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Thread: His and Hers Moose - (Late report from last fall)

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default His and Hers Moose - (Late report from last fall)

    Over the past four years I have had the great pleasure of joining my wife as she has harvested her first few big game animals – a caribou, a deer, and a bear. She has shown herself to be quite the marksman as well, as those three animals were taken with a grand total of three shots, putting my record to shame. As it should be, but man, I can’t say that I’m not a little bit humbled.

    This past February we were luckier than we deserve to be in the draw, as we both won cow tags for 14A. It was a slow fall for us, as our jobs and other situations didn’t allow much time in the field. Our short road system sheep hunt was hampered by weather, and though I got to chase caribou for a couple of weekends in the interim, my wife didn’t get to join me in the field beyond those couple of cloud-covered days at the base of the sheep hills. We were hopeful, though, as we still had those cow tags along with the promise of time together in the field come early winter.

    Well, opening date arrived and winter had yet to show, so instead of loading the snowmachines and a toboggan, we instead trailered a couple of six wheelers and headed out for a weekend of close-to-home moose hunting. On a Saturday morning we set out along a trail that I’ve hunted a number of times in the past. I was pleased to see that there was no recent sign of human activity along with loads of fresh moose tracks, but that pleasure turned to dismay as the trail became difficult to navigate due to bogs that were overflowing with water beyond what I had ever experienced. We plowed through for a short distance, but eventually decided to just park the machines and spend the day on foot. It was a good choice, as we were able to move more quickly and quietly than before, but alas, Saturday was not to be our day. We jumped a cow with a calf in tow around midday, but we were hoping for cows unaccompanied by calves, so we let them go without a chase (not that we would have been able to close the gap anyhow – they were moving before we ever saw them and didn’t seem interested in slowing down). As darkness approached, we decided to scout out a couple other areas, as a day of walking through boggy ground had taken its toll on our knees and hips and we needed a break. A friend had mentioned a back way into the area we were hunting from another access point, so we took a quick drive and found a promising area to check out in the morning.

    As dawn approached on Sunday, I’ll admit that we were thinking of packing it in to await the frozen ground and easier travel that was sure to arrive before the close of our season. Since we already had the kids taken care of (thank God for grandparents!) and were already away from home, though, we decided to give it a few hours to at least explore the new access point. We left the machines at the cabin and drove out to the area to set out on foot. As the light started to filter through the clouds, we parked and began to move quietly through an open field which abutted a mess of fallen timber, alders, and swamp. We got to the edge of where we wanted to start hunting and were about to head off to the right where we would meet up with the previous day’s trail, but I decided to quickly veer off to the left to look around from the top of a 10’ tall mound of dirt.


    As I crested the hill the shadowed forms of two moose appeared in the tall grass about 250 yards in front of me. My wife quickly joined me on top as we tried to devise a plan. Unfortunately, there was no clear route to take to stalk these moose. They were mostly blocked by the jungle of growth between us, so a long shot from where we stood was out of the question. In addition, there was no clear route around the vegetation, so we had no choice but to proceed directly towards them as quietly as we could while hoping for the best. Alas, “quiet” is the key word here, as such an approach proved to be impossible. Each step in the calf-high swamp water was audible, as was the frequent snapping of twigs and brushing of limbs against our clothing. We did what we could, but as we emerged at the edge of the opening 100 yards later, the moose were nowhere to be seen.

    Still hopeful that the moose had just edged into the brush, we continued forth for 5-10 minutes a few feet at a time, doing our best to keep our eyes ahead but needing to watch each step so as to not sink in the deeper holes that surrounded us like land mines. Much like the first time we spotted the moose, we were nearly at the point of heading in a different direction to seek out drier ground and hopefully other moose to pursue, but once more I found one last vantage point and was rewarded with another glimpse of our quarry. There were two cows in front of us, separated by about 30 yards. There were also at least two, maybe three more moose farther in the timbered hill beyond, but our focus was squarely on the moose in the clearing.

    My wife at my side, we started to position ourselves for an ideal shot, as now the moose were within 200 yards and within our comfortable range. That said, we still had a jungle of brush to deal with. A standing shot would have been clear, but everywhere we attempted to kneel or lay prone with a rest, our view would inevitably be obscured by deadfall timber and alder branches threatening to deflect an attempted shot. The next few minutes were spent moving side to side, back and forth over a 20 yard circle, trying one spot…then another…and yet another in hopes of finding a clear shooting lane with a solid rest.

    We finally figured it out and got my wife set up with her 7mm-08. By this time the cow on the left had fed behind a hill separating us, so my wife focused in on the cow to the right. I looked through my scope as a few tense moments passed, and then….as she has always done before, my wife took a calm, accurate shot that found its mark. I saw the cow shake as the bullet impacted, and while I was looking for it to stop moving for a potential follow-up shot, no such backup was necessary. After running about 20 yards the moose stumbled for a moment, then went straight down.

