Soldotna man finds ‘calling’ on ‘Tonight’

Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2005

On a cold winter morning, George “Bubba” Hunt stood outside with his cupped hands near his mouth making an odd noise only a moose could love. That distinct sound has landed him a place on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday.

According to Hunt, he will perform a “love sick moose call” on a show segment titled “Does this impress Ed Asner?” The goal of the call, developed by Hunt after years of hunting, is meant to impress the long-faced actor.

“I went from being a regular ol’ Soldotna fellow to being on the ‘Tonight Show,’” Hunt said.

Hunt said a call from a popular NBC show was out of the blue.

“Anytime the producer of the ‘Tonight Show’ calls you, you’re a bit surprised,” he said.

Hunt is not usually a fan of the television show, but would not turn down an opportunity to present his moose call.

“I am surprised they even want me there,” he said.

He also plans on presenting the show’s host with an Alaska gift, probably off stage.

“I am going to present Jay Leno with a moose scapula,” he said, adding the cleaned bone often is used to call moose when hunting.

Hunt began hunting and calling moose in 1969. He said the special call took 40 years to develop and no other hunter — that he knows of — has mastered the technique.

According to Hunt, there are three calls used when calling moose: there is a bull grunt, a cow call and the one he will perform — his bull call to a cow.

Hunt said he actually caught sight of a bull moose, inside a group of cows, calling to another cow outside the group one day. He said the call was very distinct and he knew long ago he had to master it.

“No one is doing this call,” Hunt said.

He said he believes many hunters hear the call in the wild, but do not react because it resembles a bird usually found nearby.

“It sounds just like a raven,” he said. “I caught (the moose) doing it.”

Before the prospect of being on national television, Hunt took the moose call to the North American Moose Foundation convention in Park City, Utah, last year. He competed in two of three moose calling contests in front of a couple thousand fellow NAMF members, but because of several problems he was not able to finish.

“But I will win this year,” he said.

Hunt also plans to make an appearance on an episode of “The Little Known Facts,” a syndicated radio show that boasts written stories of America.

He will be a guest on the show to talk about his book, “The Wilderness Trail: the George ‘Bubba’ Hunt story.” The book is the story of Hunt, who is the son of legendary government hunter and trapper Frank Hunt. The book depicts the adventures and struggles of a kid on a quest to find the pioneer spirit in a modern world.

Hunt said the book came after many of his friends urged him to share his stories. He took their advice and wrote the book, which was published last year.

“That’s what got me started,” he said.

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