Moultrie Products
A Dagger
Moose
Contributors to this thread:
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
ki-ke 19-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
Treeline 19-Jul-18
APauls 19-Jul-18
Beginner 19-Jul-18
M.Pauls 19-Jul-18
Nick Muche 19-Jul-18
Scar Finga 19-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
orionsbrother 19-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 19-Jul-18
buzz mc 19-Jul-18
JTreeman 19-Jul-18
t-roy 19-Jul-18
Treeline 19-Jul-18
Lee 19-Jul-18
Herdbull 19-Jul-18
Herdbull 19-Jul-18
Treeline 19-Jul-18
Medicinemann 19-Jul-18
Nick Muche 20-Jul-18
Grunter 20-Jul-18
bowhunter24 20-Jul-18
altitude sick 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
altitude sick 20-Jul-18
Shug 20-Jul-18
Treeline 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
APauls 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
elkstabber 20-Jul-18
Shiras 20-Jul-18
Beav 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
M.Pauls 20-Jul-18
APauls 20-Jul-18
JW 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
buc i 313 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
M.Pauls 20-Jul-18
Charlie Rehor 20-Jul-18
axle2axle 20-Jul-18
turkey talker 20-Jul-18
Beav 20-Jul-18
Smtn10PT 20-Jul-18
JEG 20-Jul-18
Ron Niziolek 20-Jul-18
Old School 20-Jul-18
stick n string 20-Jul-18
BigOk 20-Jul-18
Butternut40 20-Jul-18
wannaelk 20-Jul-18
OFFHNTN 20-Jul-18
JulianT 20-Jul-18
Julius Koenig 20-Jul-18
CurveBow 20-Jul-18
Medicinemann 20-Jul-18
grossklw 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
Steve Leffler 20-Jul-18
Bowbender 20-Jul-18
Florida Mike 20-Jul-18
pav 20-Jul-18
Dirk Diggler 20-Jul-18
Grunter 20-Jul-18
Shrewski 20-Jul-18
elkmtngear 20-Jul-18
Herdbull 20-Jul-18
APauls 20-Jul-18
Bullhound 20-Jul-18
wooddamon1 20-Jul-18
Buffalo1 20-Jul-18
altitude sick 20-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 20-Jul-18
Treeline 20-Jul-18
JTreeman 20-Jul-18
IdyllwildArcher 20-Jul-18
drycreek 20-Jul-18
TD 20-Jul-18
Inshart 20-Jul-18
HUNT MAN 21-Jul-18
mrelite 21-Jul-18
otcWill 21-Jul-18
Rickm 21-Jul-18
rjlefty3 21-Jul-18
Bou'bound 21-Jul-18
carcus 21-Jul-18
W8N4RUT 21-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 22-Jul-18
ki-ke 22-Jul-18
cnelk 22-Jul-18
Tradorion 22-Jul-18
wooddamon1 23-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 23-Jul-18
Deerplotter 23-Jul-18
SliverShooter 24-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 24-Jul-18
TODDY 24-Jul-18
NY Bowman 24-Jul-18
GVS 24-Jul-18
Pyrannah 24-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 24-Jul-18
Bowfreak 24-Jul-18
SliverShooter 25-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 26-Jul-18
orionsbrother 26-Jul-18
midwest 27-Jul-18
Herdbull 30-Jul-18
SliverShooter 30-Jul-18
Kevin Dill 31-Jul-18
T Mac 01-Aug-18
Turkeyhunter 08-Aug-18
GregE 08-Aug-18
Whip 08-Aug-18
From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18

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I guess I've been asked a couple dozen times about my 2017 moose hunt and “where's the story on it?” I honestly didn't have any interest in writing after returning. I just needed to hunt and it sort of ended there. Anyway, upcoming is the account of that hunt which had more than its share of odd twists and close bulls. My 2016 hunt was the first ever to this area which was previously inaccessible. I went in alone and managed to kill a good bull with my longbow after 12 days of hunting. I'm not much for self-promotion and so I'll just say that story is buried somewhere in the moose forum if you care to read it. It's called 15 Days Alone.

For 2017 I decided to hunt with a partner, but needed to figure out who it might be. After talking with a couple guys I invited JT to go...and he accepted. Now, JT (initials of course) doesn't know I'm doing this story and I'm not giving up his privacy. If he drops in and reveals himself that's great. Anyway...he chose me as much as I chose him and we formed a team. The year was spent hammering out details and getting ready for another go at moose in the valley that time forgot.

From: ki-ke
19-Jul-18
OK Kevin. I log on here about 2x/week and the first thread I open is this one....lets kick it up a bit with the posting, now that I will be checking in 47x/day until you finish....

And BTW, I should be your JT.....you know I follow your tracks well... ; ^ )

From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18
September came and suddenly it was time. The night before departure was spent with my best friend and co-adventurer, who also happens to be my wife of 40 years. We had a fine dinner and did a bit of shopping. I told her I felt bad about giving her the boot, but she took it well.

