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Thread: Our Moose Hunt 2022

  1. #1
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    Our Moose Hunt 2022



    Our Moose Hunt 2022





    Sit down, grab a cold one. This is going to be a very long one. I wrote this up a few months ago but have finally gotten it together to post it with pictures.


    It all started with my Dad and a friend saying we should enter LEH for moose again this year. So myself, Dad, my brother, Marc, and friend, Alex, all put in for moose, but up in Region 7. We had been drawn in 2014 for region 3 but that had been a lost cause and a total bust. We clearly had no idea what we were doing and were completely winging it with zero intel, other than a family friend that has property in the area and gets a moose walking across his property every so often.

    (Dad, Alex and I have been hunting together numerous times, as a group with Alex, occasionally with different friends as our fourth, for 9 years on and off without any successful harvests together. Some of us have had success, but not all of us together. It has been fun, infuriating and frustrating over the years.)

    Fast forward to this year, 2022.
    My plans for this year had been to really focus on whitetail. We live in the lower mainland but I had put cameras in the Okanagan and found a good spot full of whitetails in 2021 and this year there were tons of big guys around. Honestly, I was hoping that we wouldn't get drawn. I even laughingly told my wife that I knew we WOULD get drawn precisely because I didn't want us to. I wanted to learn and figure out these whitetails, maybe get an antlerless one in October and just generally spend time up there exploring the potential of the area and hanging out in my treestand and blind, possibly with my oldest child. Clearly, that was not meant to happen.
    I don't remember if I had received an email or saw on HBC that the LEH results were out. So, I took a few minutes at work to sign in online and see if we had been drawn......well, it looked like my whitetail plans were going out the window because we had been drawn and were heading to Region 7 for Any Bull Moose!

    I messaged the group and informed them of our success. An HBC member had posted up his wall tent and stove setup this past spring and after sending the post to my dad, he went and bought the whole setup. A two week moose hunt in the bush in a wall tent has been his dream for many years. It just so happened that we were finally going on a real moose hunt with that setup this year. It was a fortuitous purchase and we were excited. Unfortunately, even with help from “parrothead” and his crew, we could not get that diesel stove to run. Try as we might, we couldn’t make it happen. So we settled by bringing my friend’s Buddy Heater. There were a flurry of messages on our group chat, gear talk and planning, videos of how to moose call, etc. The summer was full of planning and booking time off for the first two weeks of October.

    I saw Marc a couple days later and Marc said, “You know we’re going to kill the moose, right? You and I.” I laughed because I had been about to say the same thing, jokingly of course.

    E-scouting would have to do for this trip, even though I had initially been aggressively serious about doing a scouting trip. The prohibitive cost of fuel this past summer didn’t make a scouting trip feasible. In order to access our drawn MU, we had to pass through another MU no matter where we wanted to drive in from. There were a variety of factors that went into choosing our MU, one of which was the fact that it could only be accessed through another MU. My thought was that people really don’t want to drive far from comfort, since most will stay in town or like to be close to town or in lodges, and we would have less competition for the draw and for the actual hunt. Using iHunter, I marked multiple locations and kindly had some intel for access and camping and timing sent to me by “Kr999” and rut info from a thread on the MU from HBC. I had also planned on calling “Srupp”, but was just too busy. I did have some PMs with him and picked up some Mare-in-Heat synthetic cow moose urine and some tampons for application.

    St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. Marc and I were talking a few days before the hunt and Marc said, jokingly ” So, Luke. I had a chat with St Hubert.” “Oh yeah?,” said I . “Yeah. You’re going to kill a moose on day 7 and I’m going to kill one on day 9.” “Day 7 of the trip or day 7 of actual hunting?,” I asked. “Day 7 of actual hunting,” he said. I responded, “So day 9 of the trip it's me and on day 11 of the trip it's you?”. “Yep”, he smiled. We both laughed.

    Day 1


    At long last, the appointed time for departure finally arrived. Our plan was to be gone for 14 days, departing my house at 3:30am in Mission and arriving in Vanderhoof sometime around 1-2pm and then heading towards our MU. Departure ended up being delayed until 4am but we made it; Marc and I in my truck, Dad and Alex in Dad’s suburban. South of Ashcroft, as the sun was breaking above the mountains, Marc and I saw two mulie bucks just off the highway coming out of the corn fields. A couple of beauty four point trophies with the morning sun shining off of their dark racks. It was exciting. Marc and I hadn’t spent a lot of time together over the last number of years and it was great to spend time together for hours on end listening to music, laughing and talking.


    With a stop for fuel, breakfast and some ingredients for lunch in 100 Mile House, we all continued our cruise North. Coming in to Prince George, we turned towards Vanderhoof, still thinking that Dad and Alex were ahead of us.





