2017 Hunt Report and Meat Pole Contest - Win a $300 or $100 Gift Certificate

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Andy Backus, Sep 12, 2017.


    MTLIVIN Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    I finally bit the bullet and booked a self-guided AK moose hunt for 2017 with a transport service to fly my Dad and I into the heart of moose country SE Alaska. I was dropped of first and was very happy to hear the pilot saw a couple nice bulls within a couple miles when he circled around before landing with my Dad a few hours later. This unit requires a bull to be at least 50" wide or have 4 brows on either side to be legal for a non-resident to harvest, so not just any bull was going to do for us. That night I glassed up a big griz about 1.5 miles up the drainage and what appeared to be a legal bull moose with 3 cows in the foothills of the mountain behind our tent, I was a little excited to say the least!

    The next morning was our first chance to hunt and we headed to the location I'd glassed the bull the night before. As I was looking over 2 miles away I wasn't positive he was legal yet, but after a short glassing session we found him with another smaller bull just 600 yards away. The thick brush made a prone or sitting shot impossible so we cut a hundred yard off and started calling. We lost sight of both bulls in the brush as they came in to check out the sexy cow I was trying to be and after 15 minutes finally saw antlers and eyes at a mere 150 yards staring us down. I must no have looked as good as I sounded and we lost sight again of the bulls until about 370 yards when the bigger bull crested a small hill. We judged him to be legal based on width alone and my dad sent a 200 grain accubond his way with a standing shot resting on my spotting scope tripod with his 300 win mag. The bull absorbed the first shot and stood still long enough for a second bullet to arrive and crumple him. The tape confirmed he was 55" and we had our first bull down by 9am day one!!!


    I've boned and packed a lot of elk before, but a mature AK moose makes an elk look like an antelope! Two days and 600+ lbs of meat and antler later we were off again but now looking for my bull.

    We headed across the creek from camp the morning of day 3 to an area the pilot spotted a BIG bull on the flight in. I had high hopes with 6 days of hunting left I would be able to set up on a good calling location and entice the old guy my way. Well, fate was with us on this trip because on the way to our chosen calling location we crossed paths with a cow moose and a small bull, followed by 2 more cows and a really big and wide bull tailing the herd! All of this happened in a matter of seconds and at under 300 yards. The herd was moving and quickly out of sight between the brush and spruce trees so I moved up 10 yards to a dead spruce for a rifle rest and my dad stayed 80 yards back to call. In what seemed like an eternity, but likely only lasted 20 minutes, we played cat and mouse with the cows and small bull disappearing and them magically reappearing but slowly and very cautiously closing the distance. I spotted the old bull only once in this time and for just a second. Finally, just when I thought the lead cow was going to make it down-wind and bust me I saw the old bull through a small opening way in the back of the herd and in brush tall enough to only see the top half of his vitals.

    I was already calming myself with some deep breaths and let a 200 AB pill loose from my 300 mag. I thought I saw him lunge forward when I got the scope back on him but couldn't be sure as I watched the rest of herd scatter. We watched intensely for the big bull through the spruce and brush but couldn't find him anywhere. After 15 minutes I couldn't handle it any longer and we pushed forward about 250 yards to where I mentally marked the shot. After some brush stomping I found a stump to crawl up on and finally saw the tip of a big rack sticking out and called my dad over to walk up to my bull with me. I couldn't believe my luck or eyes when my tape maxed out at 60" and I still had an 8" air gap to the other antler!!!

    The hooting and hollering started as we knew whispering was no longer necessary. Two legal bulls was our highest hope for this trip, but two incredible bulls and one at 68" wide was never even possible in my mind and we accomplished just that in 3 days!!! The meat packing was intense, but a couple days later we had roughly 1100 lbs of delicious moose meat hung and laying below a very stout meat pole. The experience was amazing, the hunt incredible, and the memories unforgettable!


