Contributors to this thread:
Longbow Creek Reunion
I haven't done a moose hunt story here for a few years...mainly due to a lack of inspiration. I can't write anything worth reading unless I'm really in the mood to do so. My creative bone is less active these days, and I can't see myself dredging up a story 'just because'. In any event, I was recently in Alaska to hunt moose primarily, but with the option to kill a caribou or black bear. I didn't hunt Alaska in 2020 due to a number of reasons, only one of which was the pandemic. So if you're interested (or maybe just bored) follow along and I'll try to keep you entertained for a bit. This will deliberately be a longer read as I'm not good at writing quick accounts. For that matter, I'm not a writer or author so please forgive any errors found. But first, a few images from past seasons in Alaska:
Bulls we've encountered but not managed to kill:
And a few we've gotten lucky on:
There are many others, but you get the idea. Alaska has great moose hunting. Even the little bulls are big at 5 yards:
Bruiser at 1,000 yards:
And then there's the scenery....
Ready for another classic.
Flying by Super Cub gets us into places nobody else goes, and allows us to hunt moose which hardly ever see a human being. All of our moose hunting is done with bows exclusively. Any guns in camp are primarily for bear defense.
One of the reasons I didn't hunt in 2020 was due to my pilot avoiding the use of the tiny airstrip at my camp. That airstrip was extremely rough and bumpy....short...and had a dogleg at one end. In 2019 he had a rough landing in there and came fairly near to some plane damage. I saw it happen and it was spooky. My pilot was definitely very unhappy and showed it. He refused to use the strip in 2020 and considered abandoning it altogether. I hoped that wouldn't happen and told him I wanted to go back in there again. The valley there is pristine and has some really good bulls using it. So this past summer he flew in there and spent a couple days reworking the airstrip, making it longer, straighter and smoother. When he told me this was the destination for the '21 hunt, I was ecstatic.
When planning for the ill-fated 2020 season, I invited my friend Jeff to join me. Both of us were massively disappointed when the '20 hunt didn't materialize, but we agreed to plan forward to '21. Jeff had not hunted moose in Alaska, but he was nevertheless an experienced and qualified partner having taken a couple moose with a bow in the lower 48. I was convinced he had exactly the characteristics I value in a partner for these tough and extended hunts. Though it took almost 2 years to see it through, Jeff and I remained committed and finally had our chance in September. Of course it had to start with a glitch.
The airlines are a mess due to major disruptions. Itineraries getting changed are common. Short-staffing issues plague all aspects of air travel. Flight delays and late arrivals are pretty much the norm. I barely made my connecting flight from Seattle to Fairbanks, while Jeff missed it by probably 15 minutes. Luckily he was able to get on the very next plane to Fairbanks, and arrived late but in good shape. All our bags made it just fine. We chatted for 20 minutes and hit the sack...tomorrow (or actually later today) would be very busy.
Kevin, I was waiting for the "I had an excuse". Excited to follow along and since I am home and "bored" for awhile, please continue. my best, Paul
We had one day to do some business and prep work before our flight to camp, and we made the most of it, beginning with breakfast at the Cookie Jar. From there it was a punch-list of stops and tasks including ADFG for tags, Sportsman's and REI for supplies, Fred Meyer for additional foodstuffs and so on. We completely repacked our gear into suitable bags for the Super Cub. Evening dinner at the Pump House completed our day and we were ready to go hunt.
Note: Most of the pictures here will be from this year's trip, with just a very few supporting images added from previous hunts. I want to thank Jeff for contributing some very nice photography used in this story!
I almost forgot the one thing which really threatened to derail my hunt this year. About a month before the hunt began I woke up one morning (at home) and instantly the room was spinning wildly out of control. I could hardly walk, and I was instantly nauseous. Severe vertigo hit me and I was badly messed up for over 10 days. No bow shooting, little driving, low appetite and so on. I was miserable and worried about the outcome. It did get better and I was able to resume preparations. Barely.
I also want to say a very sincere thank you to Nick Muche and his wife who graciously did a huge (to me) favor ahead of my arrival. I will not forget that act of kindness. I hoped to spend a bit of time with Nick after the hunt, but unfortunately my vertigo hit again before leaving camp and I didn't think I'd make very good company. Disappointed doesn't cover how I feel about that.
