Hunting Washington Forum

Big Game Hunting => Other Big Game => Topic started by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 03:00:40 PM

Title: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 03:00:40 PM
[In case you don't get the reference, the subject line is from the movie Tombstone, one of my favorite lines ever.  I have a hard time saying the word huckleberry without seeing Val Kilmer.   :chuckle:]

With 19 points, I was finally able to buck the odds and draw my first WA OIL permit, the early Huckleberry moose tag.  I went on a guided moose hunt in Canada about 15 years ago, but for all intents and purposes I was a complete moose novice.  I had limited scouting time for various reasons, including a Nevada elk hunt in September, but made a trip to the Huckleberry in August just to learn the roads and figure out the lay of the land.  I read all the Hunt-Wa posts on NE moose to learn what I could, and contacted a few of the moosey members here (Benhuntin, Shane, Boneaddict and Bowhunterforever) for any tips.  Really want to thank you guys for taking the time to point me in the right direction. 

I got to the Huckleberry three days before the season started to do some scouting and try to locate a good bull before the opener.  With me for those first few days were my 10 year old kid, plus my cousin and a buddy from Arizona who were able to come up for the weekend and opener.  We were still learning roads and checking new country, but were able to lay eyes on seven bulls, all small, between Sunday and Monday.  None of those bulls had cows, which led me to think the rut hadn’t quite kicked in.  It snowed quite a bit in the high country last weekend, about 10” or so on top of the mountains I wanted to hunt.  The early snow pulled down countless trees across the roads.  Between that and snowdrifts, a number of the higher roads and areas were effectively inaccessible.  So I focused a little lower where we could still get around, but the snow definitely put a crimp on our plans. 

We couldn’t hunt moose til October 1, but that didn’t keep my kid from utilizing his .410!



[to be continued]
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 03:00:59 PM
The opener on Tuesday was a beautiful day in the snow. 
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 03:01:08 PM
Since we had already been looking for moose for three days before the season actually started, I was totally okay to shoot one first thing Tuesday should it come together while everyone was there.  Another hunter punched his tag about 8:30am opening morning on a smaller bull they called in, and we helped them load it whole into their truck.  We saw five bulls that day, but no shooters.  Interestingly, of those five bulls we saw on Tuesday, ALL of them had cows.  None had cows on Monday, and ALL had cows on Tuesday.  Crazy to think they could all just pair up that quickly?  I did a lot of calling, but ultimately I’m a glasser and don’t have the patience to sit and wait and hope something responds to my calls.  So instead I’d make a few calls and give a spot 15-20 minutes while we glassed, but then we’ve move on to the next glassing point. 

All my crew had to leave on Wednesday after the morning hunt, at which point I’d be left alone to load a bull if/when it happens.  That was a scary thought since none of the bulls we had glassed up were really all that close to a road.  But I had time and the weather was cold.  It might take me three days to get a bull out but figured I’d just cross that bridge when the time comes. 

