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Thread: Kalgin Island moose hunt

  1. #1
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Default Kalgin Island moose hunt

    Done this hunting many times, my Dad commercial fishes there, so been there every year since I was born. It is always an experience though, and no hunt has been the same as the previous.
    Day 1. We left Kenai in the afternoon, had a nice ride over in the skiff. When I hit the beach I was ready to hunt. I hit the hill and stayed out until dark, didn't see any moose, but I did hear several gun shots, from a few different directions, somebody was seeing something up there. I was a little discouraged, it seemed to be pretty crowded close to the cabin, so I decided to take my tent to a different area the next day.

    Day 2. Loaded my gear up in the 4wheeler and talked my brother into taking me to a new spot. There were a couple places I had in mind, one was what I call my honey hole, I found it kinda by accident, but was successful there the only 2 times I hunted it. So we take off on the wheeler and as soon as we round the point I can see 2 different camps setup, one in each of the places I was hoping to camp, I was bummed to say the least, but there was one more spot that I knew of so we passed the 2 camps and my brother dropped me off. I told him to come check on me in a day or 2, whenever the tide would allow him to. I set up camp and hit the hill that evening. Hunting this particular spot is pretty tough with a southeast wind, and that is the exact direction it blew the whole time I was there, it made for a lot of extra walking to get the wind in my favor. I hunted again until dark, no moose, but seen a good amount of fresh sign.

    Day 3. Woke up to rain with no sign of blue sky coming. I hunted the morning with no luck. I went back to camp to stay dry until the evening, I read a book and got a nap. One of the camps that I noticed on the way in had left, but without a wheeler or boat, it would have been a long haul to move camp, I decided to stay put. I went back up the hill that evening and again battled the rain. The wind was still blowing from the southeast, so once again, I had to cover 3 times the distance to get in a favorable position. While moving into the area I wanted to sit and glass from, I came around a group of trees and spotted a moose, it was a cow. I watched it for a minute to see if it was with a calf. Sure enough I spotted the calf off to her left. I sat there and watched them, hoping there was another moose with them. All of the sudden, the moose spooked, I was sure it wasn't me, I was quiet and still, the wind was in my favor. I looked to my left and there was a hunter walking across the field about 150 yards away, he didn't see the moose, he just chugged along. He finally seen my, we waived to eachother and on he went. I was very discouraged, he was going in the direction I wanted to go. I moved into a new position, downwind from where he was heading, hoping he would scare something to me. Nothing happened and it was getting late and I was getting cold and wet. I headed back to camp, and to my suprise there is a tent about 30 yards from mine. I was ready to throw in the towel at this point.

    Day 4. I decided to take the morning off and rethink my strategy. I am not the kind of hunter that likes hunting in a crowd. I see the guy in the camp next to mine come out of his tent, and then another guy gets out, 2 hunters. It's getting 2 crowded for me and I am thinking about packing up and waiting for my Dad or brother to come pick me up. One of the guys comes over to my camp and we talk for awhile, he was a nice guy. He apologized for setting up so close and he told me they were getting ready to leave. He said they had got in late, and the guy he was with wanted to make a last ditch effort at a moose before heading back across the inlet. The had been hunting in another area without any luck. I was feeling a lot better about the situation now. I made some lunch and got my gear on and hit the hill around 1:30. I was going to try a new strategy today and come from a different direction, it still required a lot of extra ground to be covered because of the wind direction. I took my time getting to where I wanted to go, I explored some new areas I had not been to yet. What I found was a lot of what is on most of the rest of the island, devils club and dead fall. For those of you who have not hunted Kalgin, it can be a nightmare if you don't know where to go, almost impassable in a lot of areas. So any way, I have burned up some time and it is getting closer to evening. I am moving real slow trying to be as quiet as I can as I am working my way towards where I am going to glass the rest of the evening. I noticed that my rifle sling clip was starting to squeak so I stopped and took the sling off, that was the last thing I wanted to do was scare off a moose with that. With that done, I walked another 20-30 yards around a corner to where I can see the area I want to watch. Not 5 minutes later I spot a moose! I was up next to a tree with the perfect branch sticking out for a rest. I judged the distance to be about 150 yards. I put the scope on her and watched, looking for a calf. I could tell this was not the same cow I had seen the night before, that one was a dark chocolate brown color and this one was a lighter brown. I watched her for a good 5 minutes, she showed no signs of looking back for a calf and I didn't see one with her, I felt confident she was alone. On this hunt, the regs say ONE moose, no cow with calf restrictions, but I wouldn't feel good about taking a cow with a calf so I wanted to be sure, which at this point I was. The only problem was, she now had her back to me, and it looked like she was going back into the woods, my heart sank. Then I had some good luck, she stopped, turned 90 degrees and she was broadside. I aimed for the lungs and squeezed off a shot. I knew I hit her right away, she was staggering, she spun 180 degrees and I hit her with a follow up shot in the shoulders that dropped her right where she stood. I am glad I dropped her right there, because of the devils club and deadfall I mentioned earlier. I shot her with my browning a-bolt .270wsm 4x12 leupold VXII 150grain XP3 winchester bullets. I normally carry a .338 for moose, but due to the fact there are no bears to contend with, the general smaller size of the moose, my confidence in the longer range accuracy and lighter weight of my .270, I chose to leave the .338 at camp. It was 6:30pm when I walked up to the moose. Both shots had hit their mark. The hard work began, I got the moose gutted, quartered, ready to pack out by 7:45. I hung what I could in the trees and headed to camp with a hind quarter. I was able to make another trip that night and brought out a front quarter with a rack of ribs and the tenderloins. I also checked the distance with my GPS, it was about a halfmile pack as the crow flys. I cooked some tenderloin for dinner and hit the sack.

