I happened to catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye as I looked down the hill towards the timber. As I turned around to my right, the first thing that crossed my mind was, ‘how can something as big as a small pick-up truck pull a such a flanking maneuver and sneak up within 20 yards of us’?
We had spent the last half-hour quietly, (as quiet as you can be in late fall), sneaking over to the spot we had last seen our quarry. It was the afternoon of day 9, of the 10 day hunt, and a quite sense of urgency was pushing us along. The calling we had done would just not entice him enough to leave his cows and come over to investigate the ‘challenger’ in his territory. He gave a long look in our direction then disappeared behind a small ridge. Now we were the hunters, I thought to myself, ‘this is what I live for’.
It had been a great 9 days to this point. We had spent great days up on the hills glassing for moose and bears. The weather for this time of year in Alaska had been fabulous. Sunny and clear with cool nights and cool days, that made the hikes up the hills pleasant and not an endurance test. We had glassed plenty of moose across the valleys and bowls, some we guessed potentially crossing into the mythical 70+ range. The challenge was calling them into range, something the guides proved to be really exceptional at.
For someone accustomed to roughing it a bit on hunts, the setup of the camps was outstanding. The main camp is set against a mountain backdrop straight out of a postcard. It had all the comforts of home you could want, without some of them you don’t while on vacation (read; internet and telephone). Quiet enough to make your ears ring. The spot the guides picked out for our spike camp was just as great; set back in the trees, near a creek with enough wildlife around to remind you where you were and what you were here for. During the entire horseback ride out to the spike camp it was clear by just looking at all the various tracks on the ground, as you rode, that this was indeed a wild country. Sheep, bear, wolf, moose and an assortment of others provided just enough incentive to keep your senses sharp.
What seemed like minutes really only took seconds. All the worry about shot placement, animal position, shooting position and things you read about went out the window. In the end it was the roar of the .300 Win that brought me back to my senses. The bullet struck exactly where it needed to be and the moose went down as if hit by a freight train.
He was a real beauty, long tines, wide spread and big body; all showed he was in prime condition. Mid-Sixties is a real trophy, especially for a first moose!!
It was a great adventure and I highly recommend Solo Creek as the place to go for any serious moose hunter. Heck, I’m already making plans to go back!
Joe A. Campos