The flight in was excellent, and I was able to spot a couple nice bulls less than 2 miles from our little airstrip. It was so good to step out of the plane and hear nothing but the noisy creek ten yards away. It's a no-name tributary which I tend to call Longbow Creek, though one of my good friends teases me with 'Little Dillta' from time to time. I had the great good fortune to be the first hunter into this location when it was discovered. The valley is not accessible by any means other than aircraft, and I work very hard to keep it pristine. I was first into camp, and wasted no time getting busy. My tent site was a bit grown up in blueberry bushes and I spent some time clearing and leveling the ground. Jeff arrived soon after and I helped him pack his gear into camp. We used 2 tents (tipis actually) for this trip, so Jeff got busy prepping his own area a few yards away from mine.
While spending much of the day working, we spotted a total of 5 moose from camp, with 2 of them being very decent bulls. Things were looking promising for sure, but I've seen that go south quickly.
By day's end we were ready to hunt. We'd also consumed about a pint of wild blueberries which were as big and plentiful as I've ever seen.
There's just no good way to describe how fine it is to slip into a down sleeping bag the night before actual hunting begins. Tired from the work of establishing camp. Quietly excited to be hunting in the morning. Belly full of warm food. Sounds of the creek rushing and gurgling as it lulls you to sleep.
Up to greet the dawn.
Now....I'm deliberately not going to bore you with day-to-day details of this hunt. I know you don't care about each breakfast or the hills we climbed every day. We saw multiple moose every day from the outset, and some were very fine bulls. I've learned the hard way about killing bulls that were far from camp, and it's simply not something I will do these days. I watch for opportunities on bulls walking the valley and then go after them. We made a few moves into the valley and attempted to call a couple of times to no avail. The bulls were walking but their interest wasn't all that great. Cows drifted in and out of the burn across from camp. One day a young bull followed a cow upstream past our camp. That cow was as vocal as any I've ever heard, with near-constant squalling and annoyed cries.
The weather was nearly perfect with no time lost to rain. A couple mornings were really cold with temps near 20 degrees. Frost would sometimes linger in the shade until well past noon.
We kept plugging away and searching the hills. Moose movement and activity was as good as I've ever seen in any camp, with multiple sightings every day. One very nice thing about my camp is the fact that the absolute best place to kill a bull is basically right there...at camp. To be more clear, the key zone for moose movement is straight in front of camp and about 250 yards distant. I always see multiple bulls while working in camp. That's hard to beat when you're a bowhunter.
Speaking of bowhunting: Both Jeff and I were hunting with conventional (some would call them traditional) bows. I'm personally not caught up in the traditional archery / trad-bowhunting distinction. I like the bow I use and it's effective for me. I don't follow a 'trad' mindset....I just hunt with my bow and that's it. On this hunt I was using my tried-and true 3-piece Cari-bow Silver Fox longbow. It packs down small with an extra set of limbs. Jeff was toting his beautiful Black Widow recurve. I also brought a custom .45-70 mostly for bear defense....more on that later.
I always Love yer moose threads Kevin Cant wait for the rest of the story! thank you!
Another great chapter to be added to Bows on the Little Dillta and we get to read it's development in real time. Nothing better!
Absolutely love your writing skills. I call it right now that this is an instant all time classic!
You guys might want to wait for the rest of the meal before you judge it. On the other hand it's free, so.....
So somewhere about day 5 or 6 we were sitting on the hill watching the valley for moose. A couple of bulls showed up headed our general direction, and we had to move fast. Bail off the steep hill and head for a known creek crossing....then cross-valley toward a spruce clump and mound. There we set up and I drifted a few nasal cow calls hoping to encourage the bulls.
A full hour passed and nothing showed. No sounds. I know enough about moose to know they can be slow to show up, but still...something told me these bulls got hung up or changed course. I decided to gain some elevation and see if I could locate them. Not my finest decision as it turns out.
I probably traveled 250 yards and gained 20 feet of elevation when I suddenly saw the biggest bull headed my way downstream and undoubtedly passing me far out of position. I was frustrated beyond belief for myself, but immediately prayed the bull would walk to where I'd left Jeff in the spruce clump. I watched the bull walk right into the immediate area Jeff was watching and I prepared myself to see the bull take an arrow. It didn't happen, and the bull began circling the spruce clump. Ten minutes later he made his way uphill and disappeared into the burn with all its second growth cover. No shot. What the heck???
