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In 2013 I had an excellent trip with Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters, I was able to take sheep, caribou and wolf on that trip.
After seeing the quality of their area and how they run the operation, along with hearing a lot of stories of their moose hunts while I was there, a moose hunt with MMO was high on my list....it took 5 years, but I was able to get back up for a moose hunt....and it was worth the wait.
Travel from PA to Norman Wells was long, but uneventful. With an overnight in Edmonton then a mandatory picture of the polar bear in the Yellowknife airport I finally arrived at Norman Wells.
After gathering luggage and meeting the rest of the hunters that were also going to MMO for the hunt, we were transported to North Wrights float plane base to load into the float plane and fly to base camp.
After arriving at base camp, gear was sorted, the other hunters shot rifles and I shot my bow. After eating dinner we were flown out to where we would be moose hunting.
Rob would be my guide again on this trip...at some point during the the early part of the hunt, I asked him how many moose bowhunters he had guided...his answer was the same as when I asked him at the beginning of my sheep hunt....I would be his first moose bowhunter.
We would be staying in a Kifaru teepee. This was my first time using a teepee, it was very nice, especially having the stove on the cold mornings.
The croc was moved before the fire was started...
We camped in a patch of willows , on a gravel bar, along a stream.
Each morning we would put on rain pants and gaiters in order to cross the stream and climb the opposite side up to our glassing nob. We glassed from the second dirt spot, most mornings we weren't there very long....
I will post a few pictures of the area we were glassing and hunting, it was a long valley with willow brush that ranged from 2 to 10 feet tall.
Day one, we climb to the glassing nob. We hadn't been there 5 minutes and Rob spotted the first bull.
At the beginning I discussed with Rob my goals for the trip, a mature moose with no specific size in mind. It was decided that any moose 50" and bigger we would make a move on.
The first moose spotted met these requirements, we were off back across the stream, dropping rain pants and frozen gaiters at the teepee and picking up the Montana moose 2 decoy.
We climbed up the opposite side of the valley towards the moose, after a few hundred yards we spot a second bull and 3 cows. Rob gave a cow call and bull 1 starts raking and moves towards us a little then turns around and starts moving away. We moved towards bull 2 and the cows after a little calling the bull gathers his cows and moved away, apparently the rut is still a couple days away and the bulls aren't quite cranked up yet.
After the encounter with the bulls was over we headed back to the teepee, had lunch then back up to the glassing spot for the rest of the day, we spotted one other bull the rest of the day that was very far away and it was later in the afternoon.
As we are glassing there is a ground squirrel that is not happy we are there and chattering most of the day. At some point in the afternoon, Rob says WOLVERINE, I turn around, it is 10 yards from us with the ground squirrel in its mouth, I nocked an arrow, but it never stopped running....at least we didn't have to listen to squirrel chatter at us anymore...
Due to the high number of grizzly bears in the area, they try to not kill a moose late in the day, so the meat doesn't have to be taken care of in the dark or need to go back to the kill sight the next day, both of which can be dangerous in the thick willow brush with bears that aren't hunted and dont seem to have much fear of humans.
Day 2, again after a few minutes a bull is spotted, this one is a little farther up the valley. Rob identifies it as the single bull from day 1, we are off. After some climbing and thrashing through a bunch of willows, we are 300 yards from the bull. About then the fog rolls in and we loose sight of the bull, we are never able to find him after the fog burns off. Since we are so far up that side of the valley, we climb higher on that side of the valley and spent rest of the day glassing from that side. We only spot one cow for the rest of the day.
Day 3, no bulls were spotted from the glassing nob in the morning. After a few hours, we headed down stream to see if we could locate the bull and 3 cows from day 1. We climbed a high point and spent several hours glassing. Early afternoon, I spotted a lone bull crossing the stream into the willow brush. We decided that he met the criteria and we were on the way to close the distance. After the bull got into the willow brush we weren't able to locate him again. After that we spent the remaining few hours on the glassing nob near camp. We spotted a new single cow in the area, definitely a good sign that we had fresh "bait" in the area. It was Sept 9 and time that the rut should be picking up.
Good luck and thanks for posting
Day 4, after a short sit on the glassing nob a bull is spotted, we make the move back across the stream and up through the willow brush towards the bull. Rob gives a cow call and the bull starts at us, definitely a good sign. We cover more ground towards the bull. At about 300 yards, the decoy is set up, with Rob holding the decoy, so it can be moved and cow calling, I set up slightly ahead and downwind of Rob and the decoy. The bull is slowly moving towards us , stopping to rake brush several times. As the bull is moving towards us, we are also moving towards the bull, I get set up on the edge of a small clearing in the brush, I am well hidden in a hole in a section of willow brush. At 180 yards the bull starts thrashing brush much more aggressively. After a few minutes of him doing this, I notice another, larger bull coming through the brush, this one seems much more aggressive and is moving towards the first bull and us quickly. As the bulls get close they circle each other , the second bull shows his dominance over the first bull. As this is going on Rob continues cow calling and they are getting closer, because of the open area in front of me , I can't move towards the bulls without being seen. As the time is passing, the sun has come out and warming the air and the wind direction is becoming less stable. Rob gives another call and the bigger bull looks like he is committed, I have an arrow nocked and it looks like it is going to happen. At 110 yards the big bull stops and I can tell he smelled something he didn't like, nose up testing the air. One more breeze at my back and it's over, both bulls move away. So close, but rut activity is definitely picking up.
