A Record Breaking Alaskan Bull Moose - Harvesting a Giant in Alaska
73 Year Old Alaskan Scores a 73 inch Giant - A Record Breaking Alaskan Bull MooseOnce the leaves start to turn and the air gets a bit more crisp, thousands of hunters find themselves in the Alaskan backcountry in hopes of finding a legal bull moose to fill their freezers, let alone a record breaking Alaskan bull moose to remember for years to come. Seventy three year old Bob Condon was no exception as he headed north from his home on the Kenai Peninsula in search of a bull he could punch his tag on. What transpired on a cool September day in the Brooks Range of Alaska was something every hunter can only dream of. Bob was born in New England, and grew up there, but had a thirst for Alaska that brought him here at the age of 19 in a 1953 Ford that he drove up the AlCan highway. Not being able to find employment before funds ran out, Bob traveled back to Maine where he and his wife ran a guide service for a number of years. During that time, Bob developed a love for bow hunting. He was the 1960 Massachusetts field archery champion and had personally met archery legends Fred Bear and Howard Hill. Since coming to Alaska in 1996 permanently, health reasons have inhibited him from continuing his passion for archery but hunting will always be a part of his life. Heading north The crew at the Arctic Circle For his first years of hunting moose in Alaska, Bob had pointed himself toward the Kotzebue area, where many hunters have searched and found a record breaking Alaskan bull moose, but Bob had recently been introduced to hunting moose in the Brooks Range. Following the first few successful trips to the Brooks, Bob and his friends (both named Mike) made the now annual trip north. We asked Bob if he had a plane of his own. He said he had owned three at one time or another and after his last 'rough landing', he was going to leave the flying to the experts. This year, on September 9th, the group chartered an air taxi that dropped them into a new area they hadn't hunted the previous few years but they were eager to get boots on the ground. Scenery headed toward hunting camp Getting ready to take off! Headed deep into the Brooks Range The weather was everything one could anticipate while hunting mid-September in northern Alaska, with what seemed like storm after storm rolling through. The inflatable raft was a welcome addition to the gear pile after they saw how swollen the rivers were after prolonged rain showers. They used it to haul gear and hunters across to more hunting terrain as the water was impassable on foot. The group experienced high winds, rain, snow, frosty cold mornings and the like, which all made for long days glassing nearby vantage points. Bob prefers to 'travel light', not taking a spotting scope, leaving it up to his Zeiss binoculars to complete the job of finding a bull to harvest. 8-Man Cabela's Guide Model tent...a palace for this hunting crew! Snowy/icy mornings weren't uncommon... Though 73 years old, and recovering from a serious heart attack in March, Bob was still sticking it out with long days in the field and fairly cold nights in his eight-man Cabela's Guide Model tent. This hunt almost ended as soon as it started on the first full day of hunting as Bob was nearly successful at calling in a nice moose within shooting range. The group met a pair of hunters from Wisconsin that ended up taking that bull the next day which turned out to be 62 inches, which is a very nice moose, but far from a record breaking Alaskan bull moose. Since seeing that bull on the 10th, the group hadn't seen another moose that presented itself in a fashion that would enable them to make a stalk. Throughout the first few days hundreds of caribou traveled nearby, a half dozen bears moved through the valley and there was wolf sign everywhere. Foggy mornings Snowy mornings....no big deal for this 73 year old hunter! The morning of September 13th started like any that you could expect for this time of year; frosty and overcast with a light breeze. Bob and 'young Mike' decided to head to a nearby knoll to gain a better perspective and settle in to do some glassing. The other Mike decided to head up river a ways to look that country over to possibly give them a better chance at seeing more game. The crew, along with their new friends from Wisconsin hanging in the snow After only 15 minutes into what both of them thought was going to be a long morning of scanning the autumn scenery behind a pair of binoculars, young Mike spots a bull nearly a mile away. After they looked at the bull for a spell, initial thoughts were that they both knew that the moose was big, but it was hard to tell just how big as he