HOW MUCH DOES AN ALASKAN MOOSE HUNT COST?
The most common question I get asked about moose hunting in Alaska is “How much does it cost?” It’s a great question, and one that is not so straight forward to answer. This article will focus on the unguided Alaska moose hunts and what a non-resident can expect from a DIY adventure in the Last Frontier.
HUB OR BUSH?
The location you plan to hunt is the most important question to tackle. Your choice quickly becomes either: hunt near the main airports in the state, or venture further into the bush for a much more complicated and expensive hunt. The number of days planned before and after the hunt will depend on your answer to this most pivotal question. The rule of thumb for most hunters is to be in the field for 7-10 days.
Anchorage, Kenai, and Fairbanks are the main hubs for moose hunting and will be the most economical to work from. As soon as you start planning hunts away from those hubs, the cost exponentially increases with each mile. It might seem absurd to the uninitiated, but everything is very costly to run in AK. Especially air taxis and boat charters. Seems like a great idea to plan a hunt in the Brooks Range, 400 miles out of Fairbanks; until you add up shipping costs, securing food to eat, and multiple flights in/out……. Then you drop a moose. Logistics of meat shipping, and trophy processing simply get considerably more expensive in the bush. If you rent a car, stay in a cheap Anchorage hotel, and do most everything from a large airport, the logistics get much, much easier. AOA takes all of the guess work out of this hunt. Call for a quote on a turn-key, remote, unguided, Alaskan Moose hunt!
AIR TAXI or REGISTERED GUIDE
There are pros and cons to each of these scenarios. Registered guides can have camps already set up in the field for you to use. There could be a main camp that is quite luxurious with a cook and everything. You then go out and hunt on your own for moose. These hunts tend to be the most expensive DIY or unguided option. One thing to remember is that whatever guide you choose, probably has 3-7 guided hunts planned, in that very same area near base camp. Many camps have been used in this way for decades. One could assume that most of the intel and scouting was for his big money hunters, not the Do-It-Yourselfer which brings minimal profit.
Air taxis are the most economical way to get remote for your unguided, Alaskan moose hunt. They specialize in a certain area and have the best local knowledge that can be found. They know which ponds are deep enough to land on, which runways can be accessed at varying water levels, and how to access high country above tree line. It is what they do, and they are very good at it. Most air taxis move goods, materials, and people over a huge swath of country. Because they only transport things, they have an unmatched knowledge of the Alaskan bush. The downside is that air taxis cannot have camps set up in the field. They only transport. You must bring your camp with you in the airplane and do everything yourself.
RENT GEAR OR SHIP IT?
We have researched the data, crunched the numbers, and the verdict is in. If you meticulously plan all logistics perfectly, you will save money by doing everything yourself. In fact, you could save up to a few hundred bucks. You can ship up totes of gear and food well before your hunt to someone who can pick it up and store it. You can go bare bones camp and food and rough it for ten days. There are ways to save money. Just get to AK a few days early and prep everything for the hunt. The major downside, is all that work and planning, possible lost totes, and most likely, less than outfitter quality gear. AOA’s camps are perfectly designed for the bush planes and will be waiting for you on the dock!
Renting gear is an added cost. No doubt. But showing up and knowing that everything is already waiting for your hunt, is more than worth it. A good outfitter will have talked with you about the hunt, what to expect, what gear he will be providing, directions on how to safely use it, and a food plan that would be impossible to do on your own. Do you really want to ship up a 45 pound, 4 -season, outfitter tent? I wouldn’t spend the money to come here on a hunt of a lifetime with anything less than a bomb proof shelter. When you crunch the numbers and look at the logistics, it really is a no brainer.
So with those major costs added up, its time to run the numbers. Here are some guidelines to get you started on your research. They are average costs including many air taxis and outfitters across the state. These numbers do not include getting to Alaska from the lower 48, nor do they include tags or licenses.
Unguided Alaskan Moose Hunt From Anchorage, Kenai, or Fairbanks
Transportation only: $4,000 - $8,000 per person
Fully outfitted: $5,000 - $10,000 per person
Unguided Alaskan Moose Hunt From a village or bush location outside of a hub
(this usually includes the flight into the village)
Transportation only: $8,000 - 10,000 per person
Fully outfitted: $9,000 - 12,000 per person
Hunting big game in AK isn’t cheap. But neither is Arizona elk or Alberta whitetails. Expedition hunting thousands of miles from the nearest American city other than Anchorage, requires a new level of planning. Do your homework and start emailing outfitters and guides. Its not something you’ll get done overnight so start early! Good luck and let us know if we can help.
Aim small, miss small
Jake Doth, Owner
Adventure Outfitters Alaska