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.22 vs. Alaskan Moose: True Story

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by jamesinalaska, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. jamesinalaska

    jamesinalaska Member

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    I was recently trading some equipment with an older gentleman, a long-time Alaskan resident of a type we often respectfully refer to as "sourdough". Of course we spoke about the equipments we were swapping, what work each piece needed and so forth, and, as all conversations tend, we also spoke about some about our hunting and fishing exploits when he told me what must have been one of his favorite stories and one of his best shots, of shooting a moose with his .22 rifle.

    He said he was a teenager and one of eight children in a Norwegian family that moved from the midwest to the Kenai Pennisula in the 60's (this was long before the pipline) for the purpose of making a homestead. Having such a large family they were always on the watch for means to keep the larder full, he said, so one sunny afternoon he was out with his dad's .45 colt (revolver) and his brother's .22 rifle as hanging meat was low at the house. He was hoping to find a moose to take with the .45 or at least take some grouse or ptarmigan with the .22 when he saw a bull that had already dropped his antlers for the year.

    "He was too far away for a pistol shot", he said, "about here to the corner." he said as he gestered to the corner of his shop which was easily 75 yards away. "So I decided to use the .22, and I aimed for the eye."

    He said as got the rifle ready the moose stretched his neck out and raised his nose a litle into the air. (This is a behavior of all mammals, including us, to get a better smell of something suspicious.) He said he leaned against a tree, and aiming for the eye, fired one shot. "And it just stood there," he said, "frozen for like five seconds. And then it just fell over. Dead. I shot it right through the eye."

    So it can be done, yes, it can be. But on his next birthday that man said his mom and dad gave him a 30.06 which he has used ever since.
     
  2. <*(((><
    • Contributing Member

    <*(((>< Luke

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    Don't doubt that a .22 rattling around in the brain pan won't kill any large animal. Neat story, appreciate and respect homesteaders, what a tough upbringing.
     
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  3. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    That shows the real potential of "You'll shoot your eye out". Pay attention Ralphie.;)
     
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  4. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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  5. 25-5
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    25-5 Contributing Member

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    Fifty + years ago my dad took yearly fishing trips to Gods Lake in Manitoba. The Indian guides told a common story of hunting moose with a .22. A shot to the lungs while Bulwinkle was feeding along the shore. After some time the lungs would fill with blood and it would drop for easy transport by canoe.
    Moose nose stew. How good can you get!
     
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  6. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Sources are sketchy, but I believe Chris McCandless shot and killed a moose with a .22 rifle as was depicted in the book "Into the Wild."

    Not sure on detailed authenticity.

    Just stating some scrappy corroborating data. Not wanting to get into that rabbit hole of discussion about the book, the author, or Alexander Supertramp.
     
  7. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    I heard it was a .22 pistol.
     
  8. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    I’ll let someone else comment on the right and wrong of the story. My opinion is he was feeding his family so...... What I’m most impressed with is how good of a shot he made! Through the eyeball at 75 yards is pretty darn impressive for anyone. Much less a teenager. No doubt the rifle wasn’t scoped either.
     
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  9. Keith G

    Keith G Member

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    Unpossible!!! Don’t you know you need at least a 9mm hollow point to stop an angry human? No way to put down a moose with a 22. It doesn’t have any “knock down power.”

    I kid. Cool story, and people always underestimate the little ol’ 22. Probably even more today than in days past.
     
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  10. caribou

    caribou Member

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    If you can shoot a gun properly, and place the shot, you know you can kill anything.
     
  11. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    Many poachers of the past....and I'm sure present make good use of the itty bitty .22lr to to their thing. Many large mammals have met their demise by way of a .22.
     
  12. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

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    Well, that settles it for me. No need to bother with any of those big-bore belted magnums when my trusty little Crickett will do the trick. Off to Alaska for me!
     
  13. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I have seen a few very large critters killed with subsonic 22s from suppressed guns. In college that was how one of the fraternities survived... of course they could afford beef but that cut deep into the beer budget. 400 lb hogs, 250+lb whitetail, and unbelievable stacks of turkeys... I have seen a lot of it, and as much as that was expected, that is the frat I would have likely considered, and the poaching is what made me never go through rush. No doubt a 22 will get the job done, and no doubt a bad shot means a pissed off mule with a roof rack is going to make a doormat out of you.
     
  14. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Behind a long gone small East TX store called B&B foods, two guys out back killed cattle with an old .22 short Winchester pump, before butchering them up. One shot in the right spot dropped them like a light switch and the rest was like watching one guy, that knew what he was doing with 4 arms.

    Never underestimate things that can kill. That’s how lot of folks die from using hairdryers, enough they actually have to put warnings on them.

    That said I have never killed anything too dead.
     
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  15. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    A story from my father: Back in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, some hunters on south Texas deer lease ranches would have no luck. It was not all that uncommon for a wetback ranch hand to sit by a stock tank or water trough with a .22. Bucky shows up during the night? .22 between the eyes. The mighty Nimrod then bought the buck for $5 per point and had something to haul home to show Momma.
     
