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Alaskan-Yukon Gold

 

The stories behind the biggest Alaskan-Yukon moose in the Boone and Crockett Records 

A mature Alaskan-Yukon bull moose can stand more than six feet tall at the shoulder. Its antlers alone can easily weigh more than 60 pounds. During the fall rut, their lonely call echoes through the boreal forests of Alaska, Yukon Territory, and Northwest Territories where it makes a home. It’s the largest subspecies of moose with small females weighing 800 pounds and large males weighing twice that.

Because of their size, an equally large cartridge is typically used—the most popular being the .300 Winchester Mag. according to Trophy Search’s Method Visualizer. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to hunt (and pack) hundreds of pounds of dead weight and massive antlers out of the bush, then keep reading. We got some stories for you.


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Number 1 
B&C Score: 266-4/8 points 
Location: Lower Yukon River, Alaska 
Year Taken: 2010 
Hunter: Rex J. Nick 

Technically on a subsistence hunt, Rex Nick was hunting the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta along the Lower Yukon River. It was late-September 2010. Moose hunting there in Unit 18 was enjoying a renaissance of sorts. The area had been closed to moose hunting from 1988-1994. With few predators of the four-legged variety, moose populations were doubling every three years—even with a hunting season. Rex Nick shot this brute with a .300 Win Mag at just 65 yards, but that’s not the end of the story. Apparently, he had no desire to keep the antlers, and he split the skull in half. Why on earth would someone do that? Well, according to the regulations regarding subsistence hunts, hunters can only sell the antlers when they are not attached to the skull. So he hacked the skull in half before selling them. Before he took the saw to it, though, Nick had the antlers measured at the 29th Awards Program Judges Panel where it was verified as the new World’s Record. 

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Number 2
B&C Score: 263-5/8 points 
Location: Yukon River, Yukon Territory 
Year Taken: 2013
Hunter: Heinz Naef 
Owner: Bass Pro Shops 

The family that hunts moose together stays together. After all, you need an entire family to help haul out the second largest bull in the books, and that’s exactly what happened when Heinz Naef was hunting moose with family as they floated down the Yukon River. Around the campfire on evening three of the float, talk shifted to a distinct knocking sound someone heard while floating the river. The next morning, Heinz and his son headed back upriver; they knew that a bull was making that knock. Eventually, Heinz heard the knocking again. After calling for an hour, a bull started coming his way. Still a good ways from the river, Heinz kept calling to lure the bull out of the slough and closer to a more reasonable extraction point. Heinz set up on a well-worn game trail and waited. Even at 40 yards, he didn’t have a clear shot of the bull with his iron-sighted, WWII British Enfield .303. At 35 yards, Heinz touched off a couple of shots. And there, stretched out before him was the biggest moose he had ever seen. He and a gaggle of his family and friends used an old army stretcher to haul the meat the rest of the 300 yards to the river. 

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Number 3
B&C Score: 261 5/8 
Location: Fortymile River, Alaska 
Year Taken: 1994
Hunter: John Crouse 

When John Crouse and two friends flew into east-central Alaska via bush plane, Crouse had made up his mind he would shoot just about any moose he saw. It was the end of August and the men were camped on a ridge for their six-day hunt. One day, Crouse caught a glimpse of an antler in the hills near camp. Crouse and his crew put on a stalk, closed the distance, and waited for the bull to stand. When it did, Crouse fired two rounds from his .270. It took the three men an hour to get it in a position just to be butchered. It then took them two full days to pack it back to camp. When the pilot came to pick it up, the rack wouldn’t fit anywhere in or outside the plane. Crouse suggested they split the skull to fit the antlers inside. The pilot wouldn’t hear of it. He insisted the rack should be scored by Boone and Crockett, and he sent for a bigger plane.

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Number 4
Hunter: William G. Nelson
Score: 256 6/8
Year Taken: 1997
Location: Beluga River, Alaska  

William Nelson, his son Brian, and longtime hunting partner Dean were out to fill the freezer with some moose meat as they hunted the Beluga River drainage 30 miles west of Anchorage. It was the middle of November, 25 degrees, and snowing hard when they left camp on snowshoes. William had shot his first moose in the area as a boy four decades prior, and he knew the country. The party stopped to glass a drainage when some movement caught their attention. It was a moose—a big moose—whose palms were filled with snow. The bull was 250 yards away, but every time William put the scope on him, the massive antlers covered the bull’s vitals. Finally, the old bull put his head down, William emptied his scope of snow, and took the shot. The moose moved only slightly and disappeared from view. Dean snowshoed down and found the bull curled up dead with a shot through the lungs.

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Number 5
Hunter: Kenneth Best
Score: 255
Year Taken: 1978
Location: McGrath, Alaska 

No one, it seems, is ever looking for a world record moose; they just find one and shoot it. When Kenneth Best and hunting partner Art Beatie left their hunting camp near McGrath, Alaska, they did so in a 12-foot raft with heavy gray clouds hanging over the willows. After a couple hours of floating and some unsuccessful forays onto shore to call, they rounded a bend and saw a monster bull on a sandbar. They floated to within 75 yards of it, and the moose vanished. Both men hit the ground and split up. Best found the moose browsing 40 feet away from him, just opposite a patch of willows. He filled his scope with brown fur and shot the bull in the shoulder. With a follow-up shot in the neck, he spent the rest of the day wrestling that massive rack through the willows back to the boat.

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The Importance of Records in Big Game Management

When you enter your trophy into the Boone and Crockett system, you aren’t just honoring the animal and its habitat. You are participating in a data collection system that started in the 1920s and was refined by Club members in 1950. Today, there are nearly 60,000 trophy records. By establishing a records database more than 70 years ago, the Boone and Crockett Club established a scientific baseline from which researchers can use to study wildlife management. If you’re still  on the fence about entering your trophy, we encourage you to read Why Should I Bother to Enter My Trophy. To the best of our ability, we ensure that the trophies entered into the records were taken in accordance with the tenets of fair chase ethics. Despite what some may think, the Boone and Crockett records are not about a name or a score in a book—because in the end, there’s so much more to the score.
 


 

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt