Alaska DIY Moose RECAP 2022

Robinhood21

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Aug 17, 2016
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794
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Kansas
This journey started May of 2017 when I told my father to get ready because we’re headed to Alaska to hunt moose. At the time I wasn’t 100% sure how we were going to do it but I just knew we were. Alaskan moose, for me, has always been the pinnacle ever since I was just a little boy.

In 2020 my uncle, father and I made it happen on our first trip to AK. We drew straws the night before opening day and my uncle was up first, my father second and I was third. We ended up going 2 for 3 that trip with both bulls surpassing the 60” mark (62” & 61”) A total success and the absolute best time of my life! My pilot picked me up at the end of the hunt and on the way back to his house he asked if I would do the hunt again and without hesitation I said, “absolutely I’ll be back… give me 2 years”


We met my cousin (AK local) in Anchorage for dinner before we headed back down the the lower 48 and as soon as he saw me he said he wanted in next time. I said, “lets do it”.



A little background on my Cousin: He didn’t grow up hunting and didn’t really become interested until he was in college. Before moving up to Alaska with his wife, he had gotten a little taste of it, as I helped him shoot his first deer and a couple turkeys before heading up north. As a local in his small AK town, he did what most of the locals do and basically road hunted for the next 7 years or so. He shot some caribou and was a part of his buddy shooting a moose off the road system. I could tell that he always wanted more but didn’t really have anybody to give him any direction. That’s when he said he “wanted in”.



We met in Anchorage the day before our scheduled fly in date and the next day flew out to our small village where our pilots wife picked us up. Our pilot was ready for us as soon as we got there so in a matter of minutes we were in the air again to our hunt destination for the next couple of weeks.

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I had planned on hunting the same valley we hunted back in 2020 but the spot was already taken so we picked a new spot on the map and let it rip. Just like last trip, I had no maps saved for this new location. I had maps saved for pretty much the whole area but that spot ironically. Somewhat bummed out because we didn’t get my preferred spot but at the same time it was refreshing to know we would be learning a new area.



We got to camp 3 days before nonres season but my cousin was able to hunt the day after we flew in because his resident season had already started. The plan was to hunt for him the next couple of days, then when nonres starts, I would be up to bat since it was my 2nd trip out there.
 
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Robinhood21

Robinhood21

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Hunt Day 1:

We found a great glassing area that was only a 15min hike from camp. We ended up seeing 3 caribou with 1 really nice bull in the group and a cow moose that morning. That evening we found glassing knob #2 which was about a 40 minute hike from camp but you could see FOREVER down the valley. We ended up seeing a cow and a big bear but it was a couple miles down feasting on blueberries. Cousin thinks he coming down with a cold…. CRAP.

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Hunt Day 2:

2 cows and a black bear spotted that morning on glassing spot #1. We were very encouraged with the cows we were seeing, thinking that if the cows were there, the bulls won’t be far behind. That evening we went to glassing spot #2 and saw 2 black bears.

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Hunt Day 3:

It was now nonres season so my anticipation was high! It was cool, foggy and just felt “moosey”. The fog didn’t burn off until about 9:30 and only spotted a caribou for a brief second. That evening found us on glassing spot #2 where we ended up seeing a brown bear, another cow, a white wolf and 2 wolverines that were less than 100yds away. I was kicking myself for not picking up a black bear tag! Up until this time we had very nice weather and lots of sunshine. The next day was calling for rain… and it didn’t hardly stop until the end of our hunt.



Hunt Day 4:

Up until this time, everyday we hunted glassing spot #1 in the morning and spot #2 in the evenings. For some reason I really wanted to hunt #2 that morning. We hiked up to our spot and was burning up so we dropped our pants and aired out and before we got too cold layered back up again. I grabbed our call (laundry detergent bottle with the bottom cut out) and really beat the snot out of some willows then let out about 6 bull grunts.

I threw up the binoculars and within 30 seconds, “BIG BULL RIGHT THERE!!”
 
