labor-intensive, expensive, and risky. Alaska Airlines will not accept improperly packaged or raw trophies (skull plates and capes) for transport as baggage.
HUNTING REGULATIONS: Review the Alaska Hunting Regulations for GMU 24A. This is the Area you will be hunting. Penalties for game violations are severe. DHO encourages you to obtain and study the game regulations so you do not, inadvertently, violate game laws.
TAGS AND LICENSE: Purchase your tags and licenses online, prior to arrival. Your hunting license and harvest tag are printable from the website. The locking tag mailed to you by the Department of Fish and Game is to be brought with you. This tag takes 4-6 weeks to arrive. You should get your licenses no later than 90 days out. Ensure your licenses are for the year you are hunting. New Licenses come out 1 July of every year. If there are any questions at all on this call Fish and Game to ensure you have the correct license.
Hunting license: $160
Moose tag: $800
Black Bear tag: $450
Wolf: $60 (do not need to purchase for this area) (10 Wolves no tag needed)
MEAT CARE: ALL EDIBLE MEAT MUST BE SALVAGED (including rib and neck meat). The meat of the front and hindquarters and ribs must remain on the bone until removed from the field (or consumed). It is each hunter’s responsibility to assure the quality and condition of his or her game meat and trophies. Under no circumstances will DHO accept responsibility for any damage, loss, or spoilage. At camp, keep your meat out of the direct sun and a short distance away from your camp. Set the meat so it can cool and allow air to circulate around it. Do NOT put meat in a pile; it will quickly spoil. Per Alaska state law, you CANNOT remove antlers from the kill site until ALL salvageable meat has been removed. BY LAW, DHO MUST REPORT ALL WANT AND WASTE AND ANY ILLEGAL HUNTING VIOLATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME. For hunters wishing to take meat home with them, you can purchase wet lockboxes from Alaska Airlines in Fairbanks. Alaska Airlines allows wet lockboxes to be checked as luggage or shipping can be through Alaska Air Cargo.
For those wishing to donate meat, you must complete a transfer of possession form (we have them). Deboning meat is not permitted by airport regulation at the airport facility. The meat will stay in the field with you unless arrangements are made between you and the boat crew for an earlier removal.
DROP CAMP EQUIPMENT RENTAL: We recommend DHO Rentals for drop camp equipment. The rental fee is $500 for everything you and your party need to be comfortable in the field. Please understand you ARE NOT required to rent from DHO Rentals. You are welcome to bring your own gear or rent from another company. If you do choose to rent from DHO Rentals,
Over time, we have found these supplies to be sufficient for the duration of your hunt. Please bear in mind your REMOTE setting. If you are careless or wasteful with your supplies, you will not have those items for the remainder of your hunt. please look at our website Drop camp page for items included in the rental.
Equipment sent into the field with you will be in good condition. Please treat this gear as you would your own; others will need to rely on it as well. You will be required to pay DHO Rentals for any damaged/lost equipment. We recommend not cooking inside your tent; this practice can deplete oxygen and can damage the tent, leaving you without shelter.
WOLVES: This area does have a good population of wolves, which are huntable. If you are interested in trying to harvest a wolf, there is no tag needed. As stated previously, you will need to have the hide sealed with the department of fish and game prior to leaving Fairbanks. Harvested wolves must be skinned (both hide and skull) for transport out of the field. There is no trophy fee or additional charge to transport the wolf hides from the field.
GRIZZLY BEARS: Welcome to grizzly country! Respect them. Be mindful of them. Watch for them. If spotted from a distance, avoid them if possible. Generally, they do not want to be near you, however, if startled or you come upon their food, they can be aggressive. If you encounter a grizzly, make noise – YELL continuously. Stand up; make yourself appear as large as possible. Do not cower or run. Defend yourself only if absolutely necessary. Most encounters result in bears walking away. Check your hunting regulations; you CANNOT shoot a bear to reclaim your trophy. You can move to a position that allows your scent to carry to the bear. This will often cause them to leave or you can yell to scare them off. Be swift in your recovery of meat/trophy if a bear has been on your kill site, they will return. If a bear has claimed your kill and ruined the meat, you are not required to salvage it. However, you will need to document the location and happenings (i.e., GPS coordinates, photos).
BLACK BEARS: There is plenty of black bear in the area, and unlike grizzly bear, are more curious and will come into your camp to see what is going on. You can harvest 3 black bears while you are out hunting as long as you have the tags for them.
KEEPING WARM: Moisture is your enemy! Your sleeping bag will hold moisture. A few days of moisture buildup may make your bag lose a significant amount of insulation ability. Open your bags and hang to let them dry. Dry wet or damp clothing in the sun or next to a small fire. Be careful by fire, the done vs ruined amount of heat is a real small window! Damp clothing can be worn in your sleeping bag and your body heat will dry it overnight. Utilize layering of clothes during the day but do not overdress while hiking. Your body will generate heat to stay warm and sweating will make you cold for hours. Take off what you do not need and carry extra clothing in your pack for use while sitting.
DHO, through this document, has tried to cover what we think is important for you to know about your hunt and the area you will be hunting. We know that it is impossible to cover all the questions that could arise while you are preparing for your trip. Please email, or call, at any time during your planning phase. And please know we will be reaching out to you as your trip gets closer to ensure you are prepared and answer any questions.
Contact: Jeremy Conn at (907) 669-2280 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for allowing Deadhorse Outfitters to provide you the HUNT of a LIFETIME! We look forward to seeing you in the field.