Contributors to this thread:
Specifically for Alaska-Yukon moose....who (if anyone) is going bow-only ('or bust') for their moose hunt this year, 2019?
I killed a small paddle bull with my bow in 17, tried again last year but struck out. I’ll be bow only for moose for life most likely, but certainly for this year. Sep 13 can’t get here soon enough!
Bow moose incidental to Mt Caribou in N BC...they are about as big body wise as Alaska-Yukon Moose up there even though they are categorized as Canada Moose.
I'm just taking a bow but buddy is taking a rifle, if I have to I'll use his last couple days as this may be my only yukon moose hunt
Buddy and I went last year. Bow only, no shots taken. I could have killed one, 55” or so, with a rifle, 100 yards.
Going in Sept. I believe a rutting Bull Moose is one of the most perfectly suited animals on the continent for bow-hunting enthusiasts. Have arrowed 4 moose but never an A-Y. Zero interest in rifling one.
This here is at the top of my bucket list right now. Hopefully next year.
Good luck to everyone making it happen in a few weeks!
Old photo but two nice ones. What a big target.
Every hunt is bow or bust for me!
Finished my Moose Slam last year, it’s just a matter of mindset, do want to kill a Moose or kill a Moose with a bow? If the later is your choice, you’ll never be tempted to pick up a rifle, if you want to kill one regardless, have to rifle ready. Either way it’s an amazing adventure and your hunt/choice, just don’t forget to enjoy it!
No issues with other weapons here. Just trying to find out how many committed (to the bow) guys are going. There's nothing like HAVING to get it done with a bow...or go home hungry...to make a guy work triple-hard to get a bull close. For me, the epitome of a successful moose hunt is not just a kill: it mandates having a bull in so close I can toss a rock and hit him easily. Nothing beats having all that power, bulk and attitude posturing 10-15 yards away while waiting for the right shot angle.
Good luck, boys. Please come back and share the story!
Agreed Kevin...committing to the bow.....if I'd convince myself to lay the bow down and pick up a gun for the satisfaction of succeeding ....any way legally...if be cheating myself....,which I don't do,the mirror never lies. ..if he's out there at 145.I'm archery only...I'll stalk him to Oregon if I have to.... With my bow...or ill get on the plane knowing I left 100 % commitment in that brush..just who I am,,
Geez now you guys are making me feel bad about myself ha
Well, let’s get ahead of this. The purpose isn’t to throw shade on anyone opting for a firearm. The purpose is to find the people who are simply hardcore bow guys and willing to bet it all on a bow kill....or nothing.
I'm strictly a bow guy now, but being my first and maybe only trip to alaska for moose ill do whatever it takes to bring one home!
I wish I was going again this year! Bow only for me as well. A buddy and I came home empty handed a couple years back. Would have easily both tagged out had we been packing a rifle (barring screwing up relatively easy shots).
Hopefully, it works out for you with your bow, Tanner, but either way, hope ya kill a giant!
Everyone hunts for their own reasons and should never apologize or feel lesser for how they choose to legally hunt.
If killing a big Alaskan Moose is the goal, and it would be even sweeter with the bow then take both and have a hell of a hunt. If you personally wouldn’t be as satisfied with a rifle kill and the bow aspect is as important as the moose itself, then leave the rifle at camp/home. Neither way is a more noble way of hunting or more correct. Everyone should hunt for their own reasons and make no apologies for doing so!
Nothing like an Archery only tag to answer this question for you. I drew a Bow tag in Vermont in 2013, I never considered it a handicap as they were rutting.
This got me thinking though, are there many Bow only tags or seasons out there for Moose? Due to low numbers, VT has suspended their Moose permit lottery.
My moose hunt is on an archery only tag, so.....
Definitely a good question Kevin. I think it's imperative that a bowhunter thinks it through before heading out. You wouldn't want to have regret later. So much comes into play - accessibility to moose hunting, stage of life, other hunts planned etc etc. I feel like my brother and I are hardcore bowhunters, but with our families and the stage of life and both the time and $ investment we both knew going in there was no way in he!! we could ever tell our wives that we said no to 400lbs of fine eating because we simply wanted to kill with our bows. It was essentially part of the family arrangement to take part in such an adventure. Thankfully it worked out the first time for both of us. Unfortunately on our second trip we both had archery opportunities go sideways where we each screwed up. Being at the end of a short moose trip, it quickly turned to grocery shopping and I don't regret filling the tag. The other beauty of moose hunting is that there is usually a chance to make things happen with archery tackle, and fall back to a rifle if it goes sideways. The terrain usually allows for a follow-up opportunity especially if you are hunting with 2 guys and the caller can carry a rifle so the shooter can go 100% archery on the first opportunity.
