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Sutty

BWCA Moose Hunt

12 posts in this topic

I am looking for tips from anyone else getting ready for the moose hunt! I am wondering if anyone has found a good place to get used camping stuff. I really don't want to spend a lot of money on a frame pack that I won't use much after the season. But at the cost of renting them from an outfitter I could probably buy a used one somewhere???

Anyone get a moose call/tape/video yet they could recommend? So far when I yell COME HERE MOOSE in my backyard in rosemount I just get weird looks from my neighbors.

Anyone tried any of the freeze dried food yet? Maybe we could have a cookout to try a bunch of it before we go?

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I share your shoes Sutty, and if I remember correctly from a previous post we'll even be sharing zone 61?

I'm an avid camper and have most of the equipment needed, but will be borrowing the rest from friends. If you know anyone that flyfishes in yellowstone or Alaska, that's a good place to start, they'd use similar equipment. Maybe try ebay or craigs list if you want to purchase something cheap. Do you have friends or siblings in college? Most schools have outdoor initiative groups and their managers rent out this type of equipment. I know SJU did. The outfitters can be spendy, but it's how they make their living. We're on a budget so we're bring our own canoes too.

LOL! Come here moose in your backyard? That's hilarious. I have gotten a moose call, just googled it and ended up at predator calls (Contact Us Please). Mine came with a DVD and it's outdated but still pretty cool. This guy shoots a monster (57" spread) with a bow.

Shoot me an email and I'd be happy to give you some "blind leading the blind" pointers. Plus, if you are in the same zone it'd be nice to find out when and where you'll be.

cheektowaga at hotmail (Contact Us Please)

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Freeze dried food is actually pretty good. I usually pack a meal or two worth when I go to the BWCA just in case I can't get a meal of fish (that usually isn't a problem though smile.gif Anyway the Mountain House brand is what I usually use.

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Been to the BWCA over 50 times including a moose hunt. First, don't bother with Freeze dried food from REI or the other stores if your looking to save money. Just go to Cub or wherever you grocery shop and look for lightweight fodd they sell. For example, Breakfast - Oatmeal with dried fruit, Pancakes, and Bagels, Lunch - Cheese, Pita bread, Bagels, Summer Sausage, Beef Sticks, Apples, Oranges, Grapefruit, Dried Soups, Ramen noodles Dinner - Angel Hair Pasta - it cooks faster saving fuel, Plastic jars of spagetti sauce, boxed wine, beer in plastic bottles, dried soups, fish if you catch any, minute rice dishes, instant potatoes. Also, it will be cool so we usually bring frozen steaks, bagged salads, fresh eggs, etc, for the first 2-3 days and eat like kings. You may get your moose early and never have to break into the pasta etc. Ebay or Craigs list works great for camping gear. However, buying a good backpack is worth it as I have my original pack dating back to the late 70's. Make absolutely sure you have a good tent and sleeping bag as it will be down in the 20's at night and it's typically rainy in the fall. Pick up a small tarp so you have some place to get out of the weather and cook etc. Cabella's sells a nice giant waterproof bag with backpack straps for about $70.00 that you can put all your sleeping bags in so they do not get wet on the paddle in. Also, get a good sleeping pad your back will appreciate it. A small mini hammock is the best investment I ever made, it fits into the palm of may hand and at the end of the day of canoeing and butchering a moose is the greatest. Bring lot's of rope and lash the quarters to the pack when you come out with that big bull. Try to be smart where you shoot your moose. If you put one down in a swamp your in for some real work. Typically the moose are on the fringes of the boundary waters where they can utilize the clear cuts on the edge of the BWCA. Do not rush your shot, they typically do not bound off like a deer when you approach. You do not have to canoe 10 miles in to have a successful hunt. Bring a bone saw and several good knives and figure 2-3 hours to cut the moose into quarters for packing out including removeing the hide, cutting legs off etc.

