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  • Monster Moose tactics?

    I'm heading to the Peninsula this Sept. to try and harvest a massive, mature bull moose. My air transporter is telling me to get to an elevated area, stay put and glass for hours, day after day. He tells me his most successfull hunters "stay put". He cautions me from moving through the area, thus stinking it up and creating noise; that will keep mature bulls away. He assures me that if I move around, I'll not see the monster I'm lookig for.

    In contrast, I have spoken to some who do move around, and who are successful. Given that the peninsula moose densities are relatively low, I'm scratching my head about the "staying put" tactic.

    For those that have been succcesful on giant bulls, what are your thoughts and experiences? Thanks in advance for your help, knowledge and sweat equity.

    Very best,
    TWA

  • #2
    question

    TWA,

    What are your plans for packing the meat out if you do get your massive, giant, monster bull moose? How far from your transport location might you be? A monster bull should weigh in at nearly 3/4 ton on the hoof. Figure a good 600 lbs of boned-out meat.

    My experience with giant bulls is that they are very big and heavy <grin>.

    Best, Mark
    Mark Richards
    www.residenthuntersofalaska.org

    Comment


    • #3
      stay put and glass

      you can see a big bull a long ways away, and often you can watch thier response to your calling.
      when you know a bull is coming, you can position yourself in a good spot...one with access to water...and to your boat or pick-up spot.
      stay put...call (but only if you see or hear bulls)...be willing to acknowledge that some animals are simply too far away to pursue.
      if, as you say, you are concerned about low moose densities in your hunt area it would make no sense at all to risk stinking up your hunt area by walking around...you have no idea how acute a bulls hearing is...
      Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
      http://www.alaskabackcountryhunters.org/

      Comment


      • #4
        Mark (bushrat)

        We (two of us) will be doing it just like our elk or mule deer hunting; hind, quarter & quarter again! Seriously, we'll have our freighters and that's it. Sure it's a ton of work. I'm up for it mentally and physically. I'm sure it will be challenging, yet that's why I do this stuff. I'm guessing (having not been to the area) that we'll be glassing and hunting fairly close to our drop off position. I'm defining "fairly close" as being from the tent to "however far we need to".

        Comment


        • #5
          Good luck

          TWA,

          I weighed the hindquarter of a big bull once on a large hanging spring scale, and it weighed 180lbs (with bone). Distances over tundra, tussocks, spongy terrain while packing moose meat are deceptive--what looks like a "hop skip and jump" back to camp without a pack ends up being quite the opposite with a hundred pounds on your back. Follow Dave's good advice...some animals may be too far away to pursue in terms of distance back to camp or pick-up location. A large bull moose is nothing like the largest elk you've ever seen. Many shoot a moose a mile from camp, then can't get it all back to camp, either in time for their pickup flight, or because it ends up being too much to handle, sprained ankle, twisted back etc. I was amazed how long each trip of a half-mile takes over tussocks and tundra with a moose quarter on my back. White-sox, gnats...bring a headnet. Take note of the wanton waste laws and practice good meat care and I wish you the best of luck.
          Mark
          Mark Richards
          www.residenthuntersofalaska.org

          Comment


          • #6
            Postscript

            P.S.,

            I forgot to add that I now have a bad back <grin>.
            Mark Richards
            www.residenthuntersofalaska.org

            Comment


            • #7
              Massive, Gigantic, Stupendous Monster Moose!

              TWA,

              There's no way to over-state the sheer size of any mature bull moose, whether his antlers are thirty-six inches or sixty-three inches. They're all big. I packed my first moose out mostly by myself (everything except a front shoulder carried by my hunting "partner" who flaked out after the first load). It was three miles from the lake and took me three days to do it, back when I was young and stronger than I am now. Mark's moose quarter has my biggest one beat by a bit; the heaviest hindquarter I ever packed out weighed 165#. Now that's a load that will get your attention. Right now you think you know what you're getting in to, and you may even resent comments that insinuate that you don't. That's okay; you will soon see. We're not just sitting here with our thumbs behind our suspenders armchair-quarterbacking this stuff. We've done it, many times. Clearly what one man can do, another can do also, and I don't think anyone would doubt your capabilities. We're just giving you a fair warning of what you're up against.