I do believe there are a few animals that are simply made for bowhunting. Moose and black bears are two of those animals. Caribou if they are in numbers. If the meat means nothing to you, moose is definitely an animal to go bow or bust on, because chances are very good to make an opportunity happen. I will also say this, no animal provides more meat, and of the wild meat I've eaten it is the best I've ever had. I think they only thing I have not eaten is sheep. Good luck to all moose hunters this fall!!
Hesticles, get one in the salt. Then when you can make it back some day.
And trust me you will find a way. You can’t go just once. Leave the rifle home if you choose to. You’ll have more peace of mind about not killing one when you have one already. And your a little older.
I'm on the record as being 100% in favor of hunting moose with a firearm or any legal weapon. That's absolute. I just know there are some guys who are bow-only and damn the odds, whatever they may be. Everyone has to decide what makes them happy and (I say) ignore what others might think or say about your methods.
Moose meat is probably good enough to warrant hunting them with whatever you've got. Just ask any wolf.
As for close range bowhunting vs a rifle: The one thing I would sincerely miss (by killing with a rifle) is the experience of having a monstrous black animal....all it's height, bulk and power...near enough be totally awed by. It's a wondrous moment to walk up on a moose you've killed, no doubt. If you haven't been within 10 yards of a 60" prime stud, grunting and tilting....you would have no way of comprehending what that makes you feel like. I crave that, and it's so important to me that I'll risk going home with only photos and memories.
I well recall a bull I spotted at over 1/4 mile and called to. He seemed to ignore me at first, but eventually began to weave my way. I figured he was ambivalent, as he turned away several times. I finally got him cranked up enough that he began beating up brush and grunting. He stepped into the clear at 40 yards and I captured the moment:
I thought it just might work out when he turned my way. The bull became unpredictable at 15 yards and came right into the point of cover where I was set up. I killed him off my knee with an upward 6-yard shot. That was a very intense couple of minutes.
And even that situation was not my closest shot and kill on a bull. It got a lot crazier in 2016.
Archery only... on every trip for me.
I'm not moose hunting (I sure wish I were!) But pretty much anything I hunt the days is bow only. I may eat a few tags and don't care for that taste, but in general I don't get much meat at the grocery store.
Well said BPM. I am not moose hunting anytime soon but heading west for elk for the first time and for me it’s bow only. I hunted with an outfitter 8 years ago who felt a hunters first bear should be with a rifle. I disagreed with him then and 6 bears later have no regrets. Success for me is measured in the experience and knowledge I gain each time out.
What an awesome bull Kevin!
Bow for me unless it busts, instead of a backup bow we brought a open sight 30-30, if something catastrophic happens to the compound I would use the 30-30.
Outstanding Kevin! Congrats!
If you are willing to switch to a rifle if the bow seems too difficult, are you really bowhunting? And if you manage to kill with a bow before switching, can you really claim a bow kill? Or will YOU always know it was only a bow kill of convenience. If the kill is so important for ANY reason, just admit it up front and rifle hunt. You're only bowhunting if you commit to bowhunting for the entirety of that hunt. A bow hunt is a bow hunt from start to end. It's bow only for both my wife and I. We've never regretted it.
Well I guess I wont post a picture on here if I end up shooting one with a rifle haha
Tanner. That’s a fact. Enjoy your hunt because it’s your hunt! Best of luck this year. Hunter.
I am sorry but Ziek post is what is wrong with hunters these days . Why would anyone worry about how someone else hunts or say they are not bowhunting if they are willing to use a legal weapon to harvest a animal . Hunt
I'm starting to regret this thread. We do not need to question or disparage the legal choices of a fellow hunter. That's opposite to the intent here. If you kill a moose with a gun and are thrilled, I will be very happy for you. Same with a bow. No more or less respect either way. Again... I'm mainly just trying to identify those guys fanatical enough to risk their whole hunt on a bow shot. Thanks
I'm not moose hunting this year, but I know a couple Bowsiters that are. And, they'll be bow only, as i don't even think they own a rifle. When i do hunt moose, It'll be with a bow. They're big enough i would think i could hit one with an arrow.
I'm zero for three on Alaskan moose hunts. #4 in the works. Never had a rifle in camp and could have killed each time with a rifle. Wouldn't change a thing. Ed F
After 18 years of trying my dad drew a bull tag in September in Maine. I will have my bow. If I have to though taking his .416 and shooting it I am not above. I might not ever get a guided trip again or a tag for that matter.
Longbow or bust for me.
