Had a couple of friends come up to go on a moose hunt this year. Have known both Al and Mario since we were kids together, and hunted though out our high school years. So, they arrived to Anchorage on the 12th. Took them shopping for last minute supplies and the license and tag, then headed home to get everything repacked into the panniers for the pack into camp the next day. Sunday morning started out nice and sunny, which made it really nice for our pack in day. We ended up getting set up at our camp by evening, then decided to eat dinner and take a little ride down from camp and start checking out our area. We rode a mile and a half or so, and spotted moose on the opposite hillside, about a mile away. It was a cow followed closely by a bull. I took my spotting scope out and told Al (Mario came up just to help Al with this hunt) that he looked to be about a 40ish inch bull, but I was pretty certain he had 3 brow tines on both sides. So I did a cow call, as loud as I could, and he actually heard it. The bull stopped and looked our direction, then I called again, and he left the cow and started heading our way. After about a half an hour, we heard him grunting about 100 yards below us and slightly to our right. I called back and he started moving to our left..which was directly down wind. I figured I’d messed up by calling, thinking that maybe he’d of stayed off to our right instead of moving down wind. Regardless, he moved directly downwind of us, and it got really silent. We were busted. Went back to camp and settled in for the night. Woke up the next morning to the sound of very steady rain. Got the animals fed then headed out to a spot we had sort of agreed on. Did some calling and had a cow just sort of appear about 100 yards away. Kept calling and heard a grunt directly behind us. About 15 minutes later, out pops this bull about 20 yards to our right, and he just walks by and heads to the cow. He was a small bull, definitely safe from being shot.
We watched him harass that cow for about an hour and a half, which was pretty fun to watch. We ended up backing out of there and hunting again in the evening. Not much action. Woke up the next day to even heavier rain and did some looking above camp. Seen some fresh sign but no moose. Al and Mario found a winter kill antler, which was a very nice set.
They eventually went back to pack them to camp. We hunted till evening without much action. We decided to do a reset, and head back to my house the next morning to dry out our stuff and give it another try. So, we spent a nice warm dry evening at the house then went out early the next morning. We decided to hunt our way to camp, calling and moving along an area we had come across the day before that was just loaded with scrapes , beds and rubs. So, we get set up and start calling. We waited an hour, with no response and mount up to move a bit and set up to call again. We got about 300 yards from the first calling location and ran into two bulls and a cow. I think I heard Mario behind me say “Bull”. I turned to my right and seen the moose trotting away, then looked behind me and seen Al and Mario bailing off the horses. Up until this point in time, Al had been kind of slow to dismount a horse as his hip was bothering him, but at this moment……he looked like a calf roper coming off his horse. Anyway, we get off and move for the shot. We stepped about 5 feet in front of the horses and I pulled the binos up to get a better look. I knew at first glance he wasn’t wide enough, but was hoping for brow tines. He was walking away with his ears blocking my view of his brow tines. He got about a hundred yards away, and Mario gave him a grunt. That was enough to turn him broadside, and get him to looks straight at us. I took a quick look and just said “he’s legal, kill him”. So Al shoots and I immediately hear and see the hit. I slapped Al on the back and gave him a big thumbs up on a good hit. The bull was still standing, so I told him “hit him again”. Second shot hits and he begins to stumble, then he runs down the hill and drops. Lots of slaps on the back and some hoots follow.
Then it’s time for the work to begin. So we move to the bull, take lots of pics. We didn’t have any game bags with us (they were at camp) so I tell Al and Mario…”soooo, since you’ve never had the pleasure of taking a moose apart……how bout I go back to camp and get the bags, saw…and other stuff we need, and you guys get started here.....”. It was perfect, by the time I got back they were just about done. They got the full experience without me messing that all up for them ….the pack out was uneventful, which is the way I like it.
So, after the second bull in about 8 days, the horses were glad to be back home and off for the rest of the year. All in all, it was a great hunt, with great friends. My wife Deb did a fantastic job spoiling them with some very fine cooking over the entire course of the hunt. They said they expected to come up and lose weight over the hunt. I don’t think that was the case…..