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JT and I met in Fairbanks and then connected with a couple of very good friends who were hunting the same time as we would. Old and new stories....dinner...a few rounds....

Before you know it the clock wound down to zero and it was time for the Cub to fly.

From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18

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I really enjoy flying into moose camp. It's impossible to describe to someone who hasn't done it. It's magical to float along the ridges and drainages looking for moose and other game. The deja vu moment of 2017 came just before landing. Incredibly, there was a fully mature brute bull walking around on the burned hillside across from camp. He was under a half mile from the airstrip and very close to where I'd seen a huge bull when I landed in 2016. What are the odds? I grinned as I shed the earphones and mic, and then hopped out beside the plane. A few words with my pilot and he buzzed off to go get JT. Meanwhile I grabbed the camera and snapped an image of the bull.

There was work to be done, so I stowed the camera and packed my gear across the river to my small campsite.

From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18

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It didn't take long for me to get the campsite prepped and I was surprised to hear the hum of the Cub heading in with JT aboard.

I waded the stream and met the plane to help with gear, but it was unnecessary. JT had it under control and we soon waved goodbye to the only airplane we'd see for the next 12 or so days. I told him about the big bull and we spent some time trying to relocate him to no avail. Moose are huge but the country is so big it's still like trying to find a cricket in a hayfield.

By nightfall we had camp in order, were fed, watered and ready to hunt the next morning. I recall slipping into the down bag and listening to the constant wonderful music of the river lull me to sleep.

From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18
Now...you'll need to excuse me because I'm recalling all this from memory and some of the day-to-day events may be off on timing. I didn't journal or record anything in the field. We just got in the game and started hustling moose as soon as possible.

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Typically my hunts begin rather logically, by using the first day(s) to stay out of the way and just watch for bulls which might be around. I'm not a willy-nilly chase-every-bull kind of moose hunter. I tend to be more of a strategist and wait for good situations to develop. With that said, JT and I spent the first days hiking to various hillside vantage points where we sat and glassed for activity. We did see moose and a fine bull which was a long way off, up in a thick burned area. I could sense JT's itch to go after the bull, but experience told me this was a very low odds prospect. The bull was alone, placid and feeding in a thick area. He eventually bedded. I've found it difficult to either approach or successfully call in bulls which exhibit such placid behavior. They tend to ignore calls and spook rather easily if disturbed. I figured the best way to play this bull was to know he was around, and that sooner or later the rut would light his internal fire and he'd be willing to engage.

There are plenty of mature cows in this small valley, and we saw them often enough to know what was going to eventually happen....

From: Treeline
19-Jul-18
Awesome! Love your moose threads!

From: APauls
19-Jul-18
Oh man I know what it is like to type the story as it takes a long time, but you know we are hanging on to every word and slobbering at the mouth waiting for more. Very excited to read this story. Thank you in advance for all the effort it requires.

From: Beginner
19-Jul-18
Enjoy your posts.

From: M.Pauls
19-Jul-18
Yes yes YES! Keep it coming Kevin

From: Nick Muche
19-Jul-18
Looking forward to the rest of this one Kevin!

From: Scar Finga
19-Jul-18
Man I am already pumped up! Can't wait to read it all and take it all in!

From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18
One of the cool things about my camp is that we are hunting as soon as the zipper opens. We're camped in a place where we can see moose from the tent, and it happens every year. I had a very large bull come within 50 yards of the tent in 2016, but I was 300 yards away and could only swallow my own spit. Anyway, bulls do walk up and down the valley and are potential suckers for a call or decoy. My good friend Mike Mitten graciously provided me with one of his moose head/antler decoy rigs, and I kept it ready to use if a bull showed up. I need to say...the realism of this setup is amazing and bulls WILL find it hard to ignore. Trust me...and look at this picture taken at my home before the hunt.

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From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18
I think it was day 3; JT and I were about to leave camp for the morning hunt and I was scanning the valley for moose. Straight across from camp I picked up a big black coffee-colored body maybe a quarter mile away. In moose terms, that's basically called 'in your lap' and it's a prime opportunity to kill a bull and save huge effort on the packout. The only problem was the 225 yards of open pasture between the river and the moose. No way could we venture out across it and not get spotted quickly. Our only good chance was to get to the river's edge, cross it and set up in the willows on the other bank. We made a fast sneak and got in position without alerting the bull. The first few cow calls were really all it took. The bull was interested and showed it. He began working our way and stopped only to hammer a willow clump with his wide rack. I called sparingly, trying to keep him from pinpointing the source of the calls. I wanted him to hunt for the cow and walk into arrow range.