...a few of the bulls from Tuesday.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 03:01:17 PM
On Wednesday we went back to the same general vicinity we were in on Tuesday.  My kid and I went one direction and quickly glassed up a smaller bull with a cow.  My cousin and buddy were just down the hill, and at about 8am they called on the radio to tell us they’d found a bull worth looking at, in about the same spot we’d seen a bull the day before about a mile as the crow flies across a drainage.  By the time I got there, the bull was bedded behind some trees and all I could see was the body of his cow through the spotter.  I couldn’t see a good way to get there without hiking up from the bottom, and that didn’t look fun, let alone the idea of putting a bull on my back from that location.  I was prepared to move on, assuming this was probably the bull we’d seen previously, but then I zoomed in on a digiscoped pic taken by my cousin before the bull bedded.  He had a big paddle that got my attention.  This one was worth going after, at least to get a closer look. 
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 03:21:15 PM
I marked where I thought the bull was on OnX, then down, down, down the mountain I drove to get around to the other side of the basin.  I drove up the other side as far as I could, then got out and started the hike back to the top of the ridge where I thought the bull was.   My buddy Chad came along for the first hour of the hike, but then everyone had to bail for the airport at 10am.  No more spotters or helpers after that.  About 9:30a on our climb, we got to where the bull should be according to my OnX mark, but no bull.  So we quietly called back to my cousin, behind the glass at the original glassing spot, to see if he could point us in the right direction. But he couldn't see us?  What?  We're standing on an open hillside?  So I get out some hunter orange and start waving it, and after a minute or so we hear back from my cousin...we're no where close to where the bull is, and in fact have to hike back down the next draw and up the ridge on the other side before we were on the right spine and could climb the last 1,000 feet or so to the bull.  Good grief. Did I mention they all needed to leave at 10am?  That news was the capper, and Chad was off back down the mountain to the airport, with my kid and cousin in tow.  I was alone with a solid 1,000 feet to climb to the bull.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: benhuntin on October 08, 2019, 03:45:55 PM
Hello  let’s get the good ones up there.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Brushcrawler on October 08, 2019, 06:23:27 PM
And then...
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Alchase on October 08, 2019, 06:34:16 PM
Thanks for taking us along, anticipation sucks, lol
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: CaNINE on October 08, 2019, 07:34:28 PM
Along for the ride
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: jackelope on October 08, 2019, 07:34:41 PM
What the heck! I will ban you fast enough to make your head spin!!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: teanawayslayer on October 08, 2019, 07:44:38 PM
What the heck! I will ban you fast enough to make your head spin!!
that would be abusing your power! :bdid:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 09:51:12 PM
The climb was VERY slow with the snow, seemed every few feet I’d step in a hole and have to dig my way back out.  And for some unknown reason I left the truck with 10's around my neck, and 15's, a spotter and a tripod in my pack.  The climb continued for a couple hours until I got pretty close to the top of the mountain, still without seeing a moose.  Of course, being on the same side of the hill makes it much harder to find the animal.  I looked and looked but never caught a glimpse of a moose and really had no idea which of the many bunches of trees they had been in.  So I kept going uphill, staying on the downwind side of a small draw where I was thinking they would be.  Eventually I was within about 200 yards of the ridgeline at the top of the mountain when I decided I must have passed them or they bailed.  So I crossed the draw to the other side, downwind, and just then caught a glimpse of a big black hind end back across the draw towards the top of the ridge.  193 yards away.  I got out my big glass to zoom in and see if I couldn’t make out horns through the trees.  From the size, I was convinced that back end had to belong to a big bull, but I watched for probably 10 minutes and was 90% sure this was just a cow.  About then, another cow poked its head out from a tree nearby…still no horns.  After a minute or two, that second cow took a couple of quick steps out into the open, and right on her tail was the bull.  He looked good.  I still had the big glass out and could quickly make out a good paddle, laid out flat and wide, with a double brow on the near side.  Then he turned his head and I could see a triple brow on the opposite side, and that was enough for me. 
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 10:02:05 PM
I jacked a shell into the chamber and waited for the cow in the back to clear.  When she did, the bull was quartering away, and I fired behind the shoulder.  The bull did a classic deer kick and quickly ran out of sight.  In the videos, seems the moose usually lock their knees and stand there, but this guy reacted like a deer.  Clearly I hit him, but did he run off and over the mountain?  I couldn't tell, but had a good feeling about my shot. 

Before I even laid eyes on him and confirmed he was dead, the panic set in on how would I get this bull off the mountain?  I moved over a few feet and could see horns in the snow, I had a bull down.  It was 12:30p Wednesday, Day 2.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 08, 2019, 10:30:29 PM
I made my way over to the bull and was blown away by his size.  Man these things are big.  From the blood in the snow, I could tell the shot went through both lungs.  He didn't make it 20 feet.  I spent the next 15 minutes or so cleaning up the scene for pics, then took a few timer pics off my backpack until my phone died in the cold.  I gutted him and propped him open, skinned the top side to help him cool down, then left my sweater on his rack for scent.  I headed down the mountain about 3pm with the goal to find a better way in than the three hour uphill trek in the snow.  It took me 90 minutes to get to the truck, all downhill. 

