Well we just got back from our moose hunt on the Yukon so here it goes:
We left the Yukon River bridge on Sept. 12th, 6 of us, my dad, grandad, uncle and two cousins for our DM817 moose hunt that we all drew on. Had a 24' Phantom Sportjon and the 22' Hewescraft. About 3 hours down river the jet boat decides to shell out. Apparently a lift pump went out and the engine wasn't getting oil, just fuel, so 2 of the cylinders were burned up. We go from a V6 to a V4. We camp for the night and work on it and things are not looking good until morning when we call a mechanic in Anchorage and he says we should be fine as long as we don't run the RPM up too high. So we get back on the river and head on down. Our destination was a river about 90 miles south of Galena, which we FINALLY arrived at on the 16th..... only to find there isn't enough water in that river to get up it at all. Things are now pretty down. Our 10 day hunt is now an 8 day hunt. We head back upriver and camp for the night and spend the next day looking for a place to install the basecamp. We find what we think at the time is a good looking area, but is far from it. We put in our wall tent and sleeping tents and my cousin and I decide to go for an evening hunt. We get about 500 yards from camp and two native kids pop out at about 400 yards. They go one way and we go decide to go opposite of them towards a slough about a 1/4 mile away. No sooner than we get out to the slough than my cousin says "Moose!". We get down in the grass and there are 2 cows and a bull standing about 300 yards away. The bull was pretty small, but as soon as I got the binoculars on him they all ran away quickly. I found this to be odd, since moose very rarely get too spooked like this unless they smell you, which these moose could not. We went after them but never did find the bull.
So we head back to camp around 7, and have something to eat when a jet boat shows up with two native men in it. One of them hops out and he introduces himself and says we're camped on his native allotment and explains some of the surrounding land and who owns it. He says we are welcome to stay and hunt and camp as long as we wish and he was a real nice guy. We talked about hunting and the weather and blah blah blah for awhile and then he left. The next morning I headed back to that slough to see if I could find that bull. Nada. For the evening hunt, 4 of us piled in the Hewescraft and headed up a big slough where we had heard some guys were getting some real nice moose, leaving my grandad and uncle in camp for that day. We saw no moose, and very little sign which was discouraging. We got back to camp around dark to hear from my uncle that two boats with about 3 drunken natives in each boat came by camp screaming vulgar obscenities at them around 6 o'clock. They were screaming that we were on native land and we needed to leave immediately. My uncle and granddad replied that we had permission from the man who owned the land and that no, we weren't just going to up and leave. They replied with more vulgar name calling and said the land was owned by some guy in Seattle. They get done screaming after 10 minutes or so and leave. The next morning we pack everything up and go look for yet another place to hunt.
After finding another place for a camp, this one we're positive isn't on native land, I take my uncle and walk back to a lake behind camp to do some calling. After an hour or so of thrashing and calling, I hear some rustling and rushing noises coming from across the lake. I let out and a real low cow call and it gets louder and faster, like a bull crashing through the bush. We get ready and, well, nothing happens. All is quiet. Whatever made the noises never did show itself. We go back to camp encouraged that there is probably a bull back there.
The next morning, the 22nd, we have 4 full days to hunt including that day. We're getting down to the wire. It's pretty windy and that sort of eliminates any morning hunt. My original plan was to hunt a big dried up slough that evening where there were just TONS of fresh moose tracks in there. It seemed like the place to be.... but I just didn't feel right about heading in there. It was too windy. I didn't think we could hunt it effectively. Any moose in there would smell us or be bedded down in some thick stuff and probably would be very tough to call out. So I decided to take my 2 cousins and head back to the lake. The wind wasn't as bad back in there so we scraped and raked brush for 30 mins with some 20 minute quiet periods. It was getting close to 8 and I had finished some calling when I heard footsteps behind us in the trees. I'm thinking great, somebody is walking in here and were just wasting time hunting here. I turn around and there's an antler palm swaying through the trees about 60 yards away! I turn around with my cousin and I tell him to get ready. The bull comes through the trees grunting and he gets to about 20 yards and stops. I can see he doesn't have the 4 brow tines, but he looks awfully big. I look at his eyes and I figure I could fit about 5 eye widths in between his antlers. Well thats a good start towards making him a 50" bull. I look at his ears and I could almost fit two ear widths in his antlers, and I start getting excited. I think two full ear widths is 54-56", so this should put him at 51-54". Meanwhile, this bull is just standing there, staring at us. I'm deathly afraid he's going to run off, but he just stands there, scraping his antlers on a tree. After these two examinations, I determine he's going to be 50, not by much, but 50 nevertheless. My cousin asks "Do you think he is legal?" I take one last look and whisper "Yes. Let me call him out from behind those branches and you take him". The bull had just a few small dead branches in front of him, preventing a shot right there. I give him a "Whuh" and he just comes out a walking. No sooner than he cleares the brush than BOOM off goes his .45-70. The bull turns and trots back about 15 yards and begins to pile up. My cousin finishes him with a shot to the neck, as the bull was trying to get up after falling down and we are just going nutso. This was the first bull I had ever called in and his body is just huge. I put the tape on him and it stretches all the way to..... 54". It was an excellent hunt! We go back to camp (thank god it was only about 1/4 mile) and grab packframes and gamebags and the other guys in camp and we get to the bull about 9 at night, and have the last loads of meat and antlers back at camp at 4am. Talk about a long night.
The next day we build a meat pole and hang around camp until evening time and go hunt a couple spots with no luck, so we turn in early that night.
The afternoon of the 24th we dropped my uncle and one of my cousins (the one who didn't shoot that bull) off at a spot along the river to go back and hunt and my dad and I would go look at the slough we saw all the tracks. We head back into the slough and do some calling with no luck. We head back around 8 pm to the drop off spot where my uncle and cousin are and they say they need help with a 61" bull they just bagged! So we head back to camp and grab packs and gamebags, eat a quick dinner and head out to dress the bull. This one took alot longer. Around 3 am or so, I hear this "pong" noise about 30 yards away and realize thats another bull coming to the smell of this one. So I give a few grunts and sure enough, this bull starts grunting back. I'm excited because if I wait till daylight, I had a great shot of being able to call him in. So we get down to the boat around 8 am and head to camp and sleep till 1 or so. It's the last day of the season now and my dad and I head back to the area about 200 yards above the carcass of the other bull and start calling. We call for about an hour, and I know, I just KNOW if I hangout here till dark that bull will come. If he hears my thrashing and calls, he'll come. So there I am, standing in the middle of this tiny opening with my thrashing stick, and here comes the bull, just as quiet as could be! Not 15 yards away! My .375 is 10 yards away on my pack, so I walk over to it, grab it, load it, remove scope cover and grunt at the bull. He just starts swaying back and forth, totally oblivious to the fact that he walking towards his death. Since I am a resident, any bull was legal. As soon as he stopped I let him have it and he didn't make it 20 feet before piling up. I walked up on him and measured him at 44". Not a bad first bull. I still couldn't believe I had called in not one but two bull moose on the trip. It was great!
Now spending the 3rd night in 4 days staying up packing out moose was not too great. But we still had a great trip. Yukon Moose hunt 2010 154.jpg
First pictures are my 2 cousins and I, with the 54" bull we got at the lake. Yukon Moose hunt 2010 156.jpg