was moving in and out of the trees and brush. Since the bull was moving away from them a bit, Bob decided that they needed to get around a nearby knob and try to get into a position ahead of him. It was apparent that after the first 50 yards that Bob wasn't going to quite have the stamina to “beat feet” as was required to get in front of this behemoth bull. Bob really wanted young Mike to get a moose this year so he told him to go on without him. Initially, the bull was responding to young Mikes calls but with the wind switching in the valley, the moose must have winded him. The bull paused, tested the wind, and stayed put in the thick cover as the hunter was attempting to lure him into more open terrain. At this point, they almost gave up on the bull as it started to move away from them and was again nearly a mile away. Bob decided to inquire if the big bull might be interested in love or a brawl and began to call from his position. Fortunately, luck was on his side as this beast slowly lumbered toward him at their initial vantage point. Over the period of about two hours, this bull meandered toward Bob where he could finally get a good look at it through his binoculars. Bob didn't want to admit to himself what he was really seeing. He hated to admit to anyone that a man who has hunted as many years as he has, had started to shake! It was obvious at this point that this wasn't just any bull moose...this bull was something special. From the obviously incredible size of the antlers, the enormous body size, the stature of the moose and the way it moved all painted a picture of this being a record breaking Alaskan bull moose...a true giant. Closer and closer he came to the calls, as close as 250 yards away, then something happened. Bob didn't know if it was the wind, old bull intuition, or what, but this moose made up his mind that he was out of there! Bob knew he needed to act quickly and positioned himself with a solid rest on a neighboring spruce tree. At what was estimated to be nearly 400 yards, the bull presented himself for a shot. Bob pressed the trigger on his Browning .375 H&H sending 270 grains of lead screaming toward the moose. It was a hit...a good hit. This seasoned hunter wasn't going to let this bull get too much further away if he could help it, so he quickly reloaded. One can almost hear the classic sound of a rifle bolt being quickly actioned and hear the hollow brass giving way to a fresh cartridge feeding into the chamber. Before the bull reached 500 yards, Bob sent another 270 grains toward the animal, delivering the clincher. Done deal, this bull was down! Bob and the 'Bull Magnet' he was using to call with The bulls left antler has TONS of character! More of the left antler After making his way up to the animal, a flood of thoughts and emotions piled on him and the whole scene felt surreal. Everything from the five bypass surgeries three years ago, to the heart attack in March, to the doctors telling him not to go hunting were all in the forefront of his mind and he knew something special had happened on many levels. Just being out there was an accomplishment at 73 years old, braving the elements despite health setbacks. Because of all this, a freezer-filling spike-fork moose would've thrilled his soul. Little did he know that his harvest would be a record breaking Alaskan bull moose...a bull of a lifetime, or several lifetimes, and it would've found its way into his cross-hairs Unbelievable brow-tines on bull, a record book Alaskan bull moose A view from the back. Young Mike appeared a ways off, not seeing the moose yet, and asked “What did you shoot? Was it a wolf? I heard all sorts of howling!” Bob replied “No, not a wolf, the moose!” Young Mike heard the valley echo Bobs shouts of celebration and had mistaken them with wolf howls! It was apparent that young Mike was just as excited as Bob was as it was hard to keep him quiet. In fact, Bob was nursing black and blue bruises days later from Mike hugging on him in his excitement 'Young Mike' with the giant bull Massive Often, big moose exhibit unique antlers, and sometimes the bigger the moose, the more unique the rack is. Shooting a record breaking Alaskan bull moose meant the Bob and his partners were able to soak in the uniqueness of the antlers for quite some time before they even started taking photos! Quite a few pictures later, Mike from up the river valley showed up with the two hunters from Wisconsin that they met in the field earlier. Dave and Luke, along with both Mike's, were extremely happy for Bobs good fortune in taking what was obviously a once in a lifetime bull. Almost immediately everyone decided on a team effort to get the animal back to the airstrip. Bob