To Tanner and anyone else, it's your hunt, enjoy it. Use the rifle I say. No less of an accomplishment. In the circle you run in how many guys have even made the commitment to get to Alaska to hunt moose.
Well I'm 35 and have a young family (2 and 6yr olds) at home, I've had 6 months to plan and save for my first alaska trip period! I'll try my damndest with my bow but I wanna bring something home to show my girls! Bow or not it's what I have to do!
I’m fairly certain the requirements for claiming a bowkill are to kill the animal with a bow. Lol some people kill me with the delusional pedestals they place themselves or arbitrary choices on. Go hunt, be happy. If that means sticking it out with the bow and coming home empty handed, cool. If that means dropping the hammer on one at 350 yards, cool. Share successes and failures with others if you choose to do so, not out of approval from peers but simply because there are hundreds of us (myself included) who love to follow along.
I’m with my brother on this. Moose is way too much of a resource for my family to not use a rifle at the end of the trip to fill a freezer if possible. If I didn’t have a family to feed, hands down it would be bow or bust, as killing one with a rifle actually brings me very little pleasure by comparison. I will also say that if I’ve premeditated that I would fill a tag with a rifle at the end, for myself personally, I don’t think I would all of a sudden change to rifle if the bull was really big to guarantee killing him. I am bowhunting, and for me that’s where my enjoyment comes, shooting with the rifle is more “grocery shopping” at the end of a hunt with a little bit of fun involved :)
I’m just a hunter who hangs out on the Bowsite. I bowhunt deer in my home state..... But I Rifle Hunt. (I hunt with shotguns and muzzleloaders too)......My only moose trip ever I killed a 50” bull in Alberta with a rifle. Saving for years to go on a once in a lifetime hunt.... I’d rather give myself every opportunity to bring home meat..... It would bother me more to know I bowhunted And didn’t kill a bull that would have been dead with a rifle.
Kevin........ You are the ultimate bowhunter. A lot of guys here bowhunt only. Not a lot of guys here bowhunt with a recurve or longbow only.... And go to Alaska alone and kill moose all by themselves with a traditional bow. That’s in a whole different league than most. Kudos.......
I'd love to shoot a big bull with my bow, and I respect the guys that do, but put me in the camp of guys who simply can't afford to go after them that often so if I was going all the way to Alaska and paying the lofty price of admission I'd certainly resort to using a rifle if I thought that would be my only chance. Hell, I might even run one over with the guides truck if nobody was looking! (J/K!)
All my hunts are bow only, moose, caribou, elk, whatever. The only time I even brought a rifle with was on a once in a lifetime moose hunt in my home state of Minnesota and on the last afternoon of that hunt I took my .270 and sat in a clearcut, after about an hour I said to myself " I don't really want to kill a moose with a rifle" so I unloaded and headed home. If it's about meat go to the store and buy it.
I'm doing a fly-in DIY near the Yukon border this year for moose. Typically would just carry rifle but considering carrying my bow for moose for the most part. Likely will still have rifle with us for grizz protection or if we see some sheep/caribou/wolverine so I understand carrying the rifle will likely make it 'easy' to abandon the moose mission when a 60" bull steps out and hangs up at 100 yards. We shall see though!
You can buy moose meat in the store? Hmm, I'm from Minnesota too and never knew that! Learn something new every day..
RD I think the point is, you’re several thousands into the hunt already, and now you have the option of taking home 500# of moose or not. Most folk don’t want to “just go to the store” and drop 3k (sorry I actually don’t know what that costs in beef) on meat that isn’t near as healthy and satisfying as moose, after they’ve just dropped a boat load of cash on a moose hunt
"I am sorry but Ziek post is what is wrong with hunters these days ."
Sorry you feel that way HUNT MAN. The OP asked a question and I answered with my reasoning. Those who reason that they paid a lot of money to KILL something in AK, or anywhere else, are mistaken. They paid for a HUNT. For me, that means a bowhunt. As I said, I don't begrudge anyone a rifle hunt. But if that will satisfy you, why start with a bow just in case an opportunity presents early in the hunt? To me, that's not bowhunting. That's like winning the lottery, and claiming you made all your money through hard work, instead of luck. My first two AK hunts, we came home without killing anything, but could have killed easily with a rifle. They were still great adventures. More so because we didn't take an easier route. The third time, I killed a moose on the next to last day. That would not have happened if I had resorted to a rifle earlier during that hunt.
If you care what I, or anyone else, thinks about your choices enough to get upset with others' views, maybe you should reconsider why you're hunting to begin with.
