I see Nick has been bringing all the old moose threads back to the top, so thought we'd give him something new to read. We will try and do our best to recap our moose hunt. This hunt is with my brother, another bowsiter with handle MPauls. A straight up killer, and a better man than I. I know our thread will pale in comparison to other iconic moose threads, or the boys and their Kodiak drunken slaughter, but we'll do our best to give you some reading material. You may have to be patient at times, because when I am at home, my internet isn't crazy speedy. When I'm at work it's quicker....but then I'm at work.
For me this hunt really started I’d say 4-5 years ago when starting to research a way to get way back into good solid moose country without costing me my marriage. Over that time a plan began to form, until a couple years back the plan was amended when a friend and his dad wanted to go with a jetboat. DONE – I’m in. Long story short that year it didn’t pan out either and I went back to the drawing board. After years of trying to do a big hunt every year and trying to get my brother involved, his kids had finally grown to the point where it would be feasible for him to do one. I know moose is something he’s been itching at, so prob a couple years ago we started planning in earnest for 2017. I had an idea in mind, a way to get way back and waaaaaay North that I figured no one had thought of.
You see, a little pre-amble to this adventure, the moose hunting around here used to be good. Real good. But over the last number of years it has gone right down the pooper. I’ve got some buddies that hunt hard, real hard, and they’d gone a number of times, and barely seen tracks. I’m talking driving 8 hours north of Winnipeg, then getting 20-25 miles back using creeks, lakes etc and still nothing. So I knew, that if I wanted to do this, it would have to be something out of the ordinary. Even guys flying out with rifles seem to be hitting success rates in the 15-25% range. Ever the optimist, plans took shape. To increase the romance of the hunt, my brother and I would both be packing recurves, Tall Tines that were flying very, very well. My brother has killed a few giant deer with his, and I have yet to take one to the field. Why not moose?
Of course, as can sometimes happen, our plans needed to be changed. Roughly 3-4 months prior we found out that our access wasn’t going to work. We were already committed, so it was at this point that we once again switched gears and started thinking fly-out. If we were doing this, we were doing it right. We’d need a plane that could fly our canoe, a motor, and gear. To make matters worse, roughly two weeks prior to leaving the float plane company looked like they wouldn’t have a plane that could fly a canoe, but we had an option of going to a real good spot with a cabin already there. Sounds cushy. Too cushy. We haggle back and forth.
With about a week to go, it looks like we can do either option. Go to plan A, where no human has been in over 30 years, in a giant river that can supposedly get quite rough with only a canoe or plan B, great moose hunting and a cabin with boats Oh heck ya, option A all the way. These boys were yearning for some adventure!!
The plan is to land in the big river, then traverse roughly a couple miles and through a couple sets of rapids into a smaller inlet river that looks more manageable via canoe. That means all gear needs to easily fit inside a canoe. It's also a complete guess as google earth only spends so much time updating their pictures where there are no humans. Looks rocky?? Ah, what does it matter.
D-Day minus1. Had to whip home for some stuff I needed for work middle of the day and what do I see walking across my lawn? A CANADE! You gotta be kidding me. Just moved into this house in August and haven’t killed anything here, time to test if the backup compound is sighted in as accurately as I think. MMMMhmmmmm I think even paul@thefort is happy with this one. OK so compound is also sighted in and it’s time for bed. My 3 year old daughter simply can NOT understand why she is not allowed to go moose hunting with daddy. One last bed time with her and off we go tomorrow.
(I had a picture of my goose to post here, and putting my sweetie-pie to bed, but we'll I guess have to plug those in at some point. Hopefully I can get this resolved.
Adventure has always been a longing for me, but never quite in the cards with a very young family of 3 kids, and my wife not thinking she was up to it yet. So I've enjoyed quite passionately chasing whitetails the past number of years, but I must admit, seeing my brother and hunting partner do a trip each year was planting a seed that was starting to cry for water. When my lovely wife gave me the green light I was about as excited as, well,.. ever! That was about a year out when I had confirmed with her that we would be doing this for sure, and I can remember the daily phone calls (not even joking) between my brother and I, planning, strategizing and just plain dreaming of bulls in the mist. We were virgins to Moose but full of piss and vinegar.
It started to get very real in June when there was a long list on the homefront of things that needed to still be done. We recently put on an addition to our house and being in construction, there were still quite a few loose ends that needed to be tied off before I felt ok about leaving the family behind. Many long nights of work around home seem to go by fast as anticipation of the hunt started to drift into full on panic mode as Adam and I often joked about.
The morning “of,” Adam and I decided to meet at his place early enough we could load up and make the trip to Thompson, MB (8 hours) for our flight to leave at 3pm. We dry fit the canoe on the driveway to make sure we packed light enough, and although quite “round” looks like it’ll all fit. Besides what more do you need, a cooler, tent, bows, come along, axe and a rifle for bears? Yeah we’re good, let’s hop in the truck and head into the north! Adam you realize we could stick a bull tonight, eh?!
8 hours passes quickly as we talked about the hurt we were going to be laying on the north. Two Prairie boys with pockets full of tags and excitement! We also bought caribou tags, 1 each, as we truly had no idea what we were getting into, and being residents, it was a cheap add on for the off chance it looks a little more tundra than expected and we bump into a resident caribou. By the time we hit Thompson we were figuring out what we would do with all our days in the bush after we tag out, ok maybe not quite; we were trying our hardest to be realistic but we were ecstatic for the potential
We roll into the float base in Thompson and I’ll admit seeing all the float planes loading and flying out for the first time brings an overwhelming feeling of excitement. Our rep with the flight company informs us that they’re a couple flights behind and there’s no chance of us flying out before dark. So looks like it’s a holiday in Thompson for the night. We enviously watch as others fly out and we head to the Comfort Inn for the night.
So as Matt says we unfortunately were not able to fly. So it was a night shared between Boston Pizza and the Comfort Inn. Watched some new version of the Cops show, laugh at some spike strip explosions and off to bed, plan is to meet at the docks early in the AM to fly out. Pilot was behind and needed to make one long flight late in the afternoon yesterday.
Wake up - Today is the day! Head down to the docks, booyah the plane is back! All excited, but it does not look good when we see the look on the expediters face. So the plane did not make it to the destination yesterday. Still has to do the flight. This morning we see a southern MB friend of ours at the dock. A local bowyer who makes real nice bows, Abe Penner of Caribou Bows. We watch longingly as they start to load their plane and then chip in. What else are we going to do?
So we're kicking stones around talking about how lucky those guys are, and they're gonna be tagged out before we even get airborn yadda yadda, watch another Otter land and talk about how bad we want to be hunting. All of a sudden a guy walks up to us and says "So where is your gear?" Holy Crap it's GO TIME!!!! Our turn to load up and we are jacked to the nines. It's time to go and fulfill a dream bro!
Off we go. We are airborne. As always, glued to the plexiglass and peeling the colours apart looking for moose. Of course the pictures do not do the colours justice. Those fall colours up north are lovely.
As we bank in for a landing we r greeted with a beautiful site. The area is nicely burned as expected and the willows look lush along the river. We are beyond ecstatic!!! All we kept saying is how much it looked like the Yukon!! Wow absolutely gorgeous!! Before we even hit the sand we see it
We don't waste much time getting our gear into the canoe so that we can trek off downriver. Our hope is to find a camp spot and get camp setup before being able to do one calling session. The weather is fairly calm. Who knows what we could see tonight?
Bows are set up (you know just in case) and off we go. We get up to the first large rapids, and just decide to shoot it and come through unscathed. We continue on to the mouth of the smaller river.
