The Case for a Fly-in Moose Hunt

An outfitter will supply a tag, provide transportation and accommodations and expert advice.

When I started moose hunting nearly 40 years ago, a fly-in hunt was reserved for those of privilege. But today, in the face of dwindling moose tags and more hunters, a fly-in makes a lot of sense.

To date, I’ve done five fly-in moose hunts with Wilderness North. I’ve purposely chosen different locations for each hunt in order to explore new country. I have this thing about checking out new places. Perhaps some kind of innate wiring makes me revel in leaving bootprints in obscure places.

My five hunts resulted in four harvested moose. But measuring a hunt by animals taken is a poor way to gauge success. Each time I’ve done a fly-in, our party has had a lake or a large section of the river all to ourselves. Having your own private moose area means not worrying about someone else getting to your spot half an hour before you get there. You can hunt at your leisure. Return to camp whenever you need a meal or a nap, with no worries about someone taking your spot. If you feel like fish, you simply drop a jig and twister tail to the bottom just about anywhere on the lake.

bushplane
Flying into a northern Ontario Lake with an outfitter is a good option for moose hunters. (Photo credit: Scott Earl Smith)

On a fly-in, you’re hunting animals that have had little or no contact with humans throughout the year. Most outpost camps see a few parties of anglers during the summer, and resident moose may have had their picture taken from a distance. As an added bonus, many northern management areas have an early opening for gun season that ensures you are hunting moose during the peak of the rut, increasing your chances, whether you hunt with a bow or rifle.

This kind of hunt is the complete unwinding, soul-restoration package. Your biggest worry is finding a moose. Secondary worries include who’s cooking and who’s doing the dishes.

While it does cost more than a traditional road-access hunt, when you consider what’s included, it is very cost-effective. The outfitter provides transportation and accommodation with flights, boat travel, and a warm, dry cabin. Creature comforts like a full kitchen, hot shower, and comfy mattress are amazing benefits. There's no hauling quad runners, boats, and mountains of gear halfway across the country. No erecting tent camps, or smelling like a caveman at week’s end.

Didn’t get a moose tag this year? Considering that the outfitter also supplies the tag, it’s hard to deny the benefits of a fly-in moose hunt.

About Scott Earl Smith

Scott Earl Smith is an outdoor writer and photographer living in Thunder Bay Ontario. Scott was first published in 1991 in Fly Fisher magazine, and since then his work has appeared in most fly fishing publications in North America and many general outdoor magazines. These credits include popular periodicals like American Angler, Fly Rod and Reel, Eastern Fly Fishing, The New Fly Fisher, Fly Fusion, Canoe and Kayak, OnTarget, Fly Fish America, Ontario Out-of-Doors, and The Outdoors Guide.

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