Nope. You didn't answer the op question. You just jumped in to pound your chest. Are you going moose hunting in AK this year? Your post, actually most all of your posts, reek of elitism and that, as Hunt points out, is bad for our sport.
Someone who starts with a bow and shoots a moose opportunistically before hitting the point in a trip that they would use a rifle... remind me how that differs on the luck/chance scale from someone opportunistically shooting a moose before eating their tag. Either way they are bowhunting at the time and a combo of luck/skill lined up for them to get the opportunity.
Sound like a guy who would pass on a late night with a smoking hot woman because she was probably thinking about some other man anyway so what’s the point...
Bow for sure Newfoundland. Always wanted to hunt AY Bulls in rut. Have killed many bulls with bow and only way to go, but we do use portable and fixed stands. Good luck to all this fall.
"Are you going moose hunting in AK this year?"
No. Sorry about that. Others answered generically, and so did I. But if I were, it would be bow only, as always.
"...remind me how that differs on the luck/chance scale from someone opportunistically shooting a moose before eating their tag."
The difference is intent. I once watched my wife shoot a hummingbird out of mid air at 50 yards with her bow. Is she the best shot in the world, or was it just happenstance? One thing for sure; if you want to kill something with a bow, you drastically lower your chances if you give up early and shoulder a rifle. If you kill him at 200 yards, you'll never know if you would have had a close bow shot. If limiting myself only to a bow is elitist, that's fine with me. I'm not looking for anyone's approval. I'm content with my choices.
Why would someone shoot a hummingbird ?? And why would you post that on social media ?? Curious.
Edit;;; I believe killing a hummingbird is illegal federally under the Migratory Birds Treaty Act.
I'll be bow-only for moose in 5 weeks, as is my normal. There will likely be others (not in my camp) who bring a bow and a rifle. I won't be comparing their choices to my own, and I definitely won't sit in judgment of their decisions. Being a bowhunter doesn't come with the absolutism of..... "hunts only with a bow and never reverts to a gun". Of course there are people with that mentality about bowhunting and bowhunters, but that doesn't compute for the majority. A guy on a Harley might be called a biker, but when it gets cold you'll find him in a Buick. Then again....there are bikers who can only apply an extremely narrow definition to that noun.
As I see it, the decision on whether to be bow-only comes down to how desirable a kill is, versus the importance (to the hunter) of doing it with a bow. I can be bow-only because I don't worry about or stress the killing aspect. If it happens...superb. If not....I won't go home with a load of disappointment or frustration. I've never been on a moose hunt that wasn't bow-only for me, so I guess that speaks to how highly desirable it is for me to get it done with my longbow or recurve. Those who place greater importance on achieving a kill (for whatever reasons) will have legitimate reasons to hunt with a bow and end up killing with a gun. Those who sit in negative judgment of them probably worship at the Altar of Ishi and ask for purification ahead of a hunt.
And as a what-the-heck: On my first diy moose hunt I could've killed 3 bulls with a rifle. On my second hunt, 4 bulls were in range. No moose for me either time. A couple guys I met after the hunt had killed bulls midway through the hunt by using their rifles instead of their bows. Basically, they saw a big bull and couldn't call him in. "Couldn't pass him up, so took him with the gun". What sort of amazed me was that these guys killed fine animals and were obviously conflicted about how they did it. To a man, they all said it was too easy and they wished they'd held out for a bow shot. I saw one of them a year later and he was packing both weapons again. I think it can hard to be a biker-only when you've got a Buick waiting.
Im going, not taking a bow this time. My desire to knock down a bull is pretty high so I'm giving myself the best possible chance. I could see myself returning to try with a bow, but this year the bow will stay home until I go to KS for deer.
I'm heading to the NWT this fall with archery moose and Mt. caribou in mind.
Well said Kevin, you always seem to boil these things down to their essence. It really is a personal decision each of us has to make. IMO, Few things are worse than killing an animal and then regretting it, so please think it through beforehand. Then be glad you got the chance to enjoy being in the wild places Moose live and got to be in the game.
I was the #4 Nonresident Alternate on the list for a NH permit this year but I found out yesterday that none of the NR alternates got a permit this year.
So I don't have to answer the Bow or Bust question. Maybe next year, and I can't really say if I'd use s rifle on the last day or not.
Good luck to all who are hunting Moose this year, they are fun, huge and tasty!
"Why would someone shoot a hummingbird ?? And why would you post that on social media ?? Curious."
Really?!! It's illegal to kill a deer out of season also, but if you hit one with your truck, you won't be cited for poaching. As I said, it was an accident. We were target shooting and a hummer started buzzing around the arrow vanes in the target. My wife didn't see it. As I was about to alert her, she released.
