Larry's Short Stories

Russell's Yukon Moose

Dad and son; antlers still in velvet.
Dad and son; antlers still in velvet.

As moose hunts go, this one started routinely – get packed and sighted in, fly up to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories, take a bush plane to a small lake in the middle of the Canadian Rockies; then hunt for a few days.

Moose hunting has always been one of my favorite hunting trips, probably because of the location more than anything else. Nothing quite compares with the solitude and beauty of the mountains in late summer. But this moose hunt was different for several reasons – first, son Russell was the primary hunter and it’s a special occasion when a man gets a chance to go hunting with one of his grown-up kids; second, we were hunting from Argos, not horseback. Argos are those all-terrain vehicles made famous in the hunting industry by Jim Shockey on Outdoor Channel. Speaking of Shockey, he’s the third reason this moose hunt was different; he was our head guide.

The Argos were interesting machines. We climbed 30 degree hills, running over willows ten or twelve feet high near the bottom of the drainages. One hill we named Mount Potterfield, after an adventuresome climb to the top; and we floated across lakes – using the treads on the tires for propulsion.

The antlers of this Alaska-Yukon moose measured 72” in extreme width.
The antlers of this Alaska-Yukon moose measured 72” in extreme width.

Shockey’s private spike camp was our hunting area and we promised not to share its location with anyone. It was very remote, with lots of game. One day Russell and Jim were focused on what they called the ‘pretty’ moose in a group of four. He wasn’t extremely wide, but had points across the top, good pans and decent fronts. They were just about to drop the hammer, when a very ‘wide’ moose appeared on a ridge to the north. Quickly they pulled off the ‘pretty’ one and went after the ‘wide’ one; Russell took one shot from ‘the sticks’ at about 75 yards. By the time the skinning and meat cutting was finished, it was midnight. We climbed into a small tent, brought along for just such occasions, and slept till daylight; then loaded up the Argo with a complete moose (less the bones) and headed back to camp.

I didn’t shoot a moose on this trip, but turned down a couple that weren’t quite what I was looking for. We stalked to within 60 yards of one, that was bedded, before he stood up and stared at us for a full minute; I love moose hunting.

Jim Shockey and Russell glassing for moose.  Jim is a class act and a lot of fun to share a camp with.
Jim Shockey and Russell glassing for moose. Jim is a class act and a lot of fun to share a camp with.
Larry's Short Stories