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  2. Dominantbuck

    Dominantbuck New Member

    Feb 5, 2016
    Got this nice WI buck opening weekend with my 338Win. He came in chasing does right at sunset. I had an opportunity at this deer 2 weeks earlier during bow season, but didn't get the shot off...glad he gave me a second chance...

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  3. NW Hunter

    NW Hunter Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2010
    Took my first mulie October 9th, 2017.
    While sitting on a viewpoint with shots of 800 yards in front of me, this guy was sneaking behind me at 42 yards!
    A Berger VLD 140 from my 6.5x284 dropped him in his tracks. 3989.png
  4. Labaherd

    Labaherd Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2017
    After not drawing my first choice hunts in 3 different states I talked to NTO and Dr Brenda told me to put in for a left over cow elk tag. so that was what I did. At the same time my business partner who i was driving nuts because I could draw anything encouraged me to find another hunt. I am a member of Epic Outdoors so i called them and they gave me contact info for a New Mexico hunt. I called and spoke with the outfitter and decided to book the hunt. That hunt was unit 36 second rifle. In the mean time I ended up drawing the cow tag. So now I need to figure out how to make both hunts work. I talked with Robb and he gave me two options. Come hunt during normal elk season or come once bull season closes and they would do a cow hunt plus a notified shooting school. I chose the shooting school/hunt
    So I left California on the 25th of October and headed to New Mexico. Once there I met my guide and when and shot my rifle then went scouting. We found a real nice bull and put him to bed. Opening morning we were set up on the bull. Around 8 am he came sneaking out. He seamed to know we were there, He always kept brush and trees between him and us. He finally cleared the brush and I had to preposition. I screwed around to long trying to get on sticks to shoot and he walked in to the brush out of my sight. Not 30 seconds later there was a shot below us. There was another hunter that snuck in and took him. For the next 4 days we covered miles and miles looking for another bull. Last day last min we found a nice 5x6 but darkness got us. So no animal in New Mexico. Now I needed to be in Wyoming for my shooting school cow hunt. I drive like a mad man driving 960 miles to figure out I had an extra day before I need to be in NTO camp. I arrived in camp on November 4th. My guides and teachers from NTO was Dylan Smith and Nick Morgan. They no longer unload the horse and take me to the range to zero my rifle and shoot some steel. The first morning Robb came to camp and we double checked my rifle and shooting positions, and went through a ton of information that made my head spin from info over load, which I soaked up like a sponge. We ate lunch and loaded the horses and off we went looking for elk. We had gotten about 2 feet for snow so it was helping moving the animals. Day 2 we left early and went to a different area looking. We were getting ready to head back and in the middle of no where a lost dog found us. So the dog followed us back to the truck where it made it's self comfortable in the cab where it was warm. We got back to camp and warmed up then out to the range shooting more steel from different positions. Day 3 it had stopped snowing so we went back where we had hunted day 1. we started seeing animals before we unloaded the horses. We rode about 1 mile from the tuck when we came upon a group of cows. Where I was able to harvest one. Once back in camp and all the celebrating was over we were back out to the range shooting targets. In all I shot around 100 rounds and had an absolute blast. Dylan and Nick are both great at guiding as well as great instructors. 1436.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  5. big dave