When we get there the mouth of the river is simply a giant boulder field with anywhere from 2 inches to a foot and a half of water. SO happy I brought the chest waders. Over the next half day we pull, bump and grind our way up the river. Never finding any depth and constantly bumping rocks. I had brought 5 shear pins for the 2HP motor. Within an hour and half we were down 4. Not looking good... We try and be as careful as possible, but all it takes is the slightest tick. We traverse our way up 3 sets of rapids and are having a hard time finding a camp spot. The ground is always sloped. It continues on a slope forever. OK suck it up buttercup, we just finally give in and go with a spot. We are camped in the middle between 2 sets of rapids. Each is about 1/2 to 3/4 mile away and we can hear the slight roar from them. Not ideal for hearing moose far away. We set up camp quickly and go to do our first set. There's only about 45 minutes of light left. We had seen a spot with a good amount of tracks, we'll head back there to do some calling
Unfortunately we called our first night and had nothing come in. I know can you believe it? We start to strategize. Our trek up this river sucked. Extremely noisy to get around in. Maybe planning from 1200 miles away from a grainy picture on google satellite isn't foolproof. We might need to adjust on the fly. Getting two moose back to the landing spot would be 2 days work if we were so lucky. Low water levels, plus we are going against the current when we hit the main river. Hmmmmmm. We say we will give the small river 3 days. We have 10 days total. If we don't have anything doing in 3 days we'll pull the plug and relocate. We're not crazy fond of our camp area either. For now it's nighty night. The mouth of the little river where it meets the big river looked awesome. A huge bowl to call into. We make a plan that we will call there in the morning.
Day 3- First morning waking up in moose country,.. COLD. First aha moment on that front, but we didn't come for a beach vacation, we came to kill moose no matter how hard it'll get. We figured it was about -5 at night and we were in my Cabela's Alaskan Guide with no heat. Note for next time, heat would be nice. Unzip the tent and it is GORGEOUS out. Quickly whip up a breaky and load up the canoe to head back to the bowl to call.
En-route we hit a few rocks, each time with the sound of aluminum ringing out for a mile or two. With moose it may not always be a bad thing but, things sure aren't going to plan and aren't feeling stealth. The trip ended up taking a couple hours (loud hours of banging and dragging) to get to the mouth. Once we get there we set up and call. In our times of waiting we discuss how this sure isn't a great situation.
By 2pm we're back at camp and frustrated as heck. We make a decision to ditch this plan altogether and get back to where the plane landed us. If we boogie we'll be there by dark. Then we'll hunt the main river that appears to be deeper. In an hour we're broke and loaded up and headed off for the river drag.
Once we get to the main river, there is a pretty serious set of rapids that are about 500 yards long that we have to get up so we decide on our best line. We had one set of hip waders (Adam's) so he jumps out of the bow of the canoe and thankfully finds bottom and holds the canoe in place. At that point we shut down the 2hp and Adam begins the drag up the rapids. One of those situations that progressively got out of hand without a real spot to stop and think. Suddenly we were in some pretty nasty water, getting deeper coming up to the top edge of Adam's waiters and the force of the water (honestly not sure how he was able to fight it this far) was too much for him. He looked back at me with his face white, we both knew where we were headed. Problem with going back down in this fast water is we likely won't be able to decide WHERE we go and the waves will swallow us up. Our canoe is mounded pretty high, nothing is tied off from being in a rush, and all I can think is that dang Sat Phone is in the middle of the canoe when this thing dumps. We make a quick decision to drop the motor in the water and adam can push us off into the lesser water, and out of the rocks. At that moment (less than a second) the motor will HAVE to start and I'll giver all she's got and hopefully we can avoid the invisible rocks and beat the rapids for speed. If we hit a rock it's game over as the shear pin (last one) will be toast and we're sideways. Adam pushes off, motor fires right up, I goose it, Adam is hugging the bow with his torso in the water, and bang rock, canoe sideways. I grab a paddle and jam it as deep as I can with all I've got and get it in between two rocks and stabilize until Adam finds a rock with his foot again. WOW thank you Lord. We managed to baby step our way out and slowly but surely, eventually on calm waters again! If we killed a moose in the river we HAD been on we would have had to get the moose up these rapids to our fly out location, so based on that it was already proving to be a good decision. It would have been close to impossible for a portage in case you're wondering.
“The very best adventures start with poor planning!!”
You guys are alive, so we can joke about it now, but sometimes the situations we get ourselves into are no laughing matter. This is shaping up to be an adventure you will talk about for the rest of your lives!
From here it's a 5 minute ride and we're there. Dang just as beautiful as we remembered. We quickly set up camp, and eat a well deserved bit of food in the dark. We decide to call our wives for quick 5 minute convos every couple days for their peace of mind in hopes of this not being our last adventure. Adam is talking to his wife on the phone in the tent as I'm busy doing something and "rrrruuuuugh!" We stop and look at each other confused... "RRRRUUUUUUUUGHHH!!" Holy crap there's a bull walking 50 yards from our cooking tarp. We can't see him but we can hear him walking and grunting as he's passing by. We elect to stay silent and leave head lamps off. We will have this bull taken care of in the morning :) We are on cloud nine! The move was a good decision. I was shooter this evening which means I will also be shooter in the morning, before Adam's turn is up at noon. We sleep peacefully with dreams of grunts rumbling our chests
Ya as Matt so eloquently put it we survived. I know we had said we were going to give location A three days, but after hunting it the one morning we could not figure how in the heck we could move on this river. It simply wasn't going to work. We decided not to kill any more time and go gamble on the big river. We figured worst case we could hunt unlimited miles by foot, and whatever we kill is now at the rendezvous point so we wouldn't lose any time transporting already downed animals. I know it feels like we just got started but after having lost a day due to weather, and now another to a bad river, we had been starting to get a little anxious knowing that day 3 was around the corner.
After having the bull move RIGHT by camp I can not explain the level of elation we felt. We were bouncing off the tent and the trees. Couldn't help ourselves. We were in MOOSE country fellas!!! It was real! After having talked to many hunters about how moose respond to calls and often stay in an area overnight I told Matt that bull was a dead bull walking. He had no idea Matt was going to slide a Magnus through his ribs in the morning. We just knew it! I'm not sure how many high 5's and bro hugs we gave each other but it was one of those "BEST DECISION EVER BRO!!!" type moments.
Yes thank you! And at my end too, I’m very fortunate to have my brother as my best buddy and hunting partner. I know he says I’m a killer but I think deep down he’s just trying to pat himself on the back cause he’s taught me everything I know. I’m pretty comfortable in the whitetail woods but here I was a fish out of water and having my brother was best case for me with his ability to adapt on the fly to different species.
I would love to do a serious adventure with my brother. Just not sure he would be up for it - not the same passion. Awesome to hear you two living on the edge together! I doesn’t get much better than this!
Hey Rick I meant that in the most endearing way possible ;) They sound like they can kill better hungover than I can sober.
My brother is laying it on a little thick I think there, but I'll leave that competition where it's at. Besides being brothers we are also business partners so we need to pretend like we like each other eh.
The day dawns cold and quiet. Could this be any more perfect? Frost on the leaves our calls would carry for quite a while this morning. Not that we need it. We're half expecting that bull to walk in from the noise of us walking around. He's got to be close.
This is great stuff, fellas! I'm blessed to have a brother who loves to bowhunt, so I can relate to this a lot. I've been fortunate to share some great hunting trips with him, and it definitely is time we've spent together that I cherish. Looking forward to hearing more about a wonderful trip you two shared together.
We walk down what is now becoming a fairly established foot trail to the beach to do our calling. It's only about a 20ish yard walk as you've seen pictures of our camp. Walking roughly 100 yards from the campsite we are able to find the tracks from the bull as he had walked down the beach, then moved up into the burnt timber as he walked around our camp grunting the whole way last night.
For what may have been one of our biggest surprises of the trip, we call nothing in. We see no moose this morning. He must have simply been travelling down the river and kept going all night. Our calls must carry for miles in the morning calm, but as sorrowful and longing as we could make a cow moose sound, we were unable to bring anything in.
This morning we also head a couple miles upriver to do some calling later in the morning. The weather is good we just keep going all day. We plan on making a regular routine of calling in two separate places, and call them both each morning and evening. The plan being to start and finish in camp each day. We can move about 3 miles on this stretch of river. On each end blockaded by unpassable rapids. We are about a mile from the down river rapids, so most travel is done upriver and slower going on the way there.