The point was, it wasn't her intent to shoot a hummingbird out of the air. Just like if your intent is to kill a moose with any legal means possible during a particular hunt, and you happen to kill one with a bow early, with the intent to change to a rifle if the bow is too hard, is not the same achievement as committing to the bow for the entire hunt. If you would be happy with a rifle kill, I just don't understand why you wouldn't just rifle hunt. As Kevin said, many of us would regret changing weapons during a hunt, so we don't even consider it.
How about you worry about yourself...... I don’t hear Kevin Dill asking you why you take the easy way out by using a compound bow..... He simply goes about his business killing bulls on solo hunts in Alaska with trad gear..... and supports other hunters in their choices.
The hummingbird thing.... you didn’t make it clear that it was an accident. Even so,,, I wouldn’t post on social media about accidentally killing a protected species with a bow.
If you end any hunt by taking a critter with a bow it's an archery hunt. I don't care if you have a rifle or a tank in camp!
per Zeik: "As Kevin said, many of us would regret changing weapons during a hunt, so we don't even consider it."
I implied that some may feel that way. Some may not. It doesn't make either hunter right, wrong, better or worse. My only advice to those changing weapons is to figure out ahead of time what makes you happy and do it. For me, I like knowing it's all on my skills with a bow. BUT....you can be sure if I ever decided to take a gun for insurance (to kill) I would know exactly what my parameters had to be and I would definitely be good with using it to kill a moose. I wouldn't feel any disappointment and I would be fine with that outcome. I sure wouldn't care what anyone thought about my decision as long as it was right for me and I enjoyed the hunt.
If you have kill to feel successful, take a rifle. To me bowhunting is a journey not an end. I've many times come home without meat and many times with meat bit I've never had an unsuccessful trip no matter what the cost.
I agree with sticksender, moose are almost made for bow hunting. Kevin says it perfectly as well. I’m bow only 99% of the time but would pat anyone in the back for killing a bull with a rifle. It’s all great! When I was 5 or 6 I saw a picture of a moose in Outdoor Life and it became my dream to kill one with my bow. I pulled it off in BC and it remains my fondest hunt
Yes....that's a trophy photo if there ever was one. Lifetime for sure.
RD...... It’s not about HAVING to kill to feel successful....
There’s no guarantee on rifle hunts. The hunters in my camp on my Alberta hunt went about 50% the week I was there. Two of the 3 bulls taken were meat bull spikes taken by Seminole Indians from Florida. My hunt was as exciting and adventurous and memorable as I could ask for.
To me it’s about giving myself the best opportunity to kill a bull on what was likely the only moose hunt that I will ever go on........
Not one regret as I drink a cold one in my new retirement home looking up at my bull on the wall. Something that none of my friends have been fortunate enough to do.
Well said Big Bear it’s all about being happy with the trophy and the experience.
What's the avg draw weight used on moose?
I haven't had the ability to go on a moose hunt, i'm not yet 31 and will be heading up north sometime w/in the next decade, and hope to make it up several times.
Since I haven't had to plunk down the cash, I can't definitively say that I wouldn't use a rifle, however I am a bowhunter-I personally don't get satisfaction taking game with a rifle, unless it was a rifle only late cow elk tag or something like I had in MT-that was purely a meat hunt.
I don't shotgun hunt in my home state of Iowa, as I would rather have a chance at a monster whitetail w/my bow vs toting the gun around. I buy a late muzzleloader tag, since we are allowed to use our bows during that season and don't even bring my muzzy.
I WILL be in this predicament when I get up to Alaska, and will have to get comfortable with whichever decision I make at that time.
Interesting question and responses! On my first (DIY) moose hunt (not in AK), after a week of hard hunting with my bow and only one day remaining in the season, but knowing where the moose were at, I struggled most of the night with the decision to pull out the rifle or not for the final day of hunting and a pretty sure kill. To be honest, I was more worried about what my friends and family would say if I came home with an unfilled moose tag. But I decided it would be bow only or bust for my final day and that decision changed the trajectory of my bowhunting life.
Ps - I ended up shooting a nice, young, last minute bull with my recurve! Decision confirmed! However, on my next moose hunt (guided in NF), I made a similar decision and ate that tag while others in camp filled their tags by rifle. I was fine with that too.
Jeff, I can definitely relate. I bow-killed my 2016 bull on the very last day of my solo hunt. The kill put me in camp 2 more days, but what a fine memory. I could've easily rifle-killed at least 5 other mature bulls earlier in the hunt, but all I had was a bow and a puny little pistol.