Jeff later told me he'd relocated a few yards, thinking the bull might be taking a different course. When the bull came into 'the zone' he was unable to see it. The bull circled and eventually surprised him at 12yards. That's right...12 yards, but with a sizable spruce blocking any shot at the chest. The standoff ended with the bull turning away and only offering a risky hard-quartering away shot at greater range...a shot Jeff passed on as he believed it was simply not good. Wise and honorable was my partner, but also disappointed. That bull was a real sledgehammer with large palms and good points. I was so frustrated for us because I know how difficult it can be to get close chances like that one.
The bull, as photographed by Jeff after the encounter:
For this trip I was breaking in a couple of new gear pieces. My shelter would be a Seek Outside Redcliff pyramid tipi. This thing is almost a cabin for size, and it honestly has a more efficient interior design than any 8-man tipi I've owned. I combined a large S.O. U-Turn ti stove with it and suddenly had a heated cabin.
The 'phone on the wall' was my new inReach which allowed good communication with my wife, the pilot and others as desired. I'm admittedly slow to the show when it comes to accepting the inReach, but now I'm a total believer in its usefulness.
I also brought the aforementioned .45-70 rifle. I had the rifle customized by a superb gunsmith over a year earlier. It's a short-barreled Marlin 1895 which he made into a takedown. Almost everything about it is custom, and it was designed specifically for duty in Alaska. I had it Cerakoted to protect against corrosion. Equipped with Buffalo Bore JFN ammo, it's a real bear stopper. At only 20” long in the TD case, it's perfect for bush travel. I kept it ready but hoped it wouldn't be used.
16 September: We were in camp at lunchtime and suddenly a cow came hurrying past, leading her yearling calf. She wasn't messing around or looking backwards. She was clearly getting the heck out of the area and wasting no time about it. I commented that she might have a bull behind her, but more likely a predator. Not long afterward, Jeff spotted and counted 12 wolves in one pack. They were across the valley from us and appeared to be looking for opportunities. I heard them howl hard and long. Thankfully they moved on and cleared our area.
I was a bit disappointed by the wolves appearance, and admittedly had some doubts about what it might mean for our hunt in the following days. And of course there's no way to really know what might happen...a fact which was hammered home the very next morning.
Thanks for taking the time for the story. Been great so far can’t wait for the rest!
I want to take a moment or two and recognize Jeff. Jeff Holchin (a Bowsite member) and I had never hunted together before this trip. Certainly we had met and generally knew each other through mutual association. I had a strong conviction Jeff would be a nearly ideal partner for Alaska. He's a proven diy guy...almost exclusively...and had a couple lower 48 moose kills under his belt. He's the guy who doesn't give up or cry uncle when things get tough...answers the bell every morning and goes hard all day. Great disposition and a nonstop thinker when it comes to problem solving. I can honestly say as a partner he gives far more than he asks, and those guys are rare in my experience. He's both humble and joyful just to have hunting opportunities. We got along great obviously. Probably ruined him with all this positive character talk. Sorry Diane.
Great stuff! Modern day bowhunting icon, that's as good a story teller as he is a hunter. Thanks for sharing Kevin.
17 September started like any other day...chilly and cloudy. Out of the bedroll at 5:30 and get dressed. Hot breakfast and coffee. Glass from camp until light enough to see ahead (and that includes moose ahead) and then move toward our observation lookout on the hillside. We got there and dropped our packs...tossed out the ground pads for sitting...and I immediately picked up big antlers up the valley. The bull was a no-brainer for size, and he was only just over a full quarter mile upstream. I knew we had no seconds to waste if this guy started walking. We packed up and fled the hillside heading for the creek crossing. Going up the opposite bank we passed The Twins which are 2 young spruce trees I used for cover when I killed a bull on a solo hunt a few years back. I silently wondered if this day would play out in our favor.
That country looks familiar ?? thanks for posting and hope the vertigo clears up, fast!
We kept our heads down and headed out into the valley. I kept us to low ground and tried to avoid the noisier brush. Experience gave me an edge when it came to judging how far we needed to go, and where the bull might likely pass. We selected a couple spruce trees maybe 20 yards apart and split up. I spent about 3 minutes pruning and clipping small branches to give myself every possible edge in getting a clean shot if one presented itself. I heard the snip-snip of pruners coming from Jeff's position and I knew he was doing the same. I lofted a couple cow bawls up the valley and then we waited.