wasn't sure if he had ever met nicer guys while out in the field and was blessed to have spent time with them. He was impressed with their willingness to help pack as well! So began the honest day and a half job of packing this moose the entire mile back to the strip, including gaining elevation up and over a ridge. The party absolutely refused to let Bob help pack due to his health conditions, and he promised to make it up to them sometime, somehow. Pack after pack came to the strip full of meat to help fill multiple freezers, followed by the cape, and finally the enormous set of antlers. On the bathroom scale at home, this big chunk of bone tipped the 98 pound marker and took two guys to pack due to its size and weight. This wasn't a set of antlers one could kindly strap to a pack frame and haul across the tundra fighting the tussocks and alders along the way. The inflatable raft helping with some of the heavy lifting! Dave and Luke from Wisconsin lending a helping hand Being blessed with modern technology, Bob called his wife to share the good news of success and also calm her nerves to let her know he was doing well. A call was then made to the transporter to let him know a meat pickup might be in order. It turns out that another Brooks Range storm was headed their way. He suggested they all pack up and get out quickly before they were weathered in. So began the long trip home. Bob checking out the last load arriving back at the airstrip Enjoying a late night campfire together after a long haul Word of this beast didn't start really growing until the friends and family at home were able to share in this success as well. After a few congratulatory meals with more friends and family, a tape measure was put to these antlers and the numbers were staggering. Green score for Safari Club International (SCI) stands at just over 706 inches making it unofficially the second largest moose to ever be taken in their record book. The Boone and Crockett Club has also established a record book but the measuring process is very different than the SCI measuring process. That said, Bob's bull measures 250 6/8 inches, unofficially placing it in the fourth position. Nobody can argue that at number 4, this isn't a record breaking Alaskan bull moose. Beginning the journey home Besides the record books, media press, and all the noise surrounding this bull, Bob is truly just happy to have taken a moose, let alone a record breaking Alaskan bull moose, and is thrilled to still be out there hunting. For many of us in Alaska, hunting is a huge part of our lives. We spend time afield with friends and family, relishing in the victories on a day to day basis, sharing successes and failures together and most of us wouldn't trade these times in the great Alaskan outdoors for anything. Bob Condon is no different. A 'good 'ol boy' from back east, still out there getting it done, sharing and making memories. It's as simple as that. Thanks, Bob, for sharing your story with us and we wish you the best of luck for next season! You never know, maybe a record breaking Alaskan bull moose is on the horizon again. Back home with a freezer full of meat and a garage full of antlers!
Find yourself a record breaking Alaskan bull moose? Don't worry, I haven't either. If you do find yourself with a freezer full of moose though, check out our Alaska Moose Steak Marinade article for a quick and easy way to prepare your harvest!
Maybe do some research, slugger. There is a reason yearly limits keep getting raised. It’s because wild game populations really are way, way up compared to 10 – 20 years ago. With that being said, I think it is fair to say that most hunters are not out killing animals because they’re good Samaritans.
I am a hunter, and I do get a rush before shooting any animal. It’s natural. Get over yourself, randy. Most hunters will agree with you that killing anything for fun is wrong. But saying all hunters or “modern day hunters” are out shooting wild life for fun only shows how simple minded you are.
Hunting and killing a wild animal provides quality, non processed food for families. Not only the hunter’s family, but families in need. Donating meat from wild game is very common amongst hunters. The hides are sold to vendors which are then used in apparel. Very rarely does any usable part of a deer, elf or moose go to waste.
So again, maybe do some research next time.
I assure you Randy the animal was eaten, and very likely the hide was used. Hunters respect the hunt and the animals hunted. Its far better then running to the grocery store for a steak. You are obviously confused, its the fun of the hunt and the success of the hunt. A lot more nobler then a killing at the slaughterhouse.