  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    My son routinely kills cattle with one shot, usually a .22 Mag., but he's used .22 LR, and baptized my .223 AR pistol with it's first kill; a Holstein down with milk fever. He'd borrowed it to try it out and they got a down call. They butcher on site also, amazing to watch.
     
  17. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Sure it can happen. Probably more cruel than realized too as I imagine the small wound created by a 22 doesn't stop the brain from working very quickly and instead causes a lot of misfiring and trouble over a period of time as it appears the animal is dead but probably has a lot going on in its mind as it dies over a period of minutes.

    .22 hornet was used to harvest just about anything by poachers at one point, because while not powerful enough to reliably create a humane body shot, it will reliably punch a small hole through most animals, and that small hole in the right place will still kill them.

    Destroying and killing is not that hard, it is always harder to create something intricate that works well than it is to destroy something just by interfering with one of the many things that must work together.
    Destruction is easy, creation is not. A tiny piece of metal can be made to interfere with some very complex systems enough to stop them from working.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I've heard the Indian girl's story, Bella Twin, before. Does make ya wonder, though, how many folks have been eaten trying to use a .22 on a big bear. :D
     
  19. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

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    I once read this story about some guy from upstate NY back in the fifties, who heard a trapper talking about how he dispatched black bears with only a .22 pistol.
    The gentleman goes to a gun shop and buys a then brand-new Ruger .22 auto pistol and proceeds to go forth, stalk, and then kill a black bear with said weapon. When he next ran into the trapper and told him what he'd done, the other man, aghast, pointed out to him that he only used the smallbore pistol on animals that were firmly trapped.

    Can't recall which ancient outdoors magazine/book I read it in, or even if it's real, but I felt it might be salient to this topic.
     
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  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Ever hear of Ben Lilly? He used to hunt black bear with hounds and a knife. He'd stab across their back behind their off shoulder. The bear would react to the side where the pain came from. When he got to the Silver City, NM area to hunt griz, though, he used a big bore lever gun. His dog would run them down, still. He is credited with wiping out grizzly in that part of the country. He was paid by ranchers to hunt down bear.

    https://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-benlilly/
     
  21. Bull Nutria

    Bull Nutria Member

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    Yes I have heard of Ben Lilly! He was a professional trapper for Ranchers and for the Gov't in New Mexico. He was from MS but grew up In NELA near Mer Rouge. He was an eccentric. He would get on a track of bear with his hounds and follow it until he killed it. He would sleep in the woods like a turkey on a low tree branch! unless it was Sunday. He did no work on Sunday. the "Ben Lilly Legend" by Frank Dobie describes his life and adventures. Ben had a camp in what is now the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. I have visited the site which is nothing but a small pile of bricks from his smoke house. Ben collected the type specimen for the mountain lion in the Smithsonian Museum. Ben made his own knives used to kill bears. The book is very interesting. He lived till the mid 1930's . He had a daughter that stayed in Mer Rouge after Ben moved west. When she died she donated Bens $$ Fortune to a local church. A new bridge over the Tensas River in the NWR is named the Ben Lilly Bridge. there is a monument to Ben out in a national forest in New Mexico. Ben was a legend in his own time-- a great read!

    Bull
     
  22. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    All of Dobie's books were good. He, along with Roy Bedichek and Walter Prescott Webb were the "triumvirate", the Big Three among Texas writers.
     
  23. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    I'm told by local game wardens that the lowly .22 is the most frequently used poaching rifle for white tails.
     
  24. foxmeadow

    foxmeadow Member

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    Many years ago, some friends of mine set out on an adventure that took them to Canada and Alaska. I don't remember which domain they were in, but they hired a couple of indian kids to guide them onto a moose. They wound up shooting a small bull about a half mile through the muskeg from the point they had canoed to, and spent a full day packing it back to the canoe camp. Totally wore them out. The next day they headed back, my friends in one canoe and the native kids in another. The kids happened upon a small bull swimming in the lake, cruised up beside it and shot it through the eye with a .22. They got a rope on it and towed it to shore, where they butchered it in knee deep water, using the buoyancy of the carcass to make the task about 500% easier. My friends felt pretty stupid for ignoring the indians' advise about chasing a bull through the muskeg....
     
  25. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    That is a good story and makes a good point.

    I find it interesting that people get hunt up on calibers, proclaiming this caliber can or cannot do this or that. When it comes to putting down animals, I don't see caliber/ammo as an issue of whether or not it can kill, but how well it can kill. Dead is dead, but dead right here is much better than shot here and ran 600 yards through woods, bottoms, briars, and poison ivy dead over there, or dead right here versus dead after it charges and attacks the hunter in self defense, harming or killing the hunter, then running off to somewhere else and eventually dying.

    Like the moose story, I often mention this guy who hunts hogs with a .22 subsonic. Here, he claims to have killed a 400 lb boar. I don't know that the boar is truly 400 lbs. It is a very large hog, however, something any hog hunter would be proud to have killed, but this guy did it with .22 subsonic.


    He knew his gun, his sighting, ammo performance, drop, etc. and waited to make the shot he wanted to make and got a good kill, just as with the moose story.
     
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