Bully into record books — Giant moose bound to go down in history

By Joseph Robertia

Photos courtesy of Bob Condon. Bob Condon, of Soldotna, poses with the 1,500-pound bull moose he shot in the Brooks Range in September.

Redoubt Reporter

Hunters who take to the woods in pursuit of moose harbor some sort of hope for success — whether it’s a modest desire to fill a freezer with meat or daydreams of a record-setting specimen. The moose Bob Condon, of Soldotna, bagged last month exceeded even his wildest wildlife daydreams.

Weighing more than 1,500 pounds with an antler spread of more than 73 inches, beams measuring roughly 10 inches in circumference at the base, and palms large enough to hammock a grown man, Condon’s bull was nothing short of a behemoth. In fact, it may end up being the second largest ever taken down.

“I knew he was a real shooter, but I didn’t know the true caliber of animal he was until I got up on him. I’ve hunted and guided nearly all my life and never gotten one over 950 (pounds), so getting one weighing 1,500 was a real treat, and it’ll be in the all-time books for sure,” Condon said.

The moose is surely awe-inspiring, though Condon himself is worthy of some amazement, as well.

At 73, an age when many might retire from the difficulty and discomfort of a hunt, Condon keeps doing what he

Bob Condon puts his moose’s antler spread — more than 73 inches — in perspective.

loves doing, even in spite of health setbacks. He’s had five bypass surgeries in the last few years and just had a heart attack in March.

“My doctors told me not to hunt, so this was a real blessing,” he said.

While pursuing moose, Condon has also been at the receiving end of bull’s antlers. Two years ago after he dropped a bull with a 56-inch antler spread, he made a mistake of setting his rifle down a little too far away when he went in to ensure the beast was dead. It was not.

“It was a stupid mistake, and I paid for it,” he said. “He picked me up by the antlers and flung me around three or four times, gored me, tore my boots.”

Condon didn’t take any chances with this most recent bull.

“I shot him twice when I got up on him,” he said. “I did all but call in the mortician this time.”

The final shots came after a long and rigorous hunt. Condon and two friends, Mike Demichele and Mike Mildbrand, were dropped off in a remote area of the Brooks Range, north of the Arctic Circle. They made camp and — in the wind, freezing rain and temperatures in the low 30s — pursued their quarry for two days. They had planned on being out for as long as 11 days, but on the third morning, around 7:30 a.m., Condon saw what seemed like a big, brown billboard on the move roughly two miles away.

“It was up on a mountainside just above the spruce, looking for cows. So I stalked closer, then began to call him in,” he said.

Using grunts to simulate another bull, a few cow noises and an occasional raking of the brush with a moose’s scapula, or shoulder blade, to stimulate the sound of another bull marking territory, Condon drew the mighty moose toward him. For two hours he kept up this deception, but then the wind changed, and not in his favor.

“He was coming in slow, but once the wind changed, I couldn’t get him in any closer. He just hung up,” he said.

The moose was still more than 400 yards away — a long shot, even when taking aim at a bull this size, but Condon decided to go for it. He leveled the crosshairs of his scope on the moose and slowly, steadily, squeezed the trigger of his Browning A-bolt .375 Holland and Holland magnum rifle, sending a 270-grain round sailing toward what he hoped would be the heart and lungs of the moose.

“It was a pretty long shot, and for how I was shaking, it was one of the best in my life,” Condon said.

Despite his buck fever, Condon hit his mark and the big bull went down. Condon was ecstatic.

“I’ve never hunted strictly for trophies. I’ve just believed in hunting and letting the rest fall into place, so I was elated when I got up to this guy. I mean, I’m 73 and I can see my twilight days coming, so to know you still have something like this in you, it’s a real thrill,” he said.

Being 73 comes with a few hunting caveats, though. While Condon was able to kill the bull and help with the process of skinning, gutting and deboning all the meat, he can no longer pack out the bounty as he did in his days as a young man.

Fortunately, his friends that were with him, and a few other hunters up from Wisconsin to pursue caribou in the same area, chipped in to help him haul out his prize. Condon said he was thankful for their efforts.

“The antlers alone weighed 98 pounds, and took two guys a day and a half just to get them out,” he said. “Then it was another two days to get the rest of the meat out, and that was with everyone pitching in since I’m not much of a packer anymore.”

