Taking your teen into the great outdoors for some hunting action? How about taking them on their first hunt to find an Alaskan Bull Moose! Leo's first hunt was beyond exciting and an amazing experience that provided food for our family for this winter.
The Adventure of Leo's First Alaskan Bull Moose
Leo completed hunter education during the spring and we hunted spring bears in hopes of tagging a brown bear as his first big game animal. We had a couple nice brown bears coming in to our stand and thinking how cool it would be if his first game animal was a big GRIZ! Unfortunately we struck out and he would have to wait until fall to try to accomplish his goal of taking a big game animal. Come September we would be after the largest member of the deer family, the Alaskan Yukon moose!
Hunting in Early September in Alaska
It was early September for our first trip and we were going to hunt a long weekend. The bulls hadn’t quite started to rut yet but we still laid eyes on a few groups of cows and a group of smaller bachelor bulls that still had fuzzy velvet on their horns. I had to back to work on Tuesday and Leo had school but the plan was we would leave Wednesday night after work and be back on the mountain late Wednesday night. I had some vacation days for Thursday and Friday and Leo would be playing hooky from school. I had a stroke of bad luck with my trailer that cause some delays in our plan so we didn’t leave until early Thursday morning.
Bull Spotted, But Too Far
We left the house at 4:00 am and rolled into camp at 7:30 am. Immediately unloaded the side by side and headed up the mountain. We climbed to a good glassing spot and started looking for moose. It didn't take long for us long to spot a bull moving through the alders. The bull was definitely legal with wide heavy palms that I could see from across the valley even with my naked eye. He was a long ways off in an area that would be hard to get to so we continued to glass, call for moose, and eat fresh blueberries that we would pick by our feet. It started to get hot around 11 am so we headed back to set up camp and take a nap.
Non Typical Moose In Range!
The game plan for the evening was more of the same; glass, call and eat snacks. We headed back up the mountain and spotted a cow on the way and watched her feed on some brush for a few minutes hoping a bull would appear with her. We eventually headed to the peak that we were at that morning and as we reached crest of the hill we spotted a bull no more than 80 yards away! "Can I shoot him Dad?!" Leo said with excitement. I told him to load his rifle but I had to make sure it was a legal bull. I threw up my binoculars and saw that the bull has a strange spiked club that forked on the left side near his left eye and the right was palmed but he has three brow tines. I told Leo he was legal.
Jammed Rifle, Now What?
I looked at Leo expecting him to have his gun up ready to shoot but he was struggling to get it loaded. I figured it must be his nerves and I tool the rifle and tried to load it myself. The bullet refused to be chambered. I looked in the action and I could see a small gun cleaning square that was blocking the bore that caused the gun to be jammed. I grabbed my 300 win mag from the gun case on the back of the side by side and set it on his shooting stick and Leo got to his knees. The bull started to feed away from us and to the right. I told Leo to wait till the bull turned broadside and put it right behind his shoulder. The bull turned now completely broadside, head facing to the right. BOOM! The rifle echoed through the canyon. The bull was hit hard packing his right leg as it took a few steps forward. I told him to shoot again. BOOM! Another shot rang out and the bull dropped.
Successful Teen Moose Hunt in Alaska!
The excitement and thrill for both of us was overwhelming! We thanked the Lord and high fived, both shaking from the whole experience. I was more proud than I could have ever imagined. The meat will feed our family for the next year to come but the memory of Leo's first big game animal will last forever! The future of hunting will live on!