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 Post subject: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:22 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:04 am
Posts: 2333
Location: Delta Junction, AK
I just returned from the field with a pickup load of moose meat, how it got there was the result of some of the worst hunting decisions my partner and I ever made, that is except one...using enough gun.

It started on Friday evening...from our glassing vantage we spotted a couple of moose in a pond eating vegetation with only an hour of light left. We hiked out the ridgeline until we could spot antlers on them both. Not monsters- but a couple of 3 year old "meat moose"....our favorite kind. We took off as fast as we could to close the distance before the sun set.

The terrain was a nightmare- a mishmash of floating peat bogs, tussock and pressure ridges. By the time we got into position to shoot we were on a slight rise with 300 yards of willows between us and the moose and they were still happily munching on plants a solid 150' from shore in about 4' of water.

The conventional wisdom is that shooting moose in the water is a bad idea. It is, for very good reason. I threw out a couple of cow calls, trying to draw one of the bulls to the shore...but they ignored me profoundly. With failing light, my partner lined up on the largest bull with the 33 Nosler and asked me how bad it could be. I told him that I was in the game for better or worse but one moose was enough given how this was going to go.

With seconds of useful light left, the moose turned and my partner pulled the trigger. The 250gr AB entered behind the front shoulder, exited the paunch and shattered the rear leg at the knee. It managed to turn 180 degrees and the second shot entered behind the last rib and popped out behind the offside shoulder. Dead on its feet, it turned again- broadside and my .300 hit it behind the shoulder and shattered ribs on the way in and out and taking the top of the heart with it. With the last piece of light, my partner notched his tag and we could confirm one antler sticking out of the water.

We hiked back to camp and got equipped for a long and miserable night. Equipped with chest waders, a Coleman lantern, and a couple coils of rope we returned to the moose and I waded out into the water. By the time I got a rope around the moose's rear legs..it had achieved a nice buoyancy. I was able to tow the moose (all 1000 pounds of it!) back to the shoreline single handed. Deeper water and I'd been out there in my skivvies at 35F swimming to the moose, shallower and we'd have had to drug the moose along the mire in the bottom. 4' deep was perfect.

We got the moose back to the shore, which was some floating peat bog and we worked into the early morning (up to our waists in water ) by headlamp with the lantern hissing. A cold wind blowing and an brilliant aurora overhead just made it uniquely Alaskan. We packed it all out the following morning back to camp. Once the moose was down, it was just time, effort and misery to get the meat recovered- now hanging at the house awaiting processing.

Last week I published a piece in The Alaska Life about the perfect moose rifle...several commenters spoke out condescendingly about my treatment of the small bores. Yeah- this moose represented how I formed my opinion exactly, an imperfect angle at distance, in failing light, with the real possibility of a moose getting in deeper water or reaching the brush line on the far side of the lake and running off to die in grizzly country..in the dark. This was just no job for a small bore- we needed to not only kill the moose, but break him down in place or potentially lose him. As much as my partner and I both shoot and appreciate rifles like the 6.5s, the 270 and the 257WBY...neither of us would have attempted it with any of them.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:20 pm
Posts: 29286
Location: Northern Virginia
Great write up Mike.

You make some great points on all accounts. Those .338’s do leave a mark and make stuff stay still.

Would you have taken the shot with a 165 AB in a 30-06?

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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:50 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:04 am
Posts: 2333
Location: Delta Junction, AK
[quote="SJB358"Would you have taken the shot with a 165 AB in a 30-06?[/quote]

That'd be about as light as I'd go but I'd vastly prefer more gun- especially in this situation. I've got to admit, I felt very good to be backing up a medium rather than the 300 being the larger rifle. If this had occurred in the morning with more opportunity to work closer or wait for the moose to go to bed I would have felt different, and we'd likely have shot both bulls.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:20 am
Posts: 2340
Location: Anchorage AK
Good job! I know from experience what cutting up a moose in the water is like, definitely no fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 1045
Sounds like a memorable hunt!

Nosler 33 that’s some cartridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:56 pm
Posts: 2450
Location: Idaho
Hopefully I'm in the same situation, less the water, some time between Tuesday and the 20th. I've cut one up in the water too and its not fun. We fly up there tomorrow evening until the 22nd. We will be near Delta Junction.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:33 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:55 am
Posts: 1085
Congratulations Mike and thanks for the story.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:08 pm
Posts: 20564
Location: Rockford, MI
Sounds like you had some adventure.
Congratulations on the moose.
My wife and I are going on our first moose in 30 days, can't wait. She is using her 280 AI with 160 gr PT's and in going with my 338 RUM and 250 gr PT's.

