Two brothers from Melrose bag pair of huge Yukon moose
It’s still all a bit surreal for Jason Seanger.
First, he didn’t get an opportunity to shoot a moose until well into the last day of a recent hunt of a lifetime with his brother, Eric Seanger, in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
Then, the shot he ended up getting would make a sharpshooter proud – about a 550-yarder up into the mountains.
And then there was the moose. From below and from that distance, all the group knew is that it was a “shootable” moose – probably at least as big, they thought, as the one Eric Seanger took several days earlier. That bull’s antler spread ended up measuring an impressive 58 inches.
But after Jason Seanger’s first shot hit the moose, forcing the animal down the mountain, they got a better look. After three more shots dropped the moose, and after they were finally able to navigate the rugged terrain and get to the animal, they knew it was something special.
“We knew it was a big moose when we got to him,” said Jason Seanger, 39. “I wasn’t looking at the horns at the time (of his first shot). The guide made the comment that it was a real tank just before the first shot. Then, when we got up there, it was tipped over upside-down in a spruce tree. When we pulled his horns out we could see how big he was.”
Big indeed – the moose had a whopping 73-inch spread. According to various big-game record books, Yukon moose with bigger spreads have been few and far between, and according to the outfitter (Jim Shockey’s Rogue River Outfitters out of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory), the largest moose ever taken on one of its hunts measured 74-7/8, in 2012.
“It took a while to sink in,” Jason Seanger said Friday morning – less than a week after the big day. He said they spotted the moose at about 11 a.m. local time that day, and that he shot it about an hour later.
Up to that point, he was starting to come to terms with the fact that harvesting a moose – any moose – likely wasn’t in the cards. He said he had shot a moose before, years ago in Minnesota, but also had been shut out on Canadian moose hunts in Ontario and British Columbia.
“We hunted hard and it just wasn’t coming together,” he said of the Yukon hunt. “We saw a lot of moose, just not shooters. I went into Day 8 knowing there was a real possibility I wasn’t going to shoot anything. With the terrain and what we were dealing with, it was an hour or two process before you would get a shot. As the day started winding through, it (weighed) on you a little bit.”
The Seangers, who own Melrose Electric in Melrose, traveled to the edge of the Northwest Territories for the Sept. 9-16 hunt. Eric Seanger, who was on his first moose hunt, said they had hunted in almost that exact spot, for caribou, several years earlier with the same outfitter. On that trip – in which each got a caribou – they also saw a number of moose, including several good-sized bulls, which prompted this year’s moose-hunting adventure, Eric Seanger said.
There wasn’t nearly as much drama surrounding his successful effort. Still, with the conditions that day, there was an element of surprise, too, he said.
“That day I didn’t expect to get anything, what with the clouds and hunting at elevation. The clouds were down tight. But we went out anyway,” said Eric Seanger, 46. “It was pouring rain off and on. We spotted the moose over two miles away and stalked it. We spotted it before noon and it was 3:30 or so before I had it on the ground. It was pretty straight-forward – about a 150-yard shot on a little bit of a vantage point. One shot and it went down.”
The meat from both animals went to elders of a local Indian village, the Seangers said, but both are getting shoulder mounts of their massive bulls to remember this adventure of a lifetime.
Eric Seanger figures they saw about 30 moose over the eight days, as well as grizzly bears and caribou. They also had tags to take both of those species, as well as wolves, Eric Seanger said. And they did some stalking of grizzlies, he added.
“But it was moose first. … I was set for a good moose,” he said. “I just wanted a big moose. I was very happy with it. It was a great day for me.”