Oh I don’t eat meat from supermarkets either. There are farms around with good meat and yes it may seem like I am splitting hairs but I have no problem with the ethical farming of animals to feed us. I just feel that an animal born in the wild should be left alone unless a person I living off the grid and they need to hunt. Most hunters do not live off the grid and hunt for the thrill of the kill…and that is very disturbing to me.
Well I dont believe in supermarket / Grocery store freah meat… So instead I just to the world biggest meat market : The wonderful outdoors !!!
MichelLefebvre RandyJanzen I am certainly no better then others..never claimed to be..but i do the best I can in trying to save the earth and our environment and part of that is not killing our wild animals and causing an imbalance there in environments. No I have never hunted because I DON’T BELIEVE IN KILLING FOR FUN!!!!
Missmarty RandyJanzen no need for sarcasm missmarty, I am not an idiot. I am simply saying hunting was a necessity at one time for many people to survive ( and still is for some ) but not this guy who I am sure would not starve if he hadn’t killed that moose. And that goes for most hunters and I know many since I live in northern British Columbia in a town that is loaded with hunters. It is an excuse to go drinking and kill something plain and simple!!!!
Have you ever hunt Randy ? If your answer is no then you comment is invalid…
Do drive a car ? If you say yes, then you’re not better than any others because you want to kill our planet earth slowly plain and simple and there is something inherently wrong killing our planet for absolutely nothing…
Alaska has a big problem with moose on the roads.
RandyJanzen Exactly, we should go to the super market to buy meat where they make it and no animal suffers.
JasonHatcher You have clearly never been to Alaska. Population control is not a problem, and very unlikely to be hit with a vehicle given there are very few roads into that remote landscape. I have no problem with the hunt as long as there is no waste. A little sad that those great genetics will no longer enrich the gene pool but that is the way the ball rolls.
antihunt Please continue we need to pinpoint your IP address, we will be very interested in talking to you about your ideology in the near future, my partner and myself are writing a essay regarding The Mentality of Homegrown Terrorism.
Office of Homeland Security
I guess what I was trying to express was that the satisfaction from hunting is an instinct. we are just not on the same page as to the degree of indulging those instincts. You say don’t at all, but I say do a little so long as you do it in a sustainable way that helps you feed yourself healthy food and gives you an opportunity to be outside in nature. Cause my favorite part about hunting is being in nature, watching and listening closely. Crossing the line would be wasting the meat, disrespecting the animal in the way you talk or act about it, or using that violence maliciously… Hunting is not a "victimless " crime, but neither is survival in general. Plus, I think it’s very mean to say that a farm animal is less than a wild animal just because of where it was born. All animals, especially the ones that feed us, deserve respect.
I’m interested to know how you feel about road kill harvests. If a certain number of moose are killed by vehicles (there’s no way around it, they come in contact) and people in need get the meat, is that wrong? What if a hunter went out and killed that animal before it reached the road? Either way a moose dies. Let me add that in no way are moose or caribou populations at risk in this state.
Lastly, I want to mention the fallacious “appeal to nature”. People think that there is some “natural state” where humans aren’t a part of the ecosystem. That’s not reality. We are and have been part of the ecosystem for millennia. Trying to separate ourselves from the wild doesn’t bring it back to some magical time before us evil humans existed. When you try to say we can’t interact with that side of the ecosystem, you are not basing your arguments in reality, but romanticism and misunderstanding. You are trying to solve a very complex system with a very simple answer that you can use to shame other people for enjoying hunting and eating game meat. The game populations certainly can’t support all humans, but it can support a fraction of us. Plus, we get to maintain the balance of local flora and fauna instead of turning it into crops to feed the animals in cages.
I’m leaving this conversation. Please look up the “appeal to nature” and determine whether you are using it or not. That’s all I have to say.
