Agassiz Outfitters-2017 Moose Hunting Review

During the spring and summer of 2017, water levels where we hunt in Northern Manitoba were extremely high and the highest recorded in modern history.  During spring bear, I received a call that some of our moose camps were under water.  I was finally able to fly into all the camps by the beginning of August to access any damages as the water finally receded and we could finally beach the planes and walk on land.  Unfortunately, we lost a lot of equipment and supplies which had to be re-placed but thankfully all of our camps remained in good shape besides some minor damage and shifting.  The whole time since I received the call back at the end of May till August when we could access camps we worried that we might not be able to run our moose hunts in 2017 and have to move everyone back.  Thankfully by the middle of September, the water receded back to normal levels and we knew we would have a hunt after all.  Thank god!!  When I flew in to access the camps in August, I saw some good moose from the air including one huge bull by our “Broken Horn” camp.  A definite shooter!

September 13 finally arrived and all the guides and I flew up to the camps for our set up and to check out areas for sign, etc.., once camps where ready to go.  When we were ready to fly into the camps, the pilot had mentioned that he was seeing lots of moose from the air which is what I always like to hear.  Set up of all the camps went extremely well as we couldn’t have asked for better weather.  All 5 days we allowed this year for set up, etc.… were sunny and warm which makes it much more pleasant setting up and doing everything else to get ready prior to hunters arriving.  As per the norm, setting up “main camp” was the priority then guides Bob Hyshka and Bryan Minnis would go set up their “Down River” camp and my son Jordan and myself would go set up Jordan’s “Up River” Camp where he would be guiding.

All the other camp set ups went great also; as the nightly call ins would indicate.  During set up, some moose sightings were reported as Bob and Bryan saw 2 different cows and 1 big bull that we never saw again during the hunting and is around hopefully for next year.  While Jordan and I set up his camp, a wolverine walked right by us and didn’t seem to care we were there.  After set up, Jordan and I went and checked out a couple of good calling spots.  Lots of sign was evident everywhere and we knew it was shaping up to be a good season just by the moose sign everywhere.  Other camps were reporting seeing the odd moose and seeing lots of sign also. Things were looking great!

Finally camps were all ready and first group of hunters were set to fly in on Monday, September 18 first thing in the morning pending weather conditions.  Prior to this, on September 17 we all watched another good size bull walk the shores at “Main Camp”.  This bull raked the willows and was very vocal as he looked for cows.   Things were heating up!

Weather was perfect for flying and all guests arrived into the camps by 9:00 a.m. which was perfect.  As hunters and guides got ready and came up with a plan, the hunting started.  It didn’t take Bryan and Dan from Michigan long as on the first evening, Dan shoots a nice grey wolf on the way to their calling spot.  Only 3 moose were seen between all camps on this first evening.  Bob and Keith from Michigan spot a young bull and cow at their calling spot which Keith passes on as it is way too early in the hunt.  Meanwhile, guide Jordan and his hunter Byron from Wyoming spot a huge cow bedded down along the river and watch her for a while hoping a bull was in the area.  Everyone was reporting seeing lots of fresh sign.

The next day saw light winds out of the south-west, sunny with slight cloud cover, a great morning for moose.  Joe and George from Pennsylvania spot a small bull today which George decides to pass at one of the camps to the north.  Bryan and Dan see 5 moose including one big bull that was with a cow and calf and wouldn’t leave the cow alone.  They also see 2 other small bulls. Jordan and Byron see no moose today.  The only other camp to see moose was “Broken Horn” as they see 7 moose in total, 3 cows and 4 calves.  No bulls with any of them yet.  Bob and Keith see 3 wolves in the morning and later that day see 2 smaller bulls and a cow that didn’t want anything to do with the 2 bulls.  The northern lights the last two nights have been unbelievable and are putting on a show.

On September 20, we all wake up to very strong winds out of the east and heavy cloud cover.  Heavy rain started at 11:00 a.m. and continued all day with strong winds.  Jordan and Byron have a cow and 2 calves walk by them at a mere 20 yards.  Paul from Iowa who is hunting with guide Daine sees a monster bull but can’t get a good clean shot at him.  This bull was never seen again and is also there for next year amongst many others.  Bryan and Dan spot 7 Moose; 3 bulls, 3 cows and a calf.  Over the next several days, Bryan and Dan have a number encounters with smaller bulls, both from the boat and from calling positions.  They get some great video at 20 yards on several bulls that came to the call.  Vey windy and raining hard all day.  Surprised 11 moose were seen today considering the ugly weather, and already 30+ moose seen in total!