Unusual for this hunt the weather actually breaks for a couple hours and we are treated to a few of the few hours of sunshine we would get in 11 days. Most of the time was dreary, misty, or raining. Of course a guy takes most of his pictures in the better weather windows, so most pictures look beautiful. This morning was also a rare calm time. It was so beautiful and calm you could easily glass while driving upriver. You can see what gorgeous moose country this is!
Yo can see a point jut out into the river on this image. Just around the corner is where we would set up for our other calling sequence and where we would come back to time and again as our second calling location.
On a complete side not, my brother is up front there glassing, we both absolutely loved our Kuiu gear on this trip. It made all the crappy weather simply enjoyable to be out in. We've purchased gear little by little over the years and felt well equipped for what got thrown our way. Our sleeping bags might have been a little cold as we had to sleep with everything we had on and beanies on and close the bags over our heads, but we made it through. Some nights we figured hit -5 to -10. We would have some pretty good ice in our glass in the mornings if we left water out. Our bags were rated to -9 I think and weren't expensive bags. We also had sleeping pads with a decent r rating.
So while we didn't call anything in that morning, we went back for lunch, then planned to return to the same location early afternoon for another calling sequence.
Did I mention lunch? Much like the Kodiak boys (as they will not forever be known) we had prepared meals ahead of time to be reheated in boiling water. Simply make a good meal, vacuum pack and freeze at home, then reheat in camp. We at like kings. I hope Matt can chime in with some of the meals I forget already, but we had shrimp with fetuccini alfredo, other noodles, chicken, pizza grilled on a fire, fresh fish...would fresh meat hit the menu?
I don't know if your minds work like our minds work, but we are constantly re-evaluating the odds of getting the goal of two moose in our rookie trip. We knew this shouldn't really be a realistic goal, but we thought it could be done. Going back to thinking of the success rates of everyone we know it was a 1 in a million, but hey, when you're new you don't know right?
Well a the hunt goes on we are constantly thinking ok 2 days down, no moose, 3 days down, no moose, and now we are into day 4 of 10. Almost half way. Haven't spotted a moose until now, but no bulls. We are super invested into this hunt sacrificing a ton of things to make this hunt work. Wives are expecting meat. Calves are legal. I'm shooter, it's my call. We haven't had any action up to now and it is still early in the afternoon. Could there be a bull following those moose? We decide to play with what's given and see if we can stalk in on these moose. We've never stalked moose. I always think it's a good idea to learn as much as you can about the animal you are pursuing and not stalking in on these moose whether we want to shoot them or not would be a wasted opportunity. We decide to stalk in on them, and who knows, if we get them real close and I feel like the fingers are itchy, maybe I'll just let a string slap yet who knows.
Long story short, and unfortunately I don't have video of the stalk on hand, though my brother does, we stalked right on these moose to about 60 yards. We had nowhere to go other than the edge as they had walked down to the beach area. Wind was kind of coming from the bush to the water. We shadowed them for a bit and then they must have caught a whiff or something cause they started jogging. In about 18 seconds they were like a mile away and jogged into the river and walked about 3/4 of the way across until they were forced to swim.
It was dead quiet and we did learn a little about how amazing their hearing can be as the tiniest sound you could see their ears swivel. Maybe it was noises that made them nervous who know, but it was knowledge that we took kean interest in and that we would hopefully use later.
They swam to the other side and walked off into the willows. We stayed around even though the plan was to finish calling at camp for the last couple hours. We stayed and left ourselves about an hour to call at camp. We did so, but were unable to call anything in. Things were looking up though, we had seen our first moose. Little did we know how much better the week was going to get...
Gather a few things up, and boil some water for oatmeal and a coffee then pace on the beach to keep warm while giving the river our best love sick bawls as we break branches in our pacing. Then we hunker down and glass for a couple hours. Excitement finds us at 9:30 as there is a definite moose traversing the rapids a mile from camp! A long ways off but we confirm it is a calf. We glass as it slowly makes it's way onto the island amongst the rapids. Jokingly we say based on the last two days, we've seen moose every day, things look promising, but still no bulls seen. As we sit and glass we discuss how that calf heading to the island was no mistake. Yesterday when those moose may have caught a hint of danger they b-lined for the water. Water is clearly their first defence or safe zone from wolves, which we're guessing in the fall would be their only predator up here. This calf went to bed on this island amongst rapids as we're thinking they've likely had a long history of safety here. We decide with the treed area of the island being about 3 acres there is a good chance of other moose being bedded up in there, and with the possibility at this point of bulls being nocturnal, we elect to do a slow 'push' of the island with Adam as shooter set up on the most likely exit given the wind direction.
We coast the canoe it quietly and finalize the plan. I circle around and slowly zig zag through, allowing also my wind to drift into the trees. About a half hour later I make my way out, spot Adam and head over to get the story. The calf came out fairly soon after we began, was too far for a shot, had Adam elected to take one anyways. No other moose, which was surprising to me as once I started walking around in those tress I soon realized it was the gathering place of moose in there. We will definitely be keeping an eye on this island.
Back to camp for a late lunch and a few camp chores. At this point we were very encouraged. We're seeing moose, fairly close encounters, just no bulls. We'll keep pushing, it'll happen!
In the afternoon, we head back to the cow/calf point and do some calling with no response or sightings. Last two hours of light find us back at camp calling into darkness, with a much awaited dinner to follow. I find that if I'm not seeing animals I always begin to fantasize over my next meal. Maybe I'm weird. On this trip I found myself getting particularly excited for Raman noodles. It's weird because we had some pretty high end meals as Adam said.
Funny sidetone on the getting excited thing - Adam was complaining there ENTIRE trip about how he forgot his little juice mix packets that were out of this world and I just had to try them. Apparently I haven't lived unless I've tried these things. Every night, "oh man I could really use one of those packets, I'm so pissed I swear I threw them in the cooler." Second last day I'm digging around the cooler and I find his ziplock of juice packets. LOL Man was he mad!
LOL, as Matt said I wanted my Crystal Light. I never drink juice we are a water family, but I fell in love with some Crystal Lights we had caribou hunting. On this trip as was earlier referenced we were real weak on whisky due to space and weight constraints so Crystal Light was going to be my (not worthy) replacement for a lot of my fluids. I was SO SURE i had packed it but couldn't find it anywhere. Of course on the second last day Matt found the bag of Crystal light lol. I've still got the leftovers at home because I never drank them lol
This day started even before the alarm clock. I wake up to hearing out "kitchen tarp" rustling. CRAP!! BEAR!! Our kitchen is roughly 5.5 yards from our tent and i hear something at it. I quickly shoot to a sitting position and just as I a waking my brother I hear it! OOOOUGH Across the river! Bull grunting!!!!! Holy hanna! It's pitch black and as I'm rustling Matt to the world to tell him about our bear he bolts out and is amazing quick into his boots and out the tent! The firearm was on his side so he had grabbed it, headlight and was off!
I'll be honest besides the bull grunting I was enjoying the excitement of the bear. I scanned the headlight around looking for the scavenging eyes to no avail. I whisper back to Adam in the tent "I think you're off man, theres no bear." But that Bull!... I head down to the river with headlamp back off to get his location and wait for Adam. I'm standing there soaking this in, as he's straight across the 420 yard river from us, when I hear a growl right behind me. I would guess inside 30 yards. I didn't want to turn the headlight back on but I guess this would be considered emergency. I can't find these eyes and I can't figure out where the growling is coming from. It sounds weird too, kind of slobbery but not like I would imagine a bear. I also think a bear would have done something by now. Finally I scan upwards and see two eyes looking at me from a pine tree, but I have no idea what it is. But he sure is pissed. I grabbed a rock from my feet and threw it at him and by my guess was much closer to hitting him than expected, whatever it was. So he scurried down the tree and off into the trees. All the while the Bull was still grunting on the other side of the river, so,.. back to the task at hand!
So maybe I overexaggerated on the bear - I just assumed - I wouldn't have guessed about the pine martin never even thought of those things being in the burn! But I guess we did see zillions of mice so I imagine they would be getting fat on mice.
We go down to the river and start calling. IMMEDIATELY the bull looks interested. Oh ya, this is gonna be good. He is 450 yards away a little up into the trees on the other side. He's grunting, we're calling.
