Got out this weekend did serious hiking Friday and Saturday before my wife told me to stay home on Sunday and take care of the Honey-do list. Late Friday evening my buddy and I finally found a good bull moose, but couldn't decide if he was legal or not. He definitely didn't have 4 brow tines but he was surely pushing 50 inches. I haven't been fortunate enough to harvest any big game yet, and my buddy was kind enough to offer me the shot. After looking very carefully I told him that I wasn't comfortable taking it. For the life of me, I couldn't get his right side to look like it was the correct length. We spent close to another 2 and a half hours watching this bull closely amble through the area eating and generally paying us no heed. My buddy spent that time telling me just to take the shot and we'd deal with the measurement once he was down. I made if very clear to him that I wasn't comfortable with the shot given what I had seen but was happy to let him take the shot and otherwise would just keep looking hoping to get a better, more clear view. In the end, the bull walked and we were both left feeling a little down.
I understand the importance of protecting moose populations, but am certainly not a fan of something as easy to make a mistake on as a length restriction. After spending serious time on this moose I am convinced that he was between 49" and 51". We even spent a great deal of time out on Saturday with tape measures measuring different points of reference that we had to see if we could get back out and pursue that bull as the season progresses. After going through all of that I'm not a big fan of something that you can't check affirmatively until after the animal has been harvested. I would have been ok with checking for brow tines (and when seeing that this moose was just wide and clearly didn't meet the 4 brow tine restriction) and moving on.
That's the end of that long rant. Hopefully doing what at least I consider to be the right thing will garner me a good day in the field this season whether it's looking for grouse, rabbits, ducks, or black bears and moose before too long. And hopefully I don't read in the trooper dispatch this week that somebody else was cited for harvesting a 49" moose and not giving me a shot at that guy next year .