              As to your trophy expectations, I'm sure you realize that really big bulls are by definition rare. Your chances of bagging an exceptional one are not very good, regardless of where you are going. This is especially true if you're a man of integrity who refuses to use an aircraft for aerial spotting (there are those who aren't and do, and they shoot many of the largest bulls as a result). If you want a truly large bull, you must resign yourself to spending a LOT of time in the field. You could get lucky, like the gentleman in the photo I'm posting here, or you could be like my good friend Brook, who has been here three times and has yet to even see a legal bull. It's hunting; what else can I say? A person of your experience knows this.

              Out on the Peninsula I would expect thick, heavy alders over much of the hunting area. The best advice you've received so far about hunting the area is to stay put on a good glassing hill and glass, glass, glass. You'll tear yourself up trying to navigate those alders, so save it for when you're making your stalk. As with packing heavy meat loads, the sheer difficulty of hunting through thick alders also cannot be overstated. Put a pack on and hike lengthwise, on your hands and knees, through a hedge, and you'll have a small idea of what I'm saying. Again, I know this because I've been there. My personal record was being suspended fifteen vertical feet off the ground on a steep side-hill in THICK alders, with an entire Dall sheep in my pack. The real fun started when I discovered a live wasp nest about the size of a volleyball between my knees. Until you've been there, you have no way of comprehending the difficulty of it. Again, you will see...

              Tactics for locating and hunting exceptionally-large bulls are not much different from hunting any mature bull. The general pattern is that the larger bulls have cows with them by the third week in September or so, and you are not going to call them away from those cows. You can use calling to locate them, but then you have to make your stalk because they won't come to you. At this time, you will call in smaller bulls with cow calls, but that's about it. Prior to the third week of September (generally speaking), you may have some success calling larger and smaller bulls with bull and cow calls. If you haven't done so yet, pick up a copy of Wayne Kubat's excellent video on moose calling; "Love, Thunder and Bull". Moose calling is not difficult to master and the animals themselves are not difficult to hunt.

              Best of luck to you!

              Oh.. as to the distance you have to go for really big bulls, the moose in the attached photo officially scored #3 in Boone and Crockett (the only book that really counts, in my view) the year he was taken over in GMU 16. He was guided by a friend I recruited as an assistant guide that year. As you can see, one antler is larger than the other. This is typical of moose; most bulls are "left antlered" in the sense that they have more tines on the left antler, along with a slightly longer and/or wider palm on the left than on the right antler. This is not always the case, however you can clearly see the difference in the attached photo. The left antler sports ten brow tines, an exceptional number for any bull. The distance? He was shot at the end of the airstrip, by a first-time moose hunter.

              Have a great hunt! I hope you enjoy every minute of it, from the steaming coffee over the camp stove, to the wind and rain on your cheek, to the warmth of a sleeping bag after a hard day, to the dancing aurora overhead, and the crackling campfire at night. Enjoy it all, for a day is coming when it will be just a memory. Take lots of pictures and write a little bit every day if you can. You'll be glad you did later.

              Regards,

              -Mike
              Attached Files
              Michael Strahan
              Site Owner
              Alaska Hunt Consultant
              1 (907) 229-4501

              Comment


              • #8
                TWA

                I very much have to agree with Michael Strahan, " There's no way to over-state the sheer size of any mature bull moose". There's also no way to over-state the sheer pain in the ass it is to hump gear,meat, anything over tussock covered tundra. Oh, and by the way Mike, the bull in your picture is now #4 B&C.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AK Troutbum
                  ... the bull in your picture is now #4 B&C.
                  Good deal... I was surprised anyone recognized the image. Did B&C publish it? Interested in your story on this...

                  -Mike
                  Michael Strahan
                  Site Owner
                  Alaska Hunt Consultant
                  1 (907) 229-4501

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The only book that really counts???

                    Mike, I am relatively new to this board and have read many of your very helpful, informative and intelligent posts which clearly reflect your expertise in the field and your generosity to fellow hunters. I respect your opinion and appreciate the information you add to this site. But I know an awful lot of bowhunters who would respectfully and vehemently disagree with you on this one.

