Monday, February 11, 2013

I'm Goin' on a Moose Hunt!

So, many of you know that since I've been an Alaska resident for year in August, I was SUPER DUPER excited to go kill a moose. It seems strange, even to me, that I was so stoked because I've never shot any game while still living in Oregon. I suppose you can credit my eagerness of shooting a moose to my new Alaskan spirit, or perhaps I wanted to be the coolest niece/cousin in the eyes of some family members, or perhaps I just never took the time to go deer or elk hunting with Uncle Goonie. At any rate, I was stoked.

This fall my friend Bummer was kind enough to take me out by boat a few times to look for moose. We saw a few, but none that I really got excited about shooting at. I must admit that I was a little nervous about being a terrible shot and missing the moose completely. The fall hunting season was here and gone in no time. It was a fabulous experience going out and seeing so much country from the front of the boat. I enjoyed many good laughs with some seriously fabulous people. I had sore muscles from the excitement of hunting/the long days bouncing on the water/the chilliness when it rained and we got soaked to the bone. It was my first day of hunting that I gave myself the nickname BA. We were sitting on the bank somewhere eating a snack around dinner time and Mary (Bummer's mom) was mentioning to her sons about someone they know who'd recently changed his last name. Well, I was in a bit of a sassy mood (shocker, I know!) and I say, "Oh! Did you guys know I recently changed my last name too? I changed it from Carlon to BA." From that point on, I was nicknamed. I am okay it it, because I really am pretty awesome--and obviously very modest too.

It was disappointing when October rolled around and I still hadn't shot my Bullwinkle. The river was starting to freeze up... I was super busy with teaching and coaching... And my guide, Bummer, moved to ANC. But I decided that it was all going to be good... I would have PLENTY of time after the snow fell to shoot my monster moose. Well, as things go, before I knew it I was on a plane south to Oregon, still with no moose to call my own first catch.

After break I kept telling a few sweet kids to have their dad call me so we could go moose hunting. I'd occasionally see Greg at the store, the PO, school or around town and I'd ask him when he wanted to go. It seemed as if we could never really get our schedules to match up well. FINALLY I saw him and he said make sure you've got a full tank of gas, lets go on Sunday.

February 3rd was a big day... For most of the country, people were stocking the fridges with beer, the coffee tables with snacks, and gearing up in their preferred team's fan gear. But not this girl, oh no. I was ready for some adventure. I geared up, grabbed my guns, warmed up my machine and set out with Jana to wait for Greg to come along. While we were waiting, we met up with another friend. He took us a bit by the river and we spotted a moose. Jana shot and missed. Moona shot and hit it once, then missed but the moose wasn't down. So I aimed and dropped that beast in one shot. I was so proud of myself at that moment and all I could this is, "Man, Uncle Clint and Uncle Goonie are gonna be so proud of me." We cruised over toward the moose and since Moona hit it first, it was his moose. Greg showed up. I helped him and Willie cut the moose up while Jana got some awesome video and Moona ran home to get his sled.
Moona's moose...
After Moona got back, Greg and Willie took off with Jana and I following closely behind. We were on the hunt for a moose. Going into the day, I prayed for a safe but fun day out on my machine. I prayed that both Jana and I would be happy with whatever outcome of the day. I told myself that if Jana caught her moose and I came home empty handed, I would be happy for her and I hoped that she would be if the tables were turned. (Funny that we were discussing this at midnight after we'd caught our moose and she'd had a very similar prayer and thought that morning too...)

After a while, we split into 2 pairs. Greg and Jana went one direction while I followed Willie (he had his wife Juanita with him too) in a different direction. I don't know much of what Jana and Greg saw, but we didn't see much for quite a while... All of a sudden we came through a big flat and stopped, off about 150 yards away was a big old moose. We stopped and I aimed. I shot high... First thought, "Well, glad I had a good shot earlier today, but thats probably my only good shot today." While I was aiming a second time I realized I was out of ammo... Rookie mistake! In the process of reloading my gun, my moose took off. Soon I heard 2 shots. I looked at Willie and all I could think was, "Holy crap, I don't know which way those shots are coming from or headed." As it turns out, it was just Jana and Greg around the way a bit. So, we cruised over toward them and found out Jana had just shot her moose but that the mama moose was hanging around and they were waiting to see if she'd clear out. We waited a bit longer and then walked into Jana's moose. The snow was pretty deep and the moose was in the "trees."

Jana and her moose! She shot it with a Tikka 30-06.

Thats some pretty good shooting to hit the little willow branch too! :)
 While we were in taking pictures and getting the sled into Jana's moose, little Greg hollered that there was another moose. Greg Sr., Willie and I took off toward the machines where little Greg was sitting. Turns out this was the momma and she'd soon have the same fate as her calf had. I took a few shots at her, knocked her down. I started walking toward her, but to the side too because I was a bit freaked out that she'd jump up and charge me... She was down after I think maybe 4 or 5 shots... So I was walking toward her and the snow was getting to be more of a hassle to get through. Greg was on my machine with Jana on behind him. He cruised over by my moose with Willie following on Jana's machine. Willie picked me up and we drove over to my beast. I shot another shot out of my gun and the moose was still thrashing around. I was out again, so I shot a round out of Jana's gun and she finally quit moving. Willie put 2 kill shots into her head with my .44 mag pistol and she was finally done for. At this point I exchanged a few high fives, squeals of excitement, and congratulations with Jana, Greg Sr. and Willie.
A blurry picture of me and my moose... She was a big, fat cow. Literally.
I shot her with my Remington Model 94 30-30. 

 This is when the work really set in. Willie and I got to work gutting and quartering my moose while Jana and Greg went to get Jana's taken care of. It soon was getting dark, but we quickly and effeciently got our moose in the sled and were ready to head home. It was quite the ordeal getting back to the house... The sled was so heavy that Greg had a hard time not getting stuck. We had to form a line of machines to pack the snow down enough for him that we'd make it where we needed to go. I was the caboose in our ski doo train.

We got back to our house about 10:30 Sunday night... We were giddy and giggly and ridiculous. We called some special friends and of course our daddys to let them know what we'd accomplished. We also recorded the story on video to include in our upcoming documentary of moose hunting with Sammy and Jana. :)

Here are a few pictures of the day... It truly was a perfect day to go riding/hunting. I'll post another blog soon with pictures of cleaning up and delivering the moose.
Two of my favorite toys... Both have been good to me.
Playing around waiting for our friends... Beautiful day. This is Jana... Sort of reminds me of the Tall Man in Lakeview.
Couldn't have asked for a better day... It was the the teens, beautiful sky, warm sun on my face...
Ready to rock and roll!
Printing hunting licenses at the last minute? Yes, yes we were...
At the end of the night... My 30-30 on my right side, Jana's 22 on my left side. Her 30-06 across my lap and my .44 on my chest. I was ready to get anything that came my way... :)

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