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Robinhood21

Robinhood21

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He was about a mile away and looking in our direction. As soon as I saw him I knew I didn’t need to measure him, he was a shooter… and he started coming in on a string!

We lost him in the alders for a few minutes so we took the opportunity to make it around the hill we were on and cut the distance a couple hundred yards. My cousin was about 20 yards above me and I was laying prone with my rifle over my pack. He still wasn’t showing himself so I motioned to my cousin to rake a little. He raked and a few seconds later he popped over a small hill at 475 yards and stared in our direction. He turned and raked the alders for a few seconds and then lifted his head and steam rolled out of his nostrils.

I’m comfortable shooting that distance but felt he was going to keep coming so I held off. I went ahead and measured him on the reticle and was getting between 13 and 14moa. Rough calculations in my head was telling me he was at least 60”.

He dipped down again in some thick stuff and we again lost him for a few minutes. I had my cousin rake one last time and then THERE!.. he popped out over to the left broadside.

Rangefinder – 390yds

Dialed the Scope - 4moa

My crosshairs landed right behind the shoulder – BOOM!!!... WHACK!!! As I racked another round in I glanced up from my scope and saw he looked like he was hit hard.

Crosshairs again behind the shoulder – BOOM!!!...WHACK!!! He turned 90 degrees and started walking away.

Crosshairs on his rear end – BOOM!!!... WHACK!!! I lifted my head and didn’t see him so I looked up at my cousin and he was smiling with his finger pointing down.

I jumped up and ran up the hill to my cousin, elated and hugged him! I couldn’t believe what just happened.

Being there 2 years ago for my uncles and fathers bulls was an incredible experience but for the last 2 years I wondered what that felt like, to walk up to my own moose. How would I feel? What would I say?

We had to go down, cross a ravine and come back up. Finally I spotted a paddle. As I walked up to him I felt a big lump in my throat… all I could think about was my father, my wife and everything I had poured into this very moment. It was emotional and hard to describe. It may sound silly to some, but I’ve never wanted anything more.

He was everything I ever wanted in a bull and some…

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The packout took 2 days as we were about ¾ mile from the lake. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. 11 meat bags and 1 head. In the moment, it’s misery, but shortly after it’s fun to look back on and laugh about. Luckily my cousin is one strong SOB, even if he was fighting a cold. That night I started feeling it myself.

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(FYI, the foot came off after we moved all the meat 200 yds from the gutpile/carcass)
 
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Robinhood21

Robinhood21

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Hunt Day 6:

Was spent packing my bull out


Hunt Day 7:

We were hurting units! I think between getting our butts kicked packing meat for 2 days then getting sick, it put us down hard. Neither of us slept much that night and I don’t think we left the tent that day until about 4:00pm. We got some food in us and finally got some energy to go out into the rain. We didn’t stray too far from camp that evening but ended up spotting 2 sub-legal bulls.


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Hunt Day 8:

Since I shot my bull on glassing spot #2 we hadn’t made it back there since. We knew a bear would be on that carcass and didn’t care to be around that. We had been posting out on glassing knob #1. The wind was relentless mixed with rain. The only thing we saw that day was a black bear about an hour before dark.



Hunt Day 9:

3 wolverines were spotted between the morning and evening hunt which brought the total to 5. I guess that’s pretty darn rare as we were told by many that they had been up here multiple times and never saw one…. Now I’m really kicking myself for not having a tag!!! Mist and slightly windy turned into heavy rain and wind but we stuck it out until dark.

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Hunt Day 10:

The morning started out with some strong wind then here came the rain. We were only able to take a couple hours before we came to the conclusion that moose were most likely bedded in this crap. The rest of the day was a tent day as it never eased up but our colds were going away and we were feeling good. I thought that once this weather gives us a little bit of a break the moose have got to be moving!