Nice moose and respectively to all those who dont hunt and want to trash us for hunting find somthing else to do rather then trolling hunting articles to tell us were bad we dont care to hear it and its not changing our outlook
MikeHubbell "…the hunters will laugh at you and call you a sissy." oh no I am so hurt :( lmfao…what a dork!!!
idaruth our ancestors hunted because they had too! maybe some loved it but I am sure many thought it a hardship which is why we progressed into farming and finding easier ways to feed ourselves. Now i think we have gone to far in that aspect as well with these large super farms and I also find them unethical. but that tide is slowly changing as well. I realize that we are still killing are animals that we farm and i am okay with that. I think there is a difference between animals we raise for food and an animal that is born free. And the overpopulation justification is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Anyways my biggest beef is that this guy who is not starving..has the money to fly out to the wilderness..and kill this beautiful animal for fun. In no way did he NEED to kill, but he did and I think there is something inherently wrong with killing for fun!! A trophy kill plain and simple to impress others!!!!
JasonHatcher lol…lamest thing I ever heard….population control??!? you hunt because you want to kill something plain and simple and there is something inherently wrong with killing for fun!!!!!
I respectfully don’t care if you say they didn’
t need to kill it. Its legal and it’s going to happen whether you like it or not every single day we are going to kill animals. You can cry about it, but the truth is everyone who hunts will laugh at you and you are a sissy. So good job thing monster is amazing good shootin.
That is a beautiful spread. I hunt in Oklahoma and could only dream about making it to Alaska to hunt moose one day. And as for it being unethical there is also the aspect of population control. Would you rather it be hit by a car and roam injured slowly dying after the passengers in the car are killed and injured? If animals weren’t hunted they would run out of food due to over population and wonder in the cities where they could hurt themselves and others. I’m glad that you got to experience a hunt like this in your lifetime and can only hope to do the same some day.
How sentimental. I personally think hunting is more ethical than some practices of raising livestock. That moose was going to die anyways. He had a good life in the wild and probably fathered a lot of moose, more than you can say for beef cattle. Now he’s feeding people with lean, hormone-free, delicious meat. Hunting moose is done in such a way that the population is healthy and sustained. Moose are majestic and beautiful animals and they taste way better than beef (at least to me). And you know what? Of course humans enjoy hunting! We probably wouldn’t have survived as a species if some of our ancestors didn’t love to go out and hunt down food. We are animals too and we have to take from other animals to survive. It’s a trade-off between skimming from a wild population and taking resources from other ecosystems to create artificial environments for livestock or crops (plus using the non-renewable resources to process, package, ship, and store the goods). I’m willing to bet that if that guy had a chance he would’ve shot any other legal bull for the meat and you wouldn’t have had such an emotional response, but chance brought him into contact with an old bull.
How incredibly sad . these guys sure don’t look like they absolutely needed that moose meat to live. Hunting because you have to too live is all good. But that is not what this is…no matter how you try to justify it…this is killing for fun…even if you eat the meat. In today’s society hunting is unnecessary. Don’t tell me this not a trophy hunt…that’s bullshit. This beautiful, magnificent animal did not deserve to be gunned down. Very very very sad!!!!!!!
jackpine idaruth You think you’re smart don’t you. Claiming he is a minority, without valid proof is actually a very weak argument, as i’m sure you know and don’t care, and this is why it includes yourself in such groups who harbor mental cancer. It’s actually people like you who try to throw words around and bully people into thinking their lifestyles are barbaric for simply providing for their families the way nature had intended them to, who have scant hope of recovery and a redirection to sense and sensibility.
It’s Sheep like you who have us stuck handing all our money over to the governments so they can make their pockets fatter. I hope you get help, I really do.
Antihunt you are an idiot that should not be allowed near a computer. This guy did what he loves an a big congratulations to him. Wish i could have been there to see the excitement on his face. He is someone i admire. Great jod and great story.
HolyPotatoes jackpine idaruth Hello HolyPotatoes,
I’m fairly new to this site and being a Canadian I’m quickly learning that there is a distinct difference between an American flavor of Liberal/Democrat to that of one north of the 49th as they are simply referred to as the Liberal Party of Canada. But that’s not the only difference.