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Big mature moose are naturally wary and smart when they need to be. This guy didn't see another moose and he held up at about 100 yards to watch. I sensed he might turn and do a walk-away, so I coaxed him more and then showed him the decoy antler. Magic. He instantly went into a rocking motion and was zombie walking our way. When I lowered the antler he soon stopped to look. I raised the antler and immediately he started rocking again. It was almost an involuntary response...kind of like your dog kicking his leg when you scratch his back. However, using the antler allowed the bull to pinpoint our hideout and he approached with due care. I was forced to give up the antler when he got inside 40 yards, but by then it felt like the bull would accept his fate and take an arrow shortly. The bull angled left somewhat and was making his probable last turn to walk in....and then he got the look. 'The look' is that subtle change in attitude, head position, ears, etc we recognize as 'uh-oh'. And as quickly as it looked winnable, the game was lost. The bull simply turned 120 degrees and angled away. I was a bit dumbfounded and puzzled....then I noticed the gentle breeze on my neck behind my right ear. Ahhh....yes. The old boy did his job and saved his day. JT and I regrouped and shook our heads in amazement. That was one BIG chocolate racked bull we wouldn't forget.

19-Jul-18
Count me in for this one. Following closely.

From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18

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We continued to do our duty and greet the dawn ready to hunt. I figured another chance at a bull was likely, but who can guess when or how that chance comes? All you can do is be out there trying and waiting for the stars to line up. Alaska in the early dawn is something I'll miss some day...but not on this trip.

From: Kevin Dill
19-Jul-18
Thanks for the comments. I hope you don't get bored waiting on me to get it done. Speaking of that, I completely forgot I've got to be out of town the next 5 days on business. I'll resume the story when I get back...apologies.

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Okay....I'm really just calling it an evening. I'll try to get back on this tomorrow. ;-)

From: buzz mc
19-Jul-18
Great start! Looking forward to tomorrow.

From: JTreeman
19-Jul-18
Tomorrow can’t come soon enough then!

—jim

From: t-roy
19-Jul-18
Looking forward to it, Kevin!

From: Treeline
19-Jul-18
Dang it! You got me there!

From: Lee
19-Jul-18
That was cruel! Great read, Kevin!

Lee

From: Herdbull
19-Jul-18
Thanks for writing this Kevin. I never got to hear all of these stories. Glad you got some use out of the antler decoy so early in your hunt. Be careful with those things. They are a useful tool and quite portable, but can really trip the rut craze in a raging bull. You are one great story teller, and we are all along for the ride just prior to a new season of Alaskan adventures. Mike

From: Herdbull
19-Jul-18

Herdbull's embedded Photo
Herdbull's embedded Photo
The pack-able decoy.

From: Treeline
19-Jul-18
That decoy looks awesome, Mike!

From: Medicinemann
19-Jul-18
also known as pack-a-bull.....

From: Nick Muche
20-Jul-18
Is there anything better than DIY Alaska? Man, this is great. I hope everyone gets to do it at some point.

From: Grunter
20-Jul-18
Thanks for posting, as always a great adventure to read! Pics are great, keeping us right there with you. Amazing country and animals congrats

From: bowhunter24
20-Jul-18
3:00 A.M. And I'm grinning at work thanks Kevin appreciate your work and your humbleness!

20-Jul-18
It’s been 10 months since my 2017 and I thought “last” AK drop hunt. For 6 months I’ve been thinking of going back. And this story isn’t helping. I wish I could write like Kevin. As my partner and I had many funny and challenging events. I hope they never ban nonresidents from drop hunts in AK

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
One of the finer things about a do--it-yourself hunt is the 'yourself' aspect. You (and a partner) get to basically do whatever you want on a given day. Your camp is yours to manage. You're an independent hunter, not relying on a guide or wrangler or other entity to decide things about what you'll be doing for 2 weeks. The total freedom is so valuable to me...and the work aspect of such hunts only adds to the after-hunt appreciation. Literally, the harder I work during the hunt, the more and better memories I carry forever.

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JT proved I'm a good judge of character and skills. I suppose I could boast him up but he's way too genuinely humble to want that. So I'll just skip over the things like his work ethic in camp, positive mental attitude, intelligence (crazy), hard-hunting approach, overall readiness and so on. You'd be bored by the accolades. He'd deflect all of it, but I'll only say it once here: JT was solid, tough, skilled...and more than qualified to do such a difficult hunt. It was a pleasure to sit on the hillside with him and discuss the finer points of classic country music, moose behavior, and Kentucky bourbon.

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
So maybe it was a day or so later, we spotted a another big dark-antlered bull across the valley. He was heading into a small side drainage and experience told me we had a real shot at getting this guy. We wasted no time getting our butts across the open area and into the burn. The burn is a large area of second growth cover which still has many fire-killed spruce poles standing throughout. It's thick in many places, and it's full of moose food. The cows love it in there and so you know what that means, right? Right. The boys are gonna prowl where the girls hang out.

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We got into position and quickly discussed the wind, setups and what the bull might do. And of course....even the bull didn't know what he might do next. It was silent in the burn except for the occasional bird call or faint sound of the river far off. We couldn't hear the bull, though I was sure he was no more than 100-150 yards in front of us. We were in a great spot and it was time. I cow-called and a minute later the bull responded with a grunt. The level of intensity went up about five notches...he was going to respond.

