The thought pattern started at least 10 years ago. The conversations with fellow hunters that had shot a lot of big game also started 10 years ago. Where do you go to do this and how do they taste? Moose are a really big animal if you hunt the bulls. How is all this done and where is the best opportunity? The research was then started over a period of time.
That is what we hope to shoot.
Somehow I have gotten on e-mail lists for hunting brokers that represent different types of lodges and hunting opportunities not only in North America, but all over the world. I have never used one, but they seem to have access to some really interesting hunts in prime places with decent prices. I enjoy contacting lodges and listening to the owners tell me about what they have to offer, and then make my decision as to whether this will work for me.
Click on the pic or link to price and buy from Leatherman.
Now we get to the requirements. If you read my book, “How to Hunt Like a Gentleman,” I am no longer into roughing it. I want a nice lodge with a private room and private bath, three squares per day, fully guided, preferably one on one with the guide, and a good processor in the vicinity. No more horse back trips as I have done all that, and a four wall tent is out of the question. Things really start to narrow down with those requirements and the price goes up too. I am somewhat flexible. But I will not live out in the woods in a tent anymore. If my wife comes along, and she likes to go, flexibility goes out the window.
When looking at Alaska, there are some really good hunts up there, but that is out of the question. It is a little over my budget on some of the hunts. Bringing back meat from the hunt is a major goal, and with the quantity you get with a moose, I would not get it all.
I talked with my good friend Bob Barlow with Barlow Outfitting in Wyoming and a moose tag takes preference points. I know what it is like getting points for elk in Wyoming and it is probably cheaper to buy the general tag. He was just not encouraging that getting a tag the first time without points would happen. As I looked at other western states, the same problem existed. This is a popular animal to hunt and they are limited in numbers. Each state wants to maintain a healthy and robust population so they control the number of animals they are willing to have hunted.
The next stop was to move north to Canada. Here the opportunities get really plentiful. Ontario is close to my home and there is a lot of place to go. You have drive in or fly in to a remote lodge. The fly ins that I reviewed had limitation on the amount of meat you could take out. Each one was not a place that I could take my wife, and she wanted to go on this trip. Success rates are high and you have the opportunity to fish for walleye. Adding a bear or a wolf was a possibility on many of the lodges. I did see some of the lodges where you would hunt one on one with the guide and that always gets my attention. For this animal, I really prefer it as I don’t want a bad shot made and then an animal coming over mad to find out who did that.
After checking fifteen spots, I just could not settle on one that made me say, “I want to go here.” I did not call anyone either to get more information and that is my mistake. Pam wants to go, and I want to keep that in mind.
Moving over to Manitoba, there was Webbers Lodges. I had shot Caribou with them before and knew the process. You drive or fly to Thompson in northern Manitoba, take a King Air to the Lodge at Little Duck, and a float plane to a camp. That was a really great experience, but they were out of my budget for this hunt. There are also several lodges in the area, but all of them were out of my budget. If you want to hunt Caribou, Webbers or the Lodge at Little Duck are excellent choices.
I skipped over Saskatchewan and went straight to Alberta and focused on the northwest part of the province. I like the area because it is close to British Columbia. There were a lot of lodges that met my requirements and several had their hunters bring their wives with them. I focused around the Peace River Region because there were a lot of lodges in that area. Prices were good and some phone calls were made.
After checking out the sites, I found one that really got my attention. All the requirements were met even though Pam and I would not stay at the lodge, we would be just 20 minutes away in Spirit River but would still take advantage of the food and amenities offered by the outfitter. I made the phone call after studying the website for several days and we visited for about 30 min. The decision was made and I booked the hunt. That is the good news. (http://www.mikesoutfitting.com/)
The bad news was the hunt would not take place this year but in 2019 during the first week of October. However, I was put on a cancellation list, and if someone cancels, I will be in line to hunt in 2018. This is a long drive and should take us about 3 days with gear and all the coolers I will be bringing along. We will have the opportunity to see some really great country through the Dakotas into Montana and up to Alberta. We generally do not drive hard, but take a lot of breaks and if there is some interesting scenery or site to stop at we do that. That is going up. Coming back, things change drastically. We drive really hard and into the night because we have meat that is frozen and packed in dry ice. We have never had any spoilage in the past, and the meat, after a hard several days drive, has always been hard frozen.
I found early on, the places with excellent success are booked early and you are lucky if you can get into one the same year you book. We will be patiently waiting for 2019 and maybe, if lucky, a cancellation will take place.
Check out my Facebook page as there is some excellent discussion on ammunition to use. I have shot a Buffalo at 300 yards with my 300 win mag. I used a Nosler Partition round 180 gr. It took two shots to bring him down. After the first one he just stood there and the guide said, “Another round,” and he fell. I like quick kills.
I watched a video of a moose hunter. After the first broadside shot on the moose, the beast came charging toward the hunter and he had to shoot two more times. I did not like to see that and would prefer a couple of steps and then dropping. I do not know where he made his first shot on the animal.
One of the people writing to me said to go to a 200 to 220 gr bullet. I will probably buy some and do some shooting. Then I will compare the drop between the 180 gr and see how much elevation I need to adjust to compensate for the added weight. I am not going to tame the moose for a pet. 2019 can’t come too soon.
Good hunting Good fishing and Good Luck, Hank
Recipe of the Week
- 1 pound dry kidney beans
- 1 pound ground venison
- 1 pound venison stew meat, in 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 28-ounce can tomatoes, diced
- 1 large onion,diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 large green chili pepper, diced
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup masa flour or all purpose flour
- Substitute elk, buffalo, caribou or moose for the venison.
Rinse beans and place in a large soup kettle. Add 2 quarts water and 2 teaspoon salt; cover the pot and bring to a boil. Boil gently for about 2 hours, until beans are tender. Brown meat in a large skillet containing oil and garlic. Add chili powder, salt and pepper. Cover and saute for an hour. Drain the beans and add 1½ quarts water, tomatoes, onion, peppers, cumin and parsley. Simmer for an hour, then add meat mixture. Stir masa flour into ½ cup water to form a paste and blend into chili to thicken. Simmer for about half an hour, adjust the seasonings and serve. Nothing satisfies more than chili on a cold night in deer camp!