My wife and I went to Delta about three weeks ago to fill her cow moose tag. We glassed for a couple hours all around Donnely Dome with no success. Not a single moose anywhere to be found. We decided that getting away from the roads with the snowmobiles was the answer. No luck with moose on the snowmobile either after a few hours of riding. We did see a lot of ptarmigan though. We went home empty handed. At this point I made the assumption that every moose for miles had been shot or scared away and decided that the tag would go unfilled. End of day count was about 40 ptarmigan, a billion ravens, and 30 moose gut piles.
Earlier last week my wife said that she would like to go back to Delta to try her luck at some ptarmigan. With the large amounts of ptarmigan we had seen on the last trip, I could not refuse. Uncle Sam was nice enough to give me Veterans Day off so we decided that Veterans Day would be our ptarmigan hunt. As I loaded the truck last night I decide that we should bring the wifes' .270 just in case we saw a legal moose. We arrived at Delta at 0930 after sending the little people off to school. We entered the Donnely Dome trail with the pick-up and we went no further than a mile and saw a cow moose by herself. Not so, as we cut the distance by walking to the cow I noticed another moose in the brush. A bull was with the cow. We cut the distance to 100 yards and the cow is legal, as no calf is with her and the bull is about 30 inches. My wife decides that I should run the 400 yards back to the truck and grab the camera, so I can record her moose finale. Back with the camera we notice that both moose are looking away from us in the brush. Out pops another cow moose with no calf. These three moose are now looking in the same direction away from us. Another cow moose in the open with no calf at 800 yards distance. As we scan some more we see another cow moose and this cow has a calf.
Where are these moose coming from? Last week we never even cut a fresh track.
We decide that the first cow moose we saw without a calf is the target. By now the moose have figured the deal out and started getting out of dodge fast. The wife did not want to make a running shot and we watched the near moose disappear. As we stratagize a way to get ahead of the moose. It appears that all of the moose disappeared in front of us. No biggie, we are ptarmigan hunting anyway.
We load in the truck and drive another half mile further down the road and we spot another bull, cow and a calf. We press to our sure ptarmigan spot. Not a ptarmigan in sight. We beat some brush where ptarmigan were a couple weeks ago and not one ptarmigan.
Bummed, we drive to another spot. Not a single ptarmigan for miles my friend.
We do see one more bull moose though.
We decide that grouse is our new target species and we are going to head for lower ground. Driving out of Donnely I spot another bull. This is the biggest one and I decide to admire him for a bit. While admiring I notice movement out of the corner of my eye. Another moose. Too far to tell if it is a bull or cow, but I can not see antlers at the current 1/2 mile. We decide to cut the distance to check the moose out. As we get to 300 yards, one moose turns into three moose. Two bulls and a cow. My wife felt comfortable shooting at just over 200 yards and let her Winchester model 70 in .270 roar at about 250 yards. The cow went 5 steps and fell over dead. Two quick shots from the wife's .270 in the boiler room was the ticket.
Right at last light we had the meat loaded and a burger from the Buffalo diner was spot on after a day of hunting. End of day count 15 moose, 0 ptarmigan, 1 sharptail, 1 beautiful quick red fox, and some good eats for the freezer.
For the folks with tags still in their pockets: Good luck, the moose are there.
My question is what are the animals eating in Delta? It is just amazing that an animal the size of a ptarmigan can transform into a moose.
I am taking the boy caribou hunting in a couple weeks...umm I mean ptarmigan hunting.