I was beginning to wonder how long this might take, and then I saw what we all crave. Big tall antlers were far out ahead and above the brush, but working toward us. A couple more cow calls to encourage him. I signaled Jeff that I had a visual on the bull. I was just beginning to think this might actually work out, and then I spotted the cow accompanying him. I couldn't believe the amount of bad luck this represented for us. The cow obviously wanted to hang with him and I knew she would be a huge complication. Girls always cause problems, right? Apparently the bull felt the same as I did because....with no warning...he spun and threatened the cow with a toss of his massive head. He snorted simultaneously and the flirtatious cow was suddenly running for cover. Imagine that; a big bull that turns down a cow because he's feeling surly. Suddenly good and bad luck were back in harmonious balance it seemed.
This is NOT the bull in the story, but it is one JT nearly killed at the same location a few years ago. Same approximate size too:
The bull was meandering, but definitely coming our direction. So far the air movements had held in our favor, but I didn't trust that to continue. The situation felt fragile....uncertain...and the question was whether he would get within our desirable range. I didn't want him to pinpoint my location, but needed to bring him close. I dropped a couple little cow squeals just to help vector him into our trap. And here he came...walking like only a big dominant bull does with those heavy shoulders, and the rack tilting side to side. Mesmerizing. I remember thinking these exact words: “I was born to be here in this moment...to do this”. Everything slowed down for me. I could see his mouth open and hear the grunts. I began answering his grunts with my own...a rhythmic dance of vocals between us. He pulled up at 20 yards and stopped broadside, big as any draft horse. Surveying the area, he was seeing no moose and I felt he probably wouldn't hang around. I wanted him to relax and give one of us a sweet shot. I fell back on a trick I learned many years ago and gave him some very low volume bull talk. He answered the same and we exchanged maybe 8 or 10 of those in total. It worked, but not necessarily the way I expected.
epic story --- me thinks there is lots of blood shed on this trip.
Love or War. The bull was ready for either possibility. Fully wide-open and broadside at 20 yards, he studied the area. Then without warning he braced his massive shoulders and lowered his head into the scrub birch and blueberry brush, raking hard and aggressively. At that moment I realized it was time to swing the bat. Head down...eyes blocked...raking hard...chest fully exposed. I recall seeing the longbow rise in front of me and the broadhead coming back as I began the draw. The arrow suddenly crashed through ribs and into the chest, and I instantly knew the bull was dead on his feet. The sting of the arrow put the bull into flight and...as he ran past Jeff's position...I saw his recurve coming up and a swing-draw happen. Jeff's arrow smacked the bull in the chest about 4 inches from mine....as cool and perfect a running shot as any man has ever made. We watched the bull pound out to maybe 60 or 70 yards, where he stopped, turned and crashed to earth.
I like to think the last thing he saw was his beautiful valley.
You really had to be there in the moment to know how we felt. I swear...our eyes were literally blazing as we looked at each other over the 15 yards of brush. The intensity of such an encounter puts a brand on your mind which can't be erased ever. I found my knees and had an emotional moment under the spruce, then joined Jeff for the walk-up. Approaching any game animal I've taken is always a solemn thing for me. I want to burn the image and moment into my memory. We approached the bull from his rear and marveled at his size.
The first thing that struck me was seeing my broadhead and shaft protruding straight up out of the bull's chest. It was a perfect testament to the killing power of the longbow and a good 2-blade broadhead. Complete penetration is extremely desirable when hoping to drop a huge bull as quickly and humanely as possible.
I knew this bull had good fronts (brow palms and points) but seeing them up close made them simply amazing. Six points on the left and five on the right as we counted them. I did not measure or even estimate overall width, as I'm one of those guys who has no interest in measurement numbers.
We admired the bull and replayed the sequence of events leading up to the kill. Then we headed off to camp for a quick bite before starting a long day of butchering and packing.
A couple photos were in order of course.
The bull died in a great spot for butchering, and only a couple hundred yards from the airstrip. We got busy and made meat....lots of it. I notified the important people of the kill, and our pilot cruised past an hour or so later to survey our progress. We finished the chores by late afternoon and cached the meat near The Twins, putting up the electric fence to protect it. Sadly, I discovered the batteries (new alkalines) were totally DOA and the fence therefore had no juice. The answer was juice of another type...urine. We/I basically hosed the perimeter of the fenced area with our urine every day until the plane arrived. I turned the meat bags religiously twice a day and made certain they were cold and protected. It was 4 days later when meat pickup happened and the meat was in great shape. I skinned the head out at the cache site and carefully discarded the waste.