Sorry folks, you'll need to wait til tomorrow for pics!

Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: huntnnw on October 08, 2019, 11:03:20 PM
 :tup: cant wait to see pics
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: elkrack on October 08, 2019, 11:23:51 PM
That’s cold! Great story though congrats  :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: HillHound on October 09, 2019, 12:10:32 AM
Congrats.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: TVHunts on October 09, 2019, 03:28:54 AM


Sorry folks, you'll need to wait til tomorrow for pics!
[/quote]

It is tomorrow now, let’s have the pics already!  And, how the heck you got him out of there...
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: SemperFidelis97 on October 09, 2019, 05:53:04 AM
Fantastic story, I am looking foreword to the pictured.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: dreamingbig on October 09, 2019, 06:25:43 AM
Great story


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: fishngamereaper on October 09, 2019, 06:57:05 AM
I would of cancled my flight...no way would I have left someone on a moose alone....

Great story so far.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: mfswallace on October 09, 2019, 07:04:09 AM
 :hello:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: HillHound on October 09, 2019, 07:23:02 AM
Same thing happened to me last year. My brother was there for the first two weeks of season and then he had to leave. Of course I shot it on day number 15. Only took me close to 12 hours to get it out by myself.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: starbailey on October 09, 2019, 07:37:36 AM
What a great story and cant wait to see a pic.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: lewy on October 09, 2019, 07:43:30 AM
 :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: 7mmfan on October 09, 2019, 07:57:37 AM
I would of cancled my flight...no way would I have left someone on a moose alone....

Great story so far.

 :yeah:  Or at least had a helicopter pilot on retainer to lift that baby out.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: jrebel on October 09, 2019, 07:59:58 AM
Reading this post makes me cringe at the thought of packing a moose out that far.  We took mine out in 7 pieces and we were able to get the argo right to it.  Packing these massive animals would be quite the chore. 

Waiting in anticipation for the rest of the story.   :tup: :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: jackelope on October 09, 2019, 08:04:47 AM
What the heck! I will ban you fast enough to make your head spin!!
that would be abusing your power! :bdid:

Executive order. Sorry.

It's tomorrow somewhere... HERE to be specific!!

Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: highside74 on October 09, 2019, 08:15:31 AM
Very cool so far. Thanks for entertaining us.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: bornhunter on October 09, 2019, 08:22:38 AM
Waiting!!!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 09, 2019, 08:26:37 AM
Here he is.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: 724wd on October 09, 2019, 08:31:42 AM
Excellent!!!!   :tup: :tup: :tup: :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: jrebel on October 09, 2019, 08:36:46 AM
Very nice moose!!!  Lots of great meat too.   :tup: :tup: :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Tapp8277 on October 09, 2019, 08:37:48 AM
Awesome bull! Congrats! I love that unit over there.  Can't wait to be back this Sunday  :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Roobugsdad on October 09, 2019, 08:53:21 AM
Very nice Bull. And a great story as well..
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: elkrack on October 09, 2019, 09:15:27 AM
Great bull! :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: pianoman9701 on October 09, 2019, 09:39:55 AM
Boy, what a crusher! He's great. Congrats!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 09, 2019, 10:02:36 AM
My phone charge, along with my OnX map, died in the cold.  So I figured I better just follow my tracks back out to the truck, recharge, and then figure out on the map if I could find a new way back in.  On the way out, I crossed multiple fresh black bear and coyote tracks.  I either wasn't paying attention on the way in, or these were fresh in the last 4-5 hours.  My three day pack out plan wasn't going to work well if the bears and coyotes are chomping away on the carcass.