Back at home with the meat processed, Condon shared his ample supply of freezer food with those who helped him. He is also now in the process of waiting to determine just where the bull will be in the record books. The rack needed time to dry, and shrink a bit, before it can be officially measured. Also, since some of the local official measurers are still out hunting themselves, Condon has to wait for them to return.

“The first time I measured it in the field, it had a score of 731 with all the points, palm width and antler width measurements, but back at home it came out to 706,” Condon said. “The score should be finalized by November, but right now it’s coming in second in the world for size by Safari Club measurements, and I’m waiting to have it measured for Boone and Crockett, but I know it’ll make their books, too.”

Based on the size of this behemoth bull, as well as Condon’s age, some might believe this would be the moose for him to retire on, but Condon said it’s not going to happen.

“I love Alaska and I love being out there, so I plan on hunting again next year,” he said. “I’ll retire when the good Lord says I’m done.”

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48 Comments

Filed under hunting, moose

48 responses to “Bully into record books — Giant moose bound to go down in history

  1. Tommie Turner

    Congradulations on a fine moose. Really enjoyed reading about it!
    Tommie

  2. A fellow hunter

    The reporter likely wasn’t aware that it isn’t legal to transport the antlers before the meat, like the story says now. You might want to pull that sentence.

    • I believe the law you refer to applies to the kill site. It’s not clear from the text that he was referring to the kill site. He may have been referring to the camp or the pick-up point.

  3. Congratulations Bob! Thanks for being a good rep. for us old guys and sharing the excitement of the hunt! earl @ Soldotna

  4. Alex

    wow!!! nice shot,,, good for you,bob!!!

  5. DHP

    Taking a bull like that only hurts the species. I’m all for a responsible harvest, but that bull clearly had the “goods” (i.e. genetics) to compete in this world and for the good of the species and future harvests, it would have been better to let him continue to breed.
    Seems a shame he’ll end up on some dude’s wall.
    Humans, if they know whats good for them, will learn to hunt and fish in a manner that best preserves the species on which they rely.

    • to that I would say, quit whining, all good things must come to an end, that bulls brother, and sons are out there too. Some guy complained that my 12 year old daughter didn’t throw back her bass, the biggest she had ever seen, so it could multiply.

    • dick

      Rookie comment!

    • Antler size alone is not a measure of the animal’s “goods” to compete for breeding rights. Often, an animal grows old enough to display his genetic antler potential by being a recluse, avoiding risk, and not competing with other bulls. We have no way of knowing whether this bull was aggressive or passive, a risk-taker or a recluse. In the world of antlered animals aggressive risk-takers who compete for breeding rights are more subject to injury and often have shorter lives. For all anyone knows, this bull got as big as he did because he avoided the risks of breeding. In addition, the genetics for antler potential don’t come only from the male; in the whitetail world up to 60% of the potential may come from the female. It’s may very well be the same for all antlered animals.

    • Jon Smith

      The genetics have already been passed along for many years, You people are amazing. Good for him and don’t worry alot of us hunters are conservation minded, it is in our interest.

    • Sorry DHP, but a bull that size has been around for a long ass time and has spread his juice for years and with many. He did his job. He was going to die eventually, just like you and me. Now Man gets to rejoice in the celebration of the acquisition of one of Gods creations he put here for us to hunt and devour……This was a remarkable achievement. Yet another record to be broken. Can’t wait to see the next one…..

    • John

      Bull, literally. That animal has passed on it’s genes many times. In addition, I would have been very surprised if he’d lasted this winter in the wilds and chances are, would have died a slow starvation death. You say the word “humans” like it’s bitter on your tongue. If it weren’t for hunting humans and the advances they/we have made in conservation since the beginning of the 1900s, animals like this massive bull would not exist today. Only through that actions and contribution of hunters like Bob is this kind of trophy possible

  6. October

    “Be aware that Alaska regulations state that the horn, hide, or antlers may be taken out of the field only after the meat is packed out.” –AKFG

    The article indicates that the seasoned hunter and guide took them out first. Hmm.

    • Isaiah

      No. He didn’t. He packed it ALL back to camp. Then I assume they flew it ALL home. Slippery slope. How bout you go throw a moose on YOUR back…. It CAN’T be done all at once…

      The reg you state says clearly “OUT OF THE FIELD”… They weren’t out of teh field until they were headed home

  7. skip cantil

    Congratulation to Mr. Condon, a great story on a great moose. I hope to be out there hunting long after I retire.

