3Rivers Archery Supply
My 2013 Vermont Moose Hunt
Moose
Contributors to this thread:
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
jerseyjohn 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
XMan 10-Oct-13
hunt'n addict 10-Oct-13
Mike Castillo 10-Oct-13
Box 10-Oct-13
boothill 10-Oct-13
elkmtngear 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
wily one 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Chip T. 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Rick M 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
Fatman 10-Oct-13
Ace 10-Oct-13
jerseyjohn 10-Oct-13
Mike Castillo 10-Oct-13
CurveBow 10-Oct-13
sureshot 10-Oct-13
Gene 10-Oct-13
elkmtngear 10-Oct-13
boothill 10-Oct-13
BC 10-Oct-13
Mark Watkins 10-Oct-13
XMan 10-Oct-13
jhansen851819 10-Oct-13
JEG 10-Oct-13
willliamtell 10-Oct-13
Turk 10-Oct-13
steve 10-Oct-13
JD1983 10-Oct-13
Box 10-Oct-13
IdyllwildArcher 10-Oct-13
GIT R DONE 10-Oct-13
HUNT MAN 10-Oct-13
Buffalo1 10-Oct-13
Hunts_with_stick 11-Oct-13
hurricane 11-Oct-13
Ace 11-Oct-13
wilbur 11-Oct-13
Ace 11-Oct-13
MJH 11-Oct-13
sas67 11-Oct-13
hunt'n addict 11-Oct-13
GIT R DONE 11-Oct-13
Pat Lefemine 11-Oct-13
buckfevered 11-Oct-13
elmer@laptop 12-Oct-13
Lucas 13-Oct-13
Ace 25-Oct-13
Kurare 26-Oct-13
wyobullshooter 26-Oct-13
WoodMoose 26-Oct-13
bigbuck 26-Oct-13
Hawkeye 26-Oct-13
Heat 26-Oct-13
Medicinemann 26-Oct-13
Ace 16-Jan-14
DonVathome 17-Jan-14
jax2009r 22-Jan-14
Barty1970 24-Jan-14
mixed bag 25-Jan-14
bill v 30-Jan-14
Ace 04-Jun-14
From: Ace
10-Oct-13
I have long wanted to hunt Moose, and I hoped to be able to do it in New England. Hunting close to home I figured, would keep costs down, and allow me to drive home with all that delicious meat.

Maine started the modern era of New England Moose hunting. In 1980 they had the first modern hunt. I was a college student in Maine at the time, and I applied with high hopes. Many years later I am still waiting to draw a tag there.

New Hampshire was next, instituting their modern season for Moose in 1988.

Vermont opened it’s first modern day moose season in 1993. An Archery only season followed in 2011. There are 50 Archery tags available, and you can put in for both the regular and archery only seasons.

In VT's first Archery Only Moose hunting 50 hunters shot 16 moose, the second year they got 17. A 33% archery success rate sounded pretty good to me!

The season is October 1-7 which is the late pre-rut, a great time to call in a bull.

I have been applying for many years in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. This year when the results were posted, I was once again not a lucky winner in Maine, or in New Hampshire, or in New Brunswick (which I started applying to a couple of years back).

I did have a bit of excitement however, a friend of mine's daughter drew in Maine, and a friend from New Hampshire drew in the zone he lives in. Calling them with the good news was at least getting to participate a tiny bit in their luck. It seems that almost every year lately I am the one informing a friend that they drew a moose tag.

Only Vermont was left this year, they draw the winning hunters name's very late. Finally it was to be my turn.

On August 1 of this year I was shocked to see my name posted as 1 of the non-resident Archery Moose Permit Winners. 50 permits total, 10% to nonresidents and I was one of them!

You get to choose any open Moose Unit in the state, and a moose of either sex is legal, but I had my heart set on a Bull.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13
I had always said that if I drew a New England Moose permit, I’d like to get one with my bow. Now I’d have my chance, and there was not going to be any late hunt switch to a rifle, since this was an Archery only permit.

This tag can be used in any open Wildlife Management Unit in the state, so I started to do my research about where to go. I had to pick one specific zone when I sent in the money for my Permit.

I got in touch with several people who know Vermont Hunting pretty well. Most of them were very helpful, and many of them suggested the far Northern Units for the larger numbers of moose (D1, D2, E1, and E2).

