This past summer I was lucky enough to take after my first bull moose. My dad, Dave Egdorf, was my guide.
On the morning of our hunt there, was a slight drizzle of rain, and we decided to wait for the weather to lift. During that time, we stayed close to the 55 gallon woodstove and played cribbage, which just so happens to be my favorite card game. Around 9:30am, the weather began to lift and we decided to load up the boat and go hunting. We jetted about three miles up river from camp, and stopped at a spot where we had seen a bull throughout the season.
We grabbed our gear, and started “bush whacking.” Walking through 6ft tall grass, and a knee deep swamp, I kept an eye out for big antlers. ( In Alaska, non-residents must take a bull that has a spread of 50 inches or greater).
It wasn’t long before my dad decided to stop and make the first call, using his hand-crafted cow call made from tree bark. “Arrrrrrrrrr.” We sat in silence. Eyes and ears searching for any hint of a bull coming to find the lonely cow. 5 minutes roll by and nothing. So instead of the cow call, my dad uses a stick with an oil can tapped to the end of it ( the bottom being cut out ) and begins to brush it along-side a tree, mimicking a bull raking his rack. Again we sit in silence, and nothing.
” Better move to a different spot kid,” says my dad. We pick up our packs and start moving. I’m already having my doubts. ” If there was a bull here, we would have already seen him,” I thought to myself.
About fifty yards in front of us theres a small ridge with some small pine trees dotting it’s side. Gritting my teeth, I awkwardly jump over a small stream, cursing to myself while I try to rearrange my pack. I look up towards the ridge, and to my amazment….there he is! Perfectly sky-lined on the ridge. That was the most spectacular scene I had ever seen.
” Dad, there he is,” I whisper excitedly. The bull was looking right at us, and I knew that I had very little time to get a good shot off. ” Hurry and get a good rest on this tree,” orders dad. I lean up against this small pine tree and take aim.
BOOM! I chamber another round. The bull doesn’t run 50 feet before he’s done. I was so excited, that I sprinted up the ridge wearing waders, a full pack on my back, and a gun slung over my shoulder. Adrenaline does some amazing things!
After a major photo session, we start cleaning him up. It was a good thing we took him in the morning because it was around 8pm when we finally got him all packed out. The only things we left behind were obviously the innards, and the backbone, feet, and part of the hide. In all, I think we packed out 1,200 lbs of meat. What a workout!!!
This was one of the most memorable hunts with my dad. I couldn’t have asked for a better guide, and there was no one else that I would have rather experienced this hunt with. I can’t describe the feeling I experienced that day. It will forever be in my memory bank.
A couple days later, my dad and I went back to the spot where we got my moose. Everything that we had left behind was nowhere to be seen. All that was left was a large dirt pit where the carcass had been. A heavy,wet, dog smell filled the air. The night before, around 10pm myself and the guys were sitting by the campfire back at camp, when we heard the mornful howls of wolves coming from up river. Nothing in Alaska goes to waste.