    Marc and I were cruising to Vanderhoof and had messaged the other two that we were a few minutes out when we received a message back saying they were just leaving Prince George. We looked at each other and thought Dad and Alex were just kidding with us. They had stopped for lunch in Prince George and then were stopped on the highway by a work crew for 20 minutes which put them 45 mins behind us. We didn’t believe them and told them so. They said, “Ok” and hung up. Alex then sent us his live location and we were very confused how they had ended up so far behind us. Meanwhile, Dad and Alex were confused how they had ended up so far behind us since they had thought they were way ahead of us. Marc and I reluctantly decided to believe them and went to get some pizza for lunch at Cozy Corner Pizzeria.



    Last edited by ekul246; 02-22-2023 at 10:45 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022

    While eating, we had a phone call from Dad and Alex. They were stuck on the highway. The suburban, which had been purchased the previous June, was giving them some problems. They managed to get it moving and get into Vanderhoof. We thought it was sensors and eventually got it to Ford, as everything else was closed for the weekend. The mechanic in the shop was able to diagnose it as the fuel pump. Needless to say, we weren’t happy. While waiting for the diagnosis, I said to the other three, “Hey, a lot of really successful trips start with a gongshow.”

    So, we loaded all the gear from the suburban into my F150 and then hooked up the trailer and decided to make our way into the MU since nothing could be done for the suburban until Monday, today being Saturday. The first road that we had planned to use was a no go. It was completely washed out from the previous year. So we had to take another route in. It was a slow go. My truck was overloaded and it began getting dark. My truck was so overloaded, that my headlights didn’t illuminate the road; they were angled up instead! Our goal was to get into our MU that night. We eventually made it and then took the first decent turn off and set up a spike camp.
    We were tired from the day and frustrated with the turn of events right when we should have been heading into the bush, but we were also relieved that the suburban had broken down in town instead of in the bush. It could have been so much worse and a much bigger hassle. As it was, it was just a large inconvenience.

    There had been talk over the summer about being in grizzly territory. The possibility of buying a bear fence to put around the tent had been floated but ultimately decided against as an extra expense. I had argued that our camp and the noise and fire, as long as we kept it clean, would be enough to deter any bears, including grizzlies. Now, Alex had called the lodge owner on the largest nearby lake and had inquired about lodgings back in the summer. He had been told that it was fully booked for the entire hunting season; a reason we had decided to stay far away from the lake so as not to get caught in all the hunters going to and from the lodge and to, hopefully, avoid the added pressure from them as well. In his conversation with the lodge owner, the topic of grizzlies had come up and the owner had said that there were tons of them around. Alex, for one, did NOT want anything to do with grizzlies, obviously, but had been the most vocal about being grizzly aware on this trip and been the most concerned about encountering grizzlies. Anyways, as we were setting up our little spike camp for the first night, Alex and Dad set up their cots under the canopy while Marc and I made a little shelter against my truck with my silicone guide tarp and set up our cots under that. I don’t know if I had started to doze off when I heard what sounded like hooves walking on the road. I decided against saying anything to the others. It might worry them or make them jumpy and for what? I fell asleep looking up at the shining stars in the cloudless night sky.





    Day 2

    Early in the morning, as the sun began to brighten the eastern sky, we all stirred…some more reluctantly than others. Marc and I had slept beautifully and soundly. Dad and Alex, less so. At some point during the night, Alex had woken and heard a, “Hrumph, hrumph, hrumph” sound of something large breathing and walking by. He had leaned over and grabbed his Marlin 45-70, waking Dad and looked out from under the canopy, which they had set as low as possible to help shelter from the breeze. Alex watched a huge, dark, huffing shape as it walked away, apparently unconcerned about our loudly snoring group. Alex had said that we would see grizzlies on this trip……..for the record, Marc and I never saw one…….
    After breakfast and Alex telling us about the nighttime episode and how he was right about the grizzlies, we sorted out the trailer situation a bit better, Dad and I drove out to a spot on the road that randomly had fantastic reception to call Lordco and leave a message with a mechanic in town, and then left the trailer at our camp spot and drove further in to the MU to find a camp spot. We found a great camp down by the river, unloaded the truck, then Dad and I drove back to pick up the trailer and the rest of the stuff. We spent the rest of the day setting up the wall tent and getting the camp situated. I put up three tampons with scent around the camp. Wouldn’t hurt to have some Cow-in-Heat scent swirling around camp in case a bull came nearby. Marc and I were itching to see some country so we headed out and tried to get to a swamp that we had found on the map. After a brutal bushwack, we finally made it to the swamp which was completely dry and only had really old sign. It was hot and had obviously been hot for quite a long time if the swamps were dried out. We bushwhacked back to the truck and agreed to never do that again if it was that thick, especially since the moose clearly would be where the water was. So we decided to cruise down the road, picking off a few grouse and watching as the sun sank below the distant mountains.



    Last edited by ekul246; 02-22-2023 at 10:45 PM.

  4. #3
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    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022

    Day 3
    The following morning, being Monday, we needed to head in to reception and see if Lordco in PG had a fuel pump and then get it put aside for the mechanic shop. Marc wanted to hunt so he picked a spot up a little side road and I gave him my roll of flagging tape.

