A couple weeks ago I posted about my buddy Ryan heading to the Yukon to go after moose. He wrote his prep and gear choices for the hunt. Today, we get to see what all of that led up to! Enjoy! -WJ
Day 2: The first full day of hunting
I slept only a couple hours due to the anticipation of morning. We had an early breakfast and we were off, my guide Tim and I traveled about 10 miles in our 15hp john boat to the north end of Lake Toobally. When we rounded the corner we saw a cow moose and her calf. we stopped a few hundred yards short and did a sneak to see if there was a bull. There was not, but still a cool first experience.
We then traveled north through the woods and swamp for about an hour to Snake Lake, where an old canoe had been waiting for years for our arrival. After putting the canoe in the lake we noticed a fairly major leak. My first thought was, “oh well so much for that.” About that time my guide Tim goes around gathering spruce sap and builds a pile of sap on the hole and lights a fire. The sap sealed the hole perfectly, after that my guide was dubbed “MacGyver“. So we were back in business, we rowed about two or three miles north and I noticed at a distance what appeared to be the nose of a skull sticking up in the air. I thought it was a small dead bull moose, after closer inspection it was a big bull 60″ wide (which is real wide for this dense timber area we are hunting) also the bull had a rare drop tine a porcupine ate off. I instantly knew I had to try to get this awesome find home, after all I am Shedhunter, MD!We had left the skull on the shore and headed north to the top of Snake Lake. We found wolf tracks, bear tracks and moose tracks. We decided to over look this well-used marsh and just a short while later we heard a cow bellowing and a bull chased her out in front of us. We quickly decided he was not a first day shooter.
After packing that big moose skull out of the woods it was raining pretty hard, but I still had a smile ear to ear, what a place to be, what an awesome experience. I decided to keep cleaning the rain from my binos and glassing. I just happened to dry them for a split second and I again saw tines about half a mile away, it was another big dead bull and he even scores higher, in the 200″ range!
I still like the first dead bull more because of where we found him and his drop tine. Both bulls teeth where very worn down, the first bull basically only had nubs left for teeth. They were most likely killed the winter before by wolves and or grizzlies.
Now we had a boat full of bone and evening was fast approaching. We were looking for bulls on their feet. My guide suddenly spots three moose chasing over a mile across the lake. We shoot over to that side and cut the motor off and row into shore. The cow moose and bull were still grunting and she was bellowing. We slipped into the woods and my guide started calling and quickly the big bull closed the distance. I took one look at the bull and then looked at the guide, he gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up. The bull was already in range but it was thick, and I needed him to walk into a lane fast before dark. The bull went back the way he came, so we backed out to come back for him in the morning. My guide said it was the biggest bull he had seen in a long time, well over 200″ with 4′ palms!
After arriving back at camp the other guides could not figure out where we got these two big dead bulls from, they said they have never had a hunter find a single dead bull, let alone two. My guide Tim is also a taxidermist, he is going to fix the skulls and the tines…getting them on the float plane was a another story. On this day Steve shot a three-and-a-half-year-old bull moose to hunt grizzly bears over the remains, unfortunately wolves found the kill and instantly removed every scrap.
Another sleepless night with anticipation of taking up on where we left off with the big bull.
Tim and I took the boat very slow and quietly to the ridge where we had the encounter with the big bull the night before. We slipped on the ridge and Tim began to call, in just a few minutes we heard a bull moose grunting working our way. Tim fell back behind me quickly to try to pull the bull past me. I took one look at the bull and decided “shooter”. As you will see in the video below, this was everything but easy, I held my 72-pound bow over two minutes at full draw, keep in mind the 10 miles of canoe rowing the day before did not help.
Watch the first video on full volume and in HD to hear grunts and for the best resolution.
My shot was not perfect by any means but we had experienced guides and hunters with us so recovery was successful. My guide Tim is the best hunter/woodsman I have had the pleasure of hunting with. His tracking skills and knowledge are unmatched.
For more images please check out the original post here.
Images courtesy Ryan Mazeska