So this bull is grunting and thrashing stuff non-stop. This is the first bull we've seen and it's already day 6. I could tell you all about it, but once again, I think it may be best to let the video do the work. We worked this bull so hard, you wouldn't believe what happens.
We obviously had this bull worked up. He was really keyed in for a while with our occasional cow call. Then he started to leave. (I am main caller, my brother Matt is shooter until noon today) First thing in the morning he grabs his bow, I pull out my compound thinking what the heck if he needs a long follow up shot then we've got the "stringed rifle" for backup.
A good while in it seems like the bull loses interest and starts to walk away. You gotta be kidding me. For the first time on this bull I grab a paddle and start raking. Instantly he turns around and then really gets going. After this he pulls that pine down. But still the bull walks down to the water and back up again several times. FINALLY after about an hour and a quarter he committed.
So the bull starts swimming across the river, and this is the first bull we've seen and first bull scenario we've ever worked. So we're bound to make some mistakes. And that we did. Our idea was to stay on the beach and have the bull come swim across to us. We had the decoy up, wind was left to right, ie flowing same was as the river. What could go wrong right?
As the bull gets a little closer it becomes evident he is going to land to my left, and my brother is stuck off to my right. We assumed the bull would get dragged down past me in the current and my brother would whack him the second he gets clear of the water. So now we've got shooter on the wrong side and he's shooting a recurve, so we try and keep the shots under 100. A stealthfully as possible my brother sneaks around through the willows but we believe the bull caught the movement and you can literally see him turn 90 degrees in the water and now start swimming directly upriver. He's not totally spooked because he still comes to our side, but now he lands roughly 60 yards away, at this point my brother is at my side. We make mistake #2, or 3 at this point who's counting and my brother is shooter so he calls the shots. We've got the decoy out covering both of our bodies and we're both kind of going into panic mode. Looking back, maybe a little unnecessarily, as these things just move slower than all other deer species.
Remember it's out first time, so we're panicky and of course the wind starts to swirl and we feel it on our neck. Thinking we're in that "now or never" type scenario my brother says "let's move up a little closer using the decoy." We take one step and the bull jumps up the left into the bush. CRAP!!!! We blew it. My brother instantly jumps into the bush to the left to try and stalk and maybe cut it off in the bush. My compound is at my feet and I look at him with that "what do you want me to do?" look that brothers don't need to communicate on and he says ""If you get a shot - take it!"" So we split up and I make my way down the beach.
So I sneak up the beach and about 30 yards later I can see the bull. He is standing in the trees looking like he's going to bolt. I range him. 45 yards. Draw back, crap can't get a clear path to his body the bank is kind of built up. So at full draw I slowly sneak about 5 yards closer, check my flight path with my 20, and 30 pins and touch it off.
I can't see the arrow in flight and then I hear a loud SMACK! the bull wheels and I'm instantly threading another arrow on the string while jumping 3 yards to my left to get in the clear - quick get to full draw the bull clears the bush running at the water guess yardage for 60 running loose an arrow and totally don't lead him far enough and send an arrow behind him. My instant assumption is that I hit shoulder and am better off getting another arrow in him. The side I shot at is not visible to me as he has turned 180 degrees and I don't see an arrow out my side. As quickly as is humanly possible I get another arrow on and the bull slows a touch as he gets close to the water, now I know the lead from my earlier miss, aim for 70 and just send it. 10 ring. well, maybe a 9 but I hit him good on that one JUST before he crashes into the water and starts swimming. Then you can see how far he went into the river before finally giving up the ghost. Since we know all you guys are real hunters I will give up the embarrassing details with the good. We did some investigation later when my initial arrow was not inside the bull and found that I had actually hit a branch and deflected up into a tree which was the loud smack. I had assumed shoulder and thought as far as arrows go, the more the better into the bull. In the good old end, I had completely missed him, and only got the bull with my hail mary. Had I known I had missed him I truly believe I would never have shot, but I do practise for long follow up shots and I was 100% certain that was the case at the time. Either way, as luck would have it, we had a bull down. That's also why we never caught this kill on video, I was video man, and things had just gone sideways.
This is where it's so important that if hunting in a group you choose your partners wisely. I wasn't designated shooter, but my brother was as happy for me killing the bull as I was in killing it. There were 0 hard feelings, and both of us were simply pumped to have stuck one!
We dragged him to the far side of the river, then came back to camp to have some eats, and get prepped for the job we were about to task ourselves with.
Thanks guys, Treeline,.. what makes you think there is more?? :)
When we got back to camp we saw something moving around the food again, and sure enough the dang Martin is back. So I sneak in on him knocked and loaded, but before I get into lethal range he makes it up the nearest pine. As he's running up the pine I make in a little closer and by the time he gets up to his branch where he decides to spin around and stick his tongue out at me, I figure him at about 15 paces. Now I'm not saying I couldn't do this again, but.. all he gives me is his head over the branch so I bean him between the eyes with a small game head. He won't be bothering our left over chicken anymore.
So for those of you who saw my brothers post about not being able to repeat my trad shooting I’ll let his head shot on a pine Martin do the talking. The boy can shoot!!! It’s most likely the other way around!
I set up my camera to do a time lapse of the breakdown. Unfortunately about 2/3 of the way through the rain came in and the winds rose up, so I had to quit it. My camera isn't waterproof. Here comes the first quarter.
Rear quarter. Only one pair of waders, so I had the pleasure of being stuck in the gumbo. Which is really fun with 120lb quarters. I did throw the pieces on a scale at home and the hinds weighed 120lbs each, fronts 100lbs each, neck 25 lbs per side. Those were the bigger pieces. Then of course there are still loins, t-loins and ribs.
Man, this thread is great.... You guys are awesome. What an excellent adventure! That head shot on the pin marten got a true LOL.
Adam, I had the exact same thing happen on a bull elk a few years back. Thought for sure I hit him up close. He got out to 87 and I saw the "arrow hole" in his shoulder. No good..... Decided to give him a follow up. Turns out my "arrow hole" was a scar on his shoulder, and I had completely whiffed the close up. Either way dead is dead, eh?! Sometimes ya just gotta let get em' out there to even up the odds;)
Thanks Justin! Ya sometimes you just kiss your lucky stars and keep on hunting!
Well it took us a few hours obviously to break down the bull. At this time the wind had really kicked up. My dad always talked about being able to transport a full moose in a 17ft canoe, so we naturally loaded the whole beast inside. As we pushed off into the water, we started taking on waves. QUICK! GET IN! We need to get outta here and moving ASAP before we sink! We made it about 30 yards from shore and looked at the amount of water coming in and decided the the wise move would be to turn around pronto. We almost made it back to shore before going under lol.
So we cleaned up the canoe, loaded roughly half the meat in and the gear and did a responsible 2 loads back to camp. In this moment it was a little bit of a "What would my wife want me to do?" moment. OK OK sometimes we're still a little young and stupid.
By the time we finished hanging the meat, eating some more and getting ready for the evening hunt it was roughly 3:30 and time for the evening hunt. We called from camp as the wind has really kicked up. We did see a cow and calf that night further down the river closer to where the one calf had gone onto the islands. That area turned out to have moose in it fairly regularly.
Before going to bed that night we were some happy customers. Don't tell me you don't know what's for dinner!!
So like we always do as we lay our head down that night we are thinking we are 5 days in, and we have 1 moose on the pole. We used 50% of our time to fill 50% of our tags. Maybe, maybe this can be done?
See if a pano photo works. This was a shot above where those islands were that the moose seemed to like. They almost formed a type of bridge across the river, but you know they would be safe from wolves on there. I imagine a lot of calves are born on those islands. As always photos don't do heights/steepness any justice. Was a real cool lookout point. Especially for a couple prairie bumpkins
I know I've lamented on here before about my feet. They are literally the only issue I have hunting or with my body in general. I mean I'm ugly but I'm married so that's OK lol. My feet sweat real bad. I think I brought like a dozen pair of darn tough socks which are merino wool, but being that the temps were just above freezing in the day and below at night and it rained most days all day when I finally got a moment to dry some stuff out I seized it. I can''t remember which day this was, but I remember being on my last pair or dry socks. I averaged going through 2+ pairs per day.