  8. that is really bragging rights. congrats.

  9. Rae

    Great story, Very well written. It is amaizing how large the antlers can grow.

  10. Big Dan

    If the story is true and they actually took out the antlers before
    salvaging ALL the meat, that is a violation of Alaska hunting
    regulations. Great bull though, what my hunting pards in
    Fairbanks would call a “Ragu” bull, all burger!

  11. alaskalass

    …an animal that old and that big? …think I would have let him be…

  12. Once, down in the keys, fishing on light tackle, I brought in a 125 pound Tarpon after an hour and a quarter battle. So I know how this moose hunter feels. Difference was, when I got him up to the boat we took his picture then, because he had given me the time of my life, I cut him loose and watched him swim away. And felt good about it.

  13. Margaret Alexander.....I use to live in Alaska

    Moose is not like regular meet that is fed with all kinds of crap that we end up eating. Moose meat and other meat that is not raised on a farm is good for you.

  14. Bill Schultz

    Good job, from a 76 year old Wisconsin deer hunter. This moose would have probably been wolf food shortly, harvesting this trophy was the right choice. Congrats, and enjoy the future hunts.

  15. Dave Machacek

    Congratulations. Another year he’d of died of old age and pushing tulips for Miss Dixie Chick too eat. His years of passing on genes are long past and thankfully he’s part of the 2% harvest humans are able to enjoy. Hope you enjoy many other future hunts!

  16. CJ

    Awesome hunt! People seem to forget that a big game animals do not breed for their entire life span. A moose’s prime breeding age is 4-8 but they will live to an average of 12. Chances are, they are still the dominate bull in the area for a couple years after they aren’t in their breeding prime, and preventing the younger healthy bulls from breeding. Being knowledgeable enough about a species to identify older animals is part of being a good hunter. Eating red meat only increases your risk of heart disease if you eat meats that are high in saturated fat, and do absolutely no exercise. Last I checked wild game does not fit that bill. There is a profound connection between the hunter and the game he takes that people who can’t see past the killing of the animal will never understand. They would rather pretend that meat magically appears in the super market, or in your cat and dog’s food. Congrats for still being able to get out there and beat the brush!

  17. To all of you do not eat flesh. I lived in Alaska all of my life and hunted every season. I have seen Alaska natives go out and shoot everything in sight and only take the choice parts and leave everything else.When i shot something I had to flesh out every piece of meat and show it to the AKFG. I am happy that this man shot this fine specimen and I hope that he has room on his wall to hang such a fine trophy. Congrats!!!

  18. Great job on the moose! Hunting Alaska was always a dream of mine. Congrats from a fellow hunter! Keep it up as long as you can!

  19. Dana

    Great story…Mr. Condon is mans man….I hope he gets to hunt these amazing animals for many years to come!

  20. I am impressed, 73 and what a wonderful experience. I am 70 so I can relate. I still have my shot to take—

  21. WA moose hunter

    Congrats Mr. Condon! What a great hunt and well earned trophy moose.
    Having had the pleasure of moose hunting in AK myself, I can appreciate the effort involved. To the bunny hugger reply……wow……..!! Get a clue about responsible wildlife management.
    Hope you have many more hunting trips ahead of you.
    Best regards-
    A WA moose hunter.

  22. max

    Excuse me for interrupting, but this dixie person has an awful arrogance about them. To insult some one on a trophy of a life time?! Its not all about the kill it’s about the experience. Which you clearly have no sense of, for this man to do it in the condition he is in is truly awe inspiring! And then to try and back up your reasoning with some B.S. you read off the internet, is completely pathetic. You should just continue to sit behind your desk and find something better to do with your life!! CONGRATULATIONS ON THE KILL OF A LIFE TIME!!!

  23. Jimmy

    I would have smoked him as well given the chance. Great bull, fantastic meat. I rank moose meat above elk meat. Little to no cholesterol in that meat. Nice job

  24. Pingback: Man Kills Record Alaskan Moose - Game & Fish

  25. Doreene

    I posted this reply on FB, and this is for those who seem to have a problem with a man who is a responsible hunter:
    A hunter who is not proud of his kill does not honor the animal. A hunter who kills wastefully is indeed an abomination. According to Native tradition, the animal makes itself available for sustinence. The true hunter respectfully knows this, and shares the meat with family and friends. No wasteful killing is to be done. In following this practice both the animal and the hunter are honored in the eyes of the Great Spirit. One is a gift to the other.

