Back in the Yukon! 12 years later we are back in one of the wildest places on earth! We arrived yesterday to Whitehorse after more than 30 hours of travel. Getting stuff ready to fly in the bush for the next couple of weeks.
It will be my second attempt to shoot a moose after spending 15 days with only one far sighting on my first trip. I just hope that nature will take good care of us and provide us with some great memories.
The Supercub left us somewhere along the Nisling River, Yukon, Canada. We were in the middle of nowhere basically. My dad and I were going to live in a cabin for the next 10 days and hunt moose from the boat. I cant think of a more beautiful and authentic hunt to do. It was our first river hunt and we were really excited.
The plan was to hunt up and down the river and stop every couple of turns to try to call a moose in. It is still early in September and the rut was just starting. The really warm weather was not helping us at all, and we had really tough hunting conditions. Moose as other deer species need cold temperatures to be more active.
Dominic Jackson, my guide is an excellent caller. We were trying to call the dominant bulls in by braking branches and doing some well spaced in time grunts. Terrain is so dense along the river that is is hard to see more than a hundred meters.
Alaskan-Yukon Moose is the largest deer species in the world. It is amazing how well they can move in that dense forest and how easy they can vanish. Populations are really low in the Yukon, since despite the terrain might look amazing this time of the year, the populations are defined by the worst time of the year, and winters here can be really really tough.
As Corey our captain said: “this is not a boat but a freaking submarine!” Each day we had problems with our boat, we made a bunch of holes because the river was very low level, if the water was not coming in, the motor failed, and if not we would just forget to put gas! hahaha The problem was easy to solve, just pull out the boat more water than what it was coming in!
Hunting is way more than the trophy shot, so if I haven’t post it yet it is not because I am trying to tease you guys to get more comments or whatever, but to try to tell the full story, because at the end of the day, hunting for me is 90% the stuff many people don’t ask for when you return from a trip.
Like being out there in the night enjoying the northern lights or stopping a minute to watch the sunrise colors in detail. Watching the grouse blend in the forest and laughing with my guides about the different camo options.
All is hunting, and the reason we hunt is for these moments and not for the kill. I will forget soon the inches that my bull had, but will never forget these things.
It was day 5 and the boat kept giving us all kind of problems, so we decided to listen to mother nature and head out walking from camp. We started walking in the dark to try to do a couple of calls before the rest of the forest would wake up since it is hard to listen when you have birds singing, squirrels barking etc.
Probably the first autumn morning with some frost in the ground, and that proved to make a difference since we heard far in the distance a bull answering us right away.
We were patient, and every 20 minutes or so Dom would do a low grunt and brake a few branches. Suddenly after an hour we heard a closer noise and saw the bull coming in the distance. We look at each other with our eyes almost coming out. It was coming our way and it was a beauty! Well, according to Dom it was a fu**ing monster, exactly what my full of nerves body needed to hear! haha
We moved quickly to cut the bull before it would get our wind, and sure enough, we placed ourselves perfectly. We heard the bull come through the willows exactly as I had dreamed for so long. There is nothing more stressing than seeing an animal coming to you, and knowing that you may can have the opportunity of your life.
Then time froze as the bull appeared only 40 meters away and stopped to look at us. We didn’t move a single muscle and didn’t even want to look the bull into the eyes as it felt that he would see us. I could only hear both Dom and myself breathing hard. There was nothing we could do, but wait for the best, we needed a broadside shot…
Just by writing this I got goosebumps. Probably the most amazing moment that I have experienced as a hunter in my life.
After the long stare down, the bull kept coming in..40..36..32..25… he was about to get our wind and even if it was not as broadside as I would have wanted I took the shot.
At that distance, all my pins could fit inside the body. Everything in that moment was pure instinct and couldn’t tell what exactly happened. The arrow went completely through and kept flying. The bull barely knew what happened and disappeared in the willows…
We couldn’t believe what just happened, it was exactly as I had dreamed to shoot my moose. It was too good to be true. We found the bull after 200 meters, what an amazing animal!!. Counting the first trip, it was our 17th day in the Yukon to live this moment. There are no words that can properly describe the feelings, the experience and that moment.
I just can’t be thankful enough to my guide Dominic Jackson for calling it in and my dad for allowing me to experience these things. I hope Bruno would want to come to the Yukon with me one day.
The whole moose is then prepared. All the meat was packed out in 7 trips to the boat, including the four quarters, backstraps, tenderloins, neck, ribs and the head.
Very little was left for the camp-robbers, ravens, eagles, bears, and so on… Life continues in the Yukon, and nothing is wasted.
We left some cuts to cure outside of the cabin for camp consumption and called the supercub to fly out the rest of the meat. The meat is taken to the butcher and prepared properly in small portions.
Since there is no way we could take home such large amount of premium meat, everything is donated to the local communities food banks that really appreciate the protein addition. All the cost of the flights, transport, butcher, permits is paid by the hunters.
I cant think of a better and more respectful way of conservation. I hope this post opens a few mind. More pics in the comments section, but they are a bit more graphic.
So after shooting my moose I joined my dad to try to fill his tag.
Hunting was slow and temperatures high so the rut was completely dead. No one was answering to our calls, and there was no activity during the day.
Tough hunting conditions. When hunting in the forest there is a certain amount of things that depend on you, but you need animals to collaborate.
We did saw a great bull for a few seconds in the border of the river from the boat, and the plan was to try to hunt around that segment of the river until he would show himself again.
After three days trying to spot the bull again, we were heading back to camp and I proposed to have a quick look to a spot we saw a cow a few days earlier.
We walked around the corner and sure the cow was there but this time with the bull by her side! We couldn’t believe the sight and quickly drop to the ground. I set up the camera as my dad crawled to cut a few meters before we would run out of light.
He took a good rest on the backpack and made a perfect shot to the bull. It only ran 10 meters, just enough to drop in the middle of the river!
Now we had an 800kg bull to fish out to the sore! We left it for the next day because we were running out of light to make it to camp. The day after it was a mission but between everyone we managed to pull it out of the water.
What an amazing hunt!