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Winter Moose Hunt, our first attempt

Posted by on November 2, 2014

As I said, I missed the general Moose hunt this year due to some medical issues I had to resolve but now everything is good. The Alaska Fish and Game (F&G) has a late season or winter moose hunt open until February, so I went and got a tag and decided to go see what I could see in regards to some Moose meat for the freezer.

Missing moose hunt this year is really biting into our winter food supplies. I’m not thrilled about having to eat store brought meat all winter, so I used most of my Alaska State Permanent Fund (PFD) dividend and ordered half a cow and half a pig from Delta Meats. Delta Meats is an excellent butcher shop down in Delta, about 100 miles south of us. A long way to go for food supplies, but better than having to eat regular store brought meat and without any Moose or Caribou in the freezer we need something for the dinner plates.

So after I placed my order I was doing a little research on the state’s F&G web site and noticed that there is a winter Moose hunt in the Minto Flats area. The Minto Flats is best accessed by boat down the Tanana River, but of course the river’s are freezing up and not to friendly to boaters this time of year and not frozen enough to sled down. Jake and I discussed it and figured we could drive 100 miles north and access the hunt area from the Elliott Hwy. The Elliott Hwy starts in Fox, a small community about 14 miles north-west of Fairbanks and goes to Manley Hot Springs, about 150 miles away. The hunt area we wanted to get access to is between mile 96 and 116 of the Elliott.

So Saturday morning Jake, Dave and I head out for an initial recon of the area, yeah a long drive for some recon work but better to go with the intent of scoping it out and coming back empty, Moose wise, then going out and not being prepared. Well shoot, we made it about 90 miles down the road when Jake’s truck decides to stop running. Humm, truck broke down, no cell phone reception for last 80 miles, no public telephones, no gas stations, no markets, no nothing, welcome to Alaska.

After fussing with the truck a bit it did start up again, do we trust it, nope, so we turned around and headed back towards town. We got about 10 miles and the dang truck died again, but at least this time we were back near the Haul Road. Guess I should explain, the Elliott Hwy goes to mile mark 81 where it splits, the Elliott goes south towards Manley and the Haul Road commences north. The Haul Road is that oh so famous highway used for hauling supplies to Prudhoe Bay, anyone who has watched Ice Road Truckers has seen it.

Well we got lucky, just as the truck stops running again here comes a guy in a pickup, turns out he works for DOT and has access to a phone 2 miles away. So Jake goes with him and calls his buddy and we then have a 2 and half hour wait for the tow truck. Anyway, we got home by around 4:00 PM. So no hunting time, no recon and a lot of being chilled. The temps weren’t to bad but the wind had a good bite to it if you know what I mean.

Not a good start to my winter hunt plans but at least it let us figure out that there isn’t enough snow in the area we were going for sleds. So I think I’ll wait a couple more weeks and see if we get more snow before making the next trip there. I just hope my Delta Meat order comes in sooner rather then later.

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