    big dave New Member

    Nov 4, 2012
    One of those DAYS. Ever have the day when you get in shower and then realize the soap is size of a quarter, then your shampoo is empty and the razor has a bit in it that just carved a creek into your face?
    Well I had a hunting day start that way. Woke up with plenty of time to spare. Got dressed and went outside. That’s when I realized the truck, which was loaded, and ATV trailer were moved and not ready (son used truck about 2200) so I hooked up. Glanced in cab, gun, ammo, pack all seemed there. I get to area I’m going to hunt. Get out and start to unload ATV. First one off will not start. Dead battery. Thank you Jesus for the 2nd one on trailer. These straps where so tight and no room left on ratchet that I cut them off in frustration (son again). So it starts!! I ride 3 miles to the tractor trail I intend to use. I get to my parking area. Something just doesn’t look right. I take no more than 10 steps and I hear SQUISH. The duck hunters in the area started to flood their fields way early! And within the last week ! No way to get back into this scope of woods. Do I hunt this field, wrong wind for that. Cross the levy, Nope other field is same duck hunters. So I fly back down to were truck is. This is a 350 acre area but again time and wind are not on my side. I’m driving ATV through the fields path. I’m planning on going where my dad and I hunted just days before. But this is really a better evening hunt. For some strange reason, I yank a hard left and head to a scope of woods in this field. I had just told Dad that I’ve never even walked or road that thick area. By this point it’s about five min till shooting time. And of course I’m even more irritated. Find some brush, park ATV in it. I hurry and find some tall area of grass. Time not on my side. So I put my turkey chair in it and have a seat. I just figure this will be a scouting trip by now. Get comfy, confirm CVA smoker is ready to go. Get my phone, shooting time, I start typing a text to let my family know location. Next thought to laser some trees. I look up and there is a 9 point walking broadside!!!! I actually thought as I raised up that this was his lucky day because I’m sure something else would go wrong. Nope!! One shot from 50 cal with 300 gr sst. 9 point weighed 200 lbs at processor. Must admit he looked huge beside the does and 6 pointers coming in. He wasn’t my true swamp monster. But, many good lessons. Always Always have Plan C, D and E !!!
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  6. jgs8163

    jgs8163 Well-Known Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  7. CaptnC

    CaptnC Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2017
    Colombiana Sniper Part 2

    We made another trip to the lease this past weekend. The forecast called for much cooler weather and a north wind so we would be able to hunt from the box blind.

    With us hunting out of the box blind it meant she could hunt with her 6.5-06 Colombian mauser. I have it loaded pretty hot with 130gr Sierra HPBT moving at 3100 fps. It was pretty much a chip shot compared to her last shot 114yds.

    After the feeder went off the deer started coming in from every where...5 small bucks and 2 doe with button buck fawns. We were looking for a particular spike buck, but he was a no show. Then a late arrival, a lone doe that was noyt in too good of shape compared to the rest of the deer we were watching. It was late so I gave her the green light!

    Not a bang flop like the buck, but she ran about 15yds before she folded. The shot placement about as perfect as you could have ask for, the HPBT made a nice exit hole had she ran any distance.
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  8. BrianV

    BrianV New Member

    Nov 24, 2017
    Elk 1.JPG elk 2.JPG
    I shot this 7 x 7 372 gross scored elk in Southern Alberta with my 7 mm Browning STW at 200 yards with a 168 grain Burger bullet. This gun is equipped with Quigley Ford 4 x 16 power scope. The wind was blowing in my face at 90 km/hr and drifting snow and the temperature was about -15 below zero. The bullet hit the elk and after taking 3 steps he dropped. Ended up being a double lung shot.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  9. Barrelnut

    Barrelnut Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2013
    BrianV, That's a good way to get started on the forum. Congratulations and welcome.
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  10. Canhunter35

    Canhunter35 Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2017
    Found this buck on my land day before season opened. I looked for four days around, trying to find him. Our picture window looks onto the field about a 2 miles away, so me and my wife took turns keeping an eye out for him with the spotting scope. Had a couple false alarms with small mule deer bucks bedding down with 20 does then yesterday my wife calls me saying a buck just chased the little one away with all the does. Shot him with my 308 at 327 yds, trotting away rear quartered to me. Best whitetail I’ve shot! Both brow tines fork making him a 7x7.
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  11. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2003
    The area I hunt in Montana has about an 8% success rate for elk. For non-residents like me, it's even lower. I got lucky in 2008 with the help of a local, and scored a decent 6X6 bull at 683 yards with my 300WM. This is true back country (Bob Marshall), so hikes in are long and packing out is longer. We go in on foot to places nobody else goes without horses.

    I also hunted there 2009 and 2010, but the wolves came in between the 2008 and 2009 seasons. As a result, everything changed. In 2008 I saw decent numbers of elk, and trophy mule deer were on every ridgetop at midday. In 2009 I saw only a few elk, got shots on none legal, and almost no deer. In 2010 we basically saw nothing, and shifted money and hunting priorities elsewhere.

