Each adventure in Alaska requires different gear and sometimes different types of transportation to reach your destination. There are so many different ways of accomplishing each task that it oftentimes becomes very confusing trying to decide which method is best for you. Besides the convienience factor we must also figure in the cost factor and try to determine just what method best meets our needs and whether or not it is something we can afford.
Let’s look at moose hunting for example: Do we want to hunt in the high country, or do we want to stick to hunting rivers, swamps and other types of wetlands? Any hunter in fairly reasonable shape can generally get themselves in position to shoot a moose regardless of what method they use to hunt. But the real problem is being able to get your moose back out again once you have shot it. You can walk a long ways in a day, but can you cover the same distance with a hundred pound plus quarter of meat on your back and then be able to do it three more times?
Perhaps you have friends you could call on to help you or own horses that could easily help you complete this task. Maybe your wife is a professional moose transporter and can easily haul your moose out for you as she cheerfully jogs across the muskeg. Maybe you own your own plane or are in an area where you can use a boat or canoe. Maybe renting the services of someone with horses is an option for you. Maybe you have no one to help you and you’re alone out there with that trophy you have always wanted to bag...
Whatever method you choose to hunt in Alaska, it takes a whole lot of planning and preparation long before the hunt begins. I personally have always wanted to hunt the Yukon River and the many tributaries that flow into it. I don’t know if I should buy a raft and have a bush pilot drop me off and attempt to float it or if I should use one of my smaller lake boats and a jet unit to hunt the river. Perhaps I should build or buy a boat with a cab on it and use it to hunt the river and also haul in our gear besides providing us with a place to stay too.
Perhaps I could drive a smaller boat in some place and arrange to keep it on the Yukon River and then just fly into that place each time I wanted to go hunting. If I use this method then I must also haul in gear each time to set up camp with besides having to pay to have meat flown out. Should I buy land and build a cabin some place and each year simply go to my cabin? If a have a cabin, do I need a 4-wheeler or a canoe or a boat to make life easier?
Is it safe to have a cabin stocked with your gear and necessary equipment or will the bears or human vandals wreck it or steal your gear? Can you really afford any of the above options? If you choose to buy a boat for hunting can you also use that same boat for halibut fishing or other things then just hunting in the fall? What happens if you buy that special boat just for that special area you want to hunt and it becomes a permit-only area? Are you spending several thousands of dollars for a hunt you may never draw? Is the boat you chose big enough to handle your crew or is it too big?
Maybe hunting the Marathon Road area does not seem like too bad of an idea after all! You could be home every night and not have to invest a whole lot of money either. However, we all know that in certain areas of Alaska we can greatly increase our chances of harvesting a moose every year. That also comes with the high cost of transportation which is without a doubt the most expensive part of hunting in Alaska.
This might be a great time to mention your plans to aquire that new boat to your wife. You know, the day after Mother’s Day, wtih that special meal, those beautiful flowers and gifts from the children. Wow, what a wonderful time to sneak in a muffled groan under your breath at the table “I bought another boat!” Husbands, if this works and you don’t hear things crashing against the wall above your head you can thank me for giving you this idea. If it was not a good situation, remember rule 2: I will be in Beluga hunting and fishing for a few days. Wives, if you, too, are mad at me remember John is in Beluga and will return after things calm down and the phone stops ringing.
By the way HAPPY belated MOTHERS DAY to all you moms out there. See you next week!--
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