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
Things got rolling pretty quickly. The bull began grunting and whacking his antlers somewhere ahead of us. I didn't get the sense he was headed our way, so I waited him out a couple minutes. When he grunted next, I grunted instantly on top of his. This happened about 3 or 4 times and he was on the way and ready to challenge. We both could hear him banging through the poplar and aspen saplings as he grunted and kept closing. Despite the thickness of the cover, suddenly I could see the tops of the young trees shaking and waving as he pushed them aside to keep walking. It was truly a moment cut from Jurassic Park; we still hadn't seen him but...damn...you knew he was big and looking for blood. My heart was pounding away because I knew any second he would show, and then there he was 30 yards away and coming steady. Whoa...there's little in life that compares to a full mature A-Y bull moose bearing down on you. I recall thinking “big dark rack”....”a stud bull”....”bad attitude” and he was going to walk directly broadside to JT in less than 15 seconds.

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At 10 yards maybe, the bull stopped and studied the scene. We could do nothing but wait, as there was definitely no shot available through the saplings. Both of us were on a knife's edge, and the bull held the blade. His next move when it came was to start walking but instead of coming directly on, he angled 45 degrees. I figured to hear JT's bow thump and was watching the bull's ribs for the arrow placement...which never came. JT's angle and shot opportunities were different from mine, and he never got a clear chance to place the arrow. Give him credit for not forcing the issue and wounding the bull.

So Dark Rack wandered away and I moved over to JT, expecting him to be all crestfallen and such. Instead I saw a burning intensity in his eyes and a sense of exhilaration. I grinned and asked him about why no shot, and he explained how the bull never cleared cover enough to allow it. I remember my thoughts very clearly. “That was a tough one to lose. You don't call very many big bulls in to 10 yards on a hunt. We should have killed that one. It might have been our best opportunity of the trip.”

Of course I had no way of knowing what fate held in store.

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
While standing and discussing our options, we noticed a northern hawk owl persistently hunting during the midday hours.

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The owl was aggressively preying on the local vole community, as there were literally hundreds of vole holes in one area. With his phenomenal eyesight, the owl simply perched himself in a dead tree and waited. His flight was totally silent and his aim was typically perfect with deadly results.

I love the eyes of a predator.

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
If memory serves, it was a couple days later when we had our next bull opportunity. I wasn't anticipating it, but you just never know when the right bull might show up and change your life. We were sitting on one of our favorite vantage points when JT calmly announced a seriously big bull headed directly down the valley toward us. The moose was still a good distance out and that gave us time to bail off the hill, cross the river and get set up. It looked to be a slam dunk deal. The bull was following the river more or less. If he stayed in the valley there was no way he'd get past us without some sort of interaction. We found our positions and got ready, I called....to nothing. The only things responding were wind and water. The bull had been on a steady walk when we last saw him and now he was awol. I couldn't believe it. Half an hour and nothing. After a quick discussion I told JT I would cross the river and climb the hill for a look. I didn't get 20 yards away before JT was hissing at me. He'd spotted the rack and its owner was deliberately making his way toward our setup. A minute or two later and I had him in sight.

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Nicely wide and quite tall. Very good points and beautiful brow palms. His most distinctive feature was a pair of first (above the brows) points which were outrageously long....maybe 20 inches and about as thick as a baseball bat at the base. Massive long sharp points are so...cool.

And here he comes...under 40 yards and strolling along just looking for the cow he heard earlier. It's going to happen and you can feel the conviction in your spine. Dead bull walking.

20-Jul-18
Beautiful bull.

From: Shug
20-Jul-18
Great pics and story so far ... ty for posting...

From: Treeline
20-Jul-18
Great photography, as usual! Love the owl pictures!

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
Both JT and I were videoing the bull's approach and suddenly (it seemed) absurd that we weren't in total predator mode. The bull was closing rather quickly and it was more than past time to get serious. The cameras got pocketed and we were ready. And that's exactly when THIS bull got....'the look'. He was no more than 30 yards (probably under) when he pulled up and stared our way. I was instantly concerned and read this as a make-or-break moment. Before I could decide anything, the bull was turning away. I tried to coax...or at least freeze him for a moment with a soft cow call. My call had the opposite effect, and the bull trotted out to 40+ yards where he stopped and stared over his hip at our location. I know a lot of you guys can hammer a tennis ball at 40 yards, but I can't do it with a longbow. The bull was out of range and walking away. We actually pursued and challenged him. I walked in the open behind him while waving a decoy antler. The big bull kept grunting and walking away. I was never able to turn him or close in for the shot.

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Later....JT and I discussed what happened and concluded the bull had to have seen motion or somehow eyeballed us and become suspicious. We will never know. We both commented on what a sucker opportunity we'd just blown and neither of us felt like prom queens after getting soundly rejected. I asked him what he'd call that bull, and JT said “Those big long points are his most distinctive feature. They're like daggers.” And just like that Dagger was named.

