The Alaska-Yukon moose is the largest moose subspecies and the largest member of the deer family on the planet. As the name implies, it’s found predominantly in Alaska and the Yukon. While the scientific community restricts this subspecies in Canada to the western Yukon, the record books classify moose from southwestern N.W.T. in the same category. For the best chance at having your name inked into the books, you’ll want to head to the Ogilvie Mountains in the Yukon’s northwest, a region north of Dawson City abutting Alaska. As with any area that consistently produces huge moose, access here is restricted. The famous Dempster Highway is the only true road through the Ogilvies, so getting back into the best moose ranges means you must fly in.
How does the Yukon stack up against its American neighbour when it comes to huge moose? Over the last 20 years, Alaska has produced 15 of the top 20 bulls, while the Yukon has yielded four. It must be noted, however, that hunter numbers in Alaska are more than twice those in the Yukon.
Is the Alaska-Yukon moose hunting as good today as it once was? Well, of the top 50 all-time moose on record, 29 were taken since 1980, suggesting the hunting is better today than ever before. And consider: there are twice as many moose in the Yukon as there are people, and 20 times more moose than hunters. Get to the Ogilvies and see for yourself—that magical 60-inch antler spread is more common than you might think.
When to go: While the season begins in August, the best time is from around September 7 to the end of the month. Bulls will have shed their velvet by then, making them easier to spot from
afar. As well, the rut will be in full swing through the latter half of the month.
Tactics: Spot-and-stalk is preferred during the prerut, whether from above on mountain slopes or from below along river and lake edges. Once the rut kicks in, calling is the preferred method; in this tough country, it’s always better if you can get the bull to come to you.
Gear: Rifles from the .300 calibres and up are adequate, though you can’t have too much gun for these behemoths. As with mountain hunting anywhere, come prepared for any weather imaginable.
Next best bets: The Yukon’s Macmillan River, Rogue River and Bonnet Plume River regions northwest of Carmacks are consistent producers of trophy-quality moose, as are the Mackenzie Mountains of the western N.W.T.