The next day was very windy too but sunny.  This day Bob and Keith break the goose egg, as Keith shoots a big 50” bull at 10:15 that was coming to Bob’s call.  What a bull!  Paul and Daine over at “Broken Horn” pull the trigger on a 43” bull.  Brian and Dan see another 7 Moose.  5 different bulls and a cow and calf.  Dan decides to be patient yet.  Jordan and Byron see a cow and 2 calves once in the morning at 7 a.m. and again at noon.  Scott and Eric from Minnesota see a small bull and Joe and George to the north shoot a 42” bull at approximately 5:30.  Cloud cover and light rain moves in for the evening.  Bob and Keith also see a wolverine today.

Waking up today to heavy fog and light rain which ends up being misty all day with heavy cloud cover and winds out of the north.  As Bob and Keith are bringing Keith’s moose meat to “Main Camp” they see 2 white wolves amongst their travels.  One wolf was on Keith’s carcass already and the other was walking the shoreline.  After all the meat is hung and taken care of, Bob goes back to kill site(carcass) and builds Keith a ground blind so he can hunt over it with his un-used bear tag.  Over at “Broken Horn” Scott and Eric shoot a 42” bull at around 2:00 p.m.  “Broken Horn” is done already! Eric and Paul both have their first bull moose and couldn’t be happier!  Jordan calls in a small bull for Byron which he passes up for another year also.  This bull walks past them at 20 yards.  Byron and Dan see another 4 bulls and called in the same bull twice.  Corbin and Scott from Ohio hear both a cow and bull call today but no luck.  Paul missed a big white wolf on his carcass at 300+ yards today over at “Broken Horn”.  Long shot!  Paul also sees a wolverine on his hunt.

Today we see a high of +5 Celsius with a light North-East wind and cloud cover.  Bryan and Dan saw a bull from far away.  Couldn’t tell how big though.  They also get a bull to approximately 20 yards in the willows grunting and thrashing but don’t see him.  Keith misses a huge white wolf on his carcass.  After his first shot, the wolf ran then came back and grabbed a piece of the moose hide,and takes off.  One lucky wolf!  Keenan and Rich from Pennsylvania to the north see a cow on North end of the lake all by herself.  They watch her for 20 minutes hoping a bull would be with her.  Jordan and Byron have a slow day as so does Brendan and Chad and Corbin and Scott.  When Bob was picking up Keith from hunting his moose carcass for a wolf, he sees a cow walking into the willows on the island but couldn’t tell if a bull was with her.

September 24 saw light wind with cloud cover.  Low was -2 Celsius.  Great day for hunting!  Geese really have been flying south the last 6-7 days and lots through the night.  Keenan and Rich from Pennsylvania see a young bull today.  Same area where they saw cow the night before.  Jordan and Byron see 9 different moose today, all in the afternoon /evening over at the “Up River” camp.  5 cows and 4 calves but no bulls with any of these cows which is rare for this time of year. Bryan and Dan change calling spots again because of the wind change.  2 bulls were close by as they could hear them but had them pegged and the 2 bulls moved off.  Bryan then calls for about 3 hours and got a bull coming from way off.  He hung up at 150 yards and a quiet call got him in.  Dan mad a couple of great shots and the big bull went down in sight!  Dan also caches a 41 inch northern today and again most camps reporting lots of moose sightings and tons of sign.

Cool, frosty morning today and Bryan is bringing Dan’s moose meat to “Main Camp” today.  Jordan and Byron pass up another bull today.  So far they have seen 21 moose in that camp.  What a week for most camps!

Change over today, September 26.  Waiting on new groups but most flights delayed due to weather.  Finally everyone in safe by late afternoon, so no hunting occurred in this first half day.

September 27, pilots coming in to get rest of the moose meat out today from last week.  Rained all night and stopped early morning.  Very windy out of south-west.  Jordan and Pat from Wisconsin have a good start to the week as they see a cow and calf west of camp.  Reporting tons of sign in some new areas they checked out too.  Bryan and Paul from Quebec see 4 cows.  Bob and Paul’s son Adam saw a cow and calf.  They also see a big white wolf on one of last week’s carcass but Adam decides not to shoot.  Pretty slow day everywhere else due to howling winds and most moose would have bedded down till weather breaks.