  26. Dru

    So my husband isn’t quite 60 and now feels there’s still a chance he’ll get his dream moose too. So happy for you. We know how you must feel!

  27. A. Angotto

    Great Great Great!!!! Thank you for sharing this fabulous story with us. I only hope I, someday shoot one half that size. As you, I tell my wife, when the good lord wants me I hope it’s in the woods, keep hunting, have fun and always be safe. Long time hunter A. Angotto

  28. Pingback: Record Moose Bagged in Alaska's Brooks Range | GoHUNTn

  29. James

    Wow what a great find. I have always wanted to hunt in that area. Congratulations!

  30. greg lajeunesse

    Bob you may or not remember me I used to hunt your camp in the allagash with a friend jay wojtowicz. Congrats on this monster its nice to hear about old friends suceeding in life. Wow what a shot. Greg

  31. it’s okay to shoot this amazing animal because he’s old and almost dead, so therefor no longer viable? Hmm. Wonder if the 73 year old hunter would feel the same?
    I have no issue with responsible hunters who utilize their kill in every capacity, but to take down an animal of that size and act like it’s your right, and there’s nothing wrong with it; that you’re not taking something away from the world? That’s ignorant, selfish, and narcissistic.

    To believe a giant is better off serving one man’s ego, as a trophy on his wall like some testament to his deflated ego with age, is somehow better than allowing it to die with grace, and inspire awe in those fortunate enough to see it pass them in the wild?

    I eat meat, and I support responsible hunting. Responsible hunting is not about thrill kills, and there’s certainly nothing honorable about taking away from nature something greater than you can give.

    • Charles

      Jaime. About the only thing i can say is you must not be a hunter or appreciate and understand nature. Your comments are not only (as you say) narcisstic but shows you really don’t support”responsible” hunting as you call it. Responsible hunting is just that. Hunting within the guidelines(they call ‘em laws now). Government has to criminalize everything..and your comments border on the same. ie trying to make someone feel guilty for something that is not only legal…but responsible too. Tongue in cheek a bit..but when you eat meat..is it a tofu burger?? LOL!…If so..I hope you feel guilty for killing all those trophy Tofus.. I still feel guilty for sitting on all those naugahyde seats. From what I have been able to find out..the car makers exterminated the naugas to put seats on cars back in the 60s and 70s. Shameful

      • Charles-
        You’re right. I’m not a hunter. Not for sport, and not for thrill kills.
        I am however, a homesteader. I raise sheep, goats, fowl, rabbit, and also have dairy cows and horses, among other animals.
        I treat my animals with respect, and yes, some of them I eat. I do that to put food on our table, and I also utilize the hides, furs, feathers, and skins for clothing, blankets, and various other endeavors. Bones for buttons, teeth, I have even used sinew to sew with. I’m not a huge fan of organ meat, so I usually pass that on to friends who are. I also donate some of the excess meat we can’t use to our local foodbank.

        My father was a hunter- and a record sharpshooter in the marines. He taught me how to shoot a cross bow, a rifle, and a litany of other weapons before I could even drive a car. I’m proud of that heritage- I know how to take care of my family, and I’m almost entirely self sufficient; growing 75% of what my family eats right here, on my homestead. Before I started homesteading, I did on occasion go hunting, but we used what we took, and I never took anything for the thrill of it, or for putting it on a wall like a trophy. I have, however, used antlers in home décor, but they’ve always served a utility function.

        There is far too much waste in this world, and I am a huge advocate of cowpooling type hunting, but again, I’m just not an advocate of hunting for the thrill. Want to live a more self-sustained lifestyle? Don’t want to rely on gas-ripened fruit and livestock raised in terrible, factory farm like conditions, fed food they’d never eat in the wild, and sometimes, even made cannibals of their sick and fallen fellows? Awesome. Just don’t take more than you can give. Or use.

        My issue with this is about the size of animal. This was a selfish hunt, and the hunter took a majestic creature that deserved to live out its life. Honor something that amazing with that right. And if you’re not going to honor it, than don’t bother waxing poetic about how great it is that some old guy, past his prime, was able to take down this animal, and then say it’s okay, b/c the animal was old. Surely you can see the irony in that?