    With my wife’s moose down, I looked to the left and was pleasantly surprised to see that the lead cow had come running back into view. She was staring at the area where my wife’s moose had been standing moments before, and thus presented a perfect broadside target. I hesitated for a second, knowing that one moose is plenty of work on its own, but… I asked my wife if she thought I should shoot, knowing that she’d be joining me for what would certainly be a very long day. With her excited “Yes!”, I squeezed the trigger on my 30-06. It was obvious that I had made a solid shot, but I suppose I sometimes second guess myself. In hindsight a single shot would have sufficed, but I quickly sent two more downrange before our second moose fell to the ground. Later I would find all three shots within a 3 inch group, all solidly in the lungs – no meat was harmed, though, so I don’t regret taking those insurance shots.

    After finding our moose lying dead and notching our tags, we looked at each other and promptly pulled out our phones. I can’t say that I’ve ever done the same while hunting, but two family members and a friend had each offered to pitch in if we were successful. On a Sunday morning only an hour from home with two moose on the ground and work the next morning, we decided that we’d gladly accept the generous offers made the day before. Within two hours we had three people show up to help, and a bit later my brother came by as well on his way home from his cabin. We could have done it ourselves and would have happily persevered, but I must say that it was a joy to share our success and the process with friends and family. Better yet, we had many willing hands helping with the butchering process the following week as we cut, wrapped, and ground meat to fill many freezers.




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    Member Antleridge's Avatar
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    That was a great writeup! I didn't think I had overlooked the story of a two-fer - congrats to you both and thanks for sharing.

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Congrats to you both, and great write-up, great to see the wives get out there doing it !!! Talk about full freezers, I take it your good on moose for this year so a sheep hunt is in order....

    Thanks for sharing !!!

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    That right there is a whole lotta moose

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    Very nice Brian M, congrats. It was a good year for wives first. My wife drew a DC483 (Her first hunt after 15 years of marriage) and had several opportunities but did not feel comfortable/confident and I didn't push her. We still had a great trip in the sticks with our 8 y/o Son which was also his 1st big game hunt. She learned a lot and with the antlerless moose permit she also drew, she scored a very nice cow just after Thanksgiving and very nice shot placement with my 35 whelen

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    Member mtncowboy's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great time together. Get the BBQ fired up! Congrats and thanks for the story.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    I take it your good on moose for this year so a sheep hunt is in order....
    That, sir, was exactly our thought! We figure this is a perfect year to really focus on white critters (not that we don't try to annually), as the freezer has a bit more of a safety margin than usual. We did share quite a bit with those who helped out and a few others, though, so a bit of sheep meat and some goat burger would be a nice addition.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackhawkranch View Post
    Very nice Brian M, congrats. It was a good year for wives first. My wife drew a DC483 (Her first hunt after 15 years of marriage) and had several opportunities but did not feel comfortable/confident and I didn't push her. We still had a great trip in the sticks with our 8 y/o Son which was also his 1st big game hunt. She learned a lot and with the antlerless moose permit she also drew, she scored a very nice cow just after Thanksgiving and very nice shot placement with my 35 whelen
    Excellent! That's wonderful that your wife is getting more involved and that she had a couple of great first experiences. Over the past few years my wife has become my go-to hunting partner, and it has been absolutely a great thing for both of us.

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    Great job and excellent story you two! I miss moose hunting and even more, moose meat.
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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Congratulations to the you are your wife. Great job! It was a pleasure meeting you last fall too!

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    I've read several of your hunting accounts over time, and I most enjoy the ones which show you sharing time afield with your wife. So much focus these days on big trophies. The biggest trophy by far is the memory(s) you both make in your adventures together, and I really appreciate you sharing them here.

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    Congrats to you both! Question though, why didn't you drag them together for the double shot?

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Thanks for the writeup Brian...Congrats to you and your wife on a most successful hunt! Looks like excellent table fare. Good luck on your 'His and Hers Sheep' hunt!
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    Very cool man, one helluva date with the wife!! Enjoy the meat this winter and congrats on the successful trip!

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    Great story! The best hunts are with family.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Congratulations on a great hunt Brian. Although my wife was never interested in "big game" hunting, we share some great memories of hunting snow shoe hare in our younger days.. Thanks for sharing.

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Supper Cool thank you for sharing such a wonderful part of your life! Rock on!

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    Awesome job Brian and hats off to your wife as well!

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Great story. Always heats up with animals in sight. Lots of good eats there.

    Now tell us how the pack out was...did you go to far into the swamp?
    }:>
    Live life and love it
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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    That woman in the 1st pic doesn't look old enough to be a WIFE.
    Good story and pics. Congrats.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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