Family outing last day of cow moose season!


Sep 30, 2004
I took the whole family out today for the last day of my cow moose season. Started out low 40s and raining and continued to rain most of the day. Hunting with the two kids is kind of like built in moose repellent. Thier loud, have high pitched sqeeky voices and cant’ seem to keep from stomping around and generally being a nuisance.

Water was quite low even considering the rain and it was some rough river running this morning. We motored up and checked out some swampy fields with no luck. I was trying to run back into a shallow slough and ran aground a sandbar. Sucked a bunch of gravel into my impeller and locked the jet up tight. Try as I might I couldn’t get it spin free and didn’t have the tools neccessary to take it apart. We were stuck. The only choice was to try to padle out. My 14’ flatbottom boat paddles about as well as brick. The wife and kids where in prettry decent spirits, thinking it was funny and an adventure but I knew how dangerous it can be to float without power in this windy snag filled river. At one point I had to jump out to walk it through some fallen timber getting wet up to my mid thigh, and losing my jacket. This was going to get old quick if I had to keep jumping into that icy water all the way back out.

After about 3 miles we came across another boat. When asked for a tow he said “I”m moose hunting I cant’ help you.” This is litteraly the first time in alaska that I have needed help from somebody and was refused. Its simple not how things are done up here. I would never even consider leaving anyone let alone two small children to float out. Luckily another mile down the river I ran into another boater who had a set of tools and helped me get it running again.

SInce it was too early to call it a day and I now had a running boat again I motored over to an area that has tall thick brush with a long narrow low spot running thru the middle leaving a field 300 yards wide by 1200-1400 yards long. The grass and brush in this field runs between 3-5 feet tall with occasonal taller spots but allows you to see the tops of a moose back and offers the best visibility in the area.

I was doing my best to sneak and peek my way into this area, bringing along my moose repellent menagerie with me. On a sneaky scale I would put it somewhere between rattling pots and pans and a small marching band, complete with batton twirlers.

I had only made it about a quarter of the way into the field when a cow and large bull moose got up from their bed about halfway down the field. Just thier heads and top third of thier boddies where visible over the brush. They were probably 400+ yards out and standing directly in line so there was no shot to be had. My marching band showed not sign of settling down anytime soon and the moose where headed out of the area. I figured they would cross the field and head across the river to the impenetrable wall of alders and willows. I hot footed it to a high spot where I could overlook the river, hoping to catch them as they crossed or hanging back for that final look before dissapearing in the brush. Unfortuneatly they had doubled back into some very thick tall brush behind them and never came back across.

I got downwind of where i figured they had dissapeared to and gave a few bull grunts and a cow call. My hope was the bull would come to check it out and the cow might follow him in. It almost worked, I got the bull to come in like he was on the end of a string but the cow didn’t follow him in. I called him to within about 20 yards in the tall brush, only his head and impressive set of antlers could be seen over the brush. I got a pretty good look at him and am guessing he went 56-58” with good palms and lots of points. It would have been a very nice bull if only I had a tag and he was in season. The coolest part was my wife and kids got a good luck at him too. I put the kids on my shoulders so they could see over the brush and get a really good look at him. He was rutting hard and I was able to get him to keep coming back over and rake trees in responce to my calling and thrashing brush. It would have been about textbook perfect in a general season. After playing with him for a few minutes I herded my flock back towards the boat to let him be on his way. It was a really great experience.

No moose was killed but considering the constraints of hunting with moose repellent I think we did pretty good. We will have a chance on a late season cow that my wife drew a tag on so I’m still confident we will fill the freezer this year.

I hope all your guys seasons are going as well.

I would have loved to take a few pictures but the constant rain kept the phones and cameras under cover.
Great account of hunting with a young family. The neat thing about this is that the children will have rich memories and learn to laugh in years to come. They (to say nothing of you) can't buy such memories; and you are all the richer for them. It won't be long until they are a little less rambunctious in the field and your days of longing for hunting partners will be fulfilled. I pray your good lady connects later.
I envy your moose repellents.
They are getting memories they will treasure for a lifetime.
As for the, "I'm moose hunting and can't help you." I see a boat in the bottom of the river and it ain't your boat. I also see four flat vehicle tires, sugar in the snow machine tank, and a roof that leaks.
Just saying. :)


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Wow, outstanding adventure. I stuck my 20 north river sled on a gravel bar this summer. I know your pain.
That's not cool that someone left you drifting like that. I would have been less than nice about that.
Hunting with a young family is difficult to say the least. But the memories for 4 members of a family will never be lost.
Also glad that you were able your boat running.
Thank you for the adventure.

It was a great day. I knew bringing the kids could keep from filling the tag but it was worth the risk. This was the best that my daughter has held up out hunting and I'm hoping a sign of more hunting trips to come.

As to the guy who refused to help us. I'm hoping he is always going to be the exception and not the rule. I only hope he changes his ways.

There are a thousand ways you could sweep and capsize on a river like that, icy glacial water and wet low temps can quickly spell hyperthermia for the toughest adult let alone a child.

My son made a comment to the extent that we wouldn't help him if we see him again and I had to remind him that we defiantly would stop and help him. Just because he had no class doesn't mean we lower our own character. If someone is in danger and needs help, you help.

Alaskans are generally always willing to drop everything to help someone out. We have to be, too much can go wrong ending in injury or death.

We were reminded of that last night when a family friend didn't return from a day hunt on his 4 wheeler. Luckily a small group of volunteer searchers quickly found him. He had rolled his wheeler. He was trapped under the wheeler and had passed out from internal blood loss from a lacerated kidney. Two transfusions and emergency surgery later he is still in ICU but looks to have full recovery.

Stay safe everyone

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TB, you are absolutely right in what you told your son that a helping hand is a way of life!! Teaching our kids the proper way of life is a skill that is being lost. Sure nice to see what you are doing it will pay big dividends in the future!

sask boy":1syf1gz6 said:
TB, you are absolutely right in what you told your son that a helping hand is a way of life!! Teaching our kids the proper way of life is a skill that is being lost. Sure nice to see what you are doing it will pay big dividends in the future!

Thank you TB for reminding me, while teaching your son, that we shouldn't lower our standards just because someone has lowered theirs.


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