The next day, saw a very windy morning and finally died off around 5:00p.m. which made for a great night from calling.  Bryan and Paul saw 4 moose in total today, 2 small bulls and a cow and calf.  Also see a white wolf.  Bob and Adam also see a small bull today.  Jordan and Pat see 3 moose today, 1 a small bull and 2 cows.  Joe and Earl didn’t see anything today but did lots of walking and saw lots of sign.  Keenan and Rich also find lots of fresh sign.  Brendan and Corbin finding lots of sign also to north, but no luck yet.  Joe and Earl see a wolverine on last week’s carcass.  Lots of wolverines being seen this fall.  Scott and Sam from Georgia over at “Broken Horn” missed a good bull today clean.  Daine and Mike from New Jersey see a cow and calf today and so far seeing lots of other moose too.

Temperature has warmed up to +15 Celsius and the low tonight +7.  Wind out of south-west.  Jordan and Pat call in a huge bull to about 50 yards but he too hangs up in the thick brush at around 8:30 a.m.  He was grunting heavily.  All of a sudden, a cow called in the distance which got his attention and he left.  Bryan and Paul saw 2 small bulls and 2 cows with calves this morning.  Paul shoots a 47” bull at 4:45 p.m. Saw 7 moose today.  “In a howling wind, we set up in a nice spot and were able to get a reaction.  It went from quiet to full blown action in about 15 seconds.  Two big agitated cows came running in, followed by a real nice bull.  Paul made a couple nice shots and put the bull down within sight”, says Bryan.  Bob and Adam saw a white wolf but no shot.  Few more moose sighted at “Broken Horn” but haven’t heard whether bulls or cows.

First thing in morning, headed down to help Bryan & Bob with Paul’s moose.  Saw a cow and 2 calves going to “Down River” camp.  When I arrived at camp, guys said they just watched a cow swim across the river in front of camp.  Then we all watched a small bull walk out and along the island shore across from camp also. Getting Paul’s bull went great.  When we were hanging Paul’s moose meat at “Main Camp” Jordan and Pat arrived as they needed a hand with a 53 inch bull that Pat shot at 7:30 a.m. that was with a cow and calf also.  Then after Pat shot this bull they watched and took video of a 35-38 inch bull that didn’t care they were there.  What a perfect day, sunny and calm.  Over at “Broken Horn”, Sam and Scott shoot a young bull which was Sam’s first bull ever.

Towards the end of the week, another 44 inch bull went down at “Broken Horn” as Daine and Mike from New Jersey pulled the trigger and saw another 3 moose before that.  Bob and Adam shoot a nice 46 inch bull on the last morning of Adams hunt.  Adams bull has great character and was chasing a cow at 7:30 a.m. What a way to finish off the season!!

To sum up our fall, it was another great fall considering we didn’t even know if we were going to have a season due to the high water event.  But thanks to all the hard work of the guides fixing, cleaning and putting a lot of hard work to help assure all hunters/guests got a quality hunt and a great experience, greatly paid off.  Like every other past fall, most hunters were successful and we ran at 80% opportunity and a 60% success rate.  This is usually the norm, however some years even higher.  In any case, this is excellent when talking moose hunting. Again, a huge thank you to all of our moose guides for your hard work, dedication, and commitment!  Also, we want to thank all of our valued moose hunters who chose to hunt with us and congratulations to those successful and hope to see you all again real soon!  Lastly, we want to thank all of the workers/pilots at Wings Over Kississing and the hotels our guests stay at for all of your great service and treating our guests and guides first class!

In closing there were 147 moose sightings throughout all the camps and over the 2 week hunting period we run our hunts.  Some huge bulls were seen and are still out there spreading their genes.  Most importantly the reports and sightings of all the young bulls, cows and calves.  A lot of cows had twins which proves what great genetics are in our area.  Having said this, this is great news, speaks highly of future prospects and shows that our future moose hunts look bright!

Happy Hunting,

Rick

**We look forward to seeing everyone at the sport shows during the upcoming Sport show Season**