Read on for Part 2 of Ronnie Lambrich's Yukon moose hunt story.
Part 1 can be found here.
Ronnie saw brown bear almost everyday in the flats, and the closest one was probably 400 yards. One morning, when they got ready to hike a bit, they walked about 40 yards from their tents and discovered fresh bear tracks in the trail. The bear had crossed during the night. Rule number one, you take your firearm with you everywhere.
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Near lunchtime on day six they spotted two huge bulls approximately two miles from camp, across the willow flat, squaring off to fight. What a thrill to get to witness these two animals locking up and starting to scuffle. Their encounter escalated into an absolute brawl.
It looked like two bulldozers shoving each other back and forth, up to 50 yards at a time. After fighting for what seemed like an eternity, they separated and disappeared into the brush. The hunters realized later that they had just laid down to rest from their exhaustion.
After a lunchtime discussion, they decided to hike out into the fighting bulls' direction and see if they could call one in. Even though it was farther from spike camp than they would have preferred, the days were running short.
After hiking to a slightly elevated vantage point they had marked from spike camp, they got set up to call. The guide made one bull grunt and one of the bulls stood up, 500 yards away. They could only see his paddles in the brush, but knew he took offense to another bull being in his area. After a couple more calls and thrashing some brush, he began his march straight to them. A few minutes later, this majestic animal was standing 150 yards on a riverbank in front of them, looking for a fight.
It was the moment in time Ronnie had dreamed about, saved for, and, before now, could only imagine what it would feel like. The guide said he was a mature, legal bull and he could shoot when ready. As he clicked the safety off of his .338 Win Mag. and prepared for the shot, he was almost in disbelief as to what was about to happen. After making a well placed first shot and two follow up shots as the moose turned to retreat into the brush, they saw the giant fall about 50 yards from where he shot.
Now the emotions were real. As they walked up on this giant of an animal laying on the ground, the reality of the situation had finally set in. Ronnie wasn't from an area that has moose, and there is just no way you can anticipate the size of these beasts. After taking a few minutes to absorb what had just happened, they started taking pictures and enjoying the moment.
As they say, "Now the work starts." In this case, that was an understatement. It was about 4:00 in the afternoon and they had to leave the kill site at 7:00 to get back to spike camp before dark. They caped and quartered for three hours, then spread it out and covered it up in hopes that the bear wouldn't find it before morning. They left it and started the two mile hike back to spike camp.
The next morning, it was a quick two miles back to kill site. For two full days, they hiked back and forth, carrying meat on their backs to get it all to the remote landing strip. With heavy clothes, a rubber suit, hip waders, rifle and 100 pounds of cargo on their back, it was a little tougher than Ronnie thought it would be. Every step he took in the marshy terrain, he would sink into the ground almost up to his knees.
After the first day of packing, they had all of the moose halfway to camp, and a shoulder and hindquarter back to the airstrip. During the night, a bear found the meat they had hid near the landing strip and it was gone. Not happy about all the work only to lose their fare to the bear, they followed the bear tracks into the brush to try and recover it. The small Cub-style plane came and flew over the area looking for the bear and where he might have buried the food. The bear appeared to be gone, and the pilot was able to spot where the ground had been disturbed, and they recovered what was left of Ronnie's moose meat.
On the afternoon of the second day of packing out, they flew Ronnie back to base camp. He was relaxed and filled with such a sense of accomplishment that he later said couldn't be described. After a home cooked meal, hot shower and hunting stories told into the night, it started to sink in about where he was and what he had just accomplished. Very few men can claim such a triumph in the wilderness of the Alaskan Yukon.
The next day, after waiting again for the weather to improve, they were able to fly back to King Salmon, and Ronnie began his return trip to Virginia.
The 57" Alaskan Yukon Bull Moose is now at the taxidermist, and Ronnie's story ends the same way it started; it was truly the adventure of a lifetime.
The adventure may have ended, but the memories will last a lifetime. Remington Country Outfitters was proud to be part of making Ronnie's dream hunt a reality.