        We have “laws” protecting certain animals during certain seasons, and certain animals of certain sizes and age, from becoming game. Those laws are necessary, b/c in our wasteful, narcissistic world, men (and women) think it’s okay to deplete a species, and rob the rest of the world of it’s presence- or even it’s meat- for no reason other than they felt like it, or wanted to put it on the wall to compensate for some complex or daddy issue. The caveat being, those laws only come into place most often when it’s already too late.

        It’s easy for every hunter who doesn’t agree with conservation on some level to call me a hippie, or make jokes about tofu and naugahyde. It’s simple minded, and the kind of thing that smacks of me turning around and calling you a conspiracy theorist with a tinfoil hat, just because you “seem’ like one, b/c your views differ than mine. Except I have an actual opinion, and don’t have to resort to tired old cliches in defending it. And or the record, I drive a pick up, with canvas seats. Not b/c I oppose leather, but because canvas is actually more durable, and easier to clean. Important when you have a farm. As for tofu? I’ve had it. I spent a year in Asia, and it’s used heavily there. It isn’t my favorite thing, but to each their own. I certainly wouldn’t be ignorant enough to judge someone based on their palette.

        Hunt responsibly, and be proud of doing it. Take pride in being able to feed your family without a grocery store. Kill cleanly, if you must, and honour the animal in that regard. But don’t talk to me about a spiritual connection between some animal you shot to put on your wall, b/c I assure, the animal doesn’t share it.
        The issue here was that that trophy on that old man’s wall is selfish. That animal deserved better. It was a magnificent survivor, and a giant among its kind, and would have been an awe inspiring site for who knows how many? And if your best argument for it’s demise was that it lived a good life, and was old, well… point me towards that hunter. Surely he’d agree?

      • Charles

        Jaime.. Are you saying just because it was a big animal and majestic that it should not have been taken. Sorry my itinerant holier than thou type. In my personal opinion..they are all majestic. I watched a rag horn elk try his darndest to get in position to “mate” with a cow this last winter. It was funny and majestc. It’s not the size of the animal..it is part of the hunt. But you don’t get that..or don’t want to. As far as the way you live..Been there..done that all my life. Still raise my own food..still hunt deer antelope elk..and a few birds. I respect them all and try to make the “kill” for a better word. quickly and cleanly. My way of trying to do it right. Don’t you just hate that politically correct word “harvest”? Yep it is a kill. everything we eat dies..as do we. I hunt but at the same time i am a bit squeamish when it comes to killing our own livestock. Never could kill our chickens. But to make the comparison between the hunter and the hunted just because they are both near the end of their lives is purely ridiculous. Not a big fan of religion..but as the bible said..most were put here for man to use. Not using you as someone to ridicule. You have already done that to the fellow that shot the bull. You bring ridicule on yourself for calling the hunter”irresponsible”. Get over your infancy and live in the real world. Don’t make comparisons to people and animals. As far as depleteing a species for any reason. Hate to point it out to you..but if not for those thrill seeking(or not) hunters..there are quite a few critters that would probably not be here now..and hunters pay for those animals whether they ever get to hunt them or not. In fact hunters dollars pay for an awful lot of things…other non game species and those that they would prefer not happen..such as the “re-introduction” of wolves into the Northern Rockies. Hunter’s dollars actually paid for that..and for all the suits brought to keep them from being delisted. The real losers in the whole debate was the elk and other animals that have been more than decimated(the word means every tenth) in Yellowstone. We already had the native wolves..With the large Canadian wolves brought in..they have been wiped out.. The hunting unit I usually hunt in used to have 2500 or more elk..now that unit has approx 900-1000. You assume the hunter just wanted to hang a head on the wall..but the “law” requires the animals meat to be used..not just the head. Get over it. The fellow that took the moose did so responsibly…whether you want to believe so or not.

  32. Kim Allen

    Great job Uncle Bob!
    You worked hard for that and you deserve it.
    Grandpa must be smiling from ear to ear.
    it was good to see you, thank you. Youre looking good.
    Love you, Kim

  33. David

    Jaimie sounds like a typical supporter of the current administration. As far as his suggestion of leaving the bull alive for others to see, it was in the brooks range and would have been seen only by other hunters or an occasional posie sniffer. No one else goes there.

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