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Park Rapids hunter nabs trophy moose in Alaska

Leonard Thelen Sr.'s fourth hunting trip to Alaska yielded a massive moose. (Submitted photo)

"Definitely a trophy," says Leonard Thelen Sr. of Park Rapids.

He shot a bull moose on Sept. 13 about 70 miles southwest of Fairbanks, Alaska.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), full-grown bulls stand almost 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh from 1,200 to 1,600 pounds.

This was Thelen's fourth hunting trip to Alaska and the third moose that he's shot. He visits a family friend who leads the trek. This fall, they flew into a swampy area by Fairbanks and camped 10 days. Professional hunting guides charge up to $15,000, Thelen said. Moose hunt licenses cost over $900 in Alaska.

Thelen estimates the beast he bagged this year was a 5- or 6-year-old animal, with an antler spread of 51 inches. In the wild, says ADFG, moose rarely live more than 16 years.

"This one is unique because it has six brow tines," Thelen said. "It's a rugged piece of horn."

The moose must be processed onsite, he noted. It yielded roughly 500 pounds of meat.

"It's a little chewy. It tastes good. It's lean. No fat," he said.

The meat is still currently in deep freeze near the North Pole.

"So I need to go back to Alaska to go fishing," Thelen quipped.

He plans to save the antlers for a leather cover mount. The largest moose antlers in North America come from Alaska, the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories of Canada, according to ADFG.