As I learned about the VT Moose herd, and the history of the tags and hunting pressure it became pretty clear that E1 would be the zone to choose for the greatest number of moose, but perhaps someplace else would be better if I was looking for a big bull, or more important to me, less competition and pressure. In fact, as it turned out, 22 of the 50 Archery Permit Winners, chose to hunt in Unit E1.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13
I spoke to a good friend who is a Taxidermist here is CT. He referred me to someone he knows in VT who has family members there who are experienced moose hunters and also do some guiding.

I made a lot of phone calls, and spoke to some great people. One thing became pretty clear, not everyone was all that excited by the fact that this was an archery only tag. And not everyone even thought that a bow was an adequate weapon with which to bring down a big bull. I didn't have any doubt about my ability to kill a moose with a bow, but I was pretty sure that if I was going to use a guide, he should be a bowhunter, and he should be convinced that he can get a moose within bow range.

From Mike Castillo, a fellow Bow Site member, I learned about a Guide who mostly hunts in Southern Vermont. Mike had drawn a 2012 Archery Tag in Vermont and had hunted with Jeremy Ballantine. They experienced some really tough conditions and Mike said that they had a great hunt. He spoke glowingly about Jeremy.

On his recommendation, I checked out some of the videos online, including one of his hunt. The name of Jeremy’s outfit is: InPursuit365, which pretty much describes him perfectly. Jeremy had drawn an archery tag in the first VT Bow season, in 2011, and he shot a great bull.

I also spoke with a friend who does a lot of bird hunting in the southern part of the state, and he told me about some areas where he sees moose sign pretty regularly. Eventually, after speaking to Jeremy and several others, I decided that I’d hunt Southern Vermont, not the Northeast Kingdom with everyone else. Lower hunting pressure, lots of Public land, and the fact that it was only 3 hours from home all made the choice pretty easy.

As it turns out, the areas my friend was referring to, and the areas that Jeremy primarily hunts were in the same zone, Wildlife Management Unit P. This was also the part of Vermont where I had spent the most time recently, as we ski at Stratton Mountain every year. It’s about 3 hours from where I live in CT.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's Link
The link has a map of the state and the Wildlife Management Units, along with the Moose Permit Allocation for the regular season.

As you can see close to half of the Permits are for Units E1, E2, D1 & D2. Almost half of the Archery Permit winners put in for E1.

I was looking for an area with a bit less pressure.

In doing my research, I toyed with the idea of a DIY hunt. While the idea of that appealed to me, I realized that this tag may very well be Once in a Lifetime, and besides, I have no experience at all hunting moose. Practicality overtook my desire to do it on my own. I called Jeremy again, found out he was still available, and booked his services for this hunt. As it turns out, that was an excellent decision!

After the deadline to pick a Zone and return the money for the permit, I found out that I was the only person Archery Hunting Moose in Unit P this year. I had the whole area to myself!

From: Ace
10-Oct-13
Jeremy lives to be in the woods. He’s been hunting with his grandfather since he was 6. He hunts deer, turkeys and moose as well as predators. He also traps and fishes.

His company is called InPursuit365 and he is just that. He probably doesn’t go an hour much less a day without thinking about Hunting, Trapping, Fishing or the outdoors.

He explained to me that the Archery season is the perfect time to call in a Bull. He scouts a lot, and has Trail Cameras out in quite a few locations. He had some nice pictures of Bulls in some of the places we were going to be hunting.

After speaking with a few people who had hunted moose with a bow, and reading as much as I could find on Bowsite and online, I realized that my usual Deer Hunting Bow setup should be perfectly adequate for a moose. I shoot a Mathews Ovation set at about 65#, Vapor carbon arrows, and Slick Trick 100 grain broadheads. Nothing too fancy, but this exact set up has worked well on a bunch of deer and a bear, so I was pretty confident that I could do my part, if we got a bull within range. I refletched a half dozen arrows replaced all the blades on my Slick Tricks and felt good to go.

When the archery season arrived, I drove to Vermont and met Jeremy. He told me that we’d be calling and hunting in some areas that he has seen moose, found sign and taken some good Game Camera pictures.. He explained that we’d hunt from sun up to late morning take a break mid day while the moose were bedded and go out again in the afternoon. Opening morning was clear and cool, a perfect day. First light found us set up near Stratton Mountain.