                    I have no intention of entering into a gun vs. bow hunting debate here, but some of us hold ourselves to a different (note, I didn't say higher) set of standards in the field. We limit ourselves by virtue of our equipment choice and recognize our accomplishments in an archery specific record book. As a long time, archery-only hunter, I think that our book should count too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      i'm sure mike meant no slight to pope and young

                      but he might have been taking a potshot at SCI and other "books" that recognize high fence hunts....can't put words in mikes mouth, though...
                      Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
                      http://www.alaskabackcountryhunters.org/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Monster bulls

                        Good luck in the search for a big bull.
                        A big bull moose is the size of a quarter horse laying on the ground dead.
                        You have quite a pack ahead of you. I spent the last 15 years cutting moose during the season for hunters here in Nome and saw a wide variety of sizes come to town.
                        The larger bulls seemed to have front legs that averaged between 75 and 95 pounds. That is the front arm, just the blade bone to the knee.
                        The hind leg, averages 120 to 165 pounds, depending on how it is cut. I'm talking about the hind leg only. Removing the leg at the rump knuckle and cutting the lower leg off at the knee will yield a chunk larger than most manly men can carry.
                        A rib bone alone is nearly 36 inches long. One rib bone. A boned out loin will be four feet long. A boned out neck, both sides, will be more than a typical deer.
                        They are gigantic animals. You have a pack of a lifetime waiting for you if successful.
                        Good luck on the trip.
                        Regarding the bull moose in the photo Strahan posted. Isn't that James W. Gelhaus? I could be mistaken but if memory serves me correctly I think that bull scores 245 2/8, was killed in 1997, ranks currently 26th all time in Boone and Crockett and is ranked 22nd in the state as of today. I may be wrong, I don't have at hand the Awards book that bull was entered in, I'm refering to the 12th edition of Records of North American Big Game. The bull did receive an award for the entry period it was entered in. I may have the wrong bull, wrong hunter. Regardless it's a stud, I have wood for a bull like it, it's an incredible specimen and there certainly aren't many like it alive.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Monster Bulls 2

                          This is one.
                          This bull was killed in 1995 and scores 227 2/8 B&C. It was never entered although it was officially scored.
                          The spread was 61 inches, which goes to show they don't all have to have a giant spread to make the records book.
                          The animal was 11 years old, was a huge specimen and ate very well.
                          Just a reference photo. Good luck on your hunt.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My apologies!

                            Originally posted by Busta Ribs
                            ...As a long time, archery-only hunter, I think that our book should count too.
                            Oops! My mistake. My comment was directed at other books where you actually have to pay to see your name in lights... For me the nod goes to Boone and Crockett, Pope and Young, and of course Rowland Ward's. These three have always maintained the perspective of fair chase and respect for the animal as a primary purpose. It's a shame that getting ones' name in "The Book" has become such an issue for some, as has having to harvest an outrageously huge animal. What ever happened to simply enjoying the hunt itself?

                            Anyway, I apologize for my oversight; I had another target in my crosshairs and intended no disrespect at all.

                            -Mike
                            Michael Strahan
                            Site Owner
                            Alaska Hunt Consultant
                            1 (907) 229-4501

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Gelhaus moose

                              Originally posted by Grizzlykiller
                              ...Isn't that James W. Gelhaus? I could be mistaken but if memory serves me correctly I think that bull scores 245 2/8, was killed in 1997, ranks currently 26th all time in Boone and Crockett and is ranked 22nd in the state as of today...
                              Yes, this is the moose taken by Jim Gelhaus. At the time that bull was shot, it came into the number two slot in the B&C book. This bull was taken using fair chase methods in an area that had not been hunted before. I have the whole story and thought about posting it, but it may be copyrighted (so I cannot post it). For those interested, the story appears in the Boone and Crockett Club's 24th Big Game Awards, 1998-2000. It was shot in September 1997, and my good friend Ron Michael was guiding him. Ron's son Trevor was assisting. I'm attaching another photo of the animal.

                              -Mike
                              Attached Files
                              Michael Strahan
                              Site Owner
                              Alaska Hunt Consultant
                              1 (907) 229-4501

                              Comment

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