There’s nothing more exciting than opening day of deer season. But this year, opening day brought a different type of excitement. On opening day of Ohio’s archery season, Backwoods Boys Karl Metzler and Troy Lauffer were boarding a plane, heading to Misty River Outfitters in northern Alberta to hunt the largest member of the deer family.
Misty River Outfitters offers moose, bear and whitetail hunts in the boreal forest along the Athabasca River in northern Alberta. Alberta is a sportsman’s paradise, and this region of Alberta doesn’t disappoint. With an incredible population of moose, whitetail, mule deer, black bears, wolves, coyotes and more, Misty River is definitely situated in a target-rich environment.
So, on opening day, as the rest of the Backwoods Boys were sitting in tree stands back in Ohio, Karl and Troy were gearing up for their own exciting week.
After a full day of travel, and an evening of final preparations, the boys packed up the trucks, and headed out for moose camp.
Misty River Outfitters operates a comfortable, well run tent camp, allowing them to go where the animals are. And do they know where the animals are…
After getting settled into camp, the boys got their hunting gear on quick, and headed out to the bush for their first night of moose hunting.
Karl and Troy teamed up with guides Tyson Reeves and Peter Kuelken and got set up in a large cut block for the evening. After about 15 minutes of calling the woods erupted. It all started with the sound of limbs breaking and trees falling, followed by grunting. It came closer and closer and got louder and louder. The bull was about 75 yards away in a poplar stand raking trees, grunting, and putting on a show… but he never showed himself. What a way to start a week of hunting.
The next day the boys returned to the same cut block to try their luck again. Just before dark, that same bull came back. But this time he came in quietly – at least as quietly as a 1,000 pound animal can walk through the bush. Sticking tight to cover, he made his way within 35 yards of Karl, Troy, Tyson, and Peter. Things got pretty exciting. Everyone was trying to locate the bull in the thick cover, as Karl readied his Excalibur in case he stepped out into the open. Unfortunately, he never did, and he disappeared as quickly as he had appeared.
The next couple days proved tough – with high winds and temperatures, the woods were quiet. There was no doubt there were moose in the area. The sign was everywhere. They just wouldn’t cooperate.
But things changed dramatically on Wednesday. As the boys were heading down a cut line, they stopped the ATVs to get things together for the evening hunt. When they turned off the motors they heard the unmistakable sound of a cow protesting – and protesting vehemently.
She was just about 100 yards away in a poplar stand, and the wind was all wrong. Quickly they gathered their gear and rushed out to get into a favorable position. Stalking their way through a thick cut block they set up downwind and started calling.
Within minutes, the bull responded, pulling away from the cow and making his way towards the boys. Peter belted out his best cow calls to draw the bull within bow range. Things were going great until the bull decided he should get down wind to find out what he was getting himself into. When they thought he’d turn right, he turned left. The boys had to get repositioned, and they had to do it quick.
Stalking their way through thick underbrush and alders, they made their way to a clearing, and there he was… 125 yards away standing out in the open. Too far for a bow shot, but just perfect for Karl’s new 300 Win Mag from Jona Custom Rifles.
Not wanting to make any more movement, Karl raised the 300 Win Mag and settled the scope on the boiler plate. Once steadied, he eased back on the trigger and sent 180 grains of bullet hurtling at 3,200 feet per second towards the bull. Then panic set in. The bull didn’t even flinch. Karl quickly racked another shell and squeezed the trigger. This time, they watched as the bull dropped in his tracks 125 yards away.
After four full days of hunting Karl had taken his first bull moose.
Not sure about what had happened with the first shot, the boys reviewed the footage and saw that the first bullet must have caught a branch on its way to the bull and fragmented into several pieces.
Later in the week, Jerry Dove from Avoca, Michigan, and Nick were able to score on another nice Alberta bull, putting Misty River Outfitters at 100% for their 2010 moose hunts.
There’s no doubt about it, if you’re looking for abundant game, beautiful country, and a great hunting experience, Alberta is your province of choice. And if you’re looking for an outfitter that will go the extra mile, you won’t go wrong with Misty River Outfitters.