Jeff continued to hunt hard, and moose were moving the next morning. I joined him from time to time, while also keeping up with camp and meat care chores. Moose activity (near us) dropped off hard on the 20th, and I had a creeping feeling about the weather. The NWS forecast had us in a zone of snow with 4-8 inches and maybe localized 10 inches, along with up to 40 mph winds. We needed to do some camp work quick. Tents got adjusted, and guy-lines put in. Extra wood gathered. Tarp the meat cache. It began snowing as we were working, and our world was white by dinner time. Thankfully we were on the northern edge of the snow zone. By morning we had only a heavy skiff and the skies didn't look all that terrible. The higher hills around us were obviously cloaked in deeper snow on top.
Experience told me we probably needed to get out at our first opportunity, lest we find ourselves part of a backlog waiting for eventual pickup. That's how it is sometimes at the end of a hunt...you go when you can, even if it means an unfilled tag. About 9 am I heard a Super Cub and knew our meat was getting picked up. Our pilot advised us to immediately start breaking down camp so he could get us out before the weather changed. Two loads of meat and antlers went out while we hurriedly packed up our camps. Jeff was first out, and 45 minutes later I was loaded and gone. Two planes and a truck ride later, we were back in Fairbanks. A couple more hours and we had all the meat packed in labeled plastic totes and into a freezer. Time to hit the shower.
Rental cars were just about impossible to find, but my wife set us up with this little beauty. We were in a class of our own as we ran around town the next couple days.
Cool things: While walking the creek one day I noticed an odd rock and picked it up. Turned out to be a perfect heart-shaped quartz stone with beautiful markings.
Did I mention that I have a blueberry problem? I miss them.
We stopped by The Great Alaskan Bowl Company, which has some phenomenal wood pieces for sale. I found this remarkable spalted birch arrowhead bowl...truly one of a kind...and bought if for us.
I also bought my coffee-loving bride a rather stiff brew to try.
The weather in Fairbanks didn't really improve much and the snow persisted. Great town, and I always love it but it was time to go home. One last celebratory meal at The Pump House and we jumped on our redeye flight home.
I damaged my right knee on the hunt. I was in a lot of pain after the hunt and really hobbled. Doc says it's a torn meniscus and I'll be a while recovering. Not very happy about that. All my moose meat made it home along with 15 pounds of fresh halibut. No gear issues on my end. Jeff actually suffered stage 2 frostbite on the bottoms of both feet and toes during the hunt, and he's having considerable pain still. I'm still adjusting to 'normal' life and missing the valley I love. About 340 days to count down until my return with my very good friend and partner for 2022. JT... if you're reading this, get it together.
Moose meat is extremely valuable to me and more important than antlers. We brought out over 500 pounds of it and all of it went home with us. Mine is now cut and vacuum sealed in the freezer. It's a very good feeling to see almost 200 packages of roasts, steaks, burger, and tips in there. Nothing but gratitude for that big bull and the nutrition he will provide us.
Thanks for following along. My one piece of advice: Don't be a dreamer. If you want it, go get it. Alaska is still big, still beautiful, and still wild. KD
Beautiful characteristics on the bull!! Exciting story and well told. Mostly I'm impressed again by your true respect and admiration for the moose and the place they live (and die).
In the one pic looking up the creek, is the trail worn by you, animals or both? Special place for sure.
Awesome read. Congrats on bull. Tell Jeff or yourself some fine pictures taken.
That would be a game trail which we've walked enough times to really press it down and make it obvious.
Great adventure and story ! Thanks for sharing.
Great recap Kevin. Thanks for taking the time!
I would also like to thank you publicly for your help over the years in answering a few of my questions about specific Alaska moose hunting details - they were most helpful
I forgot to ask about the SO tent. In your case it is a one man tent, but what size is it rated at? We're thinking of picking up a lightweight option to the canvass for some trips. Is it the shape that sets it apart? Thanks.
The SO Redcliff is pretty versatile. On longer wet & cold hunts (with a stove) it's a 2-man cabin with lots of gear space. It could theoretically sleep maybe 6 people (crowded) and 4 would be doable on a hunt with no stove. The shape begins as a rectangle which becomes an expanded rectangle when all stakes are in. It's ridiculously large for 1 hunter, but I love extra space. It is absolutely a better setup than any 8-man I've owned. Easy pitch too.
