Idaho moose.

Discussion in 'Idaho Flyway Forum' started by Honkerclan08, May 17, 2020.

  1. DoveMan

    DoveMan Senior Refuge Member

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    The good ending post I was hoping for! Congrats, that a solid bull for anywhere in the state. What's the details? You track him, glass him up?
     
  2. Honkerclan08

    Honkerclan08 Washington forum Moderator

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    we found the area a lot of moose were hanging out and I picked a road that split the ridge they were traveling a lot and I walked to the area I found rubs in October and there he was standing on this flat spot on the ridge.
     
  3. salthunter

    salthunter Moderator Moderator

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    Write up the whole story
    We will enjoy it,.. and so will your grand kids

    My wifes grandfather just seemed like a boring old man
    He put together a 87 page life history. He use to get paid 5 cents each for every dead duck he picked up that the market hunters killed on their property.
    And at 5 years old it was his job to supply family table meat for his family and a neighbor,.
    Two Sage grouse a day,, and he killed them with a sage stick, more often than not he waited until he was on their driveway so he didnt have to carry the bird as far.
     
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  4. Honkerclan08

    Honkerclan08 Washington forum Moderator

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    Alright here goes nothing. Let's go back to April. I have turkey hunted Idaho for the past 4 years and have loved every minute of it. I eventually wanted to big game hunt(mostly deer) in Idaho soon. Was actually planning on it this year. My buddy who is an avid big game hunter told me to put in for moose. A moose was something that I've always wanted to hunt and harvest. It was my #1 bucket list hunting/fishing trip or anything. WA has the worst draw odds and a declining moose population. So with a little research and found a unit I sort of knew the layout just from hunting turkeys near by. Fast forward to May 15th. I got drawn!!! I couldn't believe it but at that same time, my wife was expecting our 2nd kid 7 days after I got drawn for my moose tag. She wasn't the happiest person but knew it was my dream hunt. I literally spent 2-3 hours a day looking at maps, making phone calls, reaching out to people almost daily. I wasn't going to leave any leaf unturned for this hunt . After what felt like getting a PHD in moose, my hunt was coming close and all that information got thrown out the window. My hunt was suppose to start on August 30th. I didn't make any trips over the summer since I sort of figured early season would be my scouting trips anyways and if I got lucky, so be it. I basically had my bags packed early August waiting for August 26th to go on my first trip. My plan was to scout 3 days before the season and hunt the first two. August 24th, our whole family tested positive for covid. I went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, knowing my hunt go pushed back two weeks now and feeling so overwhelmed and behind.
     
  5. Honkerclan08

    Honkerclan08 Washington forum Moderator

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    Trip #1
    After dealing with the 2 weeks quarantine, I finally got to go. It was a shorter trip 4 days, 5 nights. I had a crew lined up for every hunt to help packing out. Then the fires in Oregon caused my family to evacuate their homes two days before my trip so they couldn't go. IT was just my dad and I. We didn't bring 4 wheelers this trip since we just wanted to learn the main dirt roads and being as it was just the two of us, we didn't want to have a packout since my dad is 62 and pretty beat up. The first day was an awesome feeling. I had a moose tag and was moose hunting. It was cold(28 degrees) and felt right for hunting. We just spent the day scouting and talking moose with each other and were excited. Smoke rolled in the next day and the next 3 days were nothing special. We did see a cow moose on day 2 which gave us some hope but the smoke ruined any glassing and hiking for the trip but we felt a little more prepared for the next trip. Talking to the locals and elk hunters no one was seeing bulls at all in the summer, which wasn't the best news but we didn't let us get us down.....yet..... The takeaway from the trip was 4 wheelers are must to get behind the gates and that was the plan for the next trip.
     
  6. Honkerclan08

    Honkerclan08 Washington forum Moderator

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    Trip #2
    A lot more excited after the first trip and having the knowledge of the area, we couldn't wait to get the 4 wheelers over there since that was probably the only way to find a moose in this unit. We had 4 of us on this trip now and it seemed fitting. The weather was changing for the better. Lots of rain and cooler weather. My dad and I left a little earlier than the others to get a little jump start. AS SOON AS I PULL INTO MY UNIT THE AXEL BROKE ON THE 4 WHEEL TRAILER. We figured ok, it's only Wednesday and we are here till Monday. AAA came and dropped it off at Orofino Wednesday night. Well as my luck continued to go down, they ordered the wrong part, and yadda yadda yadda, we didn't get the 4 wheelers till Sunday night, so we used them for a half day and didn't see much. We pretty much were stuck to road hunting since it poured non stop for 3 days. We got a little more weather than I would of hoped for. None of us saw a moose this trip and didn't find many fresh moose tracks but did explore some more country. It was 6 days of long days but we felt more confident going forward.
     