We would see Dagger a few more times before this all ended, and there was to be one final encounter.

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
Straight up: You don't go to Alaska and have 3 great opportunities to kill big bulls with a bow in less than 8 days...and on a diy hunt no less. If you do, you certainly don't lose on all 3 encounters. We did, and to me it began to feel like we'd dropped all our candy in the dirt. I mean, how many opportunities can you expect? I've spent 12 days hunting hard and not had one chance as good as the 3 we'd had so far. Of course we weren't about to head for the locker room with time left on the clock. We'd keep grinding...and grind harder if necessary.

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Cross the river....

Keep looking for moose....

The days passed and we went through a sort of moose drought. It seemed like the valley was devoid of animals. That's not unusual in my experience, but it can be tough on the psyche when it happens. We were putting in the time and doing our jobs. One day I glanced down-valley and saw a dark object moving quickly. The binoculars confirmed my suspicion. Grizzly.

From: APauls
20-Jul-18
Oh man this thread is too good.

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
The bear was a young adult and moving quickly. It appeared to me the bear was heading away from camp, and I hoped it was because it had smelled our foreign scent. We were in an area where bears basically never see a human and are completely unhunted. We watched the bear move across/up the valley. Remarkably, the bear traveled right through a specific area of the burn which we'd occupied earlier. Had we been there this day, the grizzly would have been in our laps quickly. It just proves the randomness of bear encounters and how it pays to stay on guard always...or at least as much as possible. The bear moved out and we never saw it again. I was thankful because those young bears can be real troublemakers, lacking in experience and being hungry. We returned to an undisturbed camp.

From: elkstabber
20-Jul-18
Ugh! This is great. But don't stop now - there's a Grizzly coming.

From: Shiras
20-Jul-18
Awesome! Love being on these with you!

From: Beav
20-Jul-18
God I love this! Keep it coming!

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
The Finale.

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There came an afternoon where we spotted a distant bull far upstream, standing on a ridge inside the burn. No way would we go that far to mess with him, so we waited and watched. He seemed to be moving through the burn, across the hills and paralleling the river...just moseying and looking for other moose. Then...it seemed his angle changed and he dropped lower. The possibility of him entering the valley was fine to consider but too much to hope for. And still it happened. And guess what?.....

Dagger was back!

It was almost like getting back in the ring with a familiar opponent. It had to work, or....there was no or. We went across the valley with the determination to make this one work. No blown chances. And darned if he didn't come right down off the burn and cross in front of us just out of range. You could tell by his attitude he was in no mood to fight or mingle. There was no chance of turning him, and so we let him go into an area we knew very well. We followed and took up positions to cover a couple spots he might enter. I called with the sweetest cow bawls I could muster and Dagger grunted. It took a bit of time but I got his fire stirred and he headed to me. At 25 yards I was feeling as though I'd entered The Twilight Zone. This was beyond belief. The bull was grunting and raking trees. I was in a great location for cover and the bull showed every sign of making it the last 10 yards into the open for a killing arrow. Douglas fir and heavy steel were ready to complete the job.

For some reason the bull was content to just muck around in this area. He walked. He grunted. He raked. He just wouldn't come to the call...at least he wouldn't come far enough for either of us to pull the string. It went on many minutes and finally with dusk arriving we reluctantly called it quits and quietly crossed the valley back to our camp. I knew it was over. But was it really over?

From: M.Pauls
20-Jul-18
Does anyone else feel like “Dagger” is taunting them personally? I do :)

From: APauls
20-Jul-18
Never over till it's over!

From: JW
20-Jul-18
Great read as always Kevin! Can’t wait for the rest!!

Thanks for taking the time!!!

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
Our last full day of hunting arrived. We weren't somber in any way. We'd had a superb hunt to this point and the complaint department didn't exist. Of course the end of such a hunt produces mixed feelings and that's normal. Gratitude goes great with a dash of regret and appreciation. We all miss the woods when we must go, and I miss this valley even before the final sunrise. It's great to love something that much.

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Somewhere about midday we spotted another big bull across from camp. He worked his way toward a cove which held several large spruce trees and then he bedded where we could see him. Are you kidding? We were standing outside the tent eating lunch and discussing a huge bull bedded about 3/8 of a mile away. How crazy is that? We decided the best move was to watch and plot. At some point when we weren't watching, the bull moved out of sight. I was 100% certain he'd gone back into the cove and would reappear in the evening. We made a calculated decision to take stand positions most likely to produce a shot if things worked out.

A light misty rain fell as we waited. It was rather temperate and the air felt well....expectant if you follow. That bull was in front of us somewhere and there seemed a decent chance he would walk our way with no coaxing. It never happened though. Even the calls brought no response. I wondered if he'd moved on through the cove to another area. JT joined me and we retreated one last time to our camp.

From: buc i 313
20-Jul-18
Kevin,

Great read.

Man it does appear "Dagger" is dancing to the tune of enticement.