Alright fellas, thanks for following along, I’ve got church commitments up tonight and I believe Adam is busy as well but I’ll be posting first thing tmrw morning. It’s been good so far but trust me the hunt continues..
Adam, something I learned on here. Your feet may sweat plenty and if anywhere near what mine sweat, this is what you do Arrid underarm anti persperant and baking powder in your socks. The spray will make your feet slide in your socks and deadly on carpet at home.
Walk up to rain pattering on the tent, which means its warmed up a little since yesterday morning. Unzip the tent and it's thick fog, maybe 80 yards visibility. So we huddle under our tarp, boil some water, heat up some homemade breakfast skillet with deer sausage and make coffee. Bring breakfast down to the water and begin to break silence with a love sick cow call. The imagination goes wild with bulls in the fog not yet spotted, that are likely headed our way, we just don't know it yet. But the fog lifted around 9am, revealing that it would take more than imagination.
Around 10am we decide to load up some snacks and this time walk rather than canoe down the rivers edge to the islands where we pushed the calf. There we would get up in the elevation and glass the bowl of the river we were in on day 2. With almost 3 miles of river visible to us there we would surely see moose! Under the tarp, we got the packs loaded and I realize I forgot something, so I ask adam to unzip my pack and throw something in when... Rrrughh. --- We kind of pause and look at each other like "you hear what I hear??" but I think we were both dumbfounded because it sounded way too close to be real. RRUUUUUGhhhhh!! "BULL!" We both begin to scramble as I grab my bow and look up, and here comes a bull up the beach about to hang a larry into our camp. He's 60 yards and closing. We absolutely lose our composure, myself especially as he's nearing 25 yards, and as quick as he appeared, he was gone.
Composure or not, I'll be honest I'm not sure we could have made it work. He came in just too quick at a bad time, and I'm not sure how that would have played out trying to suck him past Adam's meat pole, through the tent and into the kitchen for a shot. Crazy thing is he must have stepped onto the beach the second we left our post to walk up to camp, and came in that way. And on the other side, had we left for our walk a minute earlier we would have had a head on collision with him on the beach, as he came from where we were headed. But maybe God has better in store and the timing wasn't chance,..it was just to keep us interested!
I felt a little guilty, because when that bull came in, my first thought was "oh he's small" yet we know our chances, and having one bull down with archery tackle was already beating the odds in our province, I can't be that picky. But like I said, I'm not sure I could have changed anything anyways, had my heart been fully in it.
So, we head off to where the bull came from, where we were headed anyways, and maybe we'll call him up yet since its a new location, or maybe bump into other moose. Nothing.
We're doing some serious thinking about our strategy now, and it's possible that we're not playing this quite like we should. The moose are using this river, we know that. We're hunting a burned area and all the new growth and bedding is within the first 200 yards of the water as the elevation makes it up. We really haven't seen tracks higher then that. So it's likely that 95% of the time they are just cruising these rivers, especially the bulls. Our first bull at night came past camp, Adam's bull we spotted on the opposite shore pacing, and this last bull came down the beach. We'd like to think we called them in but it's a strong possibility that we're really just intercepting them on the moose highway. Moving up and down the river doesn't get us into different moose, it's possible it just makes us less consistent. Food for thought.
We decide to follow the old routine for the afternoon anyhow and by late afternoon the wind brings in some clearer weather, and, well,..wind. So not a great calling evening. Anyhow we have moose steaks on the menu tonight so life is good.
Day 8 dawns more beautiful than any moose hunter can dream. If this isn’t the DAY I dunno which will be. We FINALLY have some sun! It’s dead calm - literally can’t ask for any more. We follow our usual routine of calling at first light, one guy whips up breakfast while the other guy keeps an eagle eye out for moose.
While we haven’t had any bears or martins come back to our camp we’ve now been on high alert because our meat is hanging about 10 yards from our tent. We did so purposely because it was the only way we could effectively defend it.
Well the time to defend is at hand. Whiskeyjacks! 2 of them. The beauty of the recurve is that the arrow didn’t have quite enough steam to be lost in the muskeg or stick too deep into a tree so they were always recoverable. A judo point allowed for some target practise. These pesky birds actually bored a fair sized hole into the loins in very little time. Even so, their body being the size of a loonie they were not easy targets with the recurves.
About this time we decide to make a strategy switch. That bull that screwed us did it. He showed up to camp around 10am yesterday. We figure in reality we are sitting on a moose highway. we can only utilize 3 miles of the river. By calling in multiple locations we could be doing ourselves a disservice as this bull proved. If they are walking down the river our direction, whether we meet them upriver, or our camp is probably only a 20 minute difference by moose walking speed. We do have the chance of screwing up during travel time or just plain moving around by calling in different setups. So we make the choice to call from camp only.
The day is so beautiful however that we grab our fishing rods and try and see if there is a way to get past the rapids 2 miles to our left.
The day got so warm and beautiful we started stripping layers, and more layers and MORE layers until for a stretch I was actually shirtless. We hoped to catch some walleye, maybe a trout and pike was most likely. We saw a couple pike real quick and small that failed to hit our lure and all of a sudden I hoooked up. Seemed pretty good! Actually turned out to be a decent pike. I had caught a smaller pike earlier in the week and we had some fresh fish, but now we could have legit surf and turf. Fresh fish and moose, life is good. Real good.
We are kind of dilly dallying around when we decide it's about 2 pm we should maybe start to head back. Takes about 30-40 minutes to get back and the wind is starting up. Well by the time we get back to the canoe we've got like a raging wind blowing and of course it is against the way we are to travel. I didn't get all dressed with rain gear when we started and I know better. Weather is pretty much guaranteed in the sky for as far as you can see, or 45 minutes time. I know that. I've spent years guiding up north in a fishing camp and it drop 20 degrees in an hour no problem. But this wind turned out to be a real pain as the waves built up because the wind was opposite the current. In no time every wave was coming over the bow, I was sitting up front and getting absolutely DRENCHED. Not to mention frozen. The water temp is barely above 0 (freezing) and I am soaked and cold, but we have no choice but to keep going. To make matters worse, The water is making it's way down into my boots, and as I've said before I struggle at the best of times maintaining dry feet. Dry feet are happy feet. Wet feet and walking don't mix. Eventually we make it back to camp and I need to change, and start drying off all my layers. Base layers (or long johns as we call them) I hang over a fire along with the rest of my clothes.
I had still been thinking of the previous day, man that bull would have been sweet. Can't believe I was thinking that bull was small. It's windy now, so tonight's a write off, tomorrow is our last day and if the weather isn't great tomorrow, it's game over. One bull down, can't complain, but right now I would give for anything. Spike bull, calf,.. ANYTHING.
I'm watching as the steam rises off Adam's socks, and I turn to my left and there stands my ANYTHING....
At about 30 yards, there standing broadside must be Manitoba's most lost caribou and he's standing there with a seemingly confused look on his face before turning and casually trotting down the beach headed out from camp to our left. I say to Adam "freaking caribou!" and run up to the tent to grab my bow and signal to Adam that I will run along the beach about 40 yards up into the bush, try and get ahead of him and cut him off. This is perfect. Moss is quiet as pillows and he'll stroll past me at 20 paces and I'll sink a Stinger into his lungs. I run (I mean run) a solid 300 yards and decide I must be ahead of him (there was some terrain blocking us from seeing each other, perfect) so I decide to cut into position. I come to the edge of the bush and wait. Any second... nothing. I come out a little further to investigate and all I see is Adam coming down the beach?? I turn to my left, and apparently that caribou was "strolling" faster than I was running. He's about 250 yards ahead and still "strolling", still unaware. Adam brought me a little gift, the bear rifle. He says "do want it?, he ain't coming back". Agreed, heck ya! Give me that stick. Caribou turns broadside with a howl from Adam, and I send a warning shot over his back as Adam calls it, guess it's been a while with a rifle lol. Squeeze this time dang it. He gives us another second and I touch one off and the hit is perfect. He jumps into the river and about 10 yards in decides it's not looking good for him, so he turns around breathes his last at the waters edge. No regrets on the rifle kill as its our second last day, and although I consider myself a trophy hunter, this was not a trophy hunt. This was about the experience and meat. Check, and check!