JD338

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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:57 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:20 pm
Posts: 29286
Location: Northern Virginia
JD338 wrote:
Sounds like you had some adventure.
Congratulations on the moose.
My wife and I are going on our first moose in 30 days, can't wait. She is using her 280 AI with 160 gr PT's and in going with my 338 RUM and 250 gr PT's.

JD338


NICE! Full on Partition hunt!

I think you are both going to have a blast and you definitely have enough gun!

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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:29 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:02 am
Posts: 7415
Location: East Coast
Congrats on the moose and thanks for the story.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:34 am 

Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:27 am
Posts: 6713
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
Congratulations on putting meat in the freezer Mike and the story was excellent as well. So many times shooting the Moose is the easy part (y)!
Thanks again for the post.

Blessings,
Dan

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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:11 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:27 pm
Posts: 1030
I have seen and heard way too many stories of moose in lakes, rivers, bogs, etc. to ever want to shoot one there myself! Do not envy the hard work and miserable conditions that you went through getting that moose processed and hauled out. Congrats on your determination and effort!

Here in BC if the animal is in water deeper than their knees, it is not legal to shoot them. Interesting, the difference in regulations from place to place.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:29 am
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Location: Albany, Oregon
Excellent write up and congrats on your hunt.

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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:51 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:04 am
Posts: 2333
Location: Delta Junction, AK
Blkram wrote:
I have seen and heard way too many stories of moose in lakes, rivers, bogs, etc. to ever want to shoot one there myself! Do not envy the hard work and miserable conditions that you went through getting that moose processed and hauled out. Congrats on your determination and effort!

Here in BC if the animal is in water deeper than their knees, it is not legal to shoot them. Interesting, the difference in regulations from place to place.


Out of the dozen I've butchered....all but one has been in water to some degree, and the one that wasn't in the water was only a dozen feet away from it!

Our regs are such that we can't shoot a swimming moose, but as long as he's standing on the bottom he's fair game.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:18 am 

Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 5:21 pm
Posts: 2052
Location: Idaho
I agree on more is sometimes better. I got my bull moose a few years ago using my 338RUM & 250ABs. He was only 150 yds or so away from me and 100 yds away from my camp. :grin: :grin:

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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:26 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:25 pm
Posts: 639
Thanks for the story. I'm flying out next Monday for my AK moose hunt, I hope my 300WM and 180gr E tip get tested on a moose. I'll have a story to tell of excitement and misery I hope!


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:13 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 2:49 pm
Posts: 34443
Location: Northern British Columbia
Great story exhibiting the degree to which moose hunters are infected. Glad you got the beast. Definitely sound argument for using enough gun.

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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:30 pm 

Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 3:45 pm
Posts: 45
Congrats and great story.....

I took my moose with a 358 norma pushing a 250 partition. Moose went about 6 feet straight down.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:54 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:07 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Southwest WA Coast
My friends and I have killed a bunch of moose with both the 7mm mag and the 338. I have yet to see a moose that was impressed by either. They have a slow nervous system, and while they are not all that hard to kill, unless you hit something like the spine, they are slow to go down. Like most people I keep shooting until they do.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:56 pm 

Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 9:05 am
Posts: 608
Nice story and one you will remember till the end of your days. What a Memory to have the sights and smells of the wild country. Price Less


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:50 am
Posts: 747
Congratulations! Can't imagine the work on such a big animal. Never killed a moose, never seen a moose, but it would be at the top of my hunting bucket list. Huge, majestic creatures they are, no doubt.


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:24 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:42 am
Posts: 14792
Location: Washington State
Nice... (y)


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:42 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:59 pm
Posts: 4617
great story hodge, as much as I love mucking around with animals in the dark, your story solidifies why I do not Moose hunt. Again great write up and adventure.

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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:12 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:42 am
Posts: 14792
Location: Washington State
Elkman wrote:
great story hodge, as much as I love mucking around with animals in the dark, your story solidifies why I do not Moose hunt. Again great write up and adventure.


I keep applying for a once-in-a-lifetime Washington moose tag... No luck so far...

I'm thinking either my 30-06 with 200 gr Partitions, or the 375 Ruger Number One with a 260 or 270 gr bullet.

And some strong young fellows to help me get it all back to camp! :mrgreen:

Guy


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 Post subject: Re: Moose misery...big guns getting it done.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:20 pm
Posts: 29286
Location: Northern Virginia
Elkman wrote:
great story hodge, as much as I love mucking around with animals in the dark, your story solidifies why I do not Moose hunt. Again great write up and adventure.


We’d figure it out and get it done! I think we might need a moose hunt or something buddy!

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