The plan was for Jeremy to cow call while Videoing the action, and for us to be set up in a place that would give us concealment, decent visibility, and me with a good shot, should a bull respond. Jeremy told me that the bulls were active and rutty, and the cows weren’t yet receptive, so “If a bull hears me, he’ll come in”.

We waited for shooting light and Jeremy started to call. Within just a few minutes we heard something coming in. We looked at each other and he mouthed the words: “Get Ready”. He started the Video Camera and I clipped my release to my string.

Whatever was coming in wasn’t grunting, something I expected a responding Bull to do, and it didn’t sound as huge as a Bull Moose should sound to my inexperienced ears. But it was coming in to his Cow Calls, so I was ready and anticipating some action. It was coming closer, and it was big enough to be snapping twigs, so I thought,, well maybe a moose can come in fairly quietly. Sometimes a deer or a bear can sneak in almost silently so … who knows. I looked and I listened and suddenly there it was 15-20 yards in front of us. A buck! Jeremy whispered: “it’s a deer, a buck”. He was looking for the source of the calls, and nervous but obviously curious. We got a pretty good look at him, but he didn’t stick around long. As he ran away Jeremy grunted and he stopped and circled back a bit and tried to get a look at us. Eventually he lost interest and walked away. I mentioned that he was pretty small, a 6 pointer with no brow tines, maybe 14 inches wide. Jeremy told me that in VT almost everyone he knows would be happy with a buck like that one, especially in the bow season.

It was great to have some excitement , but we were after bigger game. The rest of the morning passed with nothing else called in except a Bear Hunter carrying a Muzzleloader. We heard something coming behind us, and after a brief moment of excitement Jeremy said, “it’s a guy, a hunter”.

He walked right near us and said “what are you hunting?” “Moose” I replied. Jeremy said to him: “Did you see my truck parked down on the bottom?” Which I think is polite VT code for “why the heck would you walk up here when it’s obvious that someone is already hunting here?”

The guy said: “Oh yeah, I parked right next to you, I’m hunting for Bears, I hunt up here a lot”. Which I think is VT code for “I’ll hunt any place I damn well please”. He wandered along continuing up the hill.

We stayed a little while longer but I don’t think either of us expected to see any moose there after that much activity at the spot.

We walked back down the hill and across the road and tried a couple of set ups in new spots. At one point we heard a shot, sounded like a Muzzleloader, then a while later another. Perhaps the bear hunter had found a bear after all.

We had no action later that morning, but we did see quite a bit of moose sign. Tracks, droppings and rubs were abundant enough for me to know, despite my inexperience, that we were in the right spots. I did tease Jeremy a bit, asking him if was sure he was using the right calls because all he called in was a Deer and a Bear Hunter. He once again assured me, if a bull hears me, he’ll come in”.

Jeremy dropped my off back at my motel, I went across the street to the local market and picked up some lunch supplies. Back at the room, I made a sandwich, took a nap and was ready when he came to pick me up for the afternoon hunt.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
That afternoon we hunted in an area that was swampy, with beaver dams and ponds. It looked a lot like what I expected good moose habitat to look like. We tried a few different set ups, no response, no action.

Our first day ended and I wasn’t a bit discouraged. We had seen some great country, found a lot of moose sign and had a bit of excitement.

I looked forward to day 2, and as he dropped me off, we made plans to meet at 5 am the next day.

As I replayed the day in my head what went through my mind was how a Hunt like this plays out. We plan, and we anticipate and we have expectations and hopes. I firmly believe that being realistic and prepared and having a positive attitude is very important. And as the hunt unwinds we are constantly rewriting the script.

I certainly wasn’t going to turn down an opening day Bull, but you sort of hope that a hunt like this doesn’t end too early. You have hoped for years to draw a tag like this. You want to get the full experience, suffer the ups and downs, and of course, you want to shoot a moose, or at least have the opportunity to shoot a moose.

From: jerseyjohn
10-Oct-13
Great story! JJ

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
Day 2

The next morning we went to a place where Jeremy has seen moose and had previous success with prior clients. He told me that he had placed a game Camera nearby the previous week and that we’d grab it and check it when we went by.

