Well hunting seasons have come to an end in many places and I figured I’d take the time and do a little write up of my 2015 moose hunt.
Due to my current class schedule I wasn’t able to get out of town for the usual week to two week long hunting trips I usually participate in every year. Instead I would have to settle for long weekends (Thurs-Mon). My tentative plan was to leave the morning of September 10th after I got out of class and head north. Well as I was getting ahead in my homework the night before, my hunting buddy, Allan, who had already been up there for about a week gives me a call to let me know he had just shot a 52” bull. “Dang it!” I thought as not too many bulls are harvested out of this area every year it seems. Well regardless of that I was still going to give it a shot.
Finally got up to where I would head into camp around 6 p.m. and met my buddy at the highway. He had finished getting his bull out to the highway with the help of some other good acquaintances he has made from hunting up there for years. Thursday night was fairly uneventful as we just rode into camp and made dinner calling it a night. Friday morning was a lot of the same. Posted up on a knoll Allan had seen a “monster” from a few days before with a couple cows, but after hours of sitting and calling nothing showed, not even a cow was seen. The rest of Friday was spent riding to different known locations that we have had good luck spotting moose from to no avail. The rain rolled in and all hunting Friday night was put off due to the sideways rain.
Woke up bright and early Saturday to the sound of three gunshots somewhat far off. Thinking it was in the opposite direction we usually hunt we headed down towards where Allan had shot his bull. A couple hundred yards from the kill sight I spotted two moose alongside the trail. I immediately shut off the 6 wheeler and clamored to the roof to get a better view rifle in hand. Just two cows! Man does seeing the first moose get your heart going. Well as I watched these two moose I heard the distinct sound of the clash of antlers. “Right on!” there were bulls right by these cows in the clearing! Allan began a bit of calling and then I heard movement in the trees behind me! We were surrounded, right in the thick of it. I chambered a round as I got glimpses of this moose that had snuck up behind us was about to cross the trail. As it walks out onto the trail I shoulder my rifle only to see that it is just above a double fork, instead sporting a 3x3. Lucky moose… Well not all was lost there were bigger bulls sparing close by.
We began walking up the trail to try and get a look into the clearing where we had heard the bulls fighting. I could definitely see moose but never a full on look. Finally I saw a bull in the clearing, again, raised my rifle, but was not satisfied that he would clear 50, maybe 45, again another lucky bull. I veered off the trail as I began to walk towards the clearing. Allan continued to call right by the trail to give me some cover noise. Well as I got into the clearing I saw moose everywhere, or should I saw bulls everywhere. I scanned and scanned just hoping one of them was legal. Before me stood six bulls and the two cows I had originally seen. ALL SIX OF THESE THINGS WERE SUBLEGAL. There were two 3x3’s, two in the 36 inch range, and two in the lower to mid-40’s. “Man, my luck.” I was thinking to myself. Played with these bulls for a bit and watched them fight off and on working my way into under 30 yards. I thought I could hear another bull grunting farther off into the woods, but could never really tell which one I was hearing as they all mingled around. They soon ran off into the thick spruce trees with the cows and were all gone. That was all the excitement for the morning a guy could have.
Saturday afternoon was spent talking to other hunter to discover that 10 bulls had already been shot out of this area this year from the community hunt, and other hunts such as the general harvest. That was crushing news to me as I had just seen six sub-legals that morning and if ten more bulls had already been shot how many more moose could there actually be in this area? Saturday evening was again ousted by the rain that didn’t let up till 8p.m. leaving a mere 30 minutes of huntable light left for a good stroll, again no moose seen. As we sat in the tent waiting out the rain however I heard machines coming down the trail and decided to poke my head out the tent to see if they had bagged anything. Sure enough they had a rack draped over the hood of their side by side; that made bull number eleven shot. I told Allan that with the news received today of all the bulls shot and what I had seen that morning that I was ready to pack it up and head home a little early after hitting it hard the next morning.
We woke up Sunday morning to a brisk 20 degrees. Skipped breakfast and headed down the trail. We decided to try out a few spots we hadn’t really poked around much this trip up. Well we discovered why we hadn’t! There was simply no moose sign around. Back to where we had seen the moose the previous morning. As we pulled up to the location Allan had shot his bull four days before we scanned the kill site 40 yards away to see if anything had touched it. Nope nothing. For the heck of it Allan began to do a bit of scraping and bull grunts, only to be responded to immediately. This bull however just sounded big. You know that mature deeper grunt the bigger bulls have. He was CLOSE too! He responded to calls for a good five minutes, never showing himself. Allan tried a cow call to try and draw him in the final distance. Immediately responding back was a cow that was with the bull, meanwhile the bull grunting all the while sounding like he is trying to tear down a spruce tree. However after that the bull sounded like he was grunting away, a.k.a moving away with the cow.
It got really quiet in those woods for a good solid 20 minutes. After that all I would hear would be one solid bull grunt every five minutes or so. He was staying put. Allan told me to go in after him. Trying my best to creep down the trail wasn’t working to well as the freeze the night before made my every step a good crunch. Allan proceeded to call creating a hopeful distraction. The first clearing I had hoped to see the bull in was empty. I pressed on another 30 yards as I did I saw antlers sticking up out of the brush. He was only 30 yards away and bedded down. I let out one good bull grunt as he stood quartering away from me. Raising my rifle I had sinking feeling as I saw his antlers thinking he was a one of the mid-40’s bulls from the day before. I began to count brow tines. Seeing only 3 on one side at first glance I started counting the other side, one, two, three, four, heck that’s all I needed to see as I let my Barnes 180 TTSX fly from my 300 win mag. The bull stumbled forward about 10 yards as I let him have another dose of 180 grains of fun dropping him in his tracks.
I was ecstatic! I had finally shot a bull in the area I had been hunting hard for three previous years. We quickly snapped a few pictures and then decided to drag him to a more favorable area to work on him. Have I mentioned how awesome Ranger 6x6’s can be? A few more pictures and the work began. Had him all loaded up and back at the highway by 3p.m. Measured 53” with 4x5 for brow tines. Nice to know a guy can still go to college and get it done on the weekends!ImageUploadedByTapatalk1444648570.920768.jpg