AK Moose recommendations

marley

Very Active Member
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2,042
My brother and I are really wanting to do a drop camp style moose hunt together in 2021 or 2022. We'd prefer a drop camp instead of a float trip. I've heard a lot of great things about Papa Bear and have looked extensively into using them. But I also see 40 mile air and Tok Air Services popping up a lot in my searches. It looks like Tok and 40 mile both fly out of the same place and probably hunt some of the same areas. My question is, 40 mile is $3500 and Tok is $7000, why such a difference in price? Is Tok that much better or more successful or.....? Anyone have any experience hunting with either one of them and how was your experience.
 

Bambistew

Very Active Member
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1,889
Why the price difference? From what I understand 40 Mile doesn't want to rape hunters just to make money. They actually care about people getting a fair price for instead of lining their pockets at the expense of those that have the money to pony up.

Fly in hunts are sadly getting to be so expensive that locals can't hardly afford to go more than every once in a while. Some transporters know that if they bite the hand that feeds them regularly... they will have to make it up elsewhere. There are also transporters that don't really take many NR because they tend to be a bunch of whiney bitches that complain about everything... So others have stepped up and will take them, and upon doing so, they charge twice as much to deal with their chit.

On an $/hr basis of flying, Tok Air is quite expensive for what you get. $7000 for a moose that is an hour +/- flight one way = raping, or he's flying guys out 2 hours one way? Far as I know he is not... For example successful moose hunt for one guy is about 5 round trips (2 round trip for hunter, and 3 for moose), or 10hrs flying. Air taxi rates for a Cub are $350-450/hr. Bigger planes are more/hr, but also fly faster and can carry more. 206's are $6-700/hr, but can fly 2 guys and a moose in one trip, more or less.

40 Mile and Tok Air hunt the same "area," but its about 10,000 square miles, and for the total number of hunters that are in the field at any given time, there is a couple hundred square miles per group... Super crowded out there. Tok Air does not do any better than 40 Mile. The guy who owns Tok air used to fly for 40 Mile.
 

nripepi

Very Active Member
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1,571
LAST EDITED ON Sep-25-19 AT 08:09PM (MST)[p]That is some great information Bambistew. What are typical success rates, assuming competent, hard working and in-shape hunters?
 

Bambistew

Very Active Member
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1,889
Success rate? Its hunting... There is no way to know if a mature bull will be close enough to the strip for a guy to shoot, the weather isn't 60 degrees and sunny, etc. Once the rut kicks off there is no way of knowing where a bull will wander to. All those guys in the business put guys where others have had good luck before, or in areas where moose tend to travel through. There are so many variables to contend with on a 7-10 hunt that if one messes you up, you'll be out half your trip (fog/wind/rain for instance).

Also keep in mind the requirements for a legal bull. Some areas may not have more than 1-2 legal bulls available for harvest. Generally a group of 2 guys will kill at least one moose, sometimes two. The problem is once you get one on the ground you lose hunting days hauling/dealing with meat. Say you are on a 8 day trip, you killed a bull on day 4, and it took you 2 days to get it back to the strip. Do you really have enough time to kill another one and get it back? At some point you have to call it... That's the reality of flyout hunts, logistics never stop. I always plan on 2-3 extra days on the back end for weather, or killing an animal right at the end of the hunt.

While being in shape and competent is certainly an asset, you also have to have luck on your side. If a guy is willing to pack a moose 2-3 miles, you'd have an extremely good chance of killing a moose. You may want to ask yourself if you want to pack one that far. Its 6 really heavy loads (500+/-lbs of meat) plus a rack and cape, which could be a load each. No trails, and potentially chitty ground conditions. Every area is different.

Renfro has a great reputation as well, but is similar to Papa Bear, really expensive. But they also fly out quite a ways and its more expensive to operate off the road system. I don't think Papa Bear and Renfro is really too overpriced, but they are making a decent profit, because... well supply and demand. I won't pay those prices, because its still just a moose hunt and they can be had much closer for less.

There are lots of transporters that don't really have to market or are internet savoy. Word of mouth books their fall up. You can get in on a moose hunt for under $3500 in lots of places.
 

nripepi

Very Active Member
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1,571
Thanks Bambistew! That is very helpful. I know it is hunting and nothing is guaranteed, I was just curious if the success rates were what I thought they were (around 50%) or if they were lower. Your info is awesome and I understand there are tons of variables.
 

Matapatos

Member
Messages
30
I just got back from a moose hunt using Tok Air Service. He is expensive, but boasts an 85% success rate (unsure of whether that is per hunter or per camp). Between the two of us (about an hour flight from Tok) we each got a caribou and 1 moose for my buddy. He got a 40" bull (4 brow tines) and ended up being the only legal moose we ever had a chance at. Its still a hunt in the end. We lucked out on weather and had more hunting days than we should have. His prices are going to go up again in the near future. I wouldn't pay his current prices again, let alone what they are jumping to. If I were to do it again, I'd spend lots more time researching and trying to make contacts up there. I would also do a trip with 40 Mile, even if it means going for caribou before being able to go back on a moose hunt. Watching the business side of their operation sure made me jealous as I was waiting on a one man band trying to get numerous hunters in and out. I also wouldn't be committed to that area. I'd go about anywhere in Alaska with a decent success and charge fair rates.
 

DonVathome

Very Active Member
Messages
1,507
The higher priced transporters definitely have better success. The highest ones nearly 100% - and most unsuccessful hunters quit early or helped their partner pack their moose and it was enough!

I tried for over a decade to do a true DIY, no high dollar transporter - and hoped to have a reasonable (over 50/50) chance at a 50" plus bull - I gave up and hired a pricey transporter. Killed a 63" bull the first morning. No question the $$$ I paid was the key to my success.

There is a reason papa bear gets so much money AND is booked out years......
 

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