Kevin, I will trade these Colorado Current Berries for your Alaska blueberries any day. What a fine adventure you provided us all, an adventure that most will only dream about. But then what are dreams for anyway? Dreams are good! Nicely done. Paul
Great pics and an outstanding, well written, enjoyable read! Rest up, get well and thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading next year's adventure.
Thank you so much for posting. Bowsite classic is right . Solid work men !! Hunt
Great story, bull and adventure. Congratulations
Great job on the storytelling! Thanks!
Dream hunt, for sure, Incredible fronts on that bull!
So much great information for a wannabe moose hunter like me, as well. Thank you Kevin Dill, for sharing your adventure (s)!
Great write up and congrats!
I also have to give a thanks to Nick. He picked me and my cousin up when we were stranded in Fairbanks waiting on a rental car and brought us to our VRBO. That’s a good dude right there!
Wow, just WOW, Kevin! Another amazing moose hunt!
Absolutely ranks right up there as one of the best bowsite classic stories of all time! You can’t get this kind of story anywhere else!
Thank you so much for sharing your moose adventures with us here in the bowsite!
I seriously need to get it together and do an Alaskan moose hunt… And share a recent hunt with the crew…
Great job Kevin, I don’t know if I like the moose or 1895 better? Lol That moose is a real beauty, amazing fronts.
As always Kevin… thank you for taking us along and congrats! Wish i could do it every year but will be back when i can..
Awesome write up and congrats on a fine bull with a great friend. That’s what it is all about. Thanks for sharing. I hope you both heal quickly.
Hey Paul...those currant berries look a lot like the low-bush cranberries (actually lingonberries) I find in Alaska every year. Tart and tasty. Thanks for the kind words. I'm still inspired by your recent elk success. The best!
Thanks for the comments guys. I always just hope my story paints a realistic picture of the complete adventure...because that's what this really is from beginning to end. I'm very fortunate to be able to keep doing this type of hunting every year.
Reference to size. I wanted to leave the skull intact but the size and configuration of the antlers made it impossible to get the skinned head secured to the wing struts. Out came a saw and I capped the antlers. The cut-off skull section and antlers will be reunited to make a good Euro mount.
Really enjoyed and thank you for sharing your hunt! And congratulations!
What an incredible recap! Thanks so much for sharing and congrats to both of you!!
What an awesome read.......Thank you for an incredible read.
Another great one for sure. Your writing is fantastic as usual. Look forward to this one every year,
Congratulations on a great moose. Also great story telling with great pictures. Thanks for sharing. Percy
Great recap Kevin. Thank you for taking us along.
Great stuff Kevin!! Always enjoy your recaps and pictures. Very happy for your successful hunt and hoping the knee improves quickly.
The pictures alone are gold. Great recap. Great bull.
The story telling and writing on BS keeps getting better and better! Some fantastic hunts and recounts recently and this one doesn't disappoint. Amazing pictures and an outstanding bull. Your respect for Alaska and the moose are most admirable. Thanks for taking us along on an adventure I'm sure that I'll never try myself. Well done!!
So Kevin, Prior to the hunt, your pilot flew in and landed, cleared and extended the runway? That must have taken some time and effort??? Paul
Paul: Yes, that's basically how it got done. A Super Cub has enough space in the tail and behind the seats for a brushcutter and other tools.
Thanks sincerely for the comments guys. If you enjoyed the story that's reward enough for me.
Great stuff Kevin!! Always enjoy your recaps and pictures. Very happy for your successful hunt and hoping the knee improves quickly.
Kevin, do you share the meat costs and divide the meat.
Yes. If only one bull is taken, at least half the meat goes to the other hunter. He gets just as many prime cuts as the successful hunter. In exchange, we agree on an equitable split of the pilot's charge to fly out a moose. Once the meat is back in town, each person takes responsibility for their costs from that point on. In this case, we each put our frozen meat on the plane as excess baggage and brought it home with us.
Awesome. Thanks for taking the time to take us along.
Kevin, stories like yours are the saving grace of Bowsite. It distills the essence of why we bow hunt. Your willingness to share and ability to tell the story will inspire lots of bowhunters to their own adventures, near or far. My hat's off to you, sir.