    We agreed on his game plan and the time that he would be back at camp. The other three of us headed back to the “Phonebooth”, which was about 33 kms from camp. Dad made the required call to Lordco and then to the mechanic shop. The shop had been expecting his call and was going to order the fuel pump that had been set aside for us. So we drove into town to bring the suburban to the shop from Ford, made a few stops for some necessary things like hot sauces and flour for breading grouse and made our way back to camp. I received some extremely urgent news at the “Phonebooth” that morning that was very upsetting. I was a mess on the way into town and for the rest of the morning. On the drive back, I was able to get more news that the friends involved were going to be ok and that I didn’t have to head back home. Praise God they would recover and be ok


    Upon arriving in camp about three hours later than planned, Marc was sunning himself and had just woken from a nap after taking a dip in the creek. As we rolled in I called out, “I hope you remembered that trailcam I set up for security and you didn’t walk around camp butt naked…?” “No, I totally did that and forgot about the camera”, laughed Marc. I proceeded to check the trailcam and assured Marc that his white butt had absolutely been captured on camera as he had walked into the tent to get dressed. I have archived that footage and will be using it as blackmail for a later time that has yet to be determined.

    I grabbed another trailcam and then Marc and I headed to where he had spent the morning. We followed the trail he had flagged all the way to the little lake. Along the way I spotted an old scapula on the ground. Once at the water, I called a bit but then decided we should make our way back to the road. We hit a little clearing about 100m from the road. It was 30 yards across and there were a number of spots to set up on, no matter which way the wind was blowing. There was a heavily used game trail going along the south side of the clearing. After a short assessment, I decided to set up a trailcam. I also set up a tampon and soaked it in scent on a 6ft tall tree in front of the cam and we made our way out. We travelled a little further down the road and found another good looking swamp.


    We headed back to the main road we had turned off of and cruised a bit further until dark. After dinner and beer at the campfire, we all turned in for the night.




    Day 4
    The next morning we were up early, but I had a text on my inReach from my wife saying to contact her immediately. More chaos! We still didn’t have the suburban, so I dropped off Marc to sit at the clearing with the trailcam, then dropped off Dad and Alex at the swamp we had found the day before just before first light and took off for the Phonebooth. I called my wife and discovered that it wasn’t as urgent as I had thought, but given the news from the morning before, I was understandably worried. Thankfully, we were able to make some decisions and get things taken care of. I then checked Dad’s voicemail as he had requested. The suburban was ready for pickup! So I headed back to where the other three were sitting for the morning and gave them the updates.

    Marc and I decided that we wanted to check out another area while Dad and Alex went to town to get the suburban. We set a time for us to meet back at the drop off point and then they left us with our packs. Marc and I hiked 1.5 kms down an old deactivated road towards a grouping of small lakes while I cow called with my bugle tube every 15 mins. This was my standard procedure anytime we went hiking or driving around. Lots of old poop and tracks on the road but it must have been from the last major rainfall which must have been months ago. We tried to get to the first little lake but the blowdown around it was impossible to get through. So we climbed a bit of a knoll, I soaked a little bunch of branches in scent and called for about an hour and a half. It was hot. Every day was hot. It would be -2C in the morning with frost on everything and around 9:30 am it would suddenly spike up and climb up to 25C-28C. Looking at the time, we decided to head back to the road to meet up with Dad and Alex. Upon arriving at the designated spot, we had some lunch and rested. 40 min passed. We decided to start walking the main road back towards camp on the assumption that they had taken longer in town than anticipated. I needed to make a pit stop, but I knew that as soon as I did, they would come driving over the rise in the road. Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer and, sure enough, as soon as I stepped off the road into the bush to do my business, Marc calls out that they’re coming. It was Dad in the suburban. Alex had driven straight back to camp in my truck.

    It turned out that immediately after leaving us at the drop off, maybe a 100 yards after they drove away, a HUGE boar grizzly had barrelled across the road in front of them at a full gallop. There was quite a bit of bear poop around, most of it not super fresh but a second grizzly sighting in 3 days was surprising to us…..but not Alex. They said he was huge but hadn’t even given them a glance as he took off. Marc went off and hunted by himself while driving some roads that night and the rest of us relaxed at camp. Fire, dinner then bed.

    Day 5
    Up before first light again. Alex and Dad decided to go south and check out the roads and cuts. Marc and I had liked the look of those lakes on iHunter where we had gone the day before so we decided to go a little further down the main spur and take a different turn off to get to the back side of them. We were driving down the road as it was getting light and found a truck parked on the edge of the road. Unsure whether he was hunting the adjacent swamp or had gone further down to where we wanted to go, we continued down the road. Then we saw the group of three hunters walking ahead towards where we wanted to go. Dang it. Marc was pretty choked, but I told him it is all good, we just need to be here earlier or go somewhere else. For no particular reason, we decided to go down to where Dad and Alex had chosen to go. We slowly made our way there and glassed the cuts, expecting to come up on the others.
    Eventually, we did come upon them. When they saw us, their demeanor was a little odd and they looked at each other with an expression I couldn’t interpret. We stepped out of the truck and walked up to them. They had a story to tell……



