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Sam

Yukon Moose Hunt

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I did not get drawn for anything here in Arizona, so I decided this would be the year I visit my friend in Alaska and hunt moose. We grew up here in Phoenix, went to high school and college together and later we both became teachers. He moved to Alaska about 15 years ago and became a Principal and is now the Superintendant of schools in a small village on the Yukon River. For the past 11 years, I have longed to go out and visit him. I finally made it.

I had dreams of getting a 60 plus inch moose. But, I also hoped that I would be accepted by the Yupik Community and learn about their culture first hand. This was very special and they treated me as if they had known me for years. So, after 3 flights I arrived in the village. The last flight was on a Cessna Caravan 7 seater, flying just above the Tundra. We drove around the village, and took a tour of the schools and then we started packing. It was raining like crazy, so we waited until morning to pack up his boat. Morning came and it was still raining. We packed up our gear and 70 gallons of fuel. We were prepared for 6 days on the river. We picked up a a good friend and hit the river. It rained all morning, but we did not mind. We were headed up river, with the hopes of getting further up river than any other boat trip. Many of the locals go up river when it is frozen to trap, but few are able to travel this far in a boat. He navigated the boat through some incredible country and allowed us to get 7 hours up river - about 100 miles. We saw a few moose on the ride, a young bull which I passed up. My friend decide that becasue he had meat in the freezer, that this hunt was for me. After hitting bottom a number of times and changing the lower unit to a Jet on the motor to allow for shallow water travel we finally got as far as the river would allow. Here is when the excitement started.

We checked the prop on the jet unit and 3 out of the 5 fins were broken. We had lost alot of control of the boat and knew something was wrong. We had to make a decision. Leave all of our gear at camp and try to get back to the village and get a spare prop or try to contact someone and get them to drop us a prop. Well, rather than blow 14 hours of travel and 40 plus gallons of fuel, we broke out the satelite phone. We got ahold of a pilot friend. He agreed to get a new prop, wrap in 5 life jackets, fly up river, find our camp and make a drop. He found us, made a perfect drop, I waded out and picked up our new prop out of the river. It felt like Christmas!

After getting it on the motor we went up river a little further. Climbed a few hills, ate alot of blueberries and blackberries and looked at some absolutely amazing country. We glassed up a huge musk ox and watched him feed for a while. We crossed the river one more time and decided to take a look at one more ridge. Well, this was the ridge. I'm glassing and sure enough, the silhouette of a bull moose appears. I crawl over to my buddy and he said, "Let's call him in." He was about 700 yards from us. He let's out a grunt and the bull immediately finds the closest willow and starts beating the crap out of it. This bull was ready to fight. My buddy makes some other calls (no man made calls, just his mouth) and the bull zones in on us and is headed our way. He crossed a creek and got with 100 yards. I am on my knee, ready to shoot. "Let's wait, he'll get closer." I said, "I got him." But I waited. My friend started raking the willow next to us and put his palms up in the air. The bull crossed another little creek and showed himself 40 yards away, broadside. I shot! Hit him right behing the shouldar, but he barely flinched with the 375 Ultra Mag. He ran and stopped. I shot again. He lifted his front leg and I could tell it was a shoulder shot. He went down. As we walked over to him there was pools of pink blood, a lung shot. I got within 10 yards and he jumped up. I shot one more time, hit his neck. He ran into the willows and it looked like a truck knocking down the trees. We couldn't see the bull, but the trees moved side to side. The movement stopped, we gave it some time and we found him about 40 yards into the willows. We gave thanks, took some pictures and got to work.

Luckily, another local knew that we were up river and he and his sons came up to see if we made it up river as far as we had planned. I think they wanted to get a little further than us :). They heard the shots came over and gladdly helped us pack out the moose about a half mile to the boat. There were nine of us and we each carried a load of 125 pounds plus. Thank God they showed up. I can't imagine making 3 trips. We got back to camp at dark and celebrated with fresh moose heart and onions. This time of year, the liver is bad on these bulls from not eating and because of generating alot chemicals to produce their scent.

Sorry for the long read....but, it was truly a special trip. I got my moose, brought home 300 pounds of incredible meat, and got exposed to the real people of Alaska. I gave 100 pounds of meat to some elders who needed meat. It took the two of us 21 hours of deboning the meat, cutting, grinding and wrapping. These people hunt and fish for everything they have. I felt truly honored that they allowed me to harvest one of their moose. My moose was 40 inches and had broken tops from fighting. But, I could not be happier........

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Awesome moose! My dad has been dying to get a moose so I think we may go next year. Your story has me psyched to start planning the hunt!

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Sounds like a great time,Congrats

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Great story! Thanks for sharing! How does moose meat compare to deer, elk, or antelope in AZ? Congrats on your trophy and the memories!

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Moose meat is outstanding. It is very lean, hardly any fat on these bulls after they hit the rut. It is mild tasting compared to venison and antelope. Close to elk with texture, but a little diferent taste - not stronger than elk, just a bit different.

 

Thanks all for reading.....

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Thanks for sharing. Don't apologize for the long read. I could have read another page. Very well written. Beautiful country and rich culture. Nice Moose!

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Awesome read and congrats on a hunt of a lifetime! Moose hunting is one of my goals in life, I keep a picture of a Yukon moose plastered on my bathroom mirror to remind me of my goal every morning!

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