September 29, 2013

My 1st Moose Hunt

As you know, I went moose hunting.  It was a great time and I loved every minute of it.  I have dreamt of going moose hunting since I was a little boy and it did not disappoint.

Right before I left

First things first, I did not actually hunt because I did not get the tags since I am considered a non-resident in the Alaska Fish and Game's eyes until I am here for an entire year.  The tags are super expensive and I decided I can wait until next year to pull the trigger.  

With that being said, we took 2 boats with a total of 7 adults and 1 kid - 1 Gusek (me) and 6 natives... It was awesome!  We set out and took an 8 hour trip up river and even an hour into the Bering Sea. (on a 20 foot boat)  We ended up on the Kashunak River and hunted around there the whole week.  We set up camp up on a bluff that overlooked some mountains and hills. (It also had the most blueberries I had ever seen, some of us got sick from eating too many) 

The boat!

 Our camp for the week.

It was different than many hunts because it was so dense we stayed on the boat hoping we saw one.  We would stop and check some meadows and call.  We had a bull work us one time but lost interest. It was so fun!  We glassed on the bluff one day and we saw a giant bull - they really are some big animals.  

Altogether we ended up getting 2 small bulls and 1 cow.. We would just quarter them up and hang them. (hoping a bear wouldn't take advantage of the easy meat)
I also got to see bald eagles and a porcupine!  

I am the first Gusek that they have ever taken and they treated me just like one of the guys.  I tried everything that they offered (besides the seal oil or Crisco, my stomach doesn't agree with them).  We ate raw moose meat, raw moose fat, and moose liver. I actually enjoyed all of it! We had some moose soup with heart and tongue.  (The heart is by far my favorite).  We also grilled some moose steaks over the fire.

 The steaks cooking!
 You can kinda tell what it is, but that is our moose hanging up towards the back of the photo!
William, a son of one guy who went with us, became my buddy the entire trip.
He is six years old.

We also did an interesting spiritual ritual that was used to help us get a moose.. (They learned this from an elder in Pilot Station).  We sat in the tent and burned Labrador tea (tundra tea) and the smoke would help us get a moose.  There was a moose hanging that day so I guessed it worked! lol

It was pretty cold. It snowed 3 times and we woke up with ice covering our tent, but I'm not complaining, I'm in Alaska!!!

Some random pictures of the scenery from the week:
It was nice to finally see some mountains in the background.

The whole trip lasted five nights and six days - from Saturday to Thursday. We were planning on staying another night or so, but heard there was a storm coming in, so instead of getting caught in that for a few days, we made the trek home.  This boat ride lasted 9 hours in rain/sleet.

Emily was pretty excited I finally made it home.

I had a great time, made some good friends, learned a lot more about the culture, and got our winter meat!  I'd say it was a success.


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