Whacked my first moose on Saturday!
My friend Chris picked me up at 4am on Saturday morning, and we drove 4-1/2 hours north to go looking for moose. Chris had an "any bull" tag, so we were hopeful we'd find something with antlers. We arrived just after first light, and after gearing up, we started hiking in. Our plan was to hike in, get some high ground and start glassing. We packed in camping gear, food, tent, and sleeping bags. Chris carried his 7WSM Montana and I toted my 700 Ti in 7-08.
After about and hour-and-a-half hike, before we even got to our selected glassing location, I spotted a bull walking in a narrow clearing. We quickly dropped our packs and Chris lasered it at 500 yards. It was walking towards us, so I got out the video camera and videotaped a little while we discussed what to do next. After more careful examination with the binoc's, we both figured he would be bigger than 50-inches & had plenty of brow tines, which is a legal moose even without Chris's tag.
The moose hung up at about 300 yards and quietly slipped into the woods. The moose had impeccable timing, because Chris was already adjusting his scope and was going to whack him if he stayed put any longer and presented a clear shot.
After the initial, "Where'd he go?", we developed a plan. Chris would go right and downhill to get behind him, in case he slipped back into the clearing; I would go left to get in front of him and watch the next clearing. I put the video camera away and grabbed my rifle. I slipped down the little rise were were standing on, and immediately spotted antlers sticking over the top of the brush. At first, I thought it was another moose, since only 10 minutes had elapsed since we first spotted him. Man, those things can really cover ground, even when walking at a leisurely pace.
In order to get above the brush to make the shot, I stood on my tip-toes on a nearby fallen tree. This got me high enough off the ground to see over the brush. I took a high shoulder shot, and he dropped immediately. The moose was only 50-60 yards away.
At the shot, Chris came running right away. I stayed put and kept an eye on the last known location of the moose, while Chris went forward to investigate. Once Chris had a bead on the moose, I advanced and put another shot into the bull to hasten the process.
So, with that, here is my first moose:
We both forgot to bring a regular camera, so the only pictures I have where taken with my cell phone. We both lamented that little nugget of misfortune. The bull has five brow tines on one side and six brow tines on the other. We later measured him at 53" wide.
A couple more:
We hiked out all four quarters the first day - 1.6 miles, each way, according to the GPS. Our second trip ended at 9:30 Saturday night, about an hour after dark. We left our camping gear near the kill site, so instead of hiking back in the dark, we decided to find a hot meal and a room for the night. To our surprise, it was lottery weekend for Denali National Park - where regular Joes can drive back into the park, versus taking a tour bus. Everybody and their uncle was at the park, so there wasn't an available hotel room or cabin for 50 miles in either direction.
Spending the night in the truck wasn't a great option. It was 40-some degrees when we arrived that morning, and all our camping gear was in the woods. After a quick burger, we drove to Fairbanks (130 miles away) and stayed at a friend's house. We arrived at 1am, took a hot shower, spent a half hour in his hot tub, and went to bed around 2am.
The next morning we grabbed breakfast and drove back to the hunting area. Two more trips were needed to finish packing out the meat, our gear, and the antlers. A state trooper stopped by our truck to check our licenses and offered his congratulations. We were back on the road at 8pm, Sunday, and arrived at home after midnight. Went to bed at 2am, after unloading the truck and hanging the meat. Talk about your long weekend!
Chris still has his tag, but neither one of us is all that interested in packing out another stinkin' moose. Not this year, anyway.