September 28: Jeff Propst

An Alaska/Yukon Moose has always been an animal I have wanted to hunt my whole life, well finally it all came together this year when a good friend of mine, Nick Kramer called me this summer and told me he had a moose bow hunt booked in Alaska and he was not going to be able to make the hunt to due to his wife expecting their second child about the same time as the hunt was to take place, Nick asked me if I had any interest in going in his place, and after a couple days of thinking it over, and researching the outfitters references, I decided to go for it! My hunt was booked with Braun Kopsack, of Knik Glacier Adventures for September 20th through the 30th. Braun is an excellent outfitter and understands bowhunting completely, being a bow hunter himself, he totally gets it, and that was important to me, I was strictly hunting with my bow, and I wanted to make sure my outfitter understood what it took to get “archery close” Talking with Braun when I booked the hunt, I asked him if he would be ok with me bringing my son Chris along to film the hunt and Braun was more than happy to let Chris come a long with me, we were set to head to Alaska!

We flew to Alaska on September 19th and met Braun at the Anchorage airport and after an overnight stay at his home, the next day our adventure was underway, Braun had lined up a bush pilot to fly us into our first camp of the hunt which was about a 25 minute flight from the airplane hanger near the town of Palmer. The plane we rode in on was a Super Cub and will only handle one passenger at a time and some limited gear, so it took the pilot three trips to get us all in to camp. The fight into camp was very enjoyable, towering snow covered peaks, river basins, and the trees were turning into the beautiful fall colors, along with the scenery, we saw Dall Sheep, Moose, Mtn Goats and Black Bear during the flight, this was Alaska the way I pictured it. The first day of the hunt was grueling, it had snowed 3 inches or so the first night, and we literally hiked up and down the mountains in the snow for over ten miles according to Braun. We saw 3 or 4 bulls the first day, and called one bull into 45 yards and Braun did not think he would make 50’’ wide, so we passed him (In Alaska the bulls have to have 3 brow tines on one side, or be at least 50 inches wide to be legal). The next two days were a repeat of the first, hiking, glassing and calling, but no luck seeing a legal bull.

On the evening of day 3, we had listened to the weather report and it did not look good long term for us to stay in the spike camp we were in, the weather was taking a turn for the worse, rain, fog, and high winds were moving in, and we had to get out of there why we could, Braun called the pilot on his Satellite phone, and the next day the bush plane came in and flew us back to Palmer, where we got a shower, and a hot meal and prepared our gear to change camps. That afternoon, we loaded our gear into Braun’s airboat, and we took off up a beautiful river for about a 45 minute trip to a place where Braun had used for a camp in past years, the scenery was awesome during the boat ride! After our arrival at the camp site, we all pitched in and set up our camp, this was to be home for the next 5-6 days. The first day out on the new camp, it rained literally all day, it was a tough day of hunting, we had good rain gear, but it was still very uncomfortable, and Chris had a tough time trying to keep our camera gear dry and still get what footage we could. The next several days the weather was nice, and we hunted very hard, we had numerous encounters with bull moose, but just were not seeing the shooter bulls
On day nine, which was to be our last day, we left camp early and we were going to give it all we had since this was our last day, Braun led us up yet another steep mountain to where there are series of benches and meadows, ideal moose habitat. We hunted all day long, moving from place to place, but no luck, finally about 6 pm, we started working our way back to camp, on the way off the mountain, we stopped for a little rest break, and Braun walked up above us and spotted a bull across a valley, and he thought he was a legal bull, we were so tired and wore down at this point I was not sure I had enough left in me to make another steep climb up to where the bull was, after some coaxing from Braun, and mentally preparing myself for the long climb, we were off on yet another stalk. We had to cross a really rugged creek drainage, and wade through some icy water to get on the side the bull was on, but as soon as we topped back out of the drainage, we spotted a cow moose feeding in front of us about 100 yds away, we all froze for about 5 minutes watching the cow, knowing the bull should be close by, after a waiting period, Braun gave out a bull grunt, and almost immediately , the bull answered and was headed our way!

We spotted the bull coming at us right away, and he walked into a little meadow, and Chris had the camera rolling, he came past us offering me plenty of good shot opportunities, but Braun was still sizing him up to make sure he was 50’’ wide or more, after the bull came in to about 15 yards of Chris and I, I figured he was not legal, because Braun was not telling me to shoot, The bull turned and headed back to his cows, and Braun motioned for me to follow, he was still sizing him up! After a short stalk we crept to 50 yards of the bull, and I heard Braun say, kill him, he is 50’’ for sure. I ranged the bull, and he was exactly 50 yards, I took careful aim with my PSE Evo, and made a good double lung shot, and the bull only ran about 40 yards and was down! My bull ended up being 57’’ wide and had very heavy mass, a beautiful trophy animal. What a trip this turned out to be, we hunted harder on this trip than we ever have before. I have wanted to moose hunt since I was a young boy, and finally got to make a trip to beautiful Alaska, and spend time with my son Chris who captured the whole hunt on video, I have to thank Braun Kopsack for providing me the hunt of a lifetime, and I especially want to thank my son Chris, he worked his butt off to film my hunt, and even packed my rack and cape out for me! Good luck to everyone this fall, hunt safe and shoot straight!