A bit of a photo essay about a past moose hunt into the wilds of the Alaska Range in south-central Alaska. Up there, in the high country, you’ll see that thick brush isn’t nearly as much of an obstacle as in other places like Alberta, Canada. Instead, huge distances and long pack-outs make it a true challenge.
Here’s where the bush pilot drops us off along with our hunting gear, tents, and inflatable rafts. We’re about forty miles upstream from the nearest road, and our plan is to float out. The campsite is plastered with grizzly tracks.
Here’s the surrounding country. At this time of year (September) moose are migrating to higher elevations in anticipation of the rut, or breeding season.
The first bull of the trip. For Alaska residents hunting in this area, a bull has to have a 50” antler spread or three brown tines. This guy has three tines on its left side. We saw it coming from about a mile-and-a-half out and managed to get set up in front of us. It came to within 200 yards. Now begins the big job of butchering and packing meat.
Here’s our buddy, Hardcore Jeffy, packing a load of Danny’s moose meat.
And Hardcore Jeffy’s own bull, shot at about ten yards in thick timber. Our group falls on this bull like a pack of hyenas and we get it butchered down to the bone in a little over an hour.
We pack up our gear and a couple bull after hunting our first area. Now we head downriver into the unknown.
These moose are at the head of a valley. You can’t see it, but there’s a grizzly in the willows at the top edge of the photo. We’re planning a stalk.
Me and my two brothers, Matt and Danny, enjoy the third bull of our trip. This bull is way the hell back from the river and it will take two days to pack out the meat.
This is our last resting place before we pull some long days paddling out of the mountains. The meat is laid out on driftwood to keep it clean and to let it cool in the circulating air.
Here I am on the big downriver push, paddling away. Here I’m fantasizing about a cold beer and some clean clothes.