Took a day off work and school to get my teenager out in the hunting woods again. We had a short weekend camping on the Denali Hwy. last week, that was similar to most folks trips. Not enough time to really get into the bush, away from the vehicles and activity.
A lot of time glassing the big areas, we hiked off the road some, "one hill away" from the road. Alas, no Caribou.
My boy has been hunting most years since he was able to keep up on the trails, passed hunter ed. and been a licensed hunter since 9 yrs old. Unfortunately that was the last time he notched his tag also. Usually a lack of concentration, bad weather or short schedule would thwart the best efforts a kid can make.
That finally changed yesterday. Mom was driving us out for a 3 day weekend to fill a antlerless tag, along the road I spotted Ms. Bullwinkle about 300yds away and he and I pile out. We lost sight while putting on boots and getting rifles, so we started an intercept course through some trees. He spotted the Moose first and it was not hanging around to see what we wanted. Played cat and mouse for a minute or so trying to get a clear shot. Finally about 200yds + it stopped broadside, he threw a shot out from the open sighted 375H&H (his choice) and the rocks behind it blew up. The moose looked over and paused just long enough for him to get a solid double lung shot. Once again the chase was on, we weren't 100% sure where the shot went, so he continued to throw lead. We pursued that big swampdonkey about half a mile through knee-high water, he put three good hits on it, and, of course it fell into a bit of a puddle! The liver was split nearly in half, and the coup de gras, a spine shot at about 150yds. Labor intensive butchering and pack-out, but well worth it.
He was beside himself, nearly in tears of joy at the end of a loong 5 year drought in big game success.
We are just getting the game bags out and into the kitchen this evening, about 400lbs boned out prime Moose venison!
P.S. He used some handloads with 300gr Partitions. Great bullets, three recovered, 2 @ 270-275gr - that's 90% plus weight retention, 1 @ 250gr -83%: expansion to .725-.741 diameter.