From 1995 to 2006 when our federal party in power was the Liberal Party with a man greatly despised here as our Prime Minister named Jean Chretien. When a lone gunman named Marc Lepine opened fire with a Ruger Mini-14 and massacred 13 innocent women at a Montreal university, Chretien and the Liberals promised there would be sweeping changes to our justice system and specifically the sale of firearms to the general public. What we got was government bill C-68, still in effect today. What it ended up being was a system so arbitrary and ambiguous that not even the senior judges could make sense of and it resulted in nothing more than a knee-jerk political solution that they the Liberals had crafted along their anti-gun agenda started by Pierre Elliot Trudeau, another 2 faced Lieberal Prime Minister back in the 80’s. This gave anti-gun sympathizers a feel-good legislation quoted to cost only CDN $2 million but resulted in CDN $2 BILLION and still counting but has not proven to save a single life. Not one. For the firearms community and all Canadians, it was the biggest scam of a lie ever told because the Liberal agenda had embraced the same B.S. that Britain and Australia copied, and look what it got them. More of the same feel-good useless to our society legislation that promised greater public safety but delivered nothing for crime prevention. So the firearms community wound up being the scapegoat for law enforcement’s inability to reduce violent crime and murder. So effectively the sport shooters, legal hunters and even farmers in rural Canada were NOW the reason why murder was still rampant.
Does this now sound familiar in any way? It should because the Democrats in America, i.e. Clinton and Obama have by no coincidence embraced the Canadian model albeit worded differently and directed squarely at the NRA. Still trust your Democrat politicians? I wouldn’t.
Americans must also understand that in Canada we have no 2nd amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms. Hell, we don’t even have a guarantee that ensures the right of ownership to private property simply because of the British North America Act and the fact Canadian law is nothing more than a modified adaptation of British law which really stinks of a hypocrisy the Brits are known for globally.
So, I must admit, yes there are Liberal/Democrat citizens in the U.S. who also hunt and sport shoot and also support a 2nd amendment. But there are far more Democrats who do not. If the U.S. constitution was devoid of your 2nd amendment, American sport shooters and ethical hunters would be in far worse trouble than we Canucks.
I must also applaud you for having the common sense that is overwhelmingly absent in our Liberal supporters here in Canada. There are many Liberals here who believe that guns are evil ????
I prefer to believe that “it’s not the gun, but the gunner who is evil”.
I mean, how can an inanimate man made object be evil? But if a persons contempt for the lawful and sensible firearms use and ownership (read member “anti-hunt” here) is accepted, everyone loses.
There simply is no place for emotional rhetoric here. None.
I personally have been fighting this battle for over 35 years and now finally we have a Progressive Conservative Party in power which is our loose equivalent to your Republicans, enjoying a majority status and finally collectively kicking some Canadian Liberal ass. The Liberal Party of Canada is now paying a hefty price for their stupidity and deceit. They are nearly non-existent now.
And I love every waking moment of it.
Most Americans don’t know how good they’ve got it.
antihunt Clearly you are confused as to what type of animals we are and where our food source comes from. In case you haven’t noticed we have teeth that are meant to chew meat and last time I checked, the meat that you eat is not grown in the grocery store. If we did not hunt then animal populations would increase so rapidly that it would spread disease and cause more problems than you can even imagine. There is something called regulation which allows all animal species to benefit from it. Hunting is a major part of this. You need some education and some serious respect for others….you think you are saving the animals when really you are doing more harm than good.
jackpine idaruth jackpineidaruth Hey, I consider myself very liberal, and think guns are a huge issue in the US. I think they should only be used for practical purposes, for example; hunting and killing an animal that you are planning to eat. I don’t hunt, myself, but know that a hunter understands and respects the responsibility that comes with having a gun. I thinks its awesome that this was not a trophy hunt, but instead represents something that we seem to have lost as a culture. I don’t know why anyone would think it’s okay to eat processed, “food,” and then criticize others who are actually willing to go out and experience everything involved in catching/killing/preparing their own food (liberal or not).