This bowhunt was one of my best adventures yet, thanks to the generosity of Kevin, and I will be forever grateful for the invite. Although we’ve casually known each other for more than 20 years, we have not hunted together until now and that was a little intimidating. Kevin has killed many animals with his bow, and is intelligent and articulate; my resume is much less impressive.
One of my goals for the hunt was to get to know Kevin better and spending 16 days together, with 12 of those days in moose camp, provided more than enough time for that. His nice words about me after the hunt indicate that I did OK with another goal, which was to not screw up the hunt. Seriously, there I was with an excellent bowhunter who was sharing his secret honey hole with me, in a spot that was custom made for Bowhunters and full of moose, and every morning I would remind myself “don’t screw this up”.
Another goal was to learn more about moose hunting including calling them in, so watching and learning from Kevin was a real treat, especially on that wonderful morning when I had a front-row seat as Kevin put all his skills and experience to work to guide that big bull right into our laps. For a pivotal moment there, it was unclear if the bull would even offer a clear shot and if so, which of us would get the shot; I was silently praying that it would be Kevin and I couldn’t be happier when I saw his arrow disappear into the bull’s chest. My shot wasn’t needed but I hoped that I would help put the bull down more quickly.
While I didn’t get a bull of my own and I did get minor frostbite on both feet, I ended up with a stronger friendship with Kevin, more experience with moose, some great memories and 330# of prime moose meat. I am a blessed man. Thanks Kevin!
Kevin - Thanks for taking the time to share your hunt with us here. I always look forward to reading them. Vicariously Moose hunting thru your adventures.
Great write up and recap! Your moose hunt recaps are my absolute favorite threads on Bowsite, I'm already looking forward to your next one. Congrats on a fantastic animal and adventure.
The quality pictures are what I really appreciate you taking the effort to post. They somehow capture the essence of a remote drop moose hunt.
Thanks for the story gentlemen!!! and WOW what a story indeed. What an interesting bull. I'd say he's a once in a lifetime bull, but with some people - you're just not so sure....
Thanks for sharing your hunt Kevin. Awesome story and pictures!
Awesome story and hunt. Congrats on another successful trip and sharing your pictures and story.
My biggest mistake, aside from eating MH chili Mac three nights in a row ??, was a last-minute decision at the airstrip before it was my turn to go in, to ditch the Lacross knee boots with 1000 grams of thinsulate, a wool sweater and some food due to anxiety about being overweight with my gear. These boots are the exact same as Kevin wore, but they weigh 7 lbs. I was actually OK for the first 8 days in camp with my uninsulated hip boots because the temps were milder and we were moving around some during the day; Kevin’s kill was on day 8 in camp.
Then the temps dropped, snow began falling and I sat at The Perch overlooking the valley from dawn to dusk on days 9-11 and my feet turned to ice inside my uninsulated hip boots. When I made the snap decision, I knew that Monty Browning hunts moose with uninsulated hip boots; I assumed that I could do the same with no ill effects. Wrong!
I knew I was in trouble at the end of day 9 because I couldn’t feel my toes, but I kept my mouth shut until we came out to town. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t sleep at night and walking around during the day was very painful. I took pics of my feet and sent them to my podiatrist back home, begging for a pain med prescription but no luck. I finally got in for an evaluation this week and the Gabapentin is relieving the pain somewhat. I am looking at months of recovery (the skin and nerve damage should not be permanent) and I will likely have increased sensitivity to cold feet in the future, all from one bad snap decision!
The lesson: always keep good footwear and ditch something less valuable if you have to. I don’t even know if the pilot would have said anything, I just assumed that he would get mad at me. Probably I could have taken the good boots along too.
Great read Kevin- your moose hunt every year is always one of my favorites.
Great advice Jeff! Glad the damage is not permanent! Gotta take care of the feet!
Not sure I would have been able to deal with hip waders for even one day. Hate those things! Not sure the other option would be much better for me as those seem to always be colder than leather boots. Would probably take my waist-high goretex waders and wading boots that I use for wintertime fishing.
Hopefully your next trip to Moose Heaven on Longbow Creek will result in a giant for you!
Where we hunt there is no deep water. The creek is so fast that wading in water past your knees would be extremely difficult. It's also not necessary, thus a knee-high rubber or waterproof boot is perfect for keeping water out. I always bring a pair of Wiggy's Waders just in case the creek is running high for a while. Hip boots to me are a cruel experiment in cryogenic foot abuse. Jeff's is the first time I've ever known of anyone to have foot or nerve damage from excessively cold feet. This has caused me to reevaluate my own boot choices going forward. I'm sure I'll be bringing some chemical foot warmers to camp next year.