The crazy thing is we never did see any sets of caribou tracks besides that one down the beach. Truly a gift from God. Archery bull and a bonus caribou, can't complain!! We make quick work of him which seems like a cake walk after Adam's bull, and pack him back to camp.
We slept good that night! Fish and red meat in our bellies, and both coming home as providers, as a hunter, this is a great feeling. Tomorrow should be a great day. Last full day, last kick at the cat.
Thanks for the kind words guys. It's been fun contributing to the Bowsite community!
Day 9 Sep 30
Morning finds us with some pitter patter on the tent ceiling again. Although heat would have been nice, the alaskan guide did stay bone dry the entire trip. Regular routine in the morning and some glassing from camp. Hard to make a decision like this on the last day as it seems so counter intuitive, but today we hunker around camp and hope for the intercept. All our eggs are in one basket.
We call all morning, and towards the end of the morning, I decide to get up higher in the elevation behind and check if I can see anything from there, while Adam stayed down at the river. Curiosity got me and I also just wanted to explore what existed beyond the growth there. I also wanted to see if I'd find any caribou tracks up higher. Basically it all ended up being stunted growth that would go on forever, almost like a semi tundra, but then again, I've never been on the tundra.
By the time I got back down and it was time for some eats, it had gotten downright hot and windy again. It was then, that I had a little bit of a moment of realization that my dream of killing a bull would not happen on this trip. All good, my brother had, and I was right there with him to experience it, success comes in many forms. It would be hot and windy for the rest of the day, and tomorrow morning would likely not leave us enough time to actually hunt and break a bull apart (if we were successful) before the plane landed. I decided to call my wife and give her our last update before heading home. I was right about in the part of our conversation where I was thanking her for her willingness to let me head out on this trip with my brother, and that it truly had been the hunt of lifetime, when it's like Adam shut up, I don't know what you're trying to tell me but I'm on the sat phone with my wife at like $160/minute, can't it wait?!? This guy will just not let up, so I say
"hang on Jordin, one sec," "what's up dude?" Adam: "There's a fricken bull RIGHT across the river" Me: "Shut up, stop pulling my freaking leg" Adam: NOT kidding--- Me: look up and I see him - 3pm hot and windy - and a beauty standing 420 yards away
I grab my bow off the tree, Adam grabs the decoy, and he lets out one long sexy cow call. Bull jumps in the river without hesitation and is coming hard. HOLY CRAP WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING,.. PINCH ME NOW. K get your crap together boys, don't rush it, let's play this cool. Wind is headed with the current so lets get down wind of camp. He heard us at camp, he'll let the current take him downwind of camp and he'll come up on the beach in our laps.
We start moving through the bush on the moss, and what's amazing is we could see the bull at 400 yards, swimming and grunting and following us in the bush by our sound or lack there of. These beasts can HEAR! He would continually readjust his position to come into us. Then Adam suggested we get back a little further into the burn. That would prove to be a good decision. I was on my knees at this point with Adam about 20 yards behind me letting out some real soft cow calls working the decoy. I realized I'm not in a great position and he likely wouldn't see me if I was standing with the decoy off to the side and behind me so I stand up. I'll be a lot more flexible to shooting a few different scenarios this way. In the video you'll hear Adam yell at me to not move but he didn't realize what I was doing lol. What felt like 3 hours came soon enough and soon I saw the bulls hooves hit the dirt in about 6 feet of water and he starts to rise out of the water like a big ol dinosaur. He was about 80 yards and a creature to behold. What a beautiful bull. He shook off, and kept on trucking tipping his antlers through the first few trees and walking right into 17 yards before stopping, quartering to me, to look around. I put tension on the string, still waiting for a better angle. After a short pause,, I realized that my red zone on that bull with a quartering-to angle was about 3 times the size of a whitetails vitals. Take the freaking shot! I made quick work of letting an arrow go and I watched my 2017 shaft burry to the fletch right in the money.
The bull wheeled off and headed for the water, when Adam and I simultaneously let out some more cow calls and spun him on a dime. He stopped and I could see my arrow had backed out again but the hit was perfect. He was standing there looking around and he began to cough blood, I'll never forget as I watched the blood start to come out of his mouth heavier and heavier as he coughed. He turned and headed down the beach a little, then headed into the bush up around us... Silence...oh a crash. We assumed at this point that he was still making time, but once we found him later, we realized the last crash we heard was in fact the bull expiring not 80 yards from camp!
We got this entire kill on video, although a little shaky it's all there, Adam is filming, decoying and calling and trying not to loose his cool! Adam will chime in a little later and post the video, he's out ice fishing right now.
It's a common theme here and for those who are wondering I was shooting a 58" Tall Tines, 54# @ 28", 2018-XX75s with 100gr magnus stinger buzzcuts, total arrow weight 515 gr. I never felt undergunned.
We are two HAPPY brothers! After a while of retelling ourselves the story and just plain old soaking it in, we go to work on the bull. This bull goes much quicker on dry land and takes us about 2 hours to have quartered and on the meat pole. All night we would share thoughts of unbelief, in regards to the past 10 days that we had experienced and the incredible turn of events. I want to thank my bro for putting up with any of my annoyances on this trip and just an all around fantastic trip. No other person I would have rather shared this with.
So cool. The amount of ppl in the world that done even know that stuff exists is such a huge number. Then the ppl that have seen it on tv or read about it, but seeing on tv or reading about it will be as close as they ever get to experiencing it is a large number. To experience a trip up there, such a tiny number of ppl. But to experience what you experienced, how you experienced it, with a brother/hunting partner/best friend, you two are absolutely blessed and its pretty damn cool that you are aware of that. You guys are now truly two of my favorites here on bowsite. Cant say thanks for sharing enough...
Amazing adventure between two brothers. Best thread I have read in a long time. Thanks for posting I fully understand what it takes from the field to the computer. Nothing easy about it. Way to go guys !! Hunt
I hunted archery moose for years in the remote northern Ontario bush until my group broke up. Thanks for taking me back to those awesome haunts. There ain't another sound that sends a shiver down my spine like the sound off hearing that first bull grunt off in the distance while quietly paddling down a remote northern river. That was great!
Sorry for the hiatus guys, thanks so so so much for the kind words. It really makes us smile. We've enjoyed re-telling this hunt. My favourite part is this video that I am about to share. But first a little pre-amble of Matt's moose from my point of view.
As Matt said he was on the phone with his darling wife when I happened to go down the river for something. I can not remember what. I look up, and standing on the far shoreline is a bull moose. You can't make this stuff up. Middle of the afternoon, last day, are you kidding me!?!?! I quickly "whisper-yell" at Matt and he doesn't seem to hear me. Again, can't get his attention. AGAIN. Nothing. I look back at the bull and he is walking. Fearing to lose him I cow call and he instantly responds and looks super interested. I sprint up the hill to Matt frantically waving my arms at him just half screaming BULL MOOSE BULL MOOSE!!!!! Finally I get his attention and we get going to make a play.
Thanks to our previous encounters and the mistakes we had made, we were able to make a better plan for this encounter and executed it perfectly. From sucking the bull a little way from camp to the wind, to being hidden in the trees and sucking him there instead of the open beach, everything literally worked perfectly.
So without further ado, enjoy the video. I've done a real rough quick job editing the video, because of course the video that I have for personal use is like 90 minutes long. I have cut a lot down for youtube, and unfortunately the visual quality online and on this forum is nothing like what we own for both pics and video. Somehow the clarity and colours don't seem to translate online. The other unfortunate thing is I don't get to choose the thumbnails for youtube and only have 3 choices. For this video they all sucked.
