When my partner James Brion, the president of Magnum Hunt Club, told me we should film a moose hunt in the Yukon Territory, I was all ears. We needed content for Nosler's Magnum TV, and moose hunts always make for a great show. Thinking about where to go for a trophy moose, Dr. Dirk Krumsiek's Lone Wolf Outfitting, Ltd. immediately came to mind. We had filmed Nosler's 60th anniversary show with Lone Wolf Outfitting Ltd. and it had been a game packed adventure! I had a feeling that if we hunted with them again, the odds for taking a trophy bull would be in our favor.
Ironically, I had started my outdoor career in the Yukon Territory many years ago, guiding other hunters for sheep and moose. Five long, tough seasons in those mountains taught me a lot of life lessons. My clients and I chased sheep and giant moose throughout each fall and I loved every minute of it. Going on this hunt would be my first chance to return to the Yukon after all these years.
We arrived in Whitehorse and spent the day preparing our gear and camera equipment. I met Dirk and his head guide Manuel for lunch and got all of our flight details arranged for the following day. The cameraman on this trip was Carson Nutting. Carson is a sheep guide and has spent several years in the Territories working as both a guide and cameraman. Looking forward to the hunt, I thought to myself, "I am in the Yukon the last week of September, Lone Wolf Outfitting, Ltd. is my outfitter, my cameraman and I are both guides, looks like we should have a great hunt."
The next morning, Carson and I met Dirk at the airport where our 180 Cessna was already waiting to take us to the hunting area. Once in the air, the sight of the beautiful mountains and unending scenery brought back waves of nostalgia. I was jarred back to the present as we landed at the bush strip where the guides were waiting to meet us. After unloading the plane, we were off on our quads for the hour ride into base camp.
In the Yukon Territory, there is a mandatory twelve hour waiting period before you can start hunting after having flown. This break allowed us time to prepare for the hunt, organize our gear, and check the zero on our rifles. My guide on this adventure was Brett. He had run this camp for Lone Wolf Outfitting Ltd. for more than a decade. As all good outfitters do, we discussed the upcoming hunt and what our expectations were. Since I had seen dozens of trophy bull moose during my years as a Yukon guide, I knew I wanted to hold out for a true trophy bull. Brett agreed, and understood that I would settle for a monster bull or nothing.
After our mandatory wait, there were two or three hours of light left, so we headed out for a look around. The quads quickly got us to a nearby valley and we started glassing right away. Less than twenty minutes into our glassing session, Carson spotted a big bull moose that he estimated at 55-inches. Spotting a trophy bull that quickly had us all very excited. We watched the bull for a while, but he wouldn't move down into the valley. Brett told us that there was no way to get to him as long as he stayed up in the brush, so we decided to pass on him and see if we could find another bull in a more accessible location.
After moving to a different lookout point, we spotted yet another bull! This bull was a long way off, but even at a distance we could see that he was a giant. All we could see was his huge black body and two enormous white paddles standing out above the brush. We got the spotting scopes out and realized immediately that we had found an exceptional trophy bull. We estimated his spread at 60 inches or better! We quickly and quietly packed up to head down the valley towards him.
We were never able to get on him that night, so the whole crew was anxious to get back after him the next morning. After a quick breakfast it was back on the quads and off to our valley. It was cold and dark when we arrived at our lookout point. At first light there was no sign of him, but just fifteen minutes later I spotted some movement about half a mile from where we had last seen him.
It was him! Down the valley we went. About one half-mile from where we thought he was, Brett signaled us to get off the quads for the final stalk. After making our way to the area we thought held the bull, a cow came out across from us so we knew the "big guy" was nearby. Now, if you have ever heard a Bull Moose grunt as he comes in to a call, then you know there is nothing quite like it. The valley was cold and quiet for several minutes while all we could hear was the faint call of the bull coming in from over 500 yards away. He disappeared several times into the willows and creek, but we could still hear him coming closer. Then all of a sudden, there he was standing broadside at 200 yards. I laid the cross hairs of my 375 H&H on his front shoulder and let the 300 grain Nosler Partition fly.
We found the giant on his side with antlers as high as my head sticking out of a willow bush. The mass of his body and the sight of those 68 inch antlers was one of the few moments in my life that I know I will never forget. This bull was the largest moose any of us had ever seen or guided for. Returning to the Yukon, seeing the beautiful country, and taking such a magnificent trophy made for an adventure that this old guide won't soon forget.
To see the footage of this remarkable hunt, watch for it on an upcoming episode of Nosler's Magnum TV.