August/September 2013 EHJ (Issue 138) - Years of talk and dreams came down to a coyote hunt on a cold January day with Bill. As we moved between sets we were talking about plans for another hunt when the topic turned to moose. A friend of ours had just harvested a 62-inch bull with a bow and that planted the seed in our minds. Talking about that was all it took; we were off and running.
The next day Bill called and said, "Kris and I are in.”
I was in disbelief. I immediately called my go-to guy, close friend, and hunting mentor Darryl Bozarth for as much info as he could give me. I started planning, calling, and pulling all the information together to book a hunt. This was a once in a lifetime hunt and we had to find a place to have an honest chance at three bulls. After talking to Papa Bear Adventures it looked like a float trip was our best chance.
Papa Bear was going to be at the NWTF show in Nashville and I wanted to meet him before we booked, so we all went down for a small vacation to see what we were getting into. We had a meeting and really liked the guy, so after a few reference checks we sent the first payment. Our dreams were becoming a reality.
A long year and a half wait began. We talked weekly about gear, weapons, strategies, and what was in store for us. Every time I went to my grandpa’s I would look at his two moose and count the days.
I was a month from my hunt. My muzzleloader and gear were already shipped, plane tickets were bought, and I was just waiting for the day to come.
The next week a tragedy took Darryl from us. With my sadness came a new desire; I decided I would be taking my bow to Alaska. Darryl was a hardcore bowhunter and I felt the need to dedicate this hunt to him.
Finally, the day came and we were actually leaving Illinois and heading north. We arrived at Papa Bear’s the night before the hunt to get our gear ready. Spirits were high. We were ready to go; all the hard work, saving money, and preparing came down to two weeks. After a restless night we were up and loading the float plane.
Flying in to camp was a surreal experience. After landing and saying farewell to the pilot we immediately started to gather our gear for the half-mile pack to the river. We would be the first and only group to float this 50-mile stretch that season. We set up camp, caught a few grayling, and just tried to take in the fact that we were there.
For a full account of Joseph's adventure, go to page 44 in the August/September 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.