We had a great hunt this year during the final week of moose season. We headed out on the Argo's on the 18th, and got to our camp a few hours before light (any bull area). We decided to head to our hunting area, and do some scouting. While working to the edge of the river, we spotted a cow and shortly after, two bulls emerged bashing their heads together. One was a 30+"er, the other was a smaller 3X4. My buddies 10 year old daughter was along with us, and she managed to cut her first moose tag on the first night. We had to let the moose lay overnight and worked the boat over to it first thing the next morning. She made a perfect heart shot and by early afternoon, we had the moose back to camp and hung up. Since we couldn't get across the river that night, we elected to let the second bull walk, but could have easily taken him as he stuck around with cow calls. As soon as I scratched some trees with the bull magnet, he sprinted for the thick woods.
We set up a bear fence around a second camp closer to the river, and pulled the inflatable into it for the night. I hunted the same area that night and called a fork horn bull in, and let him walk. The next morning we headed back to the hunting area and it was pretty quiet. We went to the second camp and a bear had knocked part of the bear fence down and put 4 holes in the inflatable. We patched it up and swapped batteries on the fence as it drained the main battery from the fence laying on the ground and pulsing non stop.
That night, John was sitting in a platform stand and around 8pm, a nice grizzly walked out on the sandbar on the opposite side of the river. His daughter was right by his side and her eyes got huge. The grizzly was on a sandbar 33 yards away and John put it down in its tracks. It was last light before we knew it, so we headed back to camp to get over to it in the morning. First thing in the morning we head down to the river and the bear was gone. John and I got the boat to the other side and worked our way around the island looking for it. We circled around and finally found it on the edge of the tree line about 30 yards from where it lay dead the night before. A different bear had pulled it out, tearing the hide pretty good, but not getting a chance to ruin it. We rolled the bear back into the inflatable and brought it back to our side of the river to skin. It was a solid 7' sow with a very nice hide and tons of fat.
I tried to hunt the other bear that night over the carcass, but he did not show himself. He was around though. I left the area for 45 minutes to go eat a mountain house, and when I came back his track was right over the top of mine. When I was in the platform, he walked up behind me in the woods, but never came into sight. I checked before it got too dark out, and sure enough his tracks came right up behind the platform, and went straight away after I made a slight noise trying to turn around to see if it was him making the slight noise behind me.
Once the bears left the area, the moose came back. One of the other guys spotted two bulls with a couple cows, but couldn't get a shot through the black spruce. The next night around 8:00, I hear a shot from the area of John's platform. I climb out of my blind about 15 minutes later and start slowly making my way to his area. As I rounded the final corner of the dried slough where the bear had crossed over my tracks, I look up and a nice bull is standing broadside right on the other side of the river at 60 yards. I quickly get on my knees, line up the cross hairs and take a shot. The time was 8:30 and it was getting real dark, but luckily I have an awesome wife that bought me a Swarovski scope for my birthday and I was easily able to make out the moose and get a good shot. He ran straight back onto the island about 40 yards and turned offering a neck shot. I hit him one more time and he disappeared.
John, his daughter and one other of the group had just returned from a half mile chase down the river. John had shot a nice bull and it ran into the river and went down. The current swept it away, and he had to quickly chase it down river. Finally a half mile down it held up on a few rocks and he was able to tie it up to secure it. He used our hand line for getting across the river though, so I had no way to get over to my bull that night. We all headed down to John's bull and I brought a come-a-long and we winched it up on shore and pulled the guts out. By then is was after 10pm, so we headed back to camp for the night. I was sure I had a good shot into my bull, but not seeing it go down had me pretty nervous that night, I had a hard time sleeping thinking the worse, especially knowing that other grizzly could still be in the area.
We had a big breakfast knowing we had a lot of work to do that day. We headed to my moose first knowing that John's was cooling nicely in the river and already had the guts out. As soon as we got to the other side of the river, I saw my bull 40 yards in from the bank. He was laying on perfect ground, and nothing had messed with it. All 5 of us were quickly over working on it, and managed to make fairly quick work except I held up the show because I wanted to bring the full hide out. That thing must have weighed 200-250 pounds.
Two of us walked to John's bull to get started on it, and John and the other guy worked the Argo's around to cut a trail into where the moose was. I caped out John's bull for a shoulder mount even though he had no plans to do one. He was happy when I told him the taxidermist would credit him $300 for his bear rug in exchange for the cape though. We finally got the moose done, and headed back to camp at dark.
Thursday we decided to take the meat back to the road, and it ended up being a looong day. 6 hours total to get back as we had a couple of Argo issues with broken lugs and a track issue on John's rig. We made it back in under 3 hours to camp. On Friday, we tried getting one last bull, but the weather turned terrible. We went back to camp soaking wet, and as light faded, the season ended. On Saturday we broke camp, loaded the gear and last of the moose, and headed to the trucks. All was going so well until about 4 miles from the trucks, my front rim and tire broke off at the hub. The same issue that happened to John's rig happened to mine. I elected to limp it out on 3 tires on one side and tracks on the other. It took 3 hours to go the final 4 miles, but we made it. $30 in parts and I'm back up and running like nothing happened. One of John's tracks split on him, and he ended up rolling out of the other track, so we were both limping back to the trucks. It was a good thing we didn't knock another moose down on Friday, or it would have been even worse trying to get out of there.
Looking forward to doing it again next year. I really like this new country and it holds potential for some really nice bulls. Our bulls were the smaller guys getting moved out by the big boys. I think we learned a bunch about this area and will be able to hunt it much better in future years.