Good luck and enjoy

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I helped on a successful moose hunt in the Bdub in '03. Our zone took 10.5 miles of paddling just to get to it. We went with 3 canoes, 6 guys, 3 packs per canoe.

Each canoe had a pack of gear for each guy and a pack of food. Normally when in the Bdub we one-time the portages and carry pack and canoe all at once to prevent double backs. A moose trip is a different thing and double backing on portages is necessary.

It was already said before but I would also recommend oatmeal, rice meals, noodle meals, jerky, etc. Don't bother buying wet items if you can help it...you want light. For instance, brown burger, dehydrate, buy dry spagetti sauce packet and small can of tomato paste instead of already made sauce to save on weight. Every ounce counts when you're portaging in.

In addition to our packs the hunters rented 10 duluth packs and we had to use every single one! Please read on.

Do like a previous poster recommended and shoot your moose in an easy location if at all possible. Off a lake (not swamp), on a portage, etc. We had gear in case of a mishap (block and tackle, 200 ft of rope, hip waders, etc) and fortunately we did not need them...but it was still alot of work....

I don't mean to scare you but you do need to be prepared. The moose we hauled out was shot on high ground just 5/8 mile off the water and a 1/2 mile from camp. Hunter and helper came out at dark and we had dinner. Took 45 minutes to walk in the dark thick woods to the moose. After pics I think we set a record and had the thing skinned, boned, and in Duluth packs in 1 hour and 45 minutes. By the way, don't bother gutting it...when your're finished cut a slit below the rib cage and reach up above the guts and cut out the tenderloins by feel...you can't miss them.

In addition to the 9 packs of meat, 1 pack of knives, stone, lantern, etc. we had the 56" rack and head cut off to the back of the skull (~200 lbs) on a stretcher. We had 11 things to carry with 6 guys and the head took 2 guys. We doubled back over and over again and it took us 4.5 hours to get the load the 5/8 mile out of the woods and the short paddle back to camp. We slept 3 hours and left just after first light to paddle 12 miles out.

It was day 3 when we left for the truck so we left camp setup because we all had the week off. Hunter and I hauled the meat to Ely to stow for the week in a freezer trailer we left with an outfitter. That evening we canoed back in 12 miles to meet up with the other 4 guys who had turned back when we had reached the entry point with the meat.

We were all scrappy lads in our late 20's and it was definitely a testing 24 hours for us. But we will do it again. I just wanted to make sure you get a good perspective of how much easier your life will be if you prepare for the hunt and hunt smart.

Good luck, feel free to ask on specifics.

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Great info, thanks

when you were packing out the meat did you wrap it in cheese cloth or meat bags? I am trying to picture how you would tie the meat to the frame packs? If it is something like a backstrap with no bones in it??

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Sutty, I went to college at Vermilion in Ely. I know for a fact that they rent out gear and would be much cheaper than an outfitter. Just call Vermilion and they can help you out. Have a great trip

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We left the bone in the quarter and just tied the quarter with rope to the pack. If you plan on boning the meat out you will need to wrap in a breathable bag like cheese cloth. We took care to keep the meat clean and it was very good eating. Let me stress that you do not have to portage way back into the BWCA to have a quality and successful hunt. Your permit area has only what 10 permits? You will likely see no other hunters. If you pick a route with only a few short portages you will find this to be a very easy and enjoyable hunt. Pick one with a couple of 150 to 300 rod portages and you will have an entirely different experience. DNR website has great topos and aerial views of your area. Then go to Gander or Rei and purchase a detailed McKenzie series map for the area you wish to hunt. Don't buy the Fisher series they do not have enough detail to navigate by in my opinion. I will be up hopefully helping a friend haul his moose out of Zone 62 which is just south of you.

