So.....there I was, balls deep in the eastern AK bush with perfect weather and the rut coming on, Coley had never been here before but Pete has had this camp going for many years and knows what there is to know about moose and moose hunting, I'd been deep before but it was a bowhunt deep into the south slope of the Brooks and weather kicked us out, you may remember Sol's rendition of that unsuccessful hunt back in the early 90's, the views and viewing were perfect, we owned the top of this ridge with at least a 180 degree view, the plan was to glass...and glass......and then start glassing.
We dropped right into a caribou migration that built as each day went by, myself and Pete only had moose tags, Coley had the caribou tag but was determined not to shoot one until moose mission was complete, by the 4th or 5th day we were seeing several hundred a day with some true specimens in the mix.
Glassing all day
We had gone after a good bull opening day but the wind ratted us out and Pete assured me that that one would have been too easy anyway as it was only 1000 yards from camp, having chased him off we spent our time scouring the valley and opposite hillside and generally having moose in sight at all times, but.... 2 to 3 miles away, we'd drop down into the brush if one showed any promise but were either denied or could not be certain they were legal, a bull must have at least four brow tines on one side or be 50 inches wide for a DSMF'er to take it, we had a sub 50 3 brow time bull come to Coley's cow call and pose at 25 yards for me along with several that snuck in close and generally would wrap around downwind and bust out once they got a load of us.
On our first evening of glassing we'd watched a bull rutting/wallowing down in this bottom on the edge of the Black Spruce, over 2miles out, was cool to get the spotting scope on it and really get a good look at a good moose, I was like, cool....but that is over 2 miles and 1000' away through an old burn that is laced with downed trees and overgrown with 6' to 8' willows, we weren't quite up for that.....yet.
By the 6th day of the season I guess we were, spotted a good bull bedded in the bottom about 8am, we'd patterned then to know that he's probably stay put until about 1 or 2 pm, so Pete says "against my better judgement we should go down there and kill him"
We worked our way down there for about an hour and shucked our packs for the fnal approach, those nice looking meadows down there.....aren't. An old burnt out swamp is no place for humans, but moose are made for it, we had been able to check this moose all the way down from above, once on his level it looked a whole lot different, spotted a bit of antler from about 200' and made our move, he was onto us but Pete's cow calls kept him put, I kept getting glimpses but nothing to try a shot through, I stayed at it for 5 or 10 minutes and Pete moved off to the right I could see the bull tracking him and kept slipping closer, finally found a gap that I could see a bit more, his head connected to his back and about an 10" gap with the sweet spot showing, the rifle was dialed, Tikka 300 Win Mag at 150' to 170' felt awesome to slide the safety off, take a quick inventory of my nerves, breath out and will the trigger to move.
No ground shrinkage......fuckergot bigger.
Did the no gut bone out, had carried 10 meat bags with me religiously jsut for this moment, 3 guys that know wtf they are doing can make fairly quick work of it, we wanted to get the meat back across the creek that day to avoid any bear issues and managed to get 'er done rather quickly, then it was just load up our packs and head for camp, two and a quarter miles away and 1000' up....oof.
Antlers go last in AK
80ish lbs is plenty for me, the other guys had spent the last month sheep hunting and pretty much their whole lives carrying more, so who was I to argue if they wanted 90 or a 100, those guys are beasts.
Bringin' the first load in....
Back out the next morning to get 'er done.....there is definitely a mental aspect to this part of the hunt.
..doing the grind
Feeling a little haggard here
Last load to the top, felt good.
We did it.
Next evening they came for the moose, while we were loading it up and tying it on, Coley was still hunting....had one spotted below camp that was on the move and in the right direction.
Watched the whole show over the course of the next hour or two, moose committed to coming up the draw behind camp and Pete went after it, we watched the whole thing play out right from camp, it was about a mile down to the creek and the moose was motivated to move, he wrapped about a mile around our viewpoint and Pete was en route to intercept, never took the bino's off of the moose excpet to look for Pete, was cool to spot him in the brush about 150' from the moose, moose locked onto him and I assumed he was cow calling or grunting, watched Pete rake a bush and the bull figured him out, busted out at a dead run back to were he came from, made it about 30 or 40 yards when I saw a hitch in his giddyup followed by the crack of his mash 'em flat magnum, bull stumble about 20 yards and cashed in. Holy Hell, Coley and I were like ....that just happened?
We got down there in about 20 minutes and did the deal again, got out about 11:00 that night with load one.
Finished up the next day with a couple more loads each and I crashed....
Of course there are many more details and storys within the story, but alas.....I'm tired of writing
....screw you guys, I'm going home.