I’ve been known to have some crazy hunting stories but I think this one takes the cake. Moose hunting starting out really slow for me this year. I shipped my raft and equipment to Dillingham for a fly out float hunt. We flew out 130 miles to the middle of nowhere. Two friends and I hunted hard for 30 river miles over a 12 day span and only saw 2 moose the entire trip. We never had the chance to even pull the trigger (another story). Luckily, I had a FT Rich tag for the backup plan.
I’d been hunting hard every day after work and on the weekends but all I had been seeing were cows. Thursday night I watched youtube videos and practiced calling because I knew I needed to tweak how I cow called. I watched the video were some guy got run over and I thought “that will never happen to me”. Friday evening (2 OCT) after work I went to the trailhead I had planned on hunting but someone was already there. I talked to him, wished him luck and pulled out the map to find a different area. I noticed a natural funnel further up the valley so I took off to a different trail (first time on this particular trail).
I found a good calling spot where I could see almost 90 yards in one direction. Every 20 to 30 minutes I would do several long cow calls and some really light scraping/thrashing with my bull magnet. I stood there for over an hour and then I all I saw was antlers coming straight at me. I seen the bull about 80 yards away coming my way fast like he was on a string right at me. I waited for him to close the distance but I didn’t want to shoot him straight on so I just stood there waiting for him to turn. There was a small drop about 4 yards in front of me when he went down that I pulled my Matthew’s SQ2 bow back. When he came up over the dip he was right in my face. I thought he was going to run right over me but he turned at the last minute. I tried to stay as calm as possible and I put the 20 yard right behind his shoulder (like I really need to aim). I wasn’t sure there was going to be enough room for my arrow to clear the whisker biscuit arrow rest before it hit him. At the shot the bull ran about 35 yards and just stood there like nothing happened. I kind of lost it at this point but I knew as long he was standing I needed to shoot him again. I guess I was shaking too bad because at the shot I heard the twang from my arrow hitting a branch. The bull walked out of sight and I was so amped up I had to sit down. I made a few phone calls and my buddy said to find a good blood trail and he would come help me. I started looking for blood but I couldn’t find a single drop. I went about ten yards, I sat the bow down, dropped to my knees looking for blood, nothing. Suddenly, I heard a twig snap and the moose was walking right at me. By the time I picked up my bow the moose had laid down. I could barely see his head and neck through the grass. I pulled the bow back, put the 20 yard pin on his neck and at the release I heard a loud thump. The bull stood up with the arrow sticking out of his neck. He took two steps and fell over disappearing in the tall grass. I knew which way he was facing so I circled around behind him. The grass was so tall I walked right up on him before I could see him. He saw me and tried to stand up so I put another arrow right behind his shoulder. The bull jumped up and charged me. I tried to block my face with my bow. The bull knocked me down and kicked me hard in the ribs. I started crawling away for everything I was worth. I looked back and the bull was just standing there staring and snorting at me. I finally found my bow and an arrow but as I went to knock the arrow and noticed it was broke in half. I looked back again at the moose and it just toppled over, done.
I was afraid I had broken my ribs but I just ended up with a horrible bruise, a few scratches on my face and a broken quiver. It was getting dark as my friends Jimmy and Dennis showed up along with my beautiful wife Lori. We decided it was cool enough to just gut it, open it up and come back in the morning to start packing it out. I made a lot of phone calls and had plenty of help lined up for the morning. I didn’t sleep a bit all night, I was afraid a bear or wolves were up there eating my moose. My friends and I met the FT Rich biologist at 0800 Saturday morning. We fought our way through the alders to find him still there, untouched with no bears (thank god). Upon closer examination we discovered that the first arrow had centered the heart and the vanes were still there. We found an easier trail to pack him out and had him in my garage my noon.
Special thanks for everyone who helped with the packing and butchering. By Sunday night we had over 300 lbs of burger, steaks, roasts, stew meat, rib meat etc. plus over 100 lbs at Indian Valley for moose bacon, brats, jalapeńo hot dogs, teriyaki sticks and summer sausage. Not a bad story for a first moose!! I wish had some better pictures but the rain fogged up our cameras.