First of all, the quarry you’re after isn’t standing on a street corner in Aspen, Colorado. However, I saw a cow and calf moose in a camp ground in Bayfield, Colorado munching away on the bushes along the Pine River. Why or how they got there is of no consequence, I just thought I’d tell you how they can sometimes appear out of thin air and there is nothing you can do about it.
I went on my first and only moose hunt a while back. I landed in Fort Yukon, Alaska and hopped on a boat and took it 210 miles up the Porcupine River. It’s a lonely stretch of water but the prospect of taking a moose on the way up to camp had my interest. Traveling against the current with a jet motor on a boat the size of Noah’s Ark was painfully slow. At one point, we lost the screen to the jet motor intake and it wasn’t until I dove about twenty times into this glacial stream that I finally found it but, you guessed it, the bolts were gone. Thus the 218th use for duct tape.
All the way up to camp we saw no moose. I had taken with me my bow and I wanted to kill a trophy bull that they said was in this country, but after sporting the bow for 14 days I decided to retire my virgin bow for another day and picked up my 7mm.
The fun was just about gone and in the process of the time there we lost two physicians that wanted to go with me. I often have people accompany me on trips and usually they’re successful, but not this time. They caught a ride with a group of Athabaskan Indians and to be honest with you I never heard from them again. That could have been the first attempt at a survival sitcom. I’m sure they made it out alright, but I don’t know for sure.
On the 15th day of the hunt I found what I was after. I took a 60 ½ inch brute with three shots. All three were well placed, first in the lungs, second in the neck and the last shot was in the withers and knocked him down. Now they’re called a moose for a reason. Remember the kid in high school that was big, awkward, and not too coordinated trying out for football and he got the nickname “Moose”? Well that’s your quarry. On top of not being too bright he tips the scale at over 1,200 pounds. How would you like to be the linebacker against him?
After the third shot he dropped and slid down the hill into a lake. Now his head is under 3’ of water and his hindquarters are barely out of the water and my neoprene waders are 30 miles down stream. We tried everything to get him out of the water without much success. So we skinned him starting at the back and cut off quarters until he was light enough to drag the carcass out.
When I said there’s nothing dumber than a guy that wants to hunt moose, well as you can see I was that guy. I underestimated my quarry. They can move through brush and you can hear or see them. They’re the size of a VW bus full of hippies and just about as much fun. My bull’s weight was overwhelming and packing it to the river was exhausting.
If you’re ever in Alaska hunting on the Porcupine River give a courtesy look for the two physicians and by all means if you see BullWinkle “hit him with your best shot” and “fire away”!