LOL

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
The Salute:

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The next morning was departure day. Breakfast, followed by the urge to begin striking camp. There's much work to get done before the Cub arrives. At some point one of us looked across the valley. Of course the bull hadn't ever left the cove. He spent the night in there and proudly showed himself to us the next day. We could only grin and wish him well. Goodbye Dagger, and take care of yourself until we meet again.

It's a bittersweet moment when you hear the Super Cub in the distant sky. Time to abandon your wilderness home and separate yourself from the beauty which you've almost come to take for granted. Suddenly you know how fortunate you are to have been here. That's how it is for me. I watched JT soar away in the plane and I was left alone with my thoughts amidst a drizzling rain. My mind wanders between my home and this place, and I'm honestly a bit torn about where I want to be. I've done this so many years...it feels like I belong. Of course I'll be thrilled to get home to my wife, dogs and home. But my mind will wander north from time to time, and I'll think about birch bark and clear water. I think I hear the plane....

From: M.Pauls
20-Jul-18
Fantastic read Kevin, thank you for that excellent contribution! Such a breath of fall air!

20-Jul-18
Now I understand your previous thread as you count down the days:)

Enjoy every moment as the years become shorter every year we age!

From: axle2axle
20-Jul-18
Epic hunt so far...I need more! Kevin

20-Jul-18
I feel like I need to pack my bags and go! Great story Kevin, and thanks for sharing your experience!

From: Beav
20-Jul-18
What a great story!

From: Smtn10PT
20-Jul-18
Great adventure, and great telling of it! Some day I hope to write my own tale of an Alaskan bull moose.

From: JEG
20-Jul-18
Great story Kevin!! Thank you so much for sharing really gets me cranked up for my upcoming AK moose hunt. I would love to make one of those decoys, could you give me some ideas on how to make one for our upcoming hunt? I also messaged herdbull about the decoy.

From: Ron Niziolek
20-Jul-18
Loved it. That's my bucket list hunt. Thanks for sharing the story!

From: Old School
20-Jul-18
Great story as always Kevin - one day I hope to go as well.

--Mitch

20-Jul-18
What an awesome story. I usually struggle to say that about stories that dont end up with something being packed out, but i enjoyed the heck out of it. Great storytelling and beautiful pics at a time of the year when this site desperately needs it!!! Thanks for taking the time

From: BigOk
20-Jul-18
Great story.

From: Butternut40
20-Jul-18
Great story. What an adventure.

From: wannaelk
20-Jul-18
What a great adventure!! Thanks for taking us along!!

From: OFFHNTN
20-Jul-18
THANK YOU for posting this Kevin! Always enjoyable reading whether you kill or not.

What do you bring to eat for the 12 days?

From: JulianT
20-Jul-18
I never knew if Kevin would write this story up or not. I feel a bit like the indian in that Legends of the Fall scene where he realizes they are not his kills and therefore, not his scalps to take. To say hunting with one my great heroes, mentors and friends was one of the highlights of my life doesn't even do it justice. Nothing else needs saying. You guys have read the stuff. He is exactly what you think he is. I'll never be in the wilderness with a bow in hand again without carrying a piece of his spirit along for the best of rides. Can't wait to read about the next trip, buddy.

20-Jul-18
So great, thanks for sharing.

From: CurveBow
20-Jul-18
Kevin - thanks for sharing your story and taking us along the journey. Beyond that, I echo Charlie's great words.....

>>>>-------->

From: Medicinemann
20-Jul-18
I so enjoy a well told story that stirs memories of previous bowhunts.....thank you for the "stir".....

From: grossklw
20-Jul-18
Great read, lights the fire to do a DIY Alaskan adventure at some point.

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
All I can say is a sincere thanks for the comments. Lots of good guys here and I'm glad if I was able to cause a daydream or two. I always try to point out that I'm not a professional writer and I just write from the gut. I try to keep it honest and real. I'm married to my only sponsor. I do have more inspirational friends to thank than I could possibly name here.

.

Julian is way too lavish with the kind words, but that's what you'd expect from a gentleman. There are guys you'll hunt with, and then there are guys you'll hunt with any chance you get. JT is cut from the cloth of real men and he'll always have a place to sit on the hill with me.

And JT, I'm glad you stepped from the shadows to out yourself. Thanks for making the 2017 hunt a great one.

20-Jul-18
What an amazing story. Look forward to these tales every year. Great adventure and great writing. Thanks for sharing your hunt Kevin. I felt like I was there with you. I dream of doing that hunt.

From: Bowbender
20-Jul-18
Quite simply, thank you. Awesome read.

From: Florida Mike
20-Jul-18
Now that was a great adventure! Congrats men! Mike

From: pav
20-Jul-18
Fantastic read Kevin....as we have come to expect!

From: Dirk Diggler
20-Jul-18
Great write up Kevin! Love to read your 2016 hunt if anybody can post a link?