    Alex and Dad decided to stop and walk a side road and a cut. Dad made his way over to the treeline and Alex walked the road. He made his way along the road, thinking that Dad was parallel with him but didn’t realise he was able to travel much faster and didn’t have eyes on Dad. He stopped, looking and listening, and pulled out a granola bar. Chewing, he started walking again. Then he heard a twig snap. Looking to the side of the road he saw what he really didn’t want to see…..a grizzly. A grizzly cub……and it was staring at him from 30 yards away. At the same moment that he thought, “Oh crap” the sow roared and charged him from behind the cub! Simultaneously pulling back the hammer on his 45-70 and shouldering it, he had his crosshairs on the sow as she charged him. At the last second, he pulled up and shot at a tree next to her, causing her to stop in her tracks as he racked another one. She stared at him, not quite roaring, teeth bared as he aimed the crosshairs straight down her throat. He could see some drops of saliva as they fell from her teeth and the smell of the bear rolled over him. After what seemed like a minute but, as he said, was probably more like a few seconds, the bear stared at him and then backed up a couple steps before turning around. She called to the cub as she turned and it immediately jumped after her. Alex admitted that once the bear had walked away, and out of sight, he turned and ran back down the road, leaving his granola bar forgotten on the road. Dad had heard the shot but being back at the treeline he couldn’t get to Alex quickly and hadn’t witnessed the event. What were the chances that the guy who was the most concerned with potential grizzly interactions was getting all the action?! It had only happened 20 minutes before Marc and I had arrived on the scene. Shortly afterwards, they had spoken with another hunter that was driving by and found out that the sow actually had 3 cubs and had been seen frequently in the area. NOT what we wanted to hear.



    Last edited by ekul246; 02-22-2023 at 10:46 PM.

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    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022

    Continuing driving, Alex and Dad took a right turn to a cut and we went straight to what we thought would lead to a dead end surrounded by forest near a swamp. When we arrived at it, it turned out to be a massive wide open cut that was maybe a year or so old. Marc and I grabbed our packs and rifles and decided to walk into it and see what we would see. Again, calling every 15 mins on the dot, we wandered down the road, which was blocked at the entrance by a dug out and some large rocks, glassing as we went. There were many old bear prints in the hard mud, including larger ones accompanied by tiny ones, a reminder of Alex’s close call with the sow just a couple hours ago. About a kilometre in, we decided to sit amongst a couple logs and get some lunch going. A pasta cup for Marc and a kimchi noodle bowl for me. I continued calling every 15 mins, even during our lunch break. The calls echoed through the massive cut. Using my bugle tube had been a good idea. I set up a tampon with scent, thinking that coming back to this cut to have a bull checking out the scent seemed very feasible. We reached 1.5 kms in. I let out another heartfelt cow call right on time, Marc glassing as I did so. I was arranging my tube on my chest when Marc calmly said, “Luke, we have a bull moose.”

    “WHAT?!” “Right there,” he pointed. I immediately started vibrating. I was shocked. I know we were moose hunting but it was still completely unexpected. It was 12:30pm and super hot! I could see the bull with the naked eye but tried to get my binos up to get a good look at him. I was shaking so badly that I couldn’t actually see any details in my binos; only a big dark shape and antlers. Marc and I got down and moved toward a little brush pile left by the loggers. I could not get comfortable on it and it took a while to get situated. Marc and I stared at him through our scopes. He was looking in our direction but hadn't seen us and we had a crosswind. He was massive. Huge body and giant antlers with big brow tines. I ranged him at 140 yards. I remember saying to Marc, “Oh my gosh….I want his antlers SO BAD!” Marc said, “You can have them!” Hahaha! Such a ridiculous conversation to be having at that time. He just stood there, looking for the cow that he had heard. Marc and I began talking about taking him. I was concerned about taking a full frontal shot. We didn’t know if he was in the swamp or how close the swamp was, was it dry, could we get him out if he ran into it? He still just stood there, just asking us to shoot him. We took our rifles off safety. Then I felt the wind on my neck. “He’s going to smell us,” I said. “Just tell me if I can shoot,” said Marc. “I just don’t know. There’s so many unknowns…”. Then the bull lifted his nose and took a big whiff. I told Marc that he was going to turn. I did a quick count down from 3 but he turned quickly and I didn’t pull the trigger. He turned into the little group of trees he was in and headed towards the main swamp. Marc and I jumped up and ran to a bunch of logs to try and catch him as he moved to the left towards the trees around the swamp. I cow called but he kept going. He stopped briefly at the edge of the trees surrounding the swamp but with a tree in the way. Then he walked into the trees and disappeared. I ran up to a tree close to the swamp and soaked it in the Cow-in-Heat scent but he never came back. “HOLY CRAP! THAT WAS CRAZY!” He was a monster. Granted, we are inexperienced moose hunters, but he looked like any picture of a big bull moose that you could search up on the internet or find in a hunting magazine. He was an absolute monster. We dubbed him “The Monster”.



