I just arrived home from my final hunt of the year, a remote river float hunt by bow. The first 6 days of the hunt had their highs and lows, but mainly lows, as tension built between client and guide over lack of game, questions of technique and area choice, and high expectations on this the client's second hunt in this area. I'll not dwell on the first week of the hunt; we saw a grizzly and a big bull moose the day of the client's fly in, got close to a sow and grown cub a few days later, and saw another small sow later, but that was it for game the first week of the now 9 day hunt. A highlight was each of us catching a tagged salmon on consecutive days. So lets pick things up at our 3rd and final campsite, September 21st, the 5th day of actual hunting.
We got to our 3rd campout with plenty of daylight left, fished a little, and got camp set up. While fishing I scouted sign and found a small field with a nice spotting ridge beside it, and lots of cow sign entering and around it. We set up there to call around 5 pm. Mornings had been very cold and crisp, and this evening already had a bite to it, so my expectancy was high. We had a lot of fresh cow sign on the sandbar we were on and the one across the river; even better!
After settling in, we let the area settle, being quiet about 15 minutes. I then let out two very loud cow calls. Immediately, I heard three short grunts. I motioned to the client to listen, I had heard a moose. I called again, and this time there was a very loud, distinct, drawn out cow call in response. We continued to call back and forth, she on one side of the river, me on the other. Then I heard a bull call. Unsure of exact location and what they could see, we stayed put... she then moved off, calling once more, and it got quiet.
We decided to move to the river, to see if we could get back onto their trail, but after crossing and calling some more, there was never another response. We returned to camp about dark. It had been a cathartic night; finally, after nearly a week of calling with zero results, we had gotten a good response. The client was able to see that moose really would respond to the guide's calling, and perhaps the guide's setups really could bear fruit. And the guide got confirmation once again that moose really did find him sexy, liked him, and maybe even thought him pretty! (old SNL reference )