    Ever since I've been itching for that back country experience. I wanted to go back before I got too old to hunt like this. I'd heard things had improved somewhat with some control of the wolves. I really wanted to go back, and I found a companion willing to go. So I got a tag for 2017.

    I felt the unbraked 300WM was the biggest gun I'd own, but I read a ton about the 338 Edge on here over the years. I decided I would tolerate the requirement for a brake and build a big 338 for this hunt. So I sought out the perfect balance for a 338 hunting rifle. I ended up with a Stiller Predator action with Wyatts 4" box, and Sendero contour 30" McGowan Remage barrel with Heathen brake (I do all my own gun building so DIY parts are a must) set in a McMillan A3 Sporter. A true gunsmith would cringe at what I accomplished with a dremel to modify the action but if works perfectly. I couldn't be happier with the result. The gun is stupid accurate; a ladder test at 100 yards resulted in a single ragged hold. I've never shot such an un-picky rifle. I settled on a load with the 285gr ELD-M at 2970fps with Re33. I shot the rifle in a match that started at 1000 yards and went to 2000 and placed third. This gave me high confidence in my understanding of this load in this rifle. I had nearly 300 rounds down range before taking the rifle on the hunt. It weighs 14lbs all-up to hunt.

    We completed the 26 hour drive to Montana with time to hike in the evening before opening day. Unfortunately with the 7-year hiatus, I did not totally remember the unmarked "roads" into the parking lot. An unfriendly local having fun with us and giving wrong directions cost us an hour. A friendly local with great information corrected us, and we made it!

    We did not win the weather lottery. Straightline winds were 40mph when we arrived. We packed up our gear with a 3-day camp and began the ~6-mile hike in to our planned camping spot. Recent fires burning to within .5-2 mile of planned hunting spots made me nervous, so I wanted to camp close to allow us maximum flexibility during hunting hours.

    The wind and sleet were brutal hiking in. Our approach required passing through a narrow canyon to access the back country, and as we approached it tunneled the wind and it became extreme. Darkness had fallen, and having done the trail before I decided it was too treacherous to attempt in the dark with a full pack. So we camped half the intended distance in. Given the long drive, we slept hard that night even with the whipping wind on the tent.

    Given fatigue we got a bit of a late start in the morning and a couple hunters with horses had passed us before we got out of camp. Another wrong turn on the trail due to the 7 year hiatus, and this put us approaching the first potential spot with elk soon after sunrise as opposed to before as planned. As we approached, we saw a couple horses tied up so we knew the drainage was occupied.

    Moving up a bit and gaining sight to the first mountain side I thought may contain elk, lo and behold there was a bull in the clearing. We dropped packs and got glass on him, and determined it was just a forkhorn. We watched for awhile, but then I decided we should pack up and continue climbing to give us a better observation post. I doubted he was alone.

    Just as we started moving again, a shot rang out up the mountain by the elk. Then a second. Then a third. As I dropped my pack and got on the rifle again, a fourth shot rang out. A whole herd of elk, roughly 10 cows, moved to the left and up the mountain into the clear above the trees. Behind them, a single bull with a legal rack followed. As I got my scope on this bull, no more shooting happened. He did not appear wounded. The elk, which I expected to continue to crest the ridge 200 yards above and leave, stopped and froze completely. I got my Sig2000 out and ranged the bull at 715yds straightline, though he was about 1000ft elevation above me, very steep angle. Wind was significant.

    Given the entirety of the situation, I did not have time to power up my phone and run an entire solution, and I did not trust a shooter position wind reading to accurately predict the drift. So I consulted my drop chart in my scope cover, deliberately under-valued the wind, and elected to fire a spotter shot in front of the elk into the perfectly thinly snow covered hillside. If it spooked the elk so be it I would pass, if not, I would have accurate data for a follow-up.