    I knew The Monster had smelled us so I suggested we back out and give it a bit of a break. We headed back to the truck, raving about how big he was, should we have shot him right then, we don’t know if the swamp was dry, it would be a 2 km pack out with meat and multiple trips…..everything that you talk about when you’ve had an opportunity or an encounter with the animal that you are hunting. We were ecstatic. Rolling back into camp, we were wired as we told Alex and Dad about The Monster. We loaded back up with water and gear for when it cooled down at last light and went back with shovels. The four of us shovelled out some of the dugouts and dragged a couple of the big rocks out of the entrance to the cut and were then able to get our trucks at least 1 km into the cut; we dragged the rocks back into place behind ourselves. I refreshed the scent with a soaked tampon and marked the tree on iHunter for future reference. Then we chose a spot down wind from where he had gone into the swamp and set up. I called every 15 minutes and we sat there, ready for him to come out. I brought my plastic paddle this time. I cow called and grunted, but gently. About an hour before last light, I decided to try getting aggressive. I stood up and did my first ever rake and call. I cow called followed by aggressive raking and grunting. I destroyed that little tree and was out of breath afterwards. I did this for a few minutes and then continued cow calling every 15 minutes.

    With about 30 minutes of legal light left, we decided to check out the end of the cut, since we hadn’t been there yet. We grabbed everything and started walking as quietly as possible. Then Marc, looking towards the end of the cut, says, “THERE HE IS!” He had been coming towards us, though downwind. He had seen us and was turning around when Marc saw him. I cow called and he stopped,but there were too many little trees between us and him and all we could do was stop and look at him. He stood broadside, his large paddles clearly visible from a couple hundred yards away before running off again. We got him to stop and turn again but still no shot opportunity. We just watched him. He was majestic. We ran farther down the road and thought we knew where he had come out and where he had run to. But it was getting dark. So we turned and headed back to the truck, overjoyed that we had called him to us again and that the first time hadn’t just been a fluke. Still over the moon, we made it back to camp in the dark and raved about the moose to Dad and Alex by the fire as we ate. We raved about his size and our regret on not taking advantage of the first situation but consoling ourselves that, given the unknowns, we had made the right choice, though now it stung. It was here that I realised that these moose are monsters. Not just because they are huge, but the way they move around, the grunting, the way The Monster had been licking his lips and his whole presence. We were in the land where there be monsters. Alex and I checked the trailcam after dinner as it was a 5 min drive from camp. Nothing on it but that wasn’t a surprise. It hadn’t been soaking for long enough.
    Besides, Marc and I knew what we were doing the next day……



    Day 6

    Well before the crack of dawn, we were all up and having breakfast and coffee while the trucks warmed up. It was freezing again but would get hot again by 10am. Marc and I again parked in the cut and walked in after The Monster. This time, we set up a bit further away but with a better view of where he had gone into the swamp at the first sighting.
    Last edited by ekul246; 02-22-2023 at 10:47 PM.

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    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022

    We settled in as the sky was just beginning to lighten up and I began calling. I again decided to try raking and grunting. Dad and Alex had said they would follow later on and would cow call when they were nearby; if we didn’t respond, they would back out and go check out some more cuts. Because of a trick of the landscape, they couldn’t hear me calling but I distinctly heard when my Dad called. I had just finished a calling sequence when Dad cow called to us. At that same instant the bull began grunting. He was grunting his face off. Marc and I looked at each other and I said, “That’s him!” He was going ballistic! We could hear his grunting change while he walked between the trees and then it sounded like he was in the treeline but we couldn’t see him. Then we heard crashing and his antlers hitting trees as he grunted and he went silent. Gone!

    The wind had been good. We don’t know what spooked him. Hoping that he might come back, we stayed in our set and kept calling every 15 mins. Around 9:30, as the heat began to crank up, we stripped off our layers and decided to take a closer look at the swamp and the surrounding trees. The trees and the blow down were very thick. There was no way for us to get through, let alone The Monster. Finally, we found a spot to push into the trees and where we thought he had come out of the previous evening. There were deep holes that a moose could easily navigate over but we had to make sure we didn’t fall or trip into. About 20 yards in we found where he had been running around the last 24 hours.

    There were fresh prints all inside the swamp along the treeline and fresh droppings from the day before. We had found what we thought was his bedroom.


    Happy with the discovery, we turned back towards the road and went to the very end of the cut to see just how far back it went. Satisfied, we went back to the swamp and found a place to set up for the day. The wind was perfect and we had a 200 yard view of the inside of the swamp itself. I sprayed a tree near us with the Cow-in-Heat as a bit of a cover scent in case the wind swirled and we settled in. It was now about 12pm.
    We ate our lunch and chatted, calling as per usual. The hours ticked by. Then slowed down. It seemed to take forever. We had been pretty still the majority of the day and were antsy for some action. We were bored. I definitely got into one of those moods you get into where you are starting to get bored out of your mind but you have a long time to go yet. Marc laughed at me but was in the same boat. A year before, I had done my first blind sit with my hunting partner for 11 hours straight. So I knew I could do this….

