On September 1ST me and a good friend Steve set sail from the Yukon River Bridge and our destination was the Koyukuk River nearly 500 river miles one way. I had been lucky enough to draw the early season Koyukuk bull moose tag. So we spent months in preparation, planning, logistics, weight issues, and hunting considerations.
Our equipment was a 21 ft Jetcraft Extreme Shallow with a 200 hp optimax. The deep currents of the Yukon at times was tough on the jet boat but in shallow water is were we excelled. On the banks of the Koyukuk we were able to get into a hunting area with little hunting pressure running as shallow as 2-3 inches at times. My good friend Steve gave the boat a name “Skinny Dipper” as he was really impressed with its capabilities.
Along the way we made many friends in the villages of Tanana, Ruby, and Galena and we were treated with great hospitality. Upon arriving at our hunting area on the 4th of September we were greeted with cloudy skies with rain. We found a high bluff to climb and I started cow calling on the afternoon of the 6th and 15 minutes later I spotted a large bull moose with a cow and calf. But he didn’t seem interested in our calls he just kept moving. So we took note on that it was still a little early to call and we scouted the area along the river were we seen him cross and we found a major crossing were the willows along the river were just cropped down from moose feeding.
The rain was reluctant to lift until the afternoon of the 7th and that is when we changed our hunting tactics. So I picked a spot along the river were we seen the most moose sign tracks, browse, etc and I sat patiently in the willows. Around 9:15 pm on the evening of the 7th a cow appeared on the bank and 5 minutes later a very nice bull came out grunting (AAAR) right away I knew this bull was a mature animal and what I was looking for. So I got down in the prone position settled my crosshairs just behind the shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger. The bull took about three steps and fell in the river. We spent hours the next morning getting him recovered by means of a come-along.
Once we got done butchering the moose into quarters and loaded onto the boat we decided to relax for the rest of the night. As anyone knows that has moose hunted before the work begins when the animal is down. The next day we woke to a beautiful sunrise and Steve cooked an excellent batch of hot pancakes and bacon that hit the spot. We stopped in the village of Koyukuk to donate meat as me and Steve both are small families and couldn’t consume that much meat and the villagers were delighted to accept it. It was a good feeling knowing that all of that meat was split between several families and none will go freezer burnt.
This was truly a dream come true for me I spent several years hunting the Alaska Yukon Moose and what a Monarch he his with little to no success. I would like to personally thank all that made this 1000 mile logistical nightmare a dream come true!!! The Boat Shop for mechanical guidance (Fairbanks, AK), The Alaska Department of Fish and Game area biologist Glenn Stout (Fairbanks, AK) for sound advice and knowledge of the area and for a great management program. And special thanks to my good friend Steve for all your help which I couldn’t have been successful without you.