    Day 5. Got up at 6am, made a cup of coffee, ate a cliff bar and headed up to my moose. I made 4 more trips to get the last of it packed out, for 6 trips total. I probably could have made it in 5, but I was in no real hurry. I got everything packed up and waited for my Dad and Brother to come at high tide, which was going to be around 2. They showed up, we loaded up and headed back to my dads fish camp.

    Summary. After not getting a moose the last 3 years, I am very grateful for being able to harvest this cow, it will be some good eating. I noticed an increased number of hunters and a ton more airplane activity on Kalgin this year compared to years past, I imagine it is from the restrictions on moose hunting in unit 15. Things I think I did right: DIdn't give up, even when I wanted to at times. Worked hard to get the wind in my favor. I carried a hydration pack, which I had never done previous, it worked awesome. I also carried and used a swingblade knife/saw combo, I thought it worked very well as well. Things I need to improve: Xtra-tuffs are ok, but there has got to be some better options out there. Forgot to bring my headlamp, which turned out I didn't need, but I was lucky. Forgot to bring a lighter and I only had one book of matches, only 2 matches left when I got picked up.
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

  2. #2

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    Great read. I was curious to see if the new regs in 15 would put additional pressure on this hunt. Sure sounds like they did. Glad to hear that you had a successful trip. I've put a lot of miles on my pair of Asolo Fugitive GTX hiking boots. They're advertised as waterproof and have always worked pretty well for me. I like the fit, and they have stood up to 40+ mile trips with my pack weighting in at about 75 pounds.

  3. #3
    Member hooternanny's Avatar
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    the edge? thats my favorite movie all time, how about this- the one thing that can always save you? ""thinking"

    i dig your quote and totally dug your story. i guess 15's changes have really sunken in now for the locals there. i moved off the kenai penn last year primarily because of that reason- what has happen to hunting there. unfortunately, now that places like hope, cooper landing and ninilchik have all claimed subsistence hunting, soldotna/kenai is vitrually surround by special needs hunters on the mainland. luckly, yer huntin kaligan so cherrish the memories. mystery creek good too, once upon a time.

    your hunting story posted here is probably the most well written i have ever read on this forum. I bet your brother and dad were glad you had the meat ready to go. you sir, impress me
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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Very nice post - not many solo moose hunts posted for sure - sounds like you did all the things a seasoned hunter should do to be successful! Congrats!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Just curious what did you see for moose browse on kalgin island? From what I understand the moose do very well on Kalgin Island with the absence of predators. It's always browse and never bears or wolves for why moose are declining on the kenai penn. so I would like to know if you think kalgin island has better browse for moose or the KP. Enjoy moose hunting on kalgin cause I fear that if pressure has increased like you say it has there then hunting could be shut down or you could see antler restrictions there coming soon.

  6. #6
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 33outdoorsman View Post
    Just curious what did you see for moose browse on kalgin island? From what I understand the moose do very well on Kalgin Island with the absence of predators. It's always browse and never bears or wolves for why moose are declining on the kenai penn. so I would like to know if you think kalgin island has better browse for moose or the KP. Enjoy moose hunting on kalgin cause I fear that if pressure has increased like you say it has there then hunting could be shut down or you could see antler restrictions there coming soon.
    There is good browse for moose over there, though not a lot of willows up on top, but if they want to, and some do, they can come down and eat willows that grow on the side of the bluff. If it weren't for hunting the moose population would grow too big for the island to sustain, as is evident by the regulation of any moose. There has been antler restrictions in the past there, so if the population ever did get too small it couldgo back to that, but IMO I doubt it will. There are a lot of moose that are just impossible to hunt there due to the thick, nasty habitat in areas, I just don't see how a guy could get to some of the areas. WHat I have noticed in my years over there, the later in the season, the harder the moose are too hunt. They spooked into the thick stuff as the season progresses, I will only hunt there in the early season because of it. I imagine some guys may have a little luck calling right at the end of the season, but I haven't heard too many success stories about it.
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

  7. #7
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    Nicely done, another testiment to persistence paying off. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

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