This is a pretty long read so if you get through it I hope you enjoy it. So last December I was trying to decide on my next great hunting adventure. I was tossing around the idea to hunt either elk in New Mexico or hunt moose in Canada. After a lot of thought, my brother in law and I decided to go after moose in British Columbia. Knowing that even with 12 points in Utah for moose, it was going to be a very long time before that opportunity ever happened. We were working on a limited budget as neither of us are made of gold. Since you have to have a guide in BC, we weren't sure on what we were going to be able to find that could met our criteria. We couldn't afford the chance at a giant Yukon as the cost for that was way out of our reach and we weren't comfortable going to Alaska on a drop hunt by ourselves. What we were looking for was a good representation of the species that we could be proud to hang on our wall.
So I started the chore of looking around for a bunch of different outfitters. I talked to quite a few outfitters before I finally found one that the information that was given to us was exactly what we were looking for. The outfitter that we booked our hunt through was Nanika Lake Outfitters, located just outside of Burns Lake. We really couldn't have asked for a better overall experience. Our hunt consisted of 1 on 1 guiding with 6 days of hunting, all food and accommodations during the hunt, as well as the cost for the float plane trip to a remote camp on an amazing lake. Once we got to the lake, all of our travel was by a small zodiak boat. The hunt was the last week of September.
The lake is fed by a massive glacier which made the lake a really cooling looking green color. The scenery in the area was amazing. Just outside the cabin, we could look across the lake on the mountain and watch mountain goats throughout the day.
We decided that in order to save money, we would drive up from Utah and meet them at their base camp. This was a huge savings over flying as we could bring the meat and antlers home without any additional costs. The amount of time in the vehicle was horrendous but it was cool driving to a place that neither of us have ever had a chance to visit.
The first couple days of the hunt were not great. It rained hard during both the morning and evening hunts and then let up late into the evenings. In fact both nights the full moon was blazing in the night sky. The combination of both was not a great thing but we kept out hope that we would get that opportunity at a nice bull.
(Not what we were looking for, but saw my first grizzly and wolf tracks)
The third day the sun broke through the clouds and it was perfect. My guide (Chad Hanson who is also the owner/outfitter) and I got to a long meadow and he called once. Right after he called he looked at me and his eyes got big and he pointed in the direction of a bull he heard. For the next hour, he kept calling and nothing ever showed up. I've lost about 50% of my hearing and that morning I was not wearing my hearing aids. I kept thinking in my head that my guide was full of crap, that nothing was headed our way, especially since we had been sitting in the same spot for what seemed like forever. Then my guide looked at me and said we have to move. At that point I thought if there was a bull it's now headed in the wrong direction. So we quickly moved out of this little pocket of willows we were in and moved out to a better spot in the meadow. He kept calling as we moved and it was right then when I finally heard the grunt of the bull headed our way. Within a minute, the bull had walked out from behind a big pine tree and was 20 yards from us walking broadside. He was showing off his antlers just like you see in all of the hunting videos. I waited for him to clear some brush and I shot. The first shot hit him in the left front shoulder. Not a bad shot but not great either. He immediately turned toward us and took a half step forward. My guide racked his pump action 30-06 as I reloaded as well. It was a tense 45 seconds as that bull stared us down pointed straight at us, neither of us sure that the bull was going to charge or die right there. The bull then finally stepped back in the direction it came from and I put the second shot right behind his right front shoulder. The bull went another 10 yards before he finally fell over. He died in a horrible spot for pictures which did suck but we ended up with some decent pictures after we moved him the best we could.
My guide later told me that the bull responded immediately to his call and was several hundred yards a way. The bull would move closer and then stop and he wouldn't hear anything. Once he called again the bull would start grunting again and moved in closer. That was the reason it took the bull so long to move our way. He moved us because he thought the bull was going to come through the wall of willows and not want to come out into the small clearing we were in. That split second decision ended up being the right one as we were able to get the bull right out in front of us.
Sadly, my brother in law was not quite so lucky. He did not get a shot. The next few days of hunting brought more rain during the day and mostly cleared up at night. Having that break in the weather definitely helped out a bunch. The weather was not something that we had any control over so that was just the risk that we had to take.
The antlers are 49" wide. I was able to get the quarters, loins, and back straps home so I am excited to have that back when it's done. The rest is at the taxidermist and can't wait to see the finished mount.