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    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022

    We heard Dad cow call again, but we still had an hour or so before dark.

    Marc found a comfy tuft in amongst the trees and dozed for a bit. Then it was my turn. It felt good to lay down. Finally, the temperature began to cool. Light started fading. At last light, we made our way out, as going out in the pitch black, would be a risky business. We walked back to the truck in the last light of sunset, just as we had come in that morning. We heard what we thought were wolves though they weren’t howling. We made it back to camp in the dark. The fire was already going. It had been a long day. I suggested we should give The Monster a break. We had three interactions with him in 20 hours. If we hadn’t already pushed him away we wanted to avoid doing so.


    Day 7
    We woke up late in the morning. We needed the extra rest. The four of us decided to take a road that would bring us opposite of the trees at the back of the cut where The Monster was. There were more cuts here that didn’t show up on the map. We drove through a few and ultimately decided to walk into The Monster’s swamp but from the back side to see what we would see. We found some moose trails and made our way in. At last, we had found out why he had been staying in this swamp. This edge was wet. All the swamps and even the other side where Marc and I had been the day before were completely dry. We went quite a ways in and did a few calling sequences and raking. Nothing. Satisfied, we headed back out. We made our way back to camp for lunch. We then spent some time refining and organising the camp. I also refreshed the scent around camp, just in case. Marc and I had planned to go after The Monster again but when we arrived at the cut where we normally dragged the rocks out of the way to drive in, there was a small red truck making its way into the cut! We had been afraid that someone would eventually notice our tracks going in and out and that they would move the big rocks out of the way themselves and go in. Well, it was crown land and we didn’t want to follow or wait and see if they would come out again. It might give them a hint that they were in a good spot. So we headed back to camp frustrated and a bit angry. We decided to go and check our trailcam again……nothing.




    Day 8
    Day 8 saw Marc and I back trying to get after The Monster. We set up between where The Monster had been when we first saw him and the main swamp. It was really cold and eventually I made us some coffee. The frost was thick this morning and the cold was numbing. The light from the rising sun from behind the swamp. It was beautiful. Once it was warm enough to begin shedding layers, we again walked to the back of the cut, calling as we went. The afternoon saw us set up again in the same spot. We went to where The Monster had been standing when we first laid eyes on him at midday and we found his bed. He must have stood up when we were calling and looked to see the cow that he thought we were.
    Last edited by ekul246; 02-22-2023 at 10:48 PM.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Mission,BC
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    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022



    We stayed until last light and then headed back to the truck, again in the moonlight. At this point I decided that he needed to be left alone. We had given it a good hard try and he was gone. When we were deciding what to do for the next day by the fire that night, I said that we should change it up and go for a drive tomorrow and see some new country. We had stayed in the same spot for long enough and seeing as it was our first time in the area, we should get the lay of the land in case we ever came back and just do something different for the next day. There was some discussion about what to do for dinner on Thanksgiving and whether we needed to go into town. I said, “We’re going to have moose tenderloin for Thanksgiving!” “Ok”, they replied.

    Day 9
    The following morning we slept a little later than planned. It was a little past first light as we all drove in the suburban down a different road and to a different cut. As we made it through the first deactivation we saw a hunter on a little knoll stand up to make his presence known to us. Darn it. We turned around and I started looking at iHunter. We had been spending our time west of camp so I suggested we go east and cover ground. We drove 20kms east and took a turn up a road. A couple kilometres in we bumped two deer. We hopped out of the truck but they took off pretty quick into the thick brush which was on both sides. They both looked to be does anyway. We took a left turn and decided to walk to the lake. We found some older moose droppings on the road as we went. Dad and I wanted to get to the lake and call so Alex and Marc walked back to the suburban with the plan of driving down to pick us up. Dad and I dipped off the road towards the lake. It was only 100m to the lake but we were stopped within sight of the lake. The blowdown was absolutely brutal and it would have been way too much to try and get there. It was a bummer but with all those huge trees laying criss-crossed in the way it just wasn’t worth it. We went back to the road and followed it hoping it would get us there but no dice. The four of us drove back to the main road as the bush on either side was extremely thick regrowth and continued east.



    Just one click down the road we again bumped some mule deer. Three of them and one had ducked off the road as soon as we turned the corner. Marc and I hopped out and we watched the doe and fawn as they walked unconcernedly down and across the road. We waited, thinking the third deer might be a buck. Marc walked down the road and then a truck approached from the opposite direction and the deer left. Back in the truck and off we go. We stopped and chatted a bit with a couple hunters that we had crossed paths with a few times over the last bunch of days. They had been seeing lots of black bears and also had a moose authorization. They told us which road they’d been seeing them on. Not knowing if they were trying to get rid of us as competition or were sincere, we kept driving. Eventually we came to an intersection with an old map of the area on it. We saw the road name was the one that the fellow hunters had mentioned and we drove up that way. We made our way down a road thick with regrowth. Got to the end and turned around. Met up with more hunters on our way out. They were with the two that we had bumped into earlier. We decided that was enough driving for us. It was now 4pm and we had a ways to get back to camp.