  7. Honkerclan08

    Honkerclan08 Washington forum Moderator

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    Trip #3:
    It was a quick turn around. We only came back for 2 days and went back for another 6 days. We had 3 4-wheelers now and were again hopeful to use them for the whole trip this time. The first two days we found a ton of bull signs. This was suppose to be the “rut”. All the bull tracks were walking down the logging roads but still haven’t seen our first bull. Then the weather continued to get really warm(75-80) degree days. Frustration was starting to set in and then the 4th to last day we found super fresh sign and knew there was a bull in the area. My dad and I were walking down a road the he was crunching through the thickest brush and wouldn’t come out. We spent most of the day in the area but he never moved out of the thick draw. He grunted but wouldn’t move. We figured he had a cow. We spent the rest of the days hitting that area and covered even more ground. My dad saw a cow and calf moose while making a gas run. I never left the woods during the daylight and spent hours driving and hours walking and glassing. We ran into the wolf trappers and they were putting 100 miles a day on their ATV and have yet to see a bull in my unit either. It was really disheartening hearing that since we knew they’ve been covering a ton of ground. Now I think the weather screwed us on every hunt so far but we just were seeing the sign we had hope for. Only one fresh bull sign and encounter. Then our 4-wheelers all broke or were having issues and we were back to road hunting. I wasn’t down and out yet but it was becoming a lot to juggle with all the issues we were dealing with. The trip ended pretty anticlimactic. Just more heat, dust and full moon. I got home and had to take 3 weeks off to regroup and get excited. I lost my excitement which I didn’t expect to happen but I think since I did 3 trips so quick, and life at home was a little crazy that didn’t help. 16 days and I’ve only seen a cow. I just needed a moment to regroup and I was glad I did. Plus I needed to catch some fall kings on the Hanford reach.
     
  8. Aunt Betty

    Aunt Betty Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    PLEASE TELL ME that you'll be doing an epic moose and squirrel combo hunt.
    I keep telling Boris and Natasha that a hunter will bag those two.
     