What a truly entertaining read. Such a refreshing way for us to experience the hunt with you, instead of this SMOKED HIM, SMACK DOWN, BS that is out there today.
Thank you for taking us along and may you both have a speedy recovery.
Heck yeah! This is what its all about...
Great writeup of a fantastic adventure. Jeff is a great hunting partner for such a trip and is the person who inspired/encouraged me to expand my hunting beyond local whitetails. AK moose is the ultimate dream trip for most. Hope your feet heal soon Jeff.
Supreme adventure indeed. Thanks Kevin.
Thanks...always appreciative and surprised by the comments.
One has to feel REALLY ALONE, when the sound of the plane's engine fades in the distance. ( one has to think, does anyone else actually know where we are, except for the pilot!?). My best, Paul
Another great hunt and very good writing, Kevin. Congratulations on your hunt. Jeff, take care of those feet!
Always so well done. Textbook; and you wrote the book. Going to be many fine meals from that big boy. Congratulations again KD.
As always…. I’m speechless. It takes me awhile to comprehend the whole hunt and how well the story was told before I can actually comment. I actually read it the day it was posted and have been thinking about it ever since.
Thanks for sharing this Kevin. What an awesome adventure!
Nice to hear Alaska is still a wild place. Last time I was there was 2000 and I was worried growth may change the great state. Congrats to doing it your way.
Straight up goosebumps....again. Thanks so much for taking the time to do these recaps, Kevin. I've said it a hundred times....this is the best part of Bowsite.
Jeff, you're a lucky man!
Kevin- What a great adventure...
As always, I was right there with ya...In addition to seeing the sights, I can smell the smells and hear the sounds. I know what you mean when you describe how good that down bag feels after working hard.....Thanks again for taking us along.
Wow, thanks for sharing the story, photos and experience's. Amazing animals
Lots of nice comments from good friends here...thanks guys. I appreciate every one them.
What an epic trip. Not hunting in 2020 really helped put the value of the hunt back into perspective. I was grateful for every sunrise in camp, and especially thankful to have Jeff sharing this adventure with me. I always try to learn something from everyone I hunt with, no matter their experience level. Being a very seasoned bowhunter, I picked up some good knowledge from Jeff.
Dinner last evening was moose round steaks slow-baked x 5 hours. I won't even attempt to describe how superbly it all went down.
Really enjoyed this. Thanks for taking the time.
Again, the best content on Bowsite, Kevin. Thanks for taking the time to tell the story.
Congrats on another awesome Alaskan moose adventure...and a fantastic bull! As always, the well written recap and wonderful photos are much appreciated!
I've been 'saving' this story to read when I had a free moment, as I already used my last free moment to read Tavis' stupendous adventure. It did not disappoint! Thanks as always for taking the time to share what I'd call a perfect bowhunting trip. Of course, the success of shed blood is so sweet for the hunter, that keeps us smiling and our bellies full! This story brings me right back to moose country in the north, and now I long to hear the sound of a bush plane leaving me in the middle of nowhere! Thanks again for sharing, that was well written and all too sweet
As Ki-Ke said above the text and pics let us be there vicariously.
Just the part of the feeling of getting into a cold sleeping bag and that cozy feeling as you warm it up gradually. It’s those levels of detail that put you there or help you remember your own past adventures. That’s what good writers do.
Another truly epic adventure shared on Bowsite. Kevin, you commented on my lion hunt thread that you were "truly inspired". I can only say that you have returned the favor 10-fold. Thank you again for sharing your hunts. Jeff
That was a great story, Kevin. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to share it.
Thank you. Well done. Made me feel like I was there.
Much appreciated. You know, one of the neatest things about this kill was the sharing of it. 2 guys setting a trap. 2 guys making absolute kill shots with conventional bows. 2 guys sharing the work. 2 guys sharing all the wonderful meat. I told Jeff this is the first bull I've ever killed with a hunting partner present. I was alone for all the others. It was particularly fine to compare what we saw, heard, felt and thought about the kill. Walking up to our bull together was definitely a moment I'm sure neither of us will forget.
Bringing this back to the top ‘cause it’s a great read.