It all started back on February 20th when wereceived the email that my wife had drawn a DM410 tag. We took a gamble this year and stepped out of the Unit 13 Tier tag and took our chances on the draws, and at this point, the first step of getting a good tag appeared to have paid off.
We began some early season work of looking at different areas to hunt that would be relatively easy access without any difficult landowner issues. Since I hunt ducks back in the Jim Creek/Swan Lake area, I knew that would always offer an option and I have always seen moose back there throughout the month of September.
Knowing that time would be a difficult commodity for my wife, I needed something that would allow for short blocks of time as opposed to overnights or full weekends. We live close enough that we felt confident we could do day hunts to fill this tag.
We were fortunate to have secured access to a farm within the hunt area that had moose issues in the past and the land owner agreed to allow us to take one of the “issues” off his fields. Things were looking good up until a couple days before the season opened, with several cows as well as a young fork-horn working the fields each night. The plan was to catch one in the morning and save some crops.
Well, all good plans are subject to change,and a couple days before the season opened, the moose decided they would feed somewhere else at night. Time to go toplan B.
Back to the Jim Creek/Mud Lake area. Talked with a good friend of mine and we set in motion a plan to try and find a cow for her over the weekend. We would hunt mornings and evenings and try to get it done before duck season opened on Monday and stirred up the area.
Saturday morning, 5:30 we all left Eagle River heading out to the Butte. Saw a big cow along the way and my wife was ready to drop her in the ditch, fortunately for the cow,her calf stepped up beside her and my wife’s hopes of staying out of the swamps ended as quickly as it came to mind. Onto the boat launch. 6:30 we are on ourway up the creek. We had a list of specific areas we wanted to stop and checkthat had showed sign and moose in the past, so the search began. Spot 1,...already a boat in there. Spot 2, nobody there, lets give it alook. Beautiful open grassy marsh, lots of fog…does not appear to be anything….wait, wow, there she was, standing all the way on the other side, munching away. Can’t get a good range on her, but I estimate 600 yards. (afterconsulting Google Earth, I now realize she was just over 700 yards away)
We began what turned out to be about a 485 yard stalk through a muddy, wet, stinky marsh area. I loved it. Now I’m 6’5” and my friend is all of 6’, my wife on the other hand is vertically challenged and falls a few inches below 5 ½ feet. I was having the time of my life trying to get in position for her to take this beautiful cow, she on the other hand was,I’m sure using some colorful language only in her mind.
Finally we cross the marsh, and have put brush and trees between us and our target. As we peek around the corner, our target comes into view…along with the calf that materialized out of no where! Ok, now I start to use the colorful language. But wait, there was only one moose out there when we first saw her, and all the time we were able to see her, there was only one. In the short few minutes she was out of view suddenly not only did a calf appear, but so did another cow! Our cow was in fact still there, but another cow and calf had wandered over and stood just 30-40 yards away, out in the marsh just a little further. Alright, we’re back on. So they were still about 260 yards away, a bit long for my comfort, especially with no solid rest, but we had few options to close the gap. If we stay in the woods surrounding the marsh, they will hear us working through the tangles of blown down trees and dry rot. If we get out in the marsh,they will see us…time to look like a moose and take a chance. We bunched up, hunkered down and made our wayto a blown over tree that would afford some cover and a steady rest.
We’re at the tree, and now we have a cow staring straight at us, ears held high. She stares, and we stare. Then, she blinks. She turns and offers a very slight quarteringaway, head down shot and my wife sets up on the tree roots. A final check of equipment, assurance of her aiming point and it is on. A couple of “are you ready” comments and finally she touches the trigger. The report comes back of a solid hit and soonthe cow disappears in the tall grass. She is down.
Now, you would think finding a mature brown moose in grasswould be easy…so did we, until we started looking for her. It took a while, but finally we had her, now the work began.
The shot, 225 yards, Ruger M77(?) chambered in .280Remington, 150 grain core-lokt Remington factory ammo. Slid it in just behind the left front leg,clipped a rib, and took out both lungs and a portion of the top of the heart,exited through the right side just back of the leg. Bullet appears to have deflected slightly onthe rib going in, keeping it out of the front quarter.
We made quick time of quartering her and were lucky that wecould bring the boat to within 100 yards of her by working back down stream acouple bends.
Hauled to the boat, and back to the ramp, out of the waterand ready to hit the road back home, and I look at the clock, 1:08 pm.
We did remember to take a few pictures, I had plans to video(never happened) but the memory will last forever. I’ve been blessed to hunt over the years andhave been involved in the taking of moose, bison, caribou, wolverine, whitetails, black tails but looking over and seeing that look on my wife’s faceafter seeing HER moose drop will always rank at the top of my hunting memories.
Thanks to a good friend for the assistance and transport,time to get you one.Barb Moose.jpg