    I fired the shot and dangnabit I slipped in the snow and lost the hit in the scope. The elk didn't move, so I re-set. Given the angle I actually had a great setup, with the butt of the rifle basically in the dirt to make the steep angle so the gun was very steady. I fired the second with the same hold, and clearly saw the spotter hit. The vertical was VERY close and as I expected the wind downrange was more than I would have called from my location. The elk couldn't care less. I measured the shot with the reticle, shifted over to the elk, and carefully sent the round.

    The .8 second flight time passed slowly and then I heard the hit. The bull folded immediately and sledded down the steep, snow-covered slop for 200 yards. I willed him to stop before the rack was damaged, especially after he did a flip. Eventually he stopped, and I could see the rack was intact.


    This shot is taken from where the elk came to rest. The shot was taken from the bottom of the valley at the bottom center of the photo. The truck is about 8 miles away, 2 miles outside the canyon visible in the upper center of the photo.

    The climb to the elk was difficult; later mapping verified a 1000-1200ft elevation different from shooting location to elk location.


    This pic does no justice to the incline. It's not a big bull, 4X6 satellite bull, but I'm very pleased with him. I hit a bit forward of what was intended, but not enough to matter obviously. After I shot I saw the other hunter emerge from his location (safely away from my shooting, I had a pretty good location on him from the many shots), and was concerned that we had shot at the same bull though I was careful to look and see if he appeared wounded. It turned out he had shot the larger herd bull and hit him all 4 times with a 7RM a couple hundred yards downhill of where mine landed.

    We boned him out and getting the meat out was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. But boy does he taste good.

    I'm a believer in the 338 after this hunt. The experience was amazing. I'm not sure I'll ever get to do an on-foot back country hunt like this again, so this was a good way to potentially finish it.

    Thanks for reading.
  12. Rich Coyle

    Rich Coyle Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2013
    Fun read. Thanks, congrats.
  13. Timnterra

    Timnterra Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    Wow, there are some great stories and awesome pics in this thread! I love seeing folks get out and hunt, I especially love the pics of kids and knowing that the heritage of hunting is being passed on to the next generation!
  14. Timnterra

    Timnterra Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    I’m going to try and keep this story brief, but no guarantees. I was blessed with 5 big game tags in SD this year. One west river any whitetail and two antlerless, one Black Hills any whitetail, and a cow elk tag. Elk season starts Friday but I just tagged my last doe.
    It has been a difficult season, with the rut starting about a week and a half later than usual. It also seems like the drought from the last two years has caused a significant decline in deer numbers.
    But it has been a great hunting season none the less with several firsts! I have played the role of guide to several first time SD deer hunters and they have all been successful. In the short two week season I took four guys hunting. Two was their first time hunting South Dakota and one was the first time hunting period. I also made the longest shot of my life this season and probably the deer I’m most proud of. To keep it short I’ll spare the stories and just give the details with the pictures. The first guy I guided shot his first SD whitetail at 200yds with his first rifle a tikka 270. At the same time another buddy of mine shot a doe that was with the buck at 200yds with his AR15. The next guy, I have been working with on shooting long range at steel. He took his first SD whitetail at 400yds with his savage 308. The next week he took his wife back and she got her first deer in the same spot with the same rifle at 180yds. Next I took a preacher friend of mine with a broken ankle to shoot his first deer ever. I had to coach him to shoot before the shot and he used my rifle to shoot his first deer with his first ever trigger pull on a scopes rifle. The distance was 670yds! He made a good shot and then we hobbled over to the deer with his crutches. Finally I killed a doe yesterday with the longest shot I’ve ever taken at an animal. I think I’m prouder of this doe than any buck I’ve ever killed! The shot was 980yds with a 6.5x47 lapua! It required 28.25 minutes of elevation and three minutes of wind correction. The round hit a little further back than I would have liked, it clipped the top of the left lung and went through the liver. The doe took a step while the bullet was in flight for the 1.4 seconds after I squeezed the trigger. I couldn’t be more proud!

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