    As we were heading back, we were feeling pretty dejected. I said, “I just CAN’T go back empty handed again……after a two week trip. I just can’t”. Regularly throughout the trip, I had repeated while around the fire and at other times that we had lots of time to get this figured out. We talked again about the lost opportunity with the Monster and again wondered if we had completely blown our only chance. We had 5 days left of hunting and the pressure was beginning to mount.

    We were making better time than we had figured we would. I noticed a big burn on a mountain top and wondered how to get there. Since we still had a few hours before dark, I suggested we take a last turn off the main road and try to check out what looked to be a sizable cut. We arrived at it and it was huge. It was a burn; and the same burn I had noticed from the main road. I don’t know how to age a burn but it looked pretty recent. Lots of grasses and low brush but lots of ash. We figured it must have been from the previous year or so. We were nearing the boundary of the region and our MU. We turned off and drove to the top of the hill. The view from up top was stunning.

    Last edited by ekul246; 02-22-2023 at 10:48 PM.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    598

    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022

    Thank you for your story, awesome read so far.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022

    The land stretched out before us with rolling hills and mountains. The sky was blue and white with the lowering sun amongst some high clouds. We walked around and inspected the burnt forest. A lone set of moose tracks in the sandy ash came from behind, crested the hill and went in the direction of the lake in the distance. We climbed back in the truck and the subject of the pine beetle came up. My dad was giving an explanation of the measures that Alberta had taken to try and keep it from spreading into that province when I said, “BEAR!” There was a bear in the turn of the road ahead. Marc said, “I’m killing that bear.” I got out and chambered a round for back up. He and I both had bear tags. The bear was looking at us over its shoulder. I waited, wanting Marc to take his first bear. The bear turned back and Marc followed the shoulder as he turned and shot it…in the butt. The bear went to the left and off the road in the bush as Marc fired again but missed. I didn’t get a chance to follow up. I stood there a little surprised. I’ve never followed a bear into the bush, much less after a shot like that, and I was a bit concerned about going after it since it was going to get dark soon. We went to where the bear had entered. I thought I saw a black spot amongst the trees but it was too thick to see. Shotgun loaded with slugs, I led the way in. About 30 yards in he was piled up! That shot had been perfectly lined up with the vitals and killed that bear stone dead. Now we celebrated! This was Marc’s first bear and his first big game animal! No other opportunity over the years had ever panned out. But it FINALLY happened! Hugs were given and pictures taken. I helped Marc drag the bear out and up to the road. Since it was going to get dark and Marc hadn’t cleaned a bear before, he asked me to take the lead. Dad stood by on bear watch with Alex, seeing as one close run in with a grizzly had been enough.
    As Marc and I worked on the bear there was a rustling and growling from the opposite side of the road. I never heard anything at all. Marc’s head snapped up and as he shouted, “Whoa, whoa! What was that?!” Dad and Alex also shouted in surprise. There was a crash and the sound of it running off but needless to say, everyone was a little nervous after and I worked as quickly as I could to get the bear taken care of. Upon finishing and getting into the suburban to leave, I realised I didn’t know where my watch was. I had taken it off when I was putting on gloves to deal with the bear but it had since vanished from where I had left it. Things like that frustrate me but I would just have to deal with it. Things happen, as the start of this trip shows. We arrived at camp and made use of one of the meat poles nearby to string up the bear meat and skin. Only a few short hours before, we had been in a pretty low spot but now we could celebrate a bit. Our first successful kill as a group! Marc’s first bear and first big game animal! Alex or my dad asked if I was going to break out the bottle of bourbon I had brought. I said that it was for a moose! There was more than enough time for that and I would save it for that. We hoped that the bear showing up had meant a weather change was coming and that it would get the moose moving. I planned to go back to the kill site and check the road for my watch again, just in case we had missed it.

    Day 10- Thanksgiving
    During the night, the weather changed. At some point in the night, I woke up drenched in sweat. It had been cold every night so far and we had run the Buddy Heater every night on low. I turned it off because it was so hot. I shut it off and went back to sleep. Very early in the morning, the tent wall was pushing against my head and I could hear a whooshing sound. Initially, I thought a grizzly was pushing against the side of the tent! But then realised it was the wind. It was blowing pretty hard outside.
    We again didn’t rush out of our sleeping bags this morning. We had made some sort of plan for the day, but I don’t remember what it was, except that Marc and I were going to go and check for my watch first. I said, “Today could be the day! The weather change is what we need.” The truck was showing 14C! We decided to do breakfast after we looked for my watch; it was a short drive away from camp. I decided to at least grab a cup of coffee. Marc asked, “Should I bring my rifle?” I said, “Oh yeah, of course!”