This area was even ‘Moosier’ looking than the other places. Of course I can tell this because afterall, I had an entire day of Moose Hunting behind me!

The first set up didn’t produce any action, as we moved to another place further in, we stopped and checked the Camera. It had something like 75 pictures on it. Jeremy carries a small digital camera with him, so he put the card in it and quickly got excited. There were a couple of pictures of a Cow with a Calf walking down that trail, in daylight, from a few days before. Then 10 minutes after the Cow & Calf, a bull came by, and got his picture taken about 65 times! No exaggeration. He seemed to really want to show off for the camera. It’s as if he was saying: “like my antlers?” “What about if I turn this way?” “Is THIS my better side?” “How about this pose?” It was amazing, he gave us a look at his antlers from every angle. And he was a nice bull, easily high 40s to almost 50 inches wide with a Huge bell. Jeremy said, “we’ll kill this bull this week. We just have to hunt him smart”.

We set up again and called, and tried one more spot further into the cut, but got no response.

At the next set up we had a bit of excitement. After several minutes of calling we heard something coming in, it sounded big and heavy, breaking branches. It got closer and seemed to be about 100 yards away, when everything went silent. Several minutes later we decided to back out and try someplace else and not spook whatever was in the area. Jeremy thought it may have been that cow and her calf. They had moved towards the calling and bedded.

Jeremy decided that we should not overhunt this spot, it didn’t appear that this bull was nearby so we backed out with plans to return.

As I took a mid day nap and ate lunch, in my mind I rewrote the script again. In this version I had hunted a couple of days, and late in the second day a huge Bull comes in looking for the cow he hears. He presents me with a 20 yard broadside shot and I do my part. Then of course, he dies right near a good logging road, making his removal easy and as painless as getting a 750 pound animal out of the woods can be.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
That afternoon, we hunted in a new area.

The wind had picked up a lot, and I was sure that the bulls would have trouble hearing Jeremy’s calls. As I left the hotel I brought with me my secret weapon; A homemade Moose Call made by a friend of mine, really more like a megaphone, it was just something designed to amplify mouth calls. I thought, ok, new addition to the script: I use Jim’s “Ugly Bitch Moose Call” and we call in a big one. As I got in the truck and explained to Jeremy what I was thinking, he thought it was worth a try. Jim had used it to call in a Shiras Bull in CO.

The calls that afternoon got no response at all, even with my good luck charm. I could definitely tell that they carried much further though. Just nothing in hearing range I guess.

We hunted until dark and as we walked out, I hoped for a still morning the next day. I figured if the wind was right, we would be back where we had the Trail Cam pics of the big one.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
Day 3

Sure enough day three was perfect conditions for that spot where we had pictures of the Bull. We set up in several spots and sort of worked our way into the cuts trying different positions, with no response. As we neared the end of the morning, I thought about what Jeremy might have in store for that afternoon.

The afternoon hunt on Day 3 started out with a Hot Tip and hot temperatures. As Jeremy picked me up he told me that he’d just heard from a friend about a place where he had seen 2 Bulls. One of them a small one, and one pretty good one. It was in an area Jeremy knew well, and he had seen Moose there before.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
We headed to that spot. I figured if Jeremy thought this tip was hot enough to override whatever he had previously planned, then Let’s Go!

Rewrite that script one more time. The phrase ‘Never Look a Gift Moose in the Mouth’ came to mind. I figured these moose had been elusive enough that if there was a place that someone he trusted had confirmed the presence of 2 bulls, that’s where we should be. We parked the truck down the road a ways, and walked down the dead end road and hiked into the woods well over a mile. The hunt (so far at least) hadn’t been overly taxing physically, we walked quite a bit, but other than the fact that it was pretty hot by late morning, it hadn’t been bad. That afternoon we tried a number of different set ups, but it never felt quite right, and we got no response at any of the places we tried.

About the only action we had at this place was what sounded like an entire flock of Blue Jays, deciding that they didn’t want us in their woods, and screaming at us, it was loud and it was annoying. As we left I asked Jeremy what he had said to make them so mad. He told me that when was a kid and had his BB gun, there were never very many Blue Jays around.