So there you have it guys, literally the trip of a lifetime. 2 archery bull moose and a complete 1 in a million bull caribou to boot. I was so happy to be able to catch up to Matt on that caribou because I was watching him go down the beach and I knew Matt wasn't going to catch up to it with the way it was moving. Three times I lay prone and caressed the trigger thinking "he's not going to catch it - should I shoot?" But I really wanted him to get the bull. Not only had I shot the only moose of the trip, but he had spotted the Bou. Finally I decided to "run-sneak" down the beach and see if I could catch my bro. As you heard from his story, we were able to meat and the rest is history. After warning the bull once, (which it did not heed) he 10 ringed the thing on I forget what it was about a 300 yard off the knee shot. The caribou made it not 10 yards.
We went to bed once again enjoying fresh steaks, it simply had to happen after making a kill to enjoy fresh meat from that animal, so we'd been eating red meat a lot these past few days, and complaining not at all.
I've also got a time-lapse video of breaking down Matt's bull that I find kind of cool. I am loading it up to youtube with my slow internet as we speak. We took all the meat including full rib bones on the moose and left only guts and spine. But of course, we're not home yet.
We wake up in the morning after sleeping in and it's raining and foggy. Not good news. Make the call to dispatch. Planes aren't moving. To top it off, they've got a bum plane that needs to go into service. We may not even get out tomorrow. That stinks. Lots of beauty sleep today. But you're never going to believe what happens next...
Now I know we said that the first caribou was a 1 in a million. And it was. I don't even think the northern MB caribou camps did super well. And no, we did not shoot another caribou. But while we were resting in the tent as the rain misted and pattered outside we were suddenly blasted with a loud OOOOUGGGHH. BULL!!!! IS HE INSIDE OUR KITCHEN????
We both grab camera gear and throw the zipper open to look outside and there's like a 50" bull 15 yards from out tent. So cool. Maybe the smell of all the dead moose made him grunt. There was also a cow further back in the bush that we only saw later. My brother has some nice video of this bull, but I'll show you a pic or two.
Hunt of a lifetime! Fantastic thread guys! I hope my sons can someday experience a hunt EXACTLY like this some day. Brothers sharing a hunting adventure such as this is as good as it gets! One of the best threads ever on Bowsite! Congrats guys!!!
The next day dawns bright and clear. And COLD. Lots of ice, we make the call. Cross our fingers. Well, no planes are in the air because they're all iced up. You gotta be kidding me. And they are behind. In the good old end, the plane does make it in around 3pm. We spent the day waiting, unable to pack as we didn't know if they were coming, so we cooked, took some pics on the beach and waited to go home.
As we take off, there are mixed emotions. We’ll never ever forget this place and the amazing memory of this hunt. When I’m old if I have three memories left, this will be one of them. But boy are we excited to go home. A dreary day spent waiting where there is nothing to hunt sure makes a guy excited to see your family.
Wow, wow, wow..... To echo everyone else, Matt, that shot/kill sequence write up is one of the greatest of all time! I know the feeling of incredulity at harvesting an animal at a point when in your mind you think your tag is 100% soup dinner.
To do it with a trad bow, on a moose, in country like that, with your bro, on the last day, 80 yds from camp, on video???? Borderline miraculous..... What a truly great adventure. I can't say thank you enough to both of you for sharing. Wow, wow, wow.......
(If you're concerned I do know how dangerous a grinder can be and we are very careful at home. My daughter is unable to reach inside the cavity from where she is) I also think there's a greater danger in not having her involved but I am not going to get into parenting styles. She's a solid help actually and I have her help me almost no matter what I am doing. And she loves it. Sorry I just had to add this as people have commented to me that she could lose an arm etc.
Thanks to my slow internet the time-lapse bull breakdown is taking forever to load. I should have it on here shortly.
In conclusion I would really love to thank all of you for the wonderful comments on this thread. Each and every one of them mean a lot to us. It's funny, cause we don't pretend to be movie stars, but we're both fairly active on bowsite, and we knew before we left that we would be doing this thread. So when we speak to "guys" on the video - it is to you; our bow site brethren. We recorded the video for ourselves selfishly first, but also so we could share this adventure that we know we are truly blessed to have taken. Sconce again, while I'd love to name you each individually for the positive remarks, thank you, we've enjoyed sharing this hunt immensely. If it was this fun to read - imagine being there! Thanks again guys.
Absolutely incredible. What a hunt. Great animals. And you guys couldn't have told the story any better with the recap, photos, and video. What a treat. Thanks for taking the time to post it up. I loved it. A true Bowsite classic.
I’d say the good Lord truly blessed both of you when he switched you to plan B! That video was awesome! Totally raw and perfectly captured the true emotions of both of your experiences. Like others have stated, this is one of the best threads I’ve ever read on here!
A huge congrats to both of you again on an incredible hunt! That’s for taking us along.
Thanks so much guys, and for the record - I wasn’t crying on the video, it’s just the sides of my smile were wrapped around my ears and made my voice sound like that which is almost embarrassing but we were just so in the moment and so so so happy
Thank you guys so much for the kind words. This truly turned out better than we expected but exactly as we dreamt. We felt so blessed to be in the right spot at the right time and one of those things we may never duplicate in our life. If we do, we’ll be sure to post it on the Bowsite, so long as you do too. That’s what keeps the ball rolling.
Powder, the white spots are in the “colour enhanced” pic. My brother is much more gifted with stuff like that. The white spot on the left is our tarp that was over our piece of plywood that we would cook on. The one on the right is actually a melted aluminum boat that was left there in (I think) ‘86 and had melted in the burn that happened 5 years ago. As far as we know, nobody had been here since that boat was left there in (‘86)
We most definitely want to do it again. We’ve tentatively got this year marked for caribou together as well as a few other guys but this trip is not something we want to wait long on doing again!
I’m curious did the bull grunting come through for you guys on the video? I tried to lift the audio a bit cause when you’re moose hunting that grunting is just the sweetest sound ever. I hope it came through
I couldn’t agree more, Adam! The bull I killed in Alaska came from about 300-400 yards away, grunting every 5 seconds or so. I couldn’t see him till he got to within 75 yards but I could tell exactly where he was the whole way in. Probably the top 1 or 2 things I’ve ever experienced while hunting was hearing him coming in, and watching him swaying back and forth as he came!
Just had a chance to watch the video. You said it perfectly, it doesn't get any better.... Had me grinning ear to ear just watching it! Feelings and emotions only those who hunt and have had those kind of moments can understand. You go from nervous to just flat out excited, to giddy, to even more giddy, to overwhelmed, to humbled and very thankful. That was one of the best filmed hunts I've had the privilege of watching. Again, congratulations.... truly awesome.
Unreal, just unreal. You made moose swim to you! Is that even normal??? This thread has me so pumped for my moose hunt this year I can't even stand it, way to go and thanks 100 times over for sharing this! You two made memories that will surely outlast you both.
The video of you arrowing that bull was incredible! Better than any TV show!
Our cost was fuel to Thompson (about $200 round trip), flight in (do the math for your own location or get quotes) tags ($140 for moose and caribou, each, if I recall) and most of our food was homemade but grocery bills were around $300 I think. So per guy we were at $400 plus flight. Flight can be big though.
Obviously gear adds up, but we had pretty well everything. I bought a pack mule (mini come-along) that was invaluable for $100 and $30 worth of Paracord that is equally valuable. Some tarps for shelter then meat on the way home and pretty soon there’s a few hundred more in little extras. Good gear is a huge benefit if you have it. Guys used to do it in blue jeans and plaid, and while I wish I was as manly as Paul Schaefer, I guess I’m a sissy and good gear is nice. Maybe we’ll do a gear breakdown for those that are interested. I try and budget an affordable amount for gear each year so that I can accumulate.
What an awesome hunt. You guys took me back to Rick M and my hunt 4-5 years back. I never posted our video just the story. Your hunt reminded me so much of ours, Rick killed his moose last morning and right near camp also. The only difference is we did't call our moose across a mile of water! Crazy, congrats to you both!