    We drove 5 or 6 kms back to the bear kill location and did a walk up and down the stretch of road, looking for my watch. Nothing. It’s gone. Damn.
    On the drive up, we were having the philosophical discussion about whether an animal is born with your name on it or not. It has been about 6 years since I had last bagged an animal. I like to think (this also consoles me) that whatever animal I will eventually kill next (hopefully soon) God has meant for me to kill it. If someone kills a specific animal that I am after, then it wasn’t meant for me. My brother thought that couldn’t be true because it would entail predestination, which I said isn’t a problem because it is an animal…..blah blah blah. It was an interesting conversation. On the drive back down from looking for my watch, we were still following the thread of that conversation but Marc wasn’t seeing it my way. It can be either a hopeful or disappointing way to look at it. But anyway, I made the turn back onto the main road and we headed to camp for breakfast.

    We rounded a corner……and there was a BULL MOOSE standing in the road! He was stopped and looking over his left shoulder at us. We both exclaimed, “BULL!” Marc bailed out first from the passenger side, saying,“Grab your tube!”. “I don’t have it!”, I said. “Wait for me!” The bull had by this time decided to get out of town. He was trotting off down the road. I already put my Walker's on my ears and turned it on. We slid our clips in and chambered rounds. Marc is a lefty and I am a righty. I don’t know if that is why we automatically crossed in front of the truck, he to the driver side of the road and me to the passenger side of the road, but we both did it without conscious thought. Marc was looking towards the running moose through his scope and I said, “Don’t shoot him in the ass.” “I WON’T!” replied Marc. The moose was a ways down the road now. We both lined him up in our scopes. Marc grunted and the bull, now standing broadside facing the right, was looking back at us. Marc counted down the way we had discussed for a situation just like this, “Three…..two…..one……”. BOOM! I fired. An instant later, BOOM! Marc fired. He had held back so that I could take the first shot. What a brother! I watched the impact of both bullets as they rippled the hide of the bull. 180 grain Federal Fusion from my 30-06 and 180 grain Federal blue box from Marc’s 308. The bull didn’t even seem to flinch and definitely made no sign that he was going to go down fast. There was a steep slope to the right, the direction he was facing, full of slash and blowdown and brush and the left side of the road was just as thick, but uphill. I thought, “We need to put him down on the road.” Without any communication at all, Marc and I had both thought the same thing. We rechambered. The bull had now turned 180 degrees. We then unleashed what Alex would have called “a hail of gunfire”. I emptied the three rounds left in my rifle without taking my eye out of the scope. Marc did likewise with his two, having forgotten to replace the two bullets from the night before with his bear. All 5 shots landed on the bull’s left shoulder. As we were firing, the bull walked forward and upon the last shot I could see that he reared back a bit and did a death spin, blood fountaining from his mouth. When we were empty, I loaded another from my stock sleeve just in case, at the same time that Marc said, “Load another, I have nothing left.” “I think he’s done,” I replied as I closed my bolt. The bull was STILL standing but hurt badly. We stood and watched as he limped to the left side of the road, the uphill side, and went into the bush.




    Last edited by ekul246; 02-24-2023 at 11:16 AM.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Mission,BC
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    Re: Our Moose Hunt 2022

    I just stood and stared. Marc and I were in shock. We couldn’t believe it! A little corner on my flip scope cover had slightly kissed the bridge of my nose on the first shot and blood was trickling down and dripping off my nose. I told Marc we should get Alex and Dad before going in and looking for the bull. Marc walked forward and I followed. He was just laying in the ditch!

    There was blood in a circle that reached nearly from edge of road to edge of road and a big bright trail leading to him in the ditch.

    We celebrated, hugging each other. We couldn’t believe it. WE DID IT! We repeated it to ourselves over and over. “Don’t shoot him in the ass,” Marc quoted me. We both laughed pretty hard. Marc said he would go and get Alex and Dad. I said I’d wait there for them. I gave him my shells and I told him to show them our 7 empty shells before saying anything and we decided to tell them we needed help tracking the bull. As Marc drove off, I sent the inReach message to my wife that I had been waiting a long time to use; “Bagged one!” Marc drove out of sight. I stood there and looked at the moose. I waited to go and touch him. I wanted to savour it all. I got on my knees and thanked the Good Lord for this gift. I then stood in the centre of the circle of blood, wanting Dad and Alex to come around the corner and be the first thing they see.

    Being so close to camp, it wasn’t long before Marc came back, Dad and Alex following in the suburban. Dad and Alex had heard the shots but weren’t sure they were shots because they had heard one long continuous thundering for a few seconds. Our shots had been made that fast! Alex had said, “Tim, you think that was the boys?” “Nah, they’re too far away.” They hadn’t realised how close the bear kill site was. Marc and I gave each other knowing looks and grins as they parked. Marc went up the road, forgetting he had picked up his shells already, as Dad and Alex began filming a bit. He stood at where we had shot from. We had fired freehand at 83 yards. Back smacks ensued as we repeated the story. Dad asked, “Where is he?” I barely contained a smirk as I asked, “Well, do you want to follow the blood trail a bit? Do you want to go with him? (to Alex)?” They started walking, commenting on the amount of blood. Then my Dad sees him, “There he is……..HE’S HUGE!” We all went down and I finally put my hands on him.




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