  9. Honkerclan08

    Honkerclan08 Washington forum Moderator

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    Trip #4
    I had just finished fall fishing and placed top 10 at the King Of the Reach derby. We fished hard and found great success. It felt good to take a break and my excitement came back bigger than ever. During that weekend of the derby it snowed 1-3ft of snow in my unit. I was so jacked to get back now. Finally some weather in our favor. This trip wasn’t even on the books. I literally made it last minute. Only my dad could go but I knew I had to hunt the snow. My dads neighbor offered to his his side by side for the trip. I was even more excited since it was going to be cold. It was a quick trip. Go over Wednesday night and come back Saturday mid day. My dad went over early Wednesday and scouted for road access and along the scouting a guy told us an area two bulls are living. So we figured Thursday we would check it out. Well Thursday morning we found the road. 3 miles outside my unit. So we turn around and head back to the hotel to get the side by side. It’s about 9 at this point but it was cold. We are about 45 mins to the hunt area and my dad realized he forgot the keys to the side by side in his truck. So back to the hotel we to. Finally at about 11 we are in the woods. We wanted to go to the place we found that bull last time but ran into the 3 roads that led there to be either closed for logging or too much snow to get there so we had to go the back way which was about 8-10 miles behind the gate on some nasty roads. We get up there and it’s a moose highway. Sign all over the place in the snow and fresh. We were super excited. It was mid day and we went back down to the truck for lunch and were planning to go up there in the evening. We get back up there at 3:30 and go to the first place and there’s calf poop on top of our tracks so we knew they were moving. We went to the ridge to glass and stop and the ATV is overheating and dumping antifreeze everywhere. We didn’t panic but knew it wasn’t good. No cell phone service and 10.5 miles to the gate. We let it cool down and I went for a walk. I found a big bull print right where we were last time and was really excited. We get the ATV running and don’t even make it 1/4 mile and it’s spraying antifreeze everywhere. Thank god for snow since that was the only source of water we had but darkness was coming and knew we had to get out of the Woods. We weren’t really paying attention since the possibility of walking out became more and more clear as we couldn’t go far without it overheating but a cow and calf crossed in front of us as we were leaving. It gave us more hope but we knew we might be done with that area since the ATV was breaking down. We get out of the woods that night and we were feeling defeated. We knew our only chance to get one was up there and now had no access to there. We get back to the hotel that night and called the neighbor and all he said was easy fix, hit the water pump with a hammer. Boom! It worked. We had it ideal for an hour and it was working like magic. We had our hope restored and couldn’t wait for Friday. Friday morning comes and we left super early. We get going on the ATV and it’s working great. Hit mile 6 ans no issues and mile 7 no issues. Mile 8, steam is coming out of the engine and back to square one. We were close enough that I just started hiking in to the spot but knew today wasn’t going to be good. About an hour later my dad catches up to me and it seemed better and then we got to the top and the whole radiator basically emptied out. We did bring 2 gallons of water and 2 gallons of antifreeze so we were prepared for the most part but now we are down to our last gallon. There was no fresh sign from the night before and thought us breaking down every 1/4 mile spreading our scent didn’t help. There was one road we didn’t go down the day before. Things were looking bleak. After this trip I had no access to 4 wheelers or anything off road. More snow is predicted, my wife is starting to wonder what in the world I’m doing since we aren’t seeing anything. I hit my low point. I told my dad, this was it. I’m going to walk down this road by myself and just have a moment to reflect on this experience and how much went wrong. I had walked this road in early October and saw a bull scrape and some bull sign. It split the ridge where we had been seeing sign all over. It was a long road, about 2 miles. I told my dad, I’m getting to the end of that road and I’m burning my tag and we are done. I just didn’t have any faith in road hunting and didn’t want to have a once in a lifetime hunt by driving around in snow in the truck. It was a long dark walk. I reflected and felt I literally gave it my all and still failed miserably. I knew there was an opening and there was a log that I was going to take my break and burn my tag. I kid you not. Right at that opening as I turn the corner. My bull is standing next to the log I was going to sit. He was facing me. I didn’t care, I shot him facing me. I think I just hit his front lower leg. He turned broadside, I put one in him and he was still standing and I put another one in him and he fell dead there. At that point another bull stepped out and than off. I literally blacked out for a second on what I couldn’t believe just happened. I went up to the moose and kneeled by it and was just in awe. A dream to hunt and harvest a moose had came true at my lowest point. I had given up which isn’t like me at all but everything just kept happening and was building and it overflowed to this point. In shock still, I knew I had to get it out. I fired some rounds in the air for my dad since I was about 1.5 miles away from him but at that time wolves were howling by him and he though some dude was shooting at them. So I ran in 8in of snow back. My adrenaline was insane. I get back to him and he said the ATV is barley working. I said we have to try. We crept where my moose was shot and were able to drive up to it. Now I’ve only killed whitetails my whole life ans never quartered an animal. My dad is disabled, so it was a chore getting the quarters off but overall it wasn’t bad. Then we knew it wasn’t going to be one trip. I sent my dad with two quarters the head and sent him on his way. I shot him at 9:45 and my dad was making the first trip out at 10:45 on the dot. I was drenched in sweat and gave my dad my coat and everything. It was going to be a sunny day so I knew I was good. Or so I thought. If he was going to make it straight out without issue would be 30-40mins down. So I figured 1-1.4 hours top. Well it’s now 1:15 and I’m sitting on top of a mountain with half a moose and a big storm is coming. It’s raining side ways. I’m soaked and feeezing at this point. I told myself at 2pm. I have to hike out and leave the meat since something went wrong. Well 1:40 he makes it back. We ran it harder than ever on the way up and it ran great but putting out, he had to stop 4 times. The rain had made the roads a mess but we got it all off the mountain and back to the truck at 2:30. At that moment. My dad and I just sat in the trailer a drank a beer and stared at the moose. We didnt say anything for a good 5 mins. Then we talked about how cool it was just my dad and I. Then many upon many beverages were had. 5 months in the making and literally minutes from being done and it came to this. We’ve never had an experience like this and looking back, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We earned this one.
    $2350 for the tag
    New gear for the trip $1500
    4 trips with all the broken parts$2000
    A shoulder mount going on the wall-$1700
    A once in a lifetime tag filled with my dad-there is no price you can put on that. I would do all again just not this next month. Moose are an incredible animal and I have nothing but respect for them. Idaho also is some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever hunted and the nicest people you will ever meet. This memory will last me a lifetime.
     
  10. Honkerclan08

    Honkerclan08 Washington forum Moderator

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    The only hunter we saw in 3 days was driving by as we were loading it up.
     

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