From: Grunter
20-Jul-18
What a trip! Only wish you coulda wrote 20 pages more! Yes you caused me to day dream Kevin :) I've never been there, but guys like you and your stories make the fire burn that much hotter. Thank you for taking the time to post this up-much appreciated!

From: Shrewski
20-Jul-18
Great stuff KD and JT. I will look forward to this fall’s adventures. Good luck and stay safe.

From: elkmtngear
20-Jul-18
Fantastic , really made me feel like I was up there with you guys!

Best of Luck this Season, Kevin...looking forward to reading about it!

From: Herdbull
20-Jul-18
Thank you for inspiring us Kevin, and don't tell us again that you are not a pro-writer. Folks should search other hunts Kevin has posted on this site. For others - the decoy I used in my Chasing Solitude film and mentioned here by Kevin, was a photo of a bull I killed that I took to a local print shop to get printed on corrugated plastic. I glued two layers to reinforce and provide an overlap for Velcro attachment to the three parts. As a solo hunter, I went further with it and attached to the hard hat webbing so I could wear on my head and approach and be able to shoot a haremed-up bull. ... although not recommended. Ha ha Mike

From: APauls
20-Jul-18
Awesome hunt Kevin. Great pics too. Thanks for taking the time to share. Amazing how quick “slam dunks” can go sideways. What are we at? 47 days? Good luck this year!!!

From: Bullhound
20-Jul-18
almost too good of a read. captivating

From: wooddamon1
20-Jul-18
Great read, Kevin. Awesome photos, too.

From: Buffalo1
20-Jul-18
Grand Slam Home Run !!! What an adventure and a great job of writing and sharing. Thanks.

20-Jul-18
Like I said earlier, my 2017 drop camp moose hunt was supposed to be my last. But after reading Kevin’s story it confirmed what I knew as soon as I left AK last year. I would return! Kevin you definitely have a way of putting us in your shoes with words and pictures.

From: Kevin Dill
20-Jul-18
Much appreciation guys. Many friends and names I know here.

From: Treeline
20-Jul-18
Mr. Dill has, yet again served up an incredible adventure to whet the appetite of the adventurous bowhunter.

Thank you, sir for yet another epic tale.

I wish you well in your continued pursuits of solitude and beauty in the far north! I sincerely hope and pray that Dagger returns to your sacred valley for another round in a few short months and that you are gifted with yet more encounters. Perhaps he will allow you to put the “cherry on top” next time!

Thank you for the privilege to get a small taste of your passion for the wild places.

From: JTreeman
20-Jul-18
Thanks for sharing Kevin, excellent story. I can’t wait for my first AK moose hunt this September!

—jim

20-Jul-18
Great story as always.

From: drycreek
20-Jul-18
Kevin, you're an great story teller. Of course, it helps to have a great story to tell, and what better than a wild country moose hunt. Excellent !

From: TD
20-Jul-18
Wow. Great read, great pics. Congrats to the both of you. Thank much Kevin for taking the time to do this. Looking forward already to the next one.....

Mike....LOL! that decoy sounds like one of those "don't try this at home" deals.....

From: Inshart
20-Jul-18
As has already been stated ................Outstanding! Kevin, do you have more pics you can share?

From: HUNT MAN
21-Jul-18
Wow just wow !!!!!!

From: mrelite
21-Jul-18
Thanks for sharing your story, the way you eloquently write really expresses how special this type of experience really is. I have had a couple Alaskan experiences, both resulted in no kills but the things that happened during the hunts were nothing short of awesome, as you expressed there is so much more to an Alaskan moose hunt. Thanks again for fanning the flames LOL

From: otcWill
21-Jul-18
So dang good, Kevin. Thanks for taking the time. I'm doing this soon. No more day dreaming

From: Rickm
21-Jul-18
Kevin, check you pms.

Thanks for taking the time.

Rick

From: rjlefty3
21-Jul-18
Incredible read! Bucket list thing for me, thanks for taking me along.

I can only imagine what it was like since even my adrenaline kicked in while I was reading!

From: Bou'bound
21-Jul-18
simply the best

From: carcus
21-Jul-18
That made my week, loved it, made me feel like a kid at christmas!

From: W8N4RUT
21-Jul-18
Fantastic. Always enjoy these. Moose hunting really is something special.

Scott

From: Kevin Dill
22-Jul-18
Many, many sincere thanks for the kind comments.

.

7 weeks from today I'll be arriving back in my valley. I'm quietly pumped, and just working to get things ready. The new longbow is shooting well. Yesterday I began staining and finishing a dozen fir shafts. Who knows what awaits?....

From: ki-ke
22-Jul-18
Kevin

Thanks again for sharing. You have a talent for capturing the experience, that even though you believe it to be through your unique lens, readers are right there with you.

From: cnelk
22-Jul-18
Awesome recap once again - thanks!

From: Tradorion
22-Jul-18
If Mr. Dill hunts anywhere near like he writes it must indeed be a helluvan adventure-

As for the infamous JT- having known and hunted with him on and off for years- I’d say Mr Dill got as good as he gave.

A friend had a saying “chartreuse with envy”

It fits.

From: wooddamon1
23-Jul-18
Kevin, which longbow are you shooting now? Sticking with Cari-bow? I recently got an Amisk from Abe and I'm madly in love.

From: Kevin Dill
23-Jul-18
Silver Fox 3 pc takedown. Packs smaller than my 64” x 2 pc bow, plus I have a set of back-up limbs.

Steve (ki-ke) thanks for the kind words. I often think back to a certain Yukon hunt, and a tough cowboy we both knew as a friend.

From: Deerplotter
23-Jul-18
Absolutely stunning bow adventure. Thanks for sharing!

24-Jul-18
Kevin, As always, a great read. Your way of painting pictures with words has inspired some to make the commitment to bring an Aklaskan hunt to reality and many others to live an them vicariously.

I’m headed back to Fairbanks again in a little over seven weeks. Unfortunately, it looks like we will miss each other again on this trip. My flight into the bush is on the 15th, probably a couple of days after yours and I’m not scheduled to come out until the 26 or 27.

Thanks for sharing and best of luck on this years adventure.

From: Kevin Dill
24-Jul-18
Walt (SliverShooter)...Thanks my friend. I knew you were going but didn't know the timeframe. I sure wish we could've caught up over a brew. I hope you have a successful and enjoyable hunt. As always....shoot straight!

From: TODDY
24-Jul-18
Great read Kevin! Thank you for sharing! TODDY

From: NY Bowman
24-Jul-18
Evidently true gentlemen run in pairs! Kevin, as usual your story telling is unsurpassed. I miss you buddy. We need to hunt together again.

From: GVS
24-Jul-18
Great story Kevin. I was waiting for that. Good luck to you and the new guy this year.

From: Pyrannah
24-Jul-18
fantastic!!

From: Kevin Dill
24-Jul-18
Terry (NY Bowman)....You're a bit too complimentary to match your rep as a grouchy gator-huntin' guide. Thanks my friend. You're definitely one of those "inspirational friends" I referred to above, and you're never far from my mind.

From: Bowfreak
24-Jul-18
Thanks for sharing this amazing adventure. I love each and every KD thread.

A thread like this definitely defines what success looks like. Only hunters would understand but that couldn't have been a more successful, filling hunt.

25-Jul-18
Mike or Kevin, What is your size recommendation for for the decoy antlers? I was thinking 36” wide but remember Burkhart’s bing a little smaller when I saw them on the runway in AK.

From: Kevin Dill
26-Jul-18
Walt: Hopefully Mike will weigh in here, or drop you a PM. I would think 36" is sufficient if making your own. The key (to me) is having one good antler (replica) in or on my pack while hunting.

26-Jul-18
Superb story, as anticipated. Thank you.

And I suspect JT's assessment is spot on.

From: midwest
27-Jul-18
Had to wait for the right time when I could sit down and read the entire story.

Spectacular, as always, Kevin. Can't wait for the next installment.

From: Herdbull
30-Jul-18

Herdbull's embedded Photo
Herdbull's embedded Photo
I made mine tip to tip 47 inches wide, but some guys cut the tines shorter to fit in their pack, and still others only use one of the palms to flash, and not the full rack. I made it that wide so that it would command more respect from the approaching bull, and he may not come straight in like it would running off a smaller bull, but come slow and begin to posture. Again, a lot of this is to get the animal within stickbow range, and may not be necessary for longer shots. Mike

30-Jul-18
Kevin, Mike,

Thanks for the responses, it is appreciated.

It might have been better To have waited for the reply’s, I have two sets of 36” prints coming, one for me and the other for my hunting partner Lenny. Regardless, they should work better than using my self bow with a quiver full of arrows as I did in the past.

From: Kevin Dill
31-Jul-18
Having dealt with a mature bull at 4 feet away, I have a piece of advice for callers and decoy users. Have an escape plan or a hand-cannon ready. When a determined bull decides it's time to press the issue, you don't want to be saying 'uh-oh"....trust me on that.

From: T Mac
01-Aug-18
Kevin thank you for sharing. It was a concise recap that made us feel we were right there with you. That river valley looks to be such a serene location. I can see why you have a hard time leaving there as you are surrounded by its quiet beauty.

From: Turkeyhunter
08-Aug-18
Anyone selling moose decoys like above. If so would like PM. Want 2 or 3 of them decoys for our bowhunters. TH

From: GregE
08-Aug-18
I sure an glad I found this thread!! Very enjoyable read, Thank you

From: Whip
08-Aug-18
I don't get around here as much as I used to so I'm really late to this party. On the plus side, I got to read it from start to finish - not the way I'm used to following your adventures Kevin. ?? Your trips never disappoint, and this one obviously was more than any reasonable man could ever deserve or hope for. Hunting just doesn't get any better than that. The Alaskan wilderness, the moose, the partners - I couldn't make that up in my dreams. Congratulations to you both, and good luck this fall!

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