This year I went hunting moose in the Yukon Territories. How did we do?
First let me state that one tool you need for hunting during the rut is a moose call or moose horn as they are sometimes known. We are manufacturing and using our own fiberglass moose calls and I can tell you we had great success using them.
Read on to find out more...
Drive down the road and shoot a moose! Haha! Well, that works sometimes!
Or, you may spend a lot of time hiking, in the saddle or traveling around in an Argo.
Having never hunted (or even visited) the Yukon before, I had this preconceived idea that there would be a moose behind every tree, and each one of those would be record book bull moose. All we would need to do is get up on a ridge and do a series of cow moose calls and they would come running.
That's what we see on hunting television shows isn't it?
Well, one thing I learned early on is the moose densities are lower than those you find in BC. Why is that? Well apparently the ratio of predator to prey is much higher than down south (IE: lots of bears and wolves) therefore leaving the moose population more spread out.
According to the Yukon hunting regulations "Moose densities throughout Yukon generally range between 100 and 250 moose for every 1,000 km2 of suitable moose habitat, although densities in excess of 400 moose for every 1,000 km2 have been recorded in a few areas. Yukon moose densities are relatively low when compared to those observed in other regions of North America as they co-exist with three relatively intact predator populations (wolves, black bears, and grizzly bears)."
In BC a publication from the year 2000 indicates the average moose density in BC is 900 per 1,000 km2*, this is quite different from that of the Yukon (I believe this number has dropped some in recent years*).
Not exactly what you may expect eh?
Anyway, back to hunting moose in the Yukon.
So this year I was invited to join three Yukon residents on their moose hunt in the Yukon. We would be hunting some 300 kilometers from the nearest town or city. Not a fly-in or rough 4X4 road, yet quite remote by many standards. There would be no cell service, and no fuel stations. We were on our own.
Two of the guys I was hunting moose in the Yukon with had the Spot device so if we ran into trouble we could
get help. As well, a pre-programmed message was set up so we could let
our loved ones know when we got a moose.
Our plan was to hunt for two weeks, so we filled a grocery cart with food and we were off.
I am a non resident of the Yukon and did not have a permit under the Special Guide License program so I could not shoot any big game. I did purchase a small game license and was able to shoot a number of spruce grouse to supplement the meals with wild chicken.
We arrived in camp on Saturday afternoon, got semi organized and went for a tour on the quads. One of the guys saw three ptarmigan and those were the only ones we saw the entire trip.
We covered a lot of ground on the first few days, my job was moose caller. So everywhere we stopped I would call for a while. Two other guys I was hunting moose in the Yukon with took a turn at calling too. We spent some time at remote lakes and swampy meadows calling, glassing and generally being patient.
The second afternoon one of our partners spotted a rather large bull 6-700 meters away, but felt it was to late in the day to pursue it. He spent time calling in that spot in the morning, but to no avail.
On Monday our crew that were hunting moose in the Yukon came upon some road hunters that were obviously interested in something up on the hill. They stopped and inquired!
What they saw was a very respectable bull moose 500 to 600 yards out. These "road hunters", were standing on the road, in plain view and trying to call that bull down to the road! Needless to say, it didn't work!
My partners that witnessed this, said there was a real easy stalking route where they could have closed the distance to 100 to 200 yards. Easy for a shot. But... that would mean he wouldn't be on the road.
Only looking for easy moose I guess!
On Tuesday afternoon, my friend Barry sent Kirk and I down a quad trail where he had taken moose before. Maybe I could call one in before dark.
Barry went in another direction to a little knoll where he had the advantage of a good view and could call with the cow moose sounds carrying well into the distance.
Well Kirk and I set-up and called until just about dark. We packed our gear and headed back to meet Barry at the rendezvous point.
I pulled up along side Barry and he announced... "We have a big problem!"
I was imagining, his quad was broken or he lost something important. No, that wasn't it!
"There's a dead moose over the hill", he announced! "You're kidding?" I asked incredulously! "Not at all!" he answered.
Well that changed things. "The problem is... I can't find it!" he added.
He went on to say he watched it drop, but it's out in that six foot high buck brush. "If someone goes down to where I saw it, I can give directions."
Ok Barry, what's the story? "Well, when hunting moose in the Yukon I always call using cow calls. This time I was using the new fiberglass moose call from All About Moose and let me tell you, that bull moose came in as though on a string."
"My first or second call he answered from over there." He points to a far off hillside. Just to the left of that strip of trees." I looked and could see that it was well over a kilometer away. "That bull" he continued, kept grunting all the way. Once in a while I would call and he just kept on coming. He came down that big hill, crossed the creek and kept coming in this direction. I lost sight of him when he went behind that nearby hump. I was sitting here wondering if I needed to move, when all of a sudden there he was... about 50 meters away. I figured I didn't need him any closer, so I shot him with my 7mm magnum. That's when he ran down into that buck brush before he finally went down."
Well, it didn't take long and we located his moose, darn near 50 inch antler spread. And what a body on that moose! I've seen lots of BC moose in the flesh, but this was my first Yukon Moose. That thing was huge!
A good thing to do when hunting moose in the Yukon!
One thing that I did, was to set a trail camera on the gut pile. When we picked up the camera six days later we got the surprise of our life. A very large grizzly had taken up residence there and the camera had snapped almost 1500 pictures of the bear over 3 days!
Over the next few days we saw few moose, I actually saw one cow moose. I was beginning to think there weren't any more! lol
Our fourth hunting partner showed up in camp on Thursday afternoon and Friday evening he got himself a respectable bull. I'd venture to say about 24 inch spread. A good eater.
On Sunday the third licensed hunter spotted a young bull grazing the willows and the rest is history.
Eight days and three moose. We were pretty happy about that. Hunting moose in the Yukon can be very exciting. Big bull moose and all... if you can find one!