I got back to the truck, got a phone charge, and went to work on finding a new route in.  My 75 year old dad came to join me - he can't hike or pack, but he can help find routes and cut trees!  There were two old roads that got relatively close, but both were snowed in and had many blocking trees.  We took the better of the two and cut our way as close as possible.  I got to within a mile or so of the bull over rough terrain that evening, but no closer.  I was prepared to just cut him up and hike out that mile - probably 7 trips that would not be fun, but it would be doable over two days or so. 

We went back to camp that night with that plan in mind.  But about 8pm that night my dad gets a call from the son of an old friend, who happens to live near Spokane.  He had heard about the moose, and was able and willing to come help pack the next day.  !!!   :tup:  Even better, his neighbor could also come, and they had quads.   :tup:  I wasn't sure the quads would help much if we couldn't get closer than a mile, but at least I had two extra hands to help.  Things were definitely looking up!

The bunch of us headed in the next day, we had to do plenty more tree clearing to get their truck and trailer in, but ultimately got back to the same road as the night before.  From there, we explored a series of drag trails to see if we could get closer.  After a few false starts, we found one that took us all the way to the draw where I shot from.  From there, we were within a couple hundred yards of the bull.  We went to work, and about four hours later had him bagged up and sledding downhill to the quads.  No predators had showed up, we were out and back to the truck by sundown on Thursday.  What a relief that was!  In case they read this, a huge shout out to Jeff and Casey for coming to the rescue!  Can't imagine doing all that by myself, thank you again!

Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: pianoman9701 on October 09, 2019, 10:06:16 AM
Great ending to the story. It's wonderful when people step up like that to help out others.

By the way, did you make that bed extension? That looks pretty handy. :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: jrebel on October 09, 2019, 10:11:34 AM
Excellent ending to a great story.  Glad you found help.  How wide is he???  Looks like a dandy. 
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: bornhunter on October 09, 2019, 10:16:31 AM
Great bull. Congrats!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 09, 2019, 10:50:23 AM
Great ending to the story. It's wonderful when people step up like that to help out others.

By the way, did you make that bed extension? That looks pretty handy. :tup:

No kidding, so glad those guys were able and willing!

Bed extension comes from Toyota.  It folds back into the bed, so I pretty much just carry it with me all the time.  Definitely comes in handy!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 09, 2019, 10:51:14 AM
Excellent ending to a great story.  Glad you found help.  How wide is he???  Looks like a dandy.

Thank you!  He is 48".
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: pianoman9701 on October 09, 2019, 11:04:20 AM
Great ending to the story. It's wonderful when people step up like that to help out others.

By the way, did you make that bed extension? That looks pretty handy. :tup:

No kidding, so glad those guys were able and willing!

Bed extension comes from Toyota.  It folds back into the bed, so I pretty much just carry it with me all the time.  Definitely comes in handy!

Cool. I'll check one out.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Craig on October 09, 2019, 11:06:20 AM
Awesome bull
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: jackelope on October 09, 2019, 11:19:45 AM
Yaaassss!
Congrats man. Stud bull and a great story to boot.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: blackveltbowhunter on October 09, 2019, 11:38:50 AM
Awesome :tup: great Bull!!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: deadwoodbuck on October 09, 2019, 12:49:37 PM
SO SWEET I’m so jealous loved the play out of the story CONGRATS  :tup: :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: trophyhunt on October 09, 2019, 12:59:35 PM
Wow, great story and even better bull!!! So jealous, that’s a brute!  Congrats!!!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: coachcw on October 09, 2019, 01:03:43 PM
very nice bull congrats .
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: HUNTINCOUPLE on October 09, 2019, 01:39:57 PM
 :tup: Great bull moose!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: ganghis on October 09, 2019, 01:42:49 PM
Awesome!  Great bull - congrats!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Rob on October 09, 2019, 01:47:08 PM
Great story, glad I found the thread once it was all posted though!