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Holy smokes moose hunting sounds like a lot of work. I think I would hire out and have someone carrie mine out that is if I were to win the power ball of course. I know for a fact with the guys I hunt with I would have to bring a whip to get anyone to move. I know after shooting one there would be a major celebration. I loved reading the posts sure sounds like it would be a blast. Thanks

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To clarify, by outfitter I did not mean a guide but a BWCA outfitter who rents canoes and such. We have all our own Bdub gear and canoes but did not have enough packs for meat. They were also nice enough to let us park our freezer trailer at their business for the week.

So the hunters rented 10 Duluth packs and bought 10 poly bags. I don't really agree with the post about cheese cloth and such. We placed a comfortable amount of meat (40-60lbs) in each poly bag which was inside a duluth pack and hauled them out. Sometimes we'd grab one and sometimes if you felt strong we'd front/back 2 packs. Either way I think it was easier than trying to wrap a quarter and carry it out on a frame.

Realize that every quarter we stripped off the animal took 2 guys to throw on the tarp to debone. I went back to the site of the kill 2 days later just to relive it a little and because we were in such a rush to get out I didn't have time to take it all in. I grabbed one of the legs we'd deboned and held the hoof up to my forehead, the shoulder plate was touching the ground...I am 5'9". I wouldn't have wanted to try to wrap and try to keep clean that quarter while ducking it under branches and over fallen trees not to mention unneccessarily carry the weight of the bone out.

Note that not all the meat can be tied to a frame. Back straps, tender loins, neck meat, etc. all is loose meat after it is cut off the moose so even if you plan to quarter you'll need a way to carry 2-3 bags of these cuts.

We were carrying at night and it was about 28 degrees. By the time we hauled out the boned out moose, the previously mentioned 9 packs, in addition to the 1 gear pack and the trophy head it took us 4.5 hours. The meat was cool and clean in those bags.

When we got to camp to sleep for 3 hours we left the bags in the bottoms of the canoes which were cool from the water and opened the tops to get the meat as close to 30 degrees as we could before we took off to haul it out.

I agree with not having to go in very far. We only went in 12 miles because it took us almost 11 miles just to get to our zone and then we needed to find a south facing campsite (for maximum solar gain = warm most of the day).

Just trying to make sure you think through everything. This was our first trip in to moose hunt the Bdub and we have to admit that we won't change much on our next trip in.

Good luck!

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I thought I might pass along a couple of the tips I have found along the way.

Water filters. MSR mini has been recomended to me its a portable pump filter and best price I have found in rei online for 65 bucks most places it is 80. The other one is made by katedyne or something like that. its a bag thing that you can scoop about 2 gallons of water and hang it in a tree back at camp, its cool cause you don't need to pump but not as portable etc. goes for about 60 clams.

Maps-Fisher and McKenzie are both recomended by differant BWCA places. They both have differant selling points. I found in my zone I could buy two fisher maps and would have needed 4 of the McKenzie. I picked mine up at cabellas in rogers for 5 and 5.50. No clue why one was 50 cents more...

I bought a used frame pack from someone on craigslist, there have been several listed from 20 to 60 bucks, alot of canoe enthusiasts have been getting whipped up about duluth packs one of the guys in my group is buying a military surplus alice pack. Of course he will be called alice when we go in he doesn't know that yet.

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One other item of note if you have not pulled a permit for the area you are going into be sure to get on it. Many years the moose season falls on the October 1st or later so you do not need an entry permit this year it is September 30 for the opener. Most people go in a day or two early to get set up and scout. I have a friend hunting zone 62 and the entry point he is going in on is full now for the two days prior to the hunt. He has one of the permits to enter the day before the hunt. Water filters are nice, I bought mine at REI. They are kind of slow and tedious to use so we usually boil water at night when we are having a fire and then its ready for the am and next day's water bottles. In the fall it will be cold if not semi frozen by the morning. I was up in the BWCA out of Lake One two weeks ago and the water levels in this area were very low. Just keep this in mind when you look at going up some of the small rivers and streams to hunt.

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