Went out yesterday afternoon, my hunting partner asked me if I wanted to go on a day trip for moose & buy gas (not having a boat, I jump on a good deal when I see one) & said sure!
I also asked him if I could bring my 9 y/o son with us, & he obliged & said that he could use the exposure. I finished packing up my gear, did some errands, bought the gas, & my son came home from school & he pulls up, below my house on the beach & we head out.
He said he wanted to hunt Owl Slough just right across from Marshall here, & I said no problem. (Many a bullís been pulled out of Owl Slough lately), We motor around in the boat into the slough & pull into a creek trib of Owl slough, & slow idle all the way to near the end, & never saw anything.
The creek was narrow & deep banked on either side at times, & I instructed my son to scan ahead & back, to look up the deep bank or low bank for any movement. As we came to a long narrow low bank part of the creek, with good willow browse on both sides, we saw plenty of foraging sign on the willow bark, but no moose.
This long stretch of creek ended with a meadow on the left hand (port?) side of the boat, & then 90 degrees, to the right (starboard?) it flows into another much larger meadow, & then widens into the most perfect moose sanctuary youíd ever want! The creek was full of succulent moose grass on each side, & in the deep creek, itself.
As we gained speed, we rounded a couple of bends & found a cow & two calves, as my heart nearly skipped a couple of beats, near the right bank side. I told my partner to cut the engine & float for a bit as we watched the cow browse the creek bed for succulents.
My ever-intelligent son had to ask, ďWhy arenít you catching this moose?Ē I had to tell him it was a cow & not a bull, & he understood. We floated to within 41 yards of her & her calves, the calves were very apprehensive of our presence, but momma kept on eating & eating away. I cow called, & she kept eating, & bull grunted & she kept eating, & the calves were very curiously inspecting the air with their noses & wondering what the heck we were. (us three in a 22í long aluminum boat!). But momma never worried, & ate & ate, & that set the calves at ease, they joined her in dinning on creek bed grasses. The funny thing was that I still have a cold, & coughed quite a bit during the monitoring of the cow & calves, but the moose never worried.
Now donít get me wrong, but the thought crossed my mind, more than once, to shoot the cow, but I quickly buried the temptation, knowing itís illegal. I finally allowed my son to range the moose, & he ranged them at 73 yards. It started to downpour & we got on our wet weather gear rather noisily, & still, momma just kept on eating & eating.
During the downpour I noticed about 400 yards down the creek another cow & two more calves were eating in the creek too! WOW! What a bonanza! I cow called & bull grunted & poured a quart of water or more into the creek & waited & waited. I lent my son my binos & he watched both the sets of cows & calves intently.
About 30 mins later or so later, a nice sized bull, with no velvet, & nearly red antlers, came between the two sets of cows, off the right, about 200 yards away, I quickly notified my partner (driver of the boat) & we chambered our rounds, & I fired first, in due haste, (as I thought the bull would get whiff of us & hustle out of there), & I fired even though my scope was beaded up with raid, & I didnít think twice about clearing off the beads of rain or even unscrewing the scope protector to allow a clearer shot picture. (kicking my self in the butt still) & missed all three shots! (The bull never budged! But the cows & calves ran).
I quickly, (& shakily, reloaded my magazine) but my partner then fired off a shot as well, & the bull never budged, & he fired off another round & this time, it went down with a quickness Iíve only seen once before. My knees were shaking, my hands were shaking & looked at my son & showed him my excitement, & he said he was shaking too. My partner, was calm cool & collected, & said that this was a yearly tradition for him since childhood. I wasnít raised hunting.
We went over to the moose & butchered him; all the while I was telling my son what we were doing & why we were doing it. As I want him to learn what I didnít have the privilege or patience to know when I was 9. My son was very well behaved, sat still, & was very quite. This was his only second moose hunt heíd ever gone on with me & I must say that this will be, hopefully, his best memory for a long time.
I canít second guess myself on this, as hindsight is 20/20, & my adrenaline was pumping fast and furious, but I should have allowed my partner to see if we could have gotten within bow range to him (I brought my bow), & I should have cleared off my front scope or unscrewed the cover off the scope. Nonetheless, my partner, a very able & experienced hunter, finished the job. This day trip is going to be one that is worth the memory, & the lesson learned, STAY CALM!
My partner was willing to share Ĺ the moose but I told him I have not room in my freezer, & we donít have a chest or secondary freezer, yet. But I did ask him if I could have choice cuts, & he said sure! I told him I only wanted one loin, & a side of ribs. I gave the ribs to my aged in-laws & just today cooked up the tender loin (after a 12hr marinating in teriyaki in room temps) with sautťed onions, & eggs. I first served my sister-in law & her boyfriend (who only had ten minutes to get back to work, & I told him thatís plenty of time) I have to tell you this was one FAT moose!
I apologize too, I didnít bring my camera with, this bull was a fine 45Ē+ I will have to remember to always ďBe Prepared!Ē