Wonderful moose!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: wheels on October 09, 2019, 01:48:03 PM
congrats dream bull
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Buckjunkie on October 09, 2019, 01:50:42 PM
Great bull congratulations!! Thanks for sharing your hunt with us.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: 180-GRAIN on October 09, 2019, 01:56:02 PM
Great bull!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Benny on October 09, 2019, 01:59:33 PM
Congrats man. Working smarter not harder like always  :)
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Igottanewknee on October 09, 2019, 02:09:17 PM
Great bull, great story!!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Pinetar on October 09, 2019, 02:44:21 PM
Awesome Bull, great story. Congrats and thanks for sharing!!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: fishngamereaper on October 09, 2019, 02:53:17 PM
  :tup:

Disappointed you didn't pack it out yourself.. :chuckle:

Kidding. Nice bull
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: teanawayslayer on October 09, 2019, 08:08:59 PM
Great bull! Excellent write up! Thanks for taking us along!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: INF on October 09, 2019, 08:26:22 PM
Congrats on a great bull! Would you mind if I PM you, to pick your brain about the unit? My dad has the huckleberry late moose tag. Thank you and congrats again.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 09, 2019, 08:33:16 PM
I would of cancled my flight...no way would I have left someone on a moose alone....

Great story so far.

Trust me, those guys wanted to make it happen. You don’t fly out of state for a buddy’s hunt and not want to stick around for the good stuff. But they had two daughters waiting at home with mule deer tags in their pockets, and their hunt started the next day. They couldn’t leave their kids hanging. My cousin felt bad enough about bailing that he found bearpaw’s website and called about packers (none available) before I was back to my truck!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 09, 2019, 08:37:34 PM
Congrats on a great bull! Would you mind if I PM you, to pick your brain about the unit? My dad has the huckleberry late moose tag. Thank you and congrats again.

Sure, there are other guys here that know more than I, but happy to pass along what I learned.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: SuperDave on October 09, 2019, 09:54:08 PM
What a great hunt and a very nice bull. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your story!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: bowhunterforever on October 11, 2019, 03:13:56 PM
Great story and bull :tup: Congrats again
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: SWHUNTER on October 11, 2019, 04:20:41 PM
Nice story and bull! Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: rosscrazyelk on October 11, 2019, 07:57:10 PM
Nice moose congrats
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: huntnphool on October 11, 2019, 08:18:28 PM
Fantastic :tup:
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: trophyhunt on October 11, 2019, 08:36:26 PM
What a great bull!! 
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: hunting4sanity on October 11, 2019, 09:40:47 PM
Beautiful bull, congratulations!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: hambone on October 13, 2019, 07:24:10 PM
Gongrats great bull was up in huckleberry for opening of deer a guy showed me pics of a pack of 6 wolfs they seen opening morning they had taken down a small bull moose
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: BullMagnet76 on October 16, 2019, 03:04:55 PM
Great Bull!!!!  Congrats!!!!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: 270 on October 18, 2019, 01:28:48 PM
Thank you for the response. Your inbox is full so I couldn't reply to your pm.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: WAcoueshunter on October 18, 2019, 01:32:07 PM
Thank you for the response. Your inbox is full so I couldn't reply to your pm.

Sorry about that, just made some room!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Machias on October 18, 2019, 05:00:48 PM
Awesome write up, thanks for sharing.  Congrats on a Super nice bull!!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: boneaddict on October 22, 2019, 08:46:18 AM
RIGHT ON!    Sweet, I'm glad your hunt turned out.   Great bull!
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: X-Force on October 22, 2019, 09:38:54 AM
Phenomenal
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: hunterednate on October 24, 2019, 10:47:23 AM
Awesome bull! And congrats to your son on the grouse.
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: ghosthunter on October 24, 2019, 11:23:14 AM
Tell us about your equipment. Gun , scope, etc.
Anything you wished you had brought?
Anything you would change?
Title: Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
Post by: Odell on October 24, 2019, 12:49:01 PM
Great bull and thanks for the story!