Alaska-Yukon Moose Hunt in the Northwest Territories
What you are about to read is 100% true!!! Sit back, open a can of soda or pour some coffee because this was truly the hunt of a lifetime.
At the conclusion of a week long Kodiak Island Fishing and Sitka Blacktail Hunt in September, my plans were to head to the Northwest Territories to Hunt with David and Dallas Dutchik of Redstone Trophy Hunts for Alaska-Yukon Moose, possibly a book Mountain Caribou and a nice Dall Sheep if the opportunity presented itself.
As my wife and I went our separate ways in Seattle, my rifle case and hunting gear did not make the connecting flight to Edmonton and I had a delay that caused me to miss my connecting flight to Norman Wells. After clearing Canadian Customs with no flight and no luggage, I had no choice but to sleep on an airport bench by the ticket counter. I was able to catch the first flight in the morning and head out on my Alaska-Yukon Moose Hunt in the Arctic Circle with no gear and no gun.
When I arrived at Hook Lake Base Camp with my carry on bag, I was told we had to get out and locate Moose and leave immediately before weather came in. I sighted in my guide Tanners .270 Short Mag (Nobodys First Choice for an expensive Moose Hunt) grabbed spare clothes and boots hunters from years past had left behind and got in the helicopter and headed out. I left my Jewelry, Custom Elk Ivory Ring from my first Bull, Cash for tipping the guide and what little was left in my carry on and prepared mentally for a wild, wet, cold hunt.
We easily located several Bull Moose from the helicopter and had to set up our tent on the Peninsula not to disturb their bedding or early morning feeding. There is a 12 hour grace period you must sit out before starting your hunt and we couldn't even light a fire because the wind was constantly changing and we couldn't risk spooking the animals. Just before bed with one last check on my luggage, we were able to catch the helicopter pilot on the radio who informed us that my bags and gun had arrived. It was going to cost me over $2,800 to have him fly to Norman Wells so we told him not to think of coming back without Pizza and Beer!!! He delivered!!!
The night was freezing and in the morning we climbed a hill to glass before doing any calling and we located a lot of Moose. One large dominant Bull really grabbed our attention. He wasn't a 70 Inch Bull, but he had a neat eye guard and a drop tine. The alternate of passing on him would be staying there for a week hoping another bull moved in or paying the helicopter another $2500 to $3000 to move us. Having already spent the money to get my luggage, my choice was easy to make, this was my Bull.
As we prepared our stalk and started calling, we saw a lot of cows and two paddle horns that were grazing and paying absolutely no mind to us. Nearly two hours went by and these Moose had no fear of us whatsoever. Finally when the largest cow decided to leave the willow area the Big Bull stood up. He was laying down for nearly 2 hours ignoring our calls and we never knew he was there. At this point it turned into a Deer or Late Season Elk hunt. I had him in the cross hairs of my 300 Ultra Mag and double lunged him with a 200 Grain Nosler Partition. The exhileration of seeing him fold in half was amazing. It was not the adrenaline rush I was hoping for by calling him in, but maybe that was meant to be saved for a Bow Hunt.
Returning in the helicopter as we approached camp, the sight of smoke graced our eyes. Maybe it was a campfire? As we drew in closer we could see that it was not. In fact, the hunters sleeping quarters where my remaining gear, jewelry, cash, passport and plane tickets were secured was in a full blaze of flames. My trip would be prolonged, purchased a new gun case to be able to travel with my gun. Re-routing flights and staying extra days in Canada until a temporary Passport could be provided for me. My personal losses exceeded $15,000 and I am still accumulating receipts and going in circles with insurance companies to get reimbursed.
Amazingly, I had so much fun and enjoy hunting with Redstone so much that I can't wait to go back!!!