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Alces alces gigas

Before going hunting with Nathan last week, my co-worker warned me about hunting along the Chena Hot Springs Road. She said, “I’ve lived on that road a long time, and I haven’t seen a bull there in years.” It was perhaps a well-intentioned warning not to get my hopes up. But as I’ve written here, that trip ended successfully.

After seeing how it was done, I figured even if the odds weren’t in my favor, it wouldn’t hurt to drive up and down the road and look for a moose of my own. And so I borrowed Nathan’s rifle with the intention to do just that.

Thursday afternoon when leaving work, I told my co-worker that I was going out hunting on the Chena Hot Springs Road again. She understood me. She said, “If I had gone to Vegas and won a thousand dollars with the first dollar I put in the slot machine, I’d probably bet another dollar too.” Another well intended warning not to get my hopes up.

But then after about three hours of driving, I spotted a moose standing just on the edge of the slough another 150 yards from the road; I got out and walked to the tree line. Through the scope I could see that it was a good sized bull with a very decent rack. And it just stood there. So I crept forward another twenty feet and looked again. He still stood there, broadside. The shot was perfect. But I doubted. I wasn’t sure if I could really take this thing down effectively and then harvest it successfully. What if I wound it and it staggers off into the woods? What if it falls but then I’m too overwhelmed by the job of harvesting the carcass? But I also felt like the conditions were too perfect for this to be anything but meant to be.

In two quick shots, he fell. It took me about twenty minutes to make my way through the woods while attempting to remain dry in what was essentially a swamp. When I got to him, I discovered that he had fallen in about four feet of water. There was no way around it; I was getting wet. So I waded into the black water far enough to loop a tow strap around his head, and then took the “as the raven flies” straight line through the bog and back to the truck.

My plan was to deal with the animal myself. But upon seeing this 1,400 lb. beast at 9:30 at night, as the switch was flipped from fading daylight to total darkness, I knew I needed some help - if only to boost my morale through the dark night.

Thanks to Nathan for doing what I could not have done alone. It took us all night, and by the time we had all of the meat and our gear out of the woods, it’s was the blazing daylight of a 9AM golden fall morning.

I still don’t know if lightning has struck twice, or if that is simply the way it’s done. Either way, I’m very grateful for the experience, and for the meat we’ll eat this winter. I’m feeling better and more comfortable with the process of handing the big Alces alces gigas. And I'm looking forward to next year. 

Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 01:49PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell in | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

Nice job Brian! Wish we could enjoy your prize with you!
September 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMel

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