My first harvest as an Alaskan resident


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I made the move to Alaska in the summer of 2022 so this is my first hunting season as a bona fide Alaskan resident. My hunting partner and I were hunting in an area we had never been in before so there was a learning curve but we figured things out pretty fast. We were hunting out of a canoe and were mostly paddling around flooded creeks looking for areas that consistently held moose and then doing some calling to entice a bull to rifle range. This is an any bull area so we didn't have to worry about counting brow tines or determining if a bull was 50 inches wide or not.

We saw a bull on day 5 and I gave my hunting partner the green light. Unfortunately, all we could see was the bulls rack above the brush at 160 yards so we waited for a better opportunity that never came. The bull knew something was amiss and disappeared in the brush.

Two days later we spent the whole day in the same area because there was lots of sign there and it's where we had been seeing the most cow moose activity. That afternoon, two knuckleheads stopped their airboat about 400 yards from us in the wide open creek bottom we were set up in. We stepped out and waved to let them know we were there. They saw us and proceeded to buzz right through the middle of our setup and down the creek about half a mile, turn around and drive through our setup a second time 5 minutes later.
In this area, it's against the law to hunt the same day you travel using a motor so they couldn't possibly be actively hunting....
Anyway, after their second pass through our setup, these geniuses decided to shut off their airboat and start calling 400 yards from us and stayed there until dark. If they had shot a moose that evening, it would have been a violation.... No shots were fired from either party that evening.

Apparently, some airboaters go into an area the evening before and start calling and then put a tarp over their airboat to sleep in it overnight and hunt that same spot the next morning, which is perfectly legal. We never heard it start up after dark so we assume that was their plan and that they were just calling to bring a bull into the area to shoot the next morning.... Hmmmm...

We decided to go back into that area then next morning and hunt further down the creek since we knew exactly where they were set up. As we floated into the area we were going to hunt the next morning, (a half mile from there the airboat shut down the afternoon before) we saw a moose along the brush line as we rounded a bend in the creek... Things got very interesting when we glassed up some antlers on this particular moose. Although it was a young bull, my partner had never shot a moose and was anxious to rectify that oversight. We paddled to the edge of the creek to set up for the 200 yard shot. His aim was good and the bullets did their job. After a few insurance shots, the bull was down!

It makes me smile a little bit when I ponder what those guys in the airboat must have been thinking when they heard those shots first thing the next morning a half mile away... assuming they spent the night in the airboat and were still there.

We spend the morning butchering the bull and the afternoon paddling it to camp and then on to the truck in storm that featured pouring rain and a 30 mph headwind. It took us 4 hours of hard paddling to go the 5 miles from camp to the truck and arrived soaked and very tired. That night we hung the quarters in a friend's cooler and waited for the storm to pass.

Two days later we were hunting again but only for one evening and one morning. During the morning hunt, the sky opened up again and we received 2 inches of rain over the course of the next 30 hours. We waited out the storm in the tent and caught up on sleep and caught up on some reading. The following day, the rain subsided around 5 pm so we hunted the evening and the following morning without excitement. After the morning hunt, we discovered another storm was bearing down on us that would bring another inch+ of rain each of the next 4 days along with high winds and flooding. We decided to pull our camp because we thought there was a decent chance it would be under water in the next few days.

The forecast was right and it rained and the wind blew for the next four days. We talked to another group of hunters that had to call for an emergency extraction from their transporter because of severe flooding so we were glad we spent those 4 days in town playing cribbage and cutting up my partners moose that had been hanging in the cooler for a week. The forecast for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday was excellent so I convinced my partner to extend our trip a few days to take advantage of some good weather. We had only gotten to hunt 2 evenings and 2 mornings since he had gotten his bull 8 days previously. The decision to extend our hunt turned out to be a very good call!

We paddled back in at first light on Sunday and found moose activity at an all time high! We had 2 encounters with cows during the morning and mid day. One encounter was while we were sitting in camp waiting for the evening hunt when a cow walked right past camp! Unfortunately, she did not have an escort at the time. Although we didn't see any moose in our hot spot that evening, there was TONS of new sign so it was a no brainer to come back the following morning.

As we paddled into the exact same area my hunting partner had killed his bull, I saw an antler sticking out from behind a screen of trees.... I was in the front of the canoe with the gun slung over my back and immediately put down my paddle and started gesturing to my buddy. I pulled the sling over my head and cycled a cartridge into the chamber. My buddy had turned the boat so we were drifting slowly toward the reeds at the edge of the water headed directly toward the bull. He saw us but hadn't moved.... I had the crosshairs locked on his chest but was waiting for the boat to stop in the reeds before pulling the trigger. If the bull had made a move, I would have taken the 100 yard shot but he didn't move so I waited.... As soon as the boat stopped, I held my breath and squeezed the trigger. The shot was good and the bull ran parallel to us so I chambered another round and settled the crosshairs again so when he slowed, I squeezed again... another hit. The bull came to a complete stop so I hit him one last time, just to be sure and down he went!!! There was some whooping and hollering to follow and we paddled up a side stream to go for a closer look. As we closed the distance, we could see up the creek to the spot where my buddy had shot his bull 10 days earlier (literally 200 yards away) and standing there looking confused were 5 cows!

As soon as I saw the antler sticking out from behind the brush and identified it as a bull moose, I never gave his rack another look. At that point, any legal bull was in trouble so as soon as I saw it was a legal target, my focus had been on the kill zone. I literally had no idea if it was big or average since I never really took the time to size him up. I was speechless when I walked up and saw this 58 inch dandy laying there.

Big shout out to my hunting partner who hung in there with me until the very end! Perseverance doesn't always make for a happy ending, but in this case it definitely did!!!

2023 AK bull moose.jpg
Sounds like quite the adventure with all that rain. That bull is a big one! Congratulations to you both.
Lucky to be an Alaska resident and have such awesome memories and experiences right in your backyard. Congratulations.
Congrats on a nice bull! I know you can't hunt the same day as flying, and I know about the non-motorized 5 mile corridor on the Haul Road, but not aware of a rule on not hunting same day by boat transportation.
Congrats on a nice bull! I know you can't hunt the same day as flying, and I know about the non-motorized 5 mile corridor on the Haul Road, but not aware of a rule on not hunting same day by boat transportation.
Thanks! That rule doesn't apply to every unit but it does in that particular one.... The first 4 days of the season are completely non motorized and that rule kicks in on the 5th.

Great write-up and bull Doug congrats! What a fantastic trip and adventure on your first hunt as an Alaska resident. Well done!


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