Oct 17 2011 josh's moose1.jpgOct 17 2011 len's moose2.jpg
What a season! First off I went on my annual moose hunt with my hunting partner of 9 years and boy was it an interesting hunt. I started a new job this year in the spring and wasn't sure till the last minute if I was going to be able to go. My bud was on pins and needles till he received the phone call from me letting him know that I was given the time off to go hunting. While packing for the trip we ASSUMED that we had everything we needed...( no saw!). We departed with dreams of grandeur and excitement. After many miles and many hours crossing across God's country, the unthinkable happened. About 6 miles from where we were to set up base camp, my buddy, (Len) came zipping up next to me waving violently. The back right tire on my outfitter pac-rat was wobbling like crazy! Apparently the wheel bearings had completely dissolved into nothing! Frustration was a friend that sat in our laps at that moment, which we pondered for some time on what we were going to do while staring at the wheel like it was going to miraculously fix itself. Our decision ended up being to press on and if the tire was to fall off then we would deal with it when that happened. After taking it very slow and methodically we reached our destination with everything still in tack. We set up camp, made dinner and looked for the optimism for the start of our hunt the next day.
Day 1- We woke to the cackling of ptarmigan right outside the tent and stepped out into a cool, clear, brisk morning. With a cold breakfast inhaled we started hunting for Len's moose. We spent many hours glassing and glassing the countryside, but to no avail. This was a little frustrating due to the fact that we didn't even see a cow moose that whole day. But as true hunters we knew that it was just the first day and that anything can happen at a moments notice.
Day 2- Len realizing that we only had a couple of days to hunt, told me that filling his freezer was way more important than filling up more wall space. I agreed! We traveled to a different drainage and after a couple hours of glassing decided to move about a mile further up to get a look at the backside of the drainage. We had moved about a thousand yards when Len stopped and raised his binos up and looked at me with a big smile. "Hey Josh! There is some antlers sticking out of the brush over there." By golly, he was right! There was a bull moose laying down, frozen like a statue. With the wind in our favor, we put the stalk on to acquire some delicious table fare. When we got within 250 yards, this guy looked at us like we were trying to steal his girlfriend which was laying right next to him. He stood up like he had a pair and stared straight at us. Len looked at me and said when he turns broadside it's on! after about ten hours of staring at us (5 minutes) he figured he had made his point and turned to boast to his woman that he was the man. It is amazing how peaceful it is until a rifle lets out that bullet barreling towards it's target. WHACK! Steam shot out from his lungs and his body stiffened up. The cow took off without even looking back to see if her man was alright, and BOOM! WHACK! It was like someone pushed over a giant mannequin. Over he fell into the thick, brown willows. Releif overtook Len's face and excitement poured from mine. One down and one to go.
Day 3- After getting Len's moose back to camp and taken care of, we went out looking for a bullwinkle for me. This time we went in the opposite direction and started glassing some new country. The first thing we spotted was a sow and two cubs eating as many berries as they could inhale as they walked the hillside. Not exactly what I wanted to see. So we pressed on further as to put space between us and them. We found a nice ridgetop to glass from and started to scan the countryside. Within about ten minutes, Len leans over and points his finger north-east and says ever so monotone....BEAR! So I take a gander that direction and sure enough there was a fuzzy-britches wondering by himself eating....what else, berries. As we were not seeing much else, I said " let's help out the moose population and go whack us some fur!" When we finally got close enough to the bear, we found ourselves at the bottom of the hill he was on, on the wrong side of the creek. But with a little ingenuity, we spotted a place that we could cross when the time was right. We backed up a little so we could see our furry adversary, and sat and waited while he ate more berries in a small depression that hid himself from the certain death that was to come. That's when Len said "man it would be nice if we had a predator call!" So I reached into my pack and low and behold, I had one. This was interesting to say the least, I blew the call and instantly his ears perked up and he came to the top of the ridge, but looking straight at me. I could see his head and about 1/4 of his chest. BUST! So he turned back around and went back into his safe spot to eat more berries. I gave the call to Len and he gave it a whirl and the same thing happened. After he lost interest in the strange noise coming from the creek, he turned around and plopped down on the hillside and took a nap. Seriously? Come on! So after being stumped we waited for the bear to make his move, and with a little patience he did. He walked straight out to the edge and turned broadside for me. Being a nice guy that I am, I gave him two warning shots before I planted him to the earth with a thunderous BOOM! WHACK! Being the phenomenal animals that they are he decided to show us his testicular fortitude and display a push-up. So Len put one more in him to teach him a lesson, that didn't work! So as he rolled over and tried to impress us with another push-up, I put one in his neck that sent him in a death roll towards his little depression where he was just minutes before. We watched the hillside for a while to make sure he didn't rise from the dead before we crossed the creek and head up the steep hillside that kept us from petting some fur. Using our Jedi powers, we descended from atop as to make sure we would see him before he saw us. UH-OH! Where did he go? He was not where he was supposed to be! As our eyes drifted left, we stared at what no hunter wants to stare at....BUSHES! Now we were on high alert. We scanned the brush at a safe distance but could not see much, until, WOOF! WOOF! SNORT! OH S**T! He was still alive and he was a bit perturbed! As soon as we saw fur through the brush, BOOM! BOOM! And then there was that silence again. After letting our heartbeats return to normal flutter, we decided I would go in the brush and see what happens. About ten feet into the brush I see my friend laying on his back looking quite dead. Happiness consumed our fear and we drug him out of the brush so we could spank ourselves on some glorious fuzzy fur. Now here is where the day for me jumps up in quality, as we were preparing to steal the fur off this guy, I as usual, take a scan of the country side as to make sure we don't have any surprise visitors or we are not missing out on anything else going on elsewhere. It was like God was shining a small speck of sunlight through the clouds when I looked back down toward the creek where we were just at. There laying in the brush about 75 yards from where we were shooting is a bull moose and cow. Holy Backstraps! Len! There is my bull! Insert happy dance!
After skinning the bear we made our way back down the steep slope to put the sneak on this shy guy. As we got within distance I heard Len ask if this is the right place or do we need to go further, and that's when the bull jumped up right in front of us and took off on a steady trot in the opposite direction. Not that I am the best shot in the world, but I had someone looking out for me as I found the bull's head in my scope and led him while squeezing the trigger. BOOM! WHACK! And then the silence fell on the countryside once more. One shot, running, behind the ear, dropped him like a sack of rocks. No bloodshot meat! To say the least I was Happy! Long day though.
Day 4- As camp was packed up we started a long, slow journey back to the truck and trailer so many miles away. As you can imagine we were pretty loaded with gear and meat, and don't forget about the messed up wheel on my pac-rat. We left in the early morning and arrived to the truck at about eleven at night. But I will say this, and this is not a plug, But there is nothing better than having a pac-rat! they are durable and the toughest thing that I own. My pac-rat made it back home with the wheel still attached!