Moose scouting -- bear and Ants
Until last year I didn't want to shoot a moose. Now I have more to feed and know more who would take some meat. One of my buddies couldn't go after grouse with our kids cause he was chasing moose and kept talking about it, so I thought I would too.
I hunted the last three days and saw one sub-legal bull who came right to me when I called on that frosty, blue-sky morning with the full moon still visible. I was hooked.
So I've been scouting around. The walking is great right now with the swamps still frozen and no leaves on the brush and Devil's club. But, it's hard to find a place that doesn't have a camp or stand already in sight. I have been busting lots of brush to swamps looking for a nice place to focus this fall. There are new wheeler trails that weren't there last spring. I have found two sets of small, palmed sheds from this year and plenty of scrapes but still lots of people sign.
Today I studied the map some more and then set off for a hike with two spots in mind to check. Hiking in cloud cover (no sun to guide me) I got too far away from the first spot since I wasn't staring at my compass or GPS much. I decided to just veer over to the second swamp since it was closer.
This spring I have not been making much noise while hiking cause i've seen no bear sign. I was going through some chest-high brush in mixed old-growth spruce and birch. There was no wind and I was thinking how I hadn't heard any other animals moving away but I was making a fair amount of noise. There were no game trails but a few beds which I figure were moose and it was kinda rough going. Then, there was a pretty blond head with little rounded ears about two feet apart looking at me. Thankfully, it was about forty yards away. I hollered, it didn't run, I yelled again and it stood up. The bear was a little below me. In the five or six seconds I hadn't seen any other movement around like cubs. I fired my tiny .454 once into the ground ten yards away from me and yelled again. It waited another two seconds and dropped and loped away kinda looking back with its fur just rippling.
I didn't really like how slow it seemed to respond to my yelling or the gun noise. Visibility was poor, sometimes just a few yards; I decided to go look at the first swamp which happened to be exactly the opposite direction the bear seemed to go.
A mile later (4-5 minutes), I was out of the brush and in a big swamp. I took my pack off for a nice cold drink and looked around, and around, and down at dozens of ants crawling over and in my pack and up my boots onto my pants. Darn it! An ant nest in the swamp.
Anyway, there were lots of old and fresh tree scrapes, an old but full skull with 3x3 brow tines and no four-wheeler tracks anywhere. I hiked out on a bear trail by a creek.
Cool story. Why didn't you shoot the bear?
WOW! Sounds like you had a great adventure! You learned a valuable lesson about moose hunting in Alaska. If your sneaking around in the brush, you might not like what you find! Anyway, glad to hear your bear sighting didn't turn in to a bear encounter. On the other hand, it could have turned in to a Griz hunt!
[QUOTE=BTK;948164] I have found two sets of small, palmed sheds from this year and plenty of scrapes but still lots of people sign.
Anyway, there were lots of old and fresh tree scrapes, an old but full skull with 3x3 brow tines and no four-wheeler tracks anywhere. QUOTE]
People or no people I would be hunting this area during moose season. It sounds almost too good to be true. When you say plenty of scrapes, how many is plenty? Are these on the ground scrape “pits” or only trees scrapes?
Bears in the area may be a problem, I hunt an area that used to be good, until the bears moved in and the moose left. I also have a bear or bears testing my barricade.