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Robinhood21

Robinhood21

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Kansas
Hunt Day 11:

We woke up to wind & light rain. It was blowing but I could tell it wasn’t blowing as hard as the day before. It was one of those mornings where it would have been nice to sleep in, as that cozy warm bag was tempting but we knew we had to keep grinding. This was the last day we were going to stay at this spot before moving down the lake a ways. A couple hours in and we were just standing there looking around and chatting when I was thinking to myself “maybe we should just start packing up now to get an early start on our move down the lake”

I look over my cousins right shoulder and, “BULL RIGHT THERE ON THE HILL!”

I grabbed the rifle and take one look at him and said “HE’S A SHOOTER!”

My cousin grabbed the rifle and he couldn’t find him. He had walked right behind a spruce… he then steps out.

Rangefinder - 260yds

“Hold right behind the shoulder” I said.

Cousin is using our trekking poles for a bipod as he’s sitting.

Cousin squeezes the trigger – CLICK….

“PUT ANOTHER ONE IN!”

He racks another one in… BOOM!!!...WHACK!!

The bull ran about 10 yards and we lost him. I grabbed the rifle and trekking poles and ran to the side to get another view of him. Cousin got in position again and the bull was standing there quartering away HARD.

BOOM!!!...WHACK!!!

BOOM!!!...WHACK!!!

The bull drops and we celebrate!!! Man, it can happen anytime! Just when you want to be cozy in your warm sleeping bag, you better be out there hunting.

We wasted no time getting him cut up and packed down to the lake. Luckily this one was right around 1/3 mile and was all downhill. We started cutting at 9:30, had the whole thing packed down and we were in dry clothes back in the tent by 6:30 that night. It was a great feeling!

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So grateful to have my cousin with me on this trip. Even though he lacked the experience he more than made up for it with his great attitude, brute strength and relentlessness. He’s been so pumped since finishing up the trip and can’t wait to go on another one. I’m proud of him and glad I could help getting that fire stoked. I really couldn't have asked for a better hunting partner on this trip.
 
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Robinhood21

Robinhood21

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We ended up getting out of the field three days early and got back to Anchorage but unfortunately I was not able to change my flight from Anchorage back home. I stayed the next three days in Anchorage hanging out with my cousin and his family which wasn’t so bad at all.

Also, if you like fish sandwiches, I don’t believe there’s one better than this place.

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Jolley78MT

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Aug 22, 2022
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Awesome story really enjoyed the read. Congrats on two great bulls!!! I am going next September for my first AK moose hunt, has been my dream hunt for as long as I can remember
 

AKDoc

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So awesome guy! Two wonderful Alaska adventures and life memories with family members. You are doing it right, and doing it while you're young as well. It's a great path you're on.

Way cool...thanks for sharing your memories with us...great write-up and pictures!
 
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Robinhood21

Robinhood21

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congratulations dude. awesome write up and great bulls. This hunt has been #1 on my bucket list for 25 years.
Make it happen!
And after all that you got to play tourist for a couple days. Icing on cake.
Yeah I would have loved getting back home to my girls a little early but we had a great time in Anc. All the weight I lost on the trip was gained right back in those few days lol
Great job and congratulations! Two fantastic trophy moose and lifetime memories. Can't beat that.
Thanks Bud!.. so grateful!
 
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Robinhood21

Robinhood21

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Kansas
Awesome story really enjoyed the read. Congrats on two great bulls!!! I am going next September for my first AK moose hunt, has been my dream hunt for as long as I can remember
Thank you! Good luck, you're in for a treat! I was in the same boat not long ago.
 
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Robinhood21

Robinhood21

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Messages
794
Location
Kansas
So awesome guy! Two wonderful Alaska adventures and life memories with family members. You are doing it right, and doing it while you're young as well. It's a great path you're on.

Way cool...thanks for sharing your memories with us...great write-up and pictures!
Thanks Doc! I'm trying to get all my hunts in now while I'm young. I see so many people saving for retirement and then not being able to do what they've always wanted to do because their body isn't able. I may never retire but I plan on having a lot of great memories and stories to tell when I'm an old man HAHA.

I appreciate the kind words. There's a few people on this forum that when I see their post, I make sure to read it and you're one of those people. I appreciate your seemingly always positive attitude and kindness to others. It's refreshing.
 
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