September 06, 2008
Well, sports fans, she beat me again!
I would have been fine on opening day of bow season if that
tiny limb would not have moved over in my arrow path.
The deflection send my arrow flying off into never land, never
to be seen again. The bull moose took the incident in stride
by simply trotting off into the brush. The whole thing left
me near tears.
I spent the next ten days tromping through deep, wet brush and
head high wet grass, in pursuit of bones. I never got close
enough again to shoot an arrow at anything.
We set up camp in the mountains not far from home for rifle
season on Aug. 20th.
While we were out scouting one evening I managed to drop my
cell phone in a muddy trail not far from camp.
We drove the Prowler back to the area and found the phone nestling
nicely in the mud. I was glad to have it back.
As we were turning around to head back up the trail, a big bull
moose stepped out on a ridge not 30 yards from us.
He had big beautiful horns that were still in full velvet, and
three brow tines. It takes a mature bull to have the three brow
tines which are one of the rules necessary to be legal.
We watched him for several minutes before heading back to camp.
I would have loved to been the one to bag him, but as fate sometimes
grabs you, it wasn't to happen.
Opening morning we were out at the crack of dawn heading back
down the same trail. We hadn't gone a quarter of a mile when
a nice young bull crossed the trail. He was nice but not quite
big enough to be legal.
Five minutes later old Rackatula, ( the name I gave the big
bull), ran across the trail and stopped not 100 yards from us.
He just stood there looking dumb. He didn't stand for long because
my little Owner let the air out of him with a well placed round
through the shoulder. My hopes of bagging him went down the
The sun had not even came up yet and she was tagged out.
I was able to drive the Prowler right up to the downed bull
and bag him up and was back in camp before sun up.
It never goes that easy. Usually it takes days of rain, mud
and pain to get a moose.
The next morning Paul Frome, Lin and I went back out to look
for a bull for Paul.
We never found anything shootable and were back in camp just
as Paul's wife, Charlene, came into camp to bring us a batch
of freshly cooked cinnamon rolls.
I was standing there munching on a roll when Paul tapped me
on the shoulder and pointed into the brush.
Not 80 yards away was a nice bull moose feeding along not paying
any attention to us who were talking loud.
How often does that happen?
It didn't take long to glass the bull and see he was legal to
Paul dropped him there right next to camp. Paul was beginning
to think this moose hunting was nothing.
This little five day hunt was done while waiting for the regular
hunting season to open in the Caribou Hills, where we hunt on
Native Land. We have been hunting there for 15 years. In other
words we were just out play-hunting for a few days before we
really went to moose camp.
We cut up the two moose and re-packed our supplies for the "real"
moose hunt on Aug. 25th.
I set up a big nice comfortable camp. We have the big Alpinelite
Camper on my 4x4 dually.
I also set up a 10x20 foot canopy, a fire stove that doubles
as a BBQ pit.
I have a pressurized water pump set up to transfer water into
the camper. It also doubles as a nice water hose for filling
coffee pots etc.
We set up a micro-wave on one of the tables outside along with
another propane stove that we use to make coffee out under the
It is really a nice set-up. No matter how hard it rains, we
still have a fire going and a dry place to sit and enjoy the
I am up at 0430, and it only takes a minute to turn on the lights
and throw a log on the fireplace, which is still burning.
I then throw some sweet rolls in the micro-wave and get the
water heating for coffee.
By the time everyone is dressed, the chow is ready. We have
a quick snack before going out on the trail.
We eat breakfast at about 0900, when we get back to camp from
the morning hunt. Then Lin brings on the bacon, eggs, blueberry
hot cakes etc.
My big mistake came when Paul and I walked up on two large bulls
early one morning.
They were feeding along and had no idea we were there. One bull
was not but about 45 to 48 inches wide. He was not the 50 inches
that were necessary to be legal. The other bull was far bigger,
but did not have the three brow tines to be legal. Yet I new
he was at least 50 inches wide, which would still have been
enough to be legal under the 50 inch rule.
I have a personal rule that I live by, which I won't shoot a
moose unless I can see the three brow tines.
It is far easier to shoot under the three brow tine rule. It
is very hard to judge a moose that you THINK is 50 inches wide.
A lot of hunters shoot moose that don't pass the 50 inch rule
and get busted. I have been judging moose horns for over 40
years, and I still don't feel confident enough to make the call.
A 50 inch moose looks to be 60 inches wide. I just won't take
I let the big bull walk because it did not have the three brow
I don't know any hunter that wouldn't have shot him, but I won't.
Paul hunted with us for 10 days, and then had to leave to go
back to Oregon.
The wolves and three big grizzly bears moved into our valley.
One of the bears that I call, "Monstro", was one of
the three. His foot print was 12 inches wide and 16 inches long.
He's easily one of the top few bears alive.
His twin brother was also hanging around a couple of miles away.
I've watched them grow from cubs. Now they are two of the biggest,
meanest critters around.
They absolutely have no fear of anyone. If you happen to run
into one of them on the trail, you will be the one who backs
up and leaves.
The other two bears were the average 1000 pound rascals that
foot prints ran about 8-9 inches wide.
I don't really like being out there around them. Those critters
are hard to kill. It usually takes several shots to put one
down. They can run 60 feet a second. It isn't kool to have one
charge. They are on you before you have time to get a shot off.
I have been lucky and not stupid as some are. I never walk alone.
If one does charge, at least one of us should be able to shoot
while the bear chews on the other.
I try to stay out of places where my visibility is low, and
always stay alert.
When one of us has a bull down, we post a guard to watch for
bears while the others work on the field dressing of the moose.
I teach "Bear Safety Seminars" all over the country,
and I certainly practice bear safety in the woods.
There is no worse way to die as being ripped apart by an angry
I was up early on Sept. 5th. to find our mountain socked in
with fog. I went back to bed to find the fog lifting a half
an hour later.
I got back up and Lin got up to drive me up to the high country.
We were going up high to get away from the wolves and bears.
Two miles from camp I spotted a bull standing by the side of
the trail. He had just came down from the high country.
I stepped out as he ran down across a swamp and up the side
of a ridge. He was about two hundred yards away when he made
the mistake of stopping to look at an old ornery moose hunter.
One 300 grain Nosler Accubond slug turned him upside down. I
guessed he didn't understand that a 375 H&H Magnum could
reach that far. Bad mistake!
It took me an hour to saw a trail down the ridge to get my 4-wheeler
Lin and I bagged him up and was soon back in camp.
The next morning we broke camp and brought him back to our log
house over looking the Kenai River.
God has blessed us once again. We have all 4 freezers full of
salmon, moose, and frozen berries that we picked at moose camp.
We have our 10 cords of wood all stacked and soon will be ready
for the long, cold, Alaskan nights that are sure to come.
Lin's bull is far larger than mine. I'm sure I'll hear about
it a million times before spring. I know she has called everyone
she knows already. Oh well, it's hard to find a good looking
cook up in those hills. It's sure a lot better than those old
smelly moose hunting guys I used to hunt with.
I guess there's always next year.
Bubba n Lin, walking the "Wilderness Trail".