Last spring I drew a Creamer’s Field muzzleloader moose permit. I told my 16 year old son that if he got his muzzleloader certification, he could have first shot at filling the permit. He pulled through with the certification. He got a .50 caliber in-line for Christmas and sighted it in during two shooting sessions. My son would use a 385 grain .50 caliber Great Plains bullet in front of 90 grains of black powder. I would back him up with a 425 grain .54 caliber Great Plains bullet in front of 100 grains of black powder.
It was -15 F on December 31 at 8:30 am when we checked in at ADFG (Fairbanks had been -30 to -40 F the previous few days). By 9:00 we were headed to a predetermined hunting spot. I had been fortunate to explore Creamer’s Field last May while in Fairbanks.
Upon arrival at our parking spot, we immediately spotted a cow moose across a snow covered field. We tried to get within a self-imposed 50 yard shooting distance but the moose disappeared into some thick trees. We figured tracking it in the snow would be easy, however, there was so much fresh sign, determining which tracks belonged to our moose proved too difficult. As we looked back across the field, there was a small bull moose walking down the road right by our truck (our permit was for antlerless).
We slowly worked our way around some frozen ponds; moose sign was abundant. At around 10:30 and a little over a half mile from the truck, my son spotted two moose in some thick brush. He patiently waited until one moose presented a clear broadside shot. He shot at about 40 yards. Not certain how our chosen bullet and powder load would perform on a moose, I made a quick follow-up shot that would later prove to have been unnecessary. The moose ran about 30 yards before piling up in a cloud of snow. Both shots were double-lung shots; each bullet shattered a rib upon entry and was recovered against the hide on the far side. The GP bullets performed superbly as can be seen in the attached photos. (.50 cal on left, .54 cal on right)
While hauling meat back to the truck on sleds, we had to detour around a stubborn, medium sized bull moose. For being right on the outskirts of Fairbanks, it was a quality father/son adventure. It seemed pristine even though so close to civilization. The only other person we saw after leaving the truck that morning was one other black powder hunter.