This past fall we loaded up the truck and horse trailer and headed for the mountains for a family moose hunt. Five hours later we were loading a weeks worth of gear and food on to our quads and horses. We set out under sunny skies for a 3 hour ride into camp. The trail was rough and it slowed the quads down enough that we could keep up with the horses.
4:30 on opening morning my Dad and I got up and started walking through some of the open poplar meadows around camp. This was early season and the vegetation was brilliant green and taller than a giraffe. For the first couple hours we snuck around stumbling into moose beds and listening to the birds. Dad was looking for a place with a bit of a vantage point so we headed towards a little ridge. When we got there Dad started glassing way up the far side of the valley.
He then said my favourite hunting words; “There’s a huge moose over there“
We only briefly considered the amount of work we were inviting. The trick is to think for just the right amount; too little and you could get into trouble, too much and we’d never have any fun. We crossed some very steep terrain and dropped into the valley. Finally we got within shooting range, but the bull was gone! We scanned the patchy openings amongst the timber for the missing 1200 pounder . Only with a bit of luck did my Dad eventually spot the tips of the bulls antlers from behind a clump of alder and willow. We settled in and made sure we had good rests for the guns.
Dad grunted at the bull and the huge moose stood up. “Three, Two, One… Boom”
We both shot and the moose ran only 20 yards and fell. That was it, we had killed our moose on opening day. We high five’d and floated back to camp to rally the troops and ready the horses.
Turns out the alder was thick and ridiculous as we made our way down to the moose from the far ridge. When we got down to the moose we took pictures, field dressed it, and heaved all the meat on to our two horses!
My Dad and older sister each took a horse and started up the hill. There was lots of yelling and crashing as the horses ignored their leadership and drug us up through the thickets of alder. After breaking into the alpine we shook the pine cones out of our ears and kissed the horses. Back at camp, we hung the meat in a giant spruce tree for night. The next day we made a couple trips back to the trucks and spent the long drive home planning a tenderloin BBQ.
The meat has been great, including home made jalapeño and cheddar smokies.