Written by Norma Partner Mike Stroff, Savage Outdoors
The month of September was the month of moose for me! I typically try to do one moose hunt per year or at least one every other year. I love to chase rutting moose – there is just nothing like it. Because of COVID and a hunt cancelation in 2020, I ended up having two moose hunts the same year. These adventure hunts typically take 10-12 days of hunt time, so trying to squeeze in two moose hunts in the same the month with travel days was going to be quite the task! Savage Arms came out with a new mountain rifle that is going to create quite the buzz at SHOT Show in 2023 and I was lucky to get my hands on one for these hunts.
I am big on getting to the range and spending a lot of time shooting and getting comfortable with your rifle before going on any hunt, but on these big hunts I like to spend even more time on the range. My first trip was in northern British Columbia with Gundahoo River Outfitters. We opted to go early season, so we would have the opportunity to also hunt mountain goats. I chose to take my new Savage rifle chambered in .300 WIN Mag shooting Norma Bondstrike ammo. Knowing the early season, it can be tough to call the moose. You basically have to make a plan and get out and find one. Once you locate a bull more than likely you will have to take some longer shots depending on what type of terrain you find the bull located in. I got lucky on the second day of the hunt and was able to take a nice mountain goat.
The terrain was rough and we couldn’t close the distance any better than 550 yards. Because of all the time I was able to spend on the range. I felt 100% percent comfortable with the shot and was able to take down an awesome mountain goat. We started the hunt a few days before the moose season started, so we had the time to get a few days of goat hunting in and I was lucky enough to be able to drop a big Billy. Being 100% confident in being able to make shots like these is a product of spending lots of time at the range practicing and learning my holds and how my gun and ammo perform at the different distances.
We had spotted a few nice bull moose the first few days while we were horse backing out to the areas we were goat hunting. One bull in particular had our attention. On the opening morning of moose season, we headed out in search of this particular bull. This time of year they typically don’t do a ton of traveling. In fact, this bull was still in velvet when we saw him the first day. If he still hadn’t rubbed out we were thinking he would still be in the same valley. It didn’t take us long to spot him, we set up to glass from a second location that morning and our guide spotted two bulls and one of them was the bull we had seen the first day when we were out goat hunting. He was still in velvet! Very cool, I had never had the opportunity to shoot a bull that was in full velvet. The problem with the situation was the bull was about 650 yards away. When we are filming we like to get as close as possible so we can get some good footage of the hunt and kill shot. But, because of where this bull was in the valley, there was no way to really get much closer without being spotted. We did close the distance by about 100 yards. We were 540 yards from the two bulls and they had no clue we were there.
We decided the best option was to just take the shot from there. We had just made a similar shot on the mountain goat, so I knew I could make the shot. The cool thing about moose is the kill zone is the size of a big beach ball! I got set up, double checked my yardage and took the shot. The first shot was perfect left and right and heart height. He was still up so I put a second shot on him adding just a little bit of yardage to the shot and the second shot struck him in the lungs and down he went! You need to shoot bullets with high weight retention on these big animals so you bleed all that energy in the animal at these distances. My 180 gr. Norma BondStrike did exactly that putting the bull down at over 500 yards! What an amazing way to start off our hunting season!