After lunch at the teepee, we climb back to the glassing point. Throughout the afternoon we spot a new bull at the upstream end of the valley actively pursuing a cow. Another good sign.
Day 5, the coldest day so far. Another short sit on the glassing nob and a bull is spotted high on the opposite side of the valley. We are off, this time our gaiters are frozen solid when we take them off at the teepee, we head up the bank through the willow brush once again. This bull is high on the side of the valley almost on the side of the mountain. Rob cow calls, the bull answers and starts at us raking and thrashing. As the bull moves towards us and we move towards him, we notice he has 3 cows with him. The bull is acting very aggressive, grunting and thrashing, Rob says this one is going to come in....
The decoy is out, the bull is grunting, the cows and Rob are cow calling. The distance is closing, at about 100 yards the bull doesn't seem like he wants to get any farther from his cows. I move at the bull a bit, Rob bull grunts and the bull is on his way. I loose sight of him in a depression, but can here him moving in the brush, I move towards him a bit more. Then I see his antlers above the brush... he is close...36 yards, but all I can see above the brush is his head from neck up. One of his cows starts to run away from him, he turns to chase her, as he does this Rob moves at him with the decoy to get his attention, while I'm moving through the brush towards him. I Crest a small knoll in the brush, the bull is in the open facing straight away, I drop to my knees, range him, adjust my single pin sight. As he starts to turn I draw, he turns broadside, but begins walking in one motion, I let down. He turns and walks straight away from me, with the sun at my back, I'm now completely in the open following him to stay in range. He doesn't notice me and stops to thrash some brush again, still facing straight away, I range and adjust the sight again. This time as he starts to turn and I draw , he stops, hard quartering away. I set the pin on the opposite leg and trigger the release....
The shot feels good, but I dont see any part of the arrow flight. I think I see the bulls hide ripple a bit and he drops and lunges, looking like the hit may be a bit lower than I wanted. He takes a couple bounds and stops front legs spread wide, facing straight away from me. Because I'm not positive on the hit, I want to get another one in him, I check the range, spin the sight again, and basically "hamblaster" him. At the contact of the second arrow he makes a 50 yard run and stops head down, wobbling. After a few seconds he is down roles a couple times and it's over.
After 5 years of anticipation and 5 days of hunting, I have a great bull on the ground and have shared another great hunt with Rob.
Awesome hunt and bull, congrats!!!!
Awesome! Moose is on my list! Congrats and great story!
Congrats! I’ve been once, no shots. Want to go again.
Great bull! Congrats and thanks for sharing!
Congratulations! Thank you for sharing.
Nice bull and great story. Congrats
Can we get a picture smiling? Shoot i thought maybe aaron snyder killed this moose :)
Great hunt. Good job man.
Here is the best that I have, the sun was very bright and I was concentrating on keeping my eyes open more than the smile....
I'll bet you were smiling on the inside ! Great story and a GREAT moose. Man, what a backstrap that sucker must have ! :-)
Huntinelk; what does a hunt like this cost - not including taxidermy costs .... if you don't mine me asking, please? On my bucket list also, just not sure I could afford it.
Way to stick with your dream and make it happen!!
Unsplit moose rack, a cooler full of moose meat in a rental mini van, PA bound...
Ha!!!!! Well done! I'm happy for you.
Congrats that's awesome!!! Heck of a trip and some amazing country
What a great beast. So well done
To finish up the story.... The second arrow was unnecessary, the first one went in at good height just behind the last rib and traveled to the opposite shoulder, getting both lungs on the way.
After the bull was down and pictures were taken, we both worked as quickly as possible to get the bull taken apart and to get the meat packed a safe distance from the carcass. It is very important to get it done as quick as possible, its not a matter of if, but how soon a grizzly will arrive.
Nice write-up, great pics, looks like an awesome adventure, congrats! (I confess I was also thinking about the smile, or lack thereof)
Congrats on a fine trophy and taking us all along on your adventure.
I don't think an internal frame pack was designed with hauling a moose skull and antlers in mind, we didn't have to go real far, so I made it work.
Wow. Congrats. This is on my short list. Great story!! ThAnks so much for posting. Hunt
Congrats! Thanks for sharing your hunt.
Congrats on your hunt, sounds like a great time!
Awesome hunt Gene!!!! Congrats, man you didn't just shoot "any" bull that's for sure - what a gorgeous bull! Sounds like you got the whole package in that hunt - right on!
Perfect "primer" as we get ready to leave :)
Way to go! That is one great bull!!
Congrats on a great bull and thanks for sharing! Well done!
Great moose shot in some magnificent country!! Congrats!!
Gene, You say that you were in a rental van. How much of this trip did you fly, and how much did you drive?
I flew the whole way up. On the way back I flew from Norman Wells to Edmonton. That is the easy part of the return with a moose rack, for a reasonable fee they will put it on a pallet and ship it cargo on the same flight to Edmonton. I picked up the rental van at Edmonton airport and drove home from there. It was 34 hours of driving time.
Awesome story, spectacular bull! Love the NWT and the Mackenzies! Need to go back for a moose:)
Great story and great bull! I hunted with MMO in 2016 and your story brings back a lot of memories. Got to meet and spend a little time with Rob. He seemed like a good guy to hunt with. Thanks for posting.
Congrats on a great hunt and a beautiful bull, Gene! Moose hunting is an absolute blast!
The wolverine would have been a unique trophy as well.
Nicely done. I can only hope that my WT hunt to Nebraska next week is 1/10 as successful and exciting. You had me all the way right up to the successful shot. Good story. my best, Paul