I accompanied my 11 yr old niece, Melissa Castle, her
father Brian, uncle Kevin and cousin Noah on her first
moose hunt to Gustavus, Alaska, about 50 miles west of
Juneau. She applied for the cow moose lottery hunt
there, and she and her uncle Kevin were lucky enough
to get drawn.
A friend of ours here in town, Ron, let us use his
cabin over there. It was a week of wet, windy weather
– some of the worst stretches of weather I’ve seen
here in Juneau. Not all that cold, but non-stop
pouring rain and wind. The meadows we would scout
moose in gained an inch or two of water a day from the
rain – they were just too saturated to drain.
Gustavus is located near Glacier Bay National Park.
Each day, I would drop off Melissa and her dad in one
spot, and her uncle and his son in another, and then
drive the rental van into the park. Each day, we’d
see moose just into the park – it’s like they knew!
Mostly bulls, though, so we couldn’t harvest those
anyway, and they were fun to watch.
After 3 or 4 days of no luck hunting, Melissa finally
got her chance at a cow moose the last morning there,
and harvested the animal with a 20 guage slug. Then
it was up to her dad, uncle and I to butcher and pack
the moose meat out in ankle deep water about 1/2 mile
to the van, and make it to the airport in time to
catch the single engine aircraft to Juneau. We got
out just as the weather and dark was closing in.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t room for the moose meat,
so the air representative Denise just had us roll it
into their unheated office, where it was fine until
the next day.
I hung 1/2 the moose in my garage, and sent the other
half to Kevin in Craig. Melissa already harvested 3
blacktail deer at home, and her dad got a moose up in
interior Alaska, so her uncles got the meat. I let
the moose hang about a week, then butchered some meat
into roasts, and ground the rest for burger.
We then ran our annual booth at Juneau Public Market
the 3 days after Thanksgiving. The show went pretty
good for us, as Sara’s etched glass is now pretty
popular with Juneauites buying Christmas gifts.