AMK Sportsman

Moose hunting story

Ray Alaska

New member
Dec 26, 2000
This story is about my hunting trip of September 1997.

I arrived to our campsite the afternoon before the moose season began, and several hours ahead of my hunting partners Jesse and Bob. It was cool and cloudy, so I decided to build an A-frame structure on which I could throw a tarp and cover my tent from the elements. The rain came halfway into my project, and it didn't take long before I was drenched although I was wearing a Goretex rain suit. Later, a new set of dry clothes felt good as I sat in my tent warming by a propane heater.

Later that evening as I dosed off in my sleeping bag, the distant noise of my hunting partners' ATV's startled me. I hurriedly got up to greet them since I knew what was up next. We always eat well, and celebrate late into the night before the season opens. Early the next morning Jesse and Bob departed to their favorite hunting spots, and I rode farther down to an old "Cat trail" on which we have killed moose the past three seasons. I sat there scanning the rust and gold colored foliage hoping to see a bull moose, but by night fall I hadn't seen any.

That night we had another good dinner by the fire, drank hot cocoa, and talked past midnight. When I got up that morning, Jesse and Bob had departed towards the end of the trail, so I rode my ATV in the opposite direction after breakfast. It was such a nice day, I thought, as I felt the cold September breeze on my face. I was not thinking of hunting then, just admiring the foliage, a myriad of Autumn colors. There were lots of ptarmigan on the trail, hurriedly keeping a short distance between us and then flying away in fright whenever I got closer.

It was 10:30 AM, and I slowly rode towards a rocky knob near the trail. The puddles from the previous rain had almost disappeared, but ahead-where spruce trees line both sides of the trail-plenty of soft mud was still there. I pulled to the left just a little to stay out of the mud, and to my amazement I saw a set of very fresh moose tracks. It was very exciting to see these tracks, and I could hardly contain my enthusiasm. "I didn't see calf tracks on the trail...Are those from a bull?" I asked myself in anticipation.

Moments later I saw a moose in the trees to my left, somewhere between our campsite and the rocky knob to my right. Perhaps I had ridden pass the moose minutes before without noticing it, and by now it was foraging in the trees about 150 yards away. I could see the shiny antlers as it methodically reached for some birch leaves.

The moose was far enough and it didn’t seem to notice me, but I moved slowly down to my knees and crawled the rest of the way to the rocky knob ahead. There it was in the middle of the field, unaware of my presence. I could almost hear my heart pounding in my chest, though I wasn't tired! I realized that I had to calm down and concentrate on how to proceed, and made a mental note of what to do every step of the way until taking the first shot. This seemed to help.

Concentrating made me feel like walking out of the fog, but I still felt as though I were in a timeless place. In slow motion I crawled to a small tree on where I could rest my rifle. Still on my knees I loaded a round in the rifle’s chamber, aimed carefully at the animal’s shoulder, disengaged the safety, and gently pulled the trigger. The moose jumped forward, and dropped on the brush after a step or two. I kept my eyes glued to the spot, and reached for my binoculars. I could clearly see the golden glow of antlers under the sun, and its body out of view in the brush.

I stayed there for a while looking at the antlers through my binoculars, memorizing the area where the moose had stood when I shot it. "Easy enough" I thought. "I wonder if Jesse and Bob heard the shot." As I waited there I made a mental path that later would lead through the trees, and to the moose in the center of the field.

I rode my ATV a few yards on the trail and walked through the trees the rest of the way, marking a route with surveyor’s tape. "There it is!" I said loudly when I saw it lying on the brush, glossy shape beside some dead trees. As I approached the downed moose I felt sadness for taking the life of such a beautiful animal, but this gave way to a feeling of elation and gratitude.

The weather was perfect for skinning a moose, nippy, dry, and no insects, but I still had to be fast and cool the meat promptly. I hurriedly rode my ATV to our campsite, grabbed my game bags, and knives. I also left behind a note for Jesse and Bob explaining where I was, and about one hour later they came in. By then I had the moose partially skinned, but I was glad they had arrived to help, because skinning and cutting a moose is a back-breaking job...I would have hated to do it without my partner’s help.

The antlers measured a little over 42 inches across, with very symmetrical and sharp tines. The three brow tines at each side indicated the moose was approximately four years old1 . I couldn’t find the 230-grain FS bullet that killed it, but it had broken its shoulder bone, cut through the heart's arteries, and then broke the other shoulder bone on its way out.

09-02-97, 10:45 AM. Rifle and load:
Ruger .338 Winchester Magnum, and Winchester FS 230-grain bullet.

[This message has been edited by Ray, Alaska (edited 01-12-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Ray, Alaska (edited 01-12-2001).]


New member
Jan 10, 2001
Ray! Nice story man! Theres a contest going on Big Game Section. Please copy/paste this over there under the Thread -> Big Game Story contest.......and thx for the writing. Its a good story, and I felt like I was there. Ya really got me pumped today after reading it...I'll be in-country Sept2nd for MY shot at one of these majestic Monarchs of the North! Sparkman375