The sun seemed to hang forever over Cook
Inlet before it finally disappeared behind Mt. Redout. Across
the trail I caught a movement of a large animal feeding along
the brushy hillside about 200 yards away. A quick check told
me it was the bull I had seen early that same morning and the
evening before. This time there was enough daylight to see the
three brow tines on both sides.
It was the 5 th.of September, 2004. My wife Lin and I had set
up camp deep in the lower Caribou Hills of Alaskas Kenai
Peninsula. The 68,000 acres belongs to the Nilnilchik Native
Council. We have been hunting their property for several years
because it is close to home and we always harvest our winters
meat without fail. It is only 60 miles from our camp to our
home on the Kenai River, which makes it easy to take a trip
back to town for supplies.
The hunting season started out with my neighbor, Dan, hunting
from his wheelchair. Dan had a head-on with a drunk driver a
couple of years ago which left him with most of the bones in
his body broken, and the loss of one leg. The other leg is not
able to bear his weight for more than a couple of minutes. He
bought a Polaris 6x6 which he can ride without having to use
his weak leg due to the controls being on the handle-bars.
Dan did very well hunting for a few days riding his 6x6. He
was able to cross the swamps, roll over logs, and navigate through
the deep grass. I have never seen such a display of courage
An infection in his lungs finally sent him back to town and
under a Doctors care. I had not known that his lungs had
also been shredded in the accident, and an infection was a serious
situation for him. He went back to town only because it was
what he had to do.
I hunted alone for several days because Lin had to be in town
for her job. One of my rules is to never hunt alone in the bush.
It is never safe with the bears or hidden sink holes. If it
wasnt for the dependability of the Hydro-Traxx, I would
have never considered doing it alone. The tall grass also hides
downed logs and stumps that can trip or damage your machine.
I seldom push out beyond what is safe. A break-down miles from
camp at dark can be very hazardous. Yet, I found myself alone
in the bush with an uneasy feeling in my stomach. Sometimes
things get a bit unpredictable and we must go on until things
improve. It will cause you to be a little more careful and not
take any unnecessary chances.
I suppose that it does do a man good to be alone once in a while.
I found an inner strength takes over and it makes you more aware
of your surrounding. It seemed that I became as much of a predator
as the wolves and bears that were there.
Late one evening I came face to face with a large black bear
that was coming down the trail towards me. Neither of us wanted
to give up the right-of-way. He finally decided to cut to the
left as we were about to collide. I thought that he must have
not known my e-mail address, which is the oldbearhunter.
Then again, if he had of known he might have decided to even
the score. I was glad he headed for the brush. It was too close
to be doing any hand-to-hand combat with a bear that big.
I was also amused to find a fresh set of brown bear tracks which
showed that he had followed me off of the ridge the day before.
I especially dont care for bears that do those things.
I was happy to see my brother, Gib, come in to spend a few days
helping me. The first morning we walked up to within 40 yards
of a very large bull feeding. The bull only had two brow tines
on each side which made him illegal. I still think he was over
50 inches wide, but I have come to the decision that a bull
has to be huge before I will shoot him. I take a lot of pride
in being able to judge the width of a bulls horn, but
I also know that they always look much wider than they actually
I let this big fellow feed off into the brush and safety. Next
year he will be very large if he makes it passed the trigger-happy
hunters this year.
The weather was very hot the first weeks of moose season. It
makes very hard hunting and slows the beginning of the rut.
The smoke from the Glacier Fire was so thick that it looked
like I was in the middle of the fire. It burned my nose and
eyes and it made it difficult for the moose to smell predators,
which made them skittish.
Moose always amaze me with some of their tricks. They bed down
in the tall grass on the ridges and on the open hillsides. You
can walk or drive passed them within a few yards and they wont
budge. The only way you will see the big bulls is if you are
out there at the crack of dawn, or just before dark. I dont
mean while you can see clearly, but when its still so
dark that you can hardly see at all. Otherwise you are wasting
a lot of your time. The small bulls will venture out a little
earlier and some times during the day with the cows. The big
fellows stay hid until the rut draws them out, and then you
might find one standing in your camp while you are chopping
Lin took some time off and came to put me in order. We have
had many moose hunts together and not only is she a good cook;
shes also an accomplished bear and moose hunter.
She was with me the evening before and saw the bull first. It
was so dark that we could still see the horns at 40 yards but
it was difficult to tell if he had the three brow points necessary.
She told me that it looked like three brow tines but we did
not want to take a chance on killing an illegal bull.
The next morning we were back there while it was barely light
enough to see. The bull had been feeding in the bogs all night
as was headed back up to cross the trail and bed down on the
brushy ridge above the trail. Once again it was still too dark
to be sure of the brow tines and the bull crossed the trail
and headed back up into the brush.
That evening we were back there early and hid in the brush near
the trail. I was surprised to see the bull feeding along the
hillside just after sundown. I watched him feeding towards us
for about 200 yards. I was able to get a good look at him at
50 yards and let the air out of him with one 300 grain Nosler
through the neck from my old 375 Mag.
I was able to wench him down the bank and into my AATV trailer.
The next morning I shot some good film of Lin skinning and bagging
the moose in the back of the trailer. It just doesnt get
much better than that.
George Bubba Hunt, author of The Wilderness
Preview of the Widlerness Trail