DIY Alaska = Livin’ The Dream

Two friends from South Dakota recently visited another buddy who resides in Alaska, and together they embarked on a do-it-yourself hunting adventure for caribou, grizzly and moose.

Brent and Derek (above) grew up together in eastern South Dakota, and while they pursued everything in the Lower 48 from coyotes to whitetails and pheasants to swans, they always dreamed of traveling to The Last Frontier. Recently their dream became a reality thanks in large part to Travis, who’s an avid hunter in his home state of Alaska.

The three planned a September 9-18 float hunt, setting up camp each night in a different location, and as the photos here show, it did not disappoint. They caught grayling, photographed musk-ox, stalked caribou and even encountered their two most prized species, grizzly and moose.

Editor’s note: As a resident of Alaska, Travis (below) was the only one with a brown bear/grizzly tag. Per Alaska Department of Fish and Game regs: “Nonresident brown bear hunters are required to have a guide or be accompanied by an Alaska resident who is a relative.”

“Travis is a very good outdoorsman,” Brent said. “I learned a lot on this trip, and it truly was a trip of a lifetime for me. My No. 1 bucket-list item can be checked off—Alaska/Yukon moose!”

Brent made the 125-yard shot on the giant moose with his Remington Model 700 in .300 WSM, topped with a 3.5X10 Leupold VX-3. His bullet of choice was a 180-grain Winchester Super-X Power-Point.

“The moose’s rack has huge paddles and measures 62 inches at it widest point,” Brent said, “and Travis, who has shot over a dozen bulls and has seen several others on the ground, says my bull is the biggest he’s ever put his hands on. I have no idea if it’s big enough to make Boone & Crockett; I can guess-timate score on whitetails and muleys, but not moose. The rack is at the taxidermist in Anchorage, and they’ll score it. It’s kinda exciting—truly a blessing and dream come true.”

Derek also had a moose tag in his possession, but the only other big bull the group spotted during their float hunt was too far away.

So what does a DIY Alaska float hunt like this cost?

“Not counting a hefty taxidermy bill, which will come later,” Brent said, “my portion, including airfare, was $6,200. That ain’t cheap, but there was no way I could afford a fully outfitted hunt of this type, so I bit the bullet. After all, I’m not getting any younger, and the price is only going to go up.”

Bonus Video: Moose Love With Mark

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