Thank you guys for posting your adventure! That was effn awesome!! I'm jealous tho- my brothers are 13 & 14 yrs older than me and aren't into bowhunting so we havnt done much hunting together. And my main hunting partner just like s deer hunting & isn't into the adventure/ back country hunting. I would love a moose trip like yours but don't see it happening. Maybe I'll do it solo one day....:-)
This was so awesome guys, really there are no words! To be able to experience something like that with your brother and to have that kind of success in some place so remote and beautiful. The memories are priceless! Thanks for sharing them with us! Congratulations on the hunt of a lifetime!
Thanks again for the kind words guys. I must admit how fun it was to watch others get geeked up about our hunt, as I know I do when others post their hunt recaps. Many a time I have spent glued to my screen unable to do anything as someone posts their experiences for us to share. It was really fun to re-live it with all of you.
On a completely different side note, something I found interesting, is I posted the video on youtube through an unlisted link. This means you need to have the link to view it. It won't come up if you search it, so I know that all of the views have come from Bowsite, no other place. Unless people shared the link I guess, but in a way it still came from bowsite. It's interesting to see that over 400 people watched the first couple videos. I guess maybe we should have planned the ending better, as only about 250 people saw the video of Matt arrowing his bull, which is too bad to me because I think it's the highlight of the recap. Then just over a hundred have seen the timelapse of the bull breakdown, which is neither here nor there.
I'm often a numbers guy, so for those of you that are numbers guys, I just thought you might find it interesting, as I know I did. There's a great group of guys among us, and we really enjoyed bringing the hunt to all of you. i don't think we really did anything special gear wise, but if anyone has any questions feel free to hammer away.
We'd like to get back there and if/when we do I'll be packing different next time. We were essentially able to land the plane right where we hunted, so the next time we wouldn't have to fit all our gear in a canoe which would open things up considerably. We hunted a river in a burn. It worked out well, but I do think there are pros and cons to hunting a river vs a lake. From talking with other moose hunters it seems like on a lake, the moose are more of a "resident." So they stick around an area if they here you calling and you've got a good chance of shooting what is there. In our case, it seemed to be more like hunting whitetails in the rut. Maybe they are here, maybe not, but they are moving up/down the river. Like the bull that passed through our camp one night and wasn't around again. Or maybe he was one of the bulls that came back later. Who knows? Maybe more experienced moose hunters could chime in on that one. All stuff we debated constantly.
Guys, I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said in previous posts! Epic, unbelievable, trip of a lifetime, awesome, cool, spectacular, etc etc etc. I could go on and on, but I will just say a very sincere CONGRATULATIONS to you both, and THANK YOU for sharing this incredible hunt with us!!!
Hey Brotsky - just for what it's worth it's not like I'm hung up on numbers I just hope guys didn't miss the video of Matt's bull ;) I've always wondered how many guys read threads vs post didn't know if others wondered the same thing, so that's why I thought I'd share :)
Oh Good Lord!! Never mind "We’re gonna need another pole!!"..."we're gonna need a bigger boat!" An absolutely epic adventure. And then the both of you took an archery bull moose. Even more epic. This will be a 'must re-read'.
Job well done all around from the hunt to the pictures, videos, and story telling. I agree with your parenting style! My kids get involved with all my activities as well. My 9 year old son wondered out loud this weekend if you could kill a moose with a bow. I showed him your videos and he loved it.
Wow congrats on the fantastic trip!! I would love to do a trip like this someday and you both are an inspiration. That last video was excellent! Just hearing your voice quivering from excitement was just awesome. True raw emotion from a successful hunt in the middle of nowhere. I can't even imagine the feeling of success like you guys experienced. I would shake both your hands if I could. Very well done and thank you for sharing it all! Can't wait to read your next adventure. Room for 1 more :) I could be the "new" brother?
I've got a question for APauls and MPauls. In the initial part of the journey the plan was to go upstream(?) several miles, which you did, and broke off 4 of your 5 sheer pins on the prop. You also had a very full canoe prior to shooting anything. For two guys that had everything planned out in detail I'm wondering what your plan was for getting the moose out if you shot one up river?
Been out of town on a group hog hunt so just got to read this thread and watch the videos. Pretty sure we've about run out of unique adjectives to describe the hunt and your retelling of it, so I'll chime in with SPLENDIFEROUS! Congratulations guys, and thank you for taking the time to share it with us. My favorite picture was the first one of your meat pole.....until you posted the second one - simply amazing!
Powder, the initial plan was to head downstream, about 2-3 miles, then upstream (another river) about 2 or so. When planning the trip, we were thinking the round trip may take 2-3 hours of cruising with our 2hp motor so to transport a moose, 1 maybe 2 trips, shouldn't be bad. Especially since we figured this would be the moose spot of all moose spots. What we didn't account for was all the river dragging, impassible rocks, sand bars and portaging through stuff we could not see from satellite. Also, what we thought "might be some fast water" was where we almost dumped it haha. Satellite is only worth so much, but it sure is an invaluable tool.
We hadn't yet decided on whether we would transport moose at the time of the kill or all at the end of the trip. Like we said, we did want to keep an eye on our meat, but on the other hand, transporting gear and two moose at the end of the trip could be a big chore.
This all did make weigh in on our decision to head back to where the plane dropped us. Never mind moving an empty canoe around to call moose being a pain, but a canoe almost up to the gunnels is sure gonna be trouble.
The short of it: I don't think it would have been bad if we had deep water, but the shallowness changed everything and we had to change strategies. I'm sure glad we never stuck a bull way back in there on the first day!
Dang I also forgot to update you guys on the shear pin story! My back up plan was to break fork tines off or find something. We knew there was an old camp in the area that had burnt in the fire. We went to check it out and found a whole tin of nails. 2 different sizes. You guessed it - both worked for shear pins :) using a multi tool to bend them back and forth we snapped the heads off.
While I’d like to think I’m a decent planner we were both very ready for the possibility for things not to work according to plan and maintain flexibility in our planning. We had paddles to back up the motor, and we also ended up having to do some motor repairs.
First time I ran out of shear pins, my go to were nails, but no way to cut them to length let alone removing the nail heads. Try rubbing the heads off and shortening them to length by rubbing them on a granite rock, back and forth. Lots of skin lost doing that! Did not want to be that hard core, but needed to be done. I have found though as you boys did, that a canoe is way more stable with a moose on the floor than just 2 guys and a little bit of gear in it.
For those that may have missed this thread when it was published a year ago, this is going to make your day. This is still one of my all time TOP 10 threads on Bowsite....I just had to repost it, as it really is a classic.....
Thanks for the words again guys. The only disappointment is the adventure is never as great as the first time into an area. That first time into this spot is a memory I’ll cherish forever, thanks for sharing it with us
It wasn’t quite as good of a read as the first time that I read it, but awfully dang close!
A couple of questions after rereading it. First, you commented about lots of mice somewhere around the part about the marauding pine marten part. Did you have any issues with mice in camp? Second, did you save the hide from the caribou that you shot? I shot 4 C-L bou on a couple of trips to Quebec several years ago. I saved the cape for a shoulder mount on one of the bulls, but only the meat on all of the others. I wish now, that I had saved the hide from one of them. It is incredibly soft.
Three questions I guess! What’s in the works for this year? Gonna be tough to top this one, but that’s part of the fun.
Ah you guys are making me blush all over again!! Thanks for the kind words.
T-roy ya the mice were insane up there. If we left some food out they’d nibble at it but other than that no major issues. Can hear em up against the canvas tent at night but thankfully it’s a closed tent.
We didn’t keep the caribou hide as we kept cape on all the meat quarters keeping all what’s covered in hair from drying out. So that pooched the cape. It was Matt’s bull and he never had any plans for the cape, at least at the time anyways.
This year is a little in the wind. Originally we had an elk hunt booked but my wife’s best friend lives in France and is getting married - at the exact time of the planned elk hunt so I am out. My brother may still go (hunt is with another bowsiter) I may draw elk at home but plans are very fluid at this point see what comes back in the draws...
You boys are terrific story tellers. I felt I was there with you. My plane to my honey hole is booked for this coming fall. I will say, every moose hunt I do is different but the same. Hope you do another hunt soon.
Great write-up and congratulations on a very successful hunt. I had a couple flights today and this made them alot more enjoyable. I picked up an F&S mag at the airport but after starting this story i never turned the cover.