By Dan Kaestner & Jeremy Tripp
Dan Kaestner and his hunting partner, Jeremy, and had been dropped off by plane in a very remote part of Alaska for a DIY moose hunt for which they had drawn special tags. They hunted hard for two days, calling and hiking to vantage points, but never saw a moose.
On day three, they loaded their gear into a Tomcat and floated downriver a few miles. They did some calling and hiking, but the result was the same.
The next morning, they floated across the river and climbed up to a great vantage point and got settled in. After 20 minutes of calling, they could see a big bull 1200 yards away and looking toward them. Dan started cow calling as loud as he could, and the bull slowly started heading their way, destroying trees and bushes along the way. Both hunters were in awe of the size of this majestic beast.
Once he was in range, Dan wasted no time. He fired and the bull dropped in his tracks. As all this was transpiring, two other bulls were moving in as well, but Jeremy decided to pass.
Dan’s moose died only 300 yards across the river from camp. However, it still took them eight hours to get him completely taken care of.
We hunted hard for another day in the same area but saw only smaller bulls. Our pilot Chad flew over us and radioed us to clear out the brush and trees on the beach so he could land and start hauling out my moose to Galena.
Later in the hunt, they we spotted moose tracks on a sandbar, so they pulled the Tomcat to shore, gathered their gear, and headed for a steep vantage point. After much calling, they finally heard a bull grunt. He appeared, walking along the shoreline and connected, followed by the sight of the bull diving into the river and expiring.
Dan ran back to the Tomcat and floated it down, where they tied a rope to one antler and floated the massive chunk of dead weight to shore. They spent the next two days taking care of the moose and getting everything ready to be flown out. It was a grand adventure for two Idaho hunters, who plan on making the trip again someday.