Story from Melissa Mundekis
Moose hunting in Alaska is a time where many Alaskans find themselves out enjoying the 49th state searching for a legal bull to fill the freezer, and we aren’t any different. Hunting in Alaska is ALWAYS an adventure but we weren’t quite expecting what happened on this trip!
Myself, Melissa Mundekis, along with my boyfriend Keith Hilty, set out from Wasilla on August 24th to be ready for the opening day of moose season the following morning.
After a 3-4 hour four wheeler drive to find a spot to set up camp, we spent some time behind the binoculars, glassing the surrounding area, and saw a few spike/forks and one larger bull a few miles away. Once camp was up, we then settled in for the evening to get an early start for the opener.
Morning found us lacing up our boots to see if we could find a few bulls moving around in the cooler morning temperatures. After a few miles and much more time behind the glass, we only saw a handful of cows and two bulls way off in the distance that wandered back into the woods. With not much more action before mid-day, we headed back to camp for a quick bite to eat. While cooking up some lunch, Keith spots not one but TWO legal bulls. Since the moose were two miles away, we had to immediately stop cooking and start beating feet in their direction.
We quickly made our way to within about 500 yards from the moose, but they had bedded down and were no longer in sight. After the hike over to where the bulls were, we were in need of a rest and decided to wait the animals out. Keith had patterned the bulls and knew they would be up to feed again around 3 PM. Sure enough, the moose stood up at 2:53pm, almost right on time, and we continued our stalk.
Keith wanted to get closer than 300 yards but after getting into the nearby bushes, we knew the alders were going to be too high, not allowing us a very good opportunity to get closer. Luck was on our side, though, and the winds changed direction, which also changed our game-plan. We decided to take another route, keeping downwind and were able to skirt a different large alder patch and close the distance to 130 yards. Though the distance had been whittled down, a shot opportunity was still not available because of the brush! Solution? Climb a nearby tree!
Once in the tree, Keith spotted the bull and made a perfect lung shot and saw the bull go down. Keith climbed down and we went to find our bull moose. Earlier we did see two legal moose in the same area and sure enough, while walking to recover the first moose, another legal bull stood up and I fired a perfect shot planting the animal right in his tracks. A couples double! Two legal bulls within just a few minutes of each other!
After we calmed down from all of the excitement, we both made our way to the two moose that were only about 60 yards apart and the work began with two huge animals lying on the ground. Hours of arduous work followed the excitement and we began skinning, gutting and quartering them out. We got all of the meat into game bags and hung up away from the carcasses. We were done none too soon as the remaining daylight was fading quickly. The only thing separating us from a hot meal and a warm sleeping bag was the two mile hike back to camp in the dark! Finally, after making it back to camp at 2am, Keith was able to finish cooking our lunch that now became dinner. I’m certain we were never happier to see our sleeping bags under our lean-to tarp tent.
Waking up early the next morning, we managed to blaze a trail to the moose with the four-wheeler. Quickly realizing this was going to be too many trips with just one wheeler, we rode back to camp, packed up and went into town to get another rig and meat trailer. After a total of 9 hours, an Argo, 2 four-wheelers and a meat trailer, all of the meat was out and hanging up to get ready to take to the butcher. The bulls on this ‘couples double’ shared 56″ spreads and Keiths bull had nine browtines! This was quite the sight in the bed of the truck as we drove home! After much of the work was completed, we settled in at home and began to relive our ‘Hunt of a Lifetime’!