About 90 minutes before dark Jeremy said; “lets’ quickly head over to the mountain we were at the first morning, we have time to get there, get set up and try a few calls before dark.”. I was all for it, the wind in all of the places we were setting up here, wasn't quite perfect, and as we drove to the new spot, I thought: “Sometimes a tip works out, sometimes it doesn't, re-write that script AGAIN, this time after a last minute change of locations, one comes in at last light”.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13
We drove to the new spot, hustled up the hill and quickly cut a moose track. I said to Jeremy “looks pretty big”, but of course I have so little experience moose hunting that it was more of a Question, a Hope, than a definitive statement. Jeremy replied” “Oh that’s a bull”. JUST what I wanted to hear, I thought. I was pretty pumped, because the tracks were obviously fresh.

We walked along following the tracks and Jeremy figured the Bull was likely to go one of two ways. He'd either take a right along the mountain (in the direction we had hunted that first morning), or continue up the hill. He went up. We walked another few hundred yards and Jeremy picked a spot at an intersection of two logging roads. He backed in a small grove of trees, and set up his video camera on his Tripod; and suggested I move up the hill a bit; and tuck into some trees next to a trail we hoped the bull would use if he came in.

We got settled in, I cleared some leaves in the spot I was standing and looked around at the most likely shooting lanes. I nocked an arrow and placed the bow on the ground leaning against a tree. I decided I should range some trees in the area. I figured I’d have a shot of no more than 33 yards, straight in front of me, and much less in most places. I ranged a tree at 10 yards just across the trail I was closest to. We had maybe 45 minutes of shooting light left. The wind was perfect, blowing down the hill from the direction the bull had walked. I thought about what Jeremy had told me; “If one hears me, he’ll come in” and thought ‘OK, Let’s Go’.

Jeremy started calling, and no more than 10 minutes later I heard a sound from up the hill. The first time you hear a Bull Grunt you think: “What the hell was that? Was that what I think it was? Was that what I HOPE it was?” Then you hear it again and there is no doubt! ‘ EwwwAGGGGHHHH’ the second half of which sounds so low that you can feel it as much as you can hear it. (when I mentioned this feeling to Jeremy later, he said “yeah well it’s coming from a chest about THIS wide” (holding his hands 3 feet apart).

Just to confirm that the sound was indeed coming from a Bull Moose I soon could hear branches breaking as he walked towards me. We have all heard noises in the woods and thought that squirrels crunching leaves were deer, but when you hear a twig snap, your thoughts are “oh that’s bigger than a squirrel, probably a deer coming”. We have also all had deer sneak in, seemingly without making a sound. Well let me tell you, there is nothing subtle about a Bull Moose coming towards you. They don’t snap twigs, they break branches!

Jeremy had told me earlier, “when you set up, pick a spot behind or in front of, some good sized trees, not saplings, bull moose don’t even slow down going through saplings”. As the grunts and breaking branches got closer the thought went through my head “I hope these trees are big enough, I don’t want this thing to run me over”.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's Link
A link to the: 2013 Vermont Moose Hunter's Guide.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's Link
And a Link to the 2011 Moose Season Harvest Report.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13
I guess that (2011) link is too long to get it all posted, try this:

http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/library/Reports_and_Documents/Hunting_and_Trapping/Harvest_Reports/_Previous_years_Harvest_Reports/Moose/2011_Moose_Harvest_Summary_Report.pdf

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's Link
Here is the 2012 VT Moose Season Harvest Report

From: XMan
10-Oct-13
Ace, awesome job man, enjoying the read.

10-Oct-13
Great story. Looking forward to see how this ends!

10-Oct-13
Great story Chaz, but I know how this one ends! ;)

From: Box
10-Oct-13
Awesome story. Keep it coming. Can't wait to hear how it ends.

From: boothill
10-Oct-13
What a deal....interupts a great story to throw in harvest reports. Just making us wait and sweat out the results I guess. Awesome write up Ace!

From: elkmtngear
10-Oct-13

elkmtngear's Link
Great story so far!

Staying tuned for the conclusion...I keep refreshing my browser just hoping...

Best of Luck, Jeff (Bowsite Sponsor)

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

My Bow was in my hand, my release was on my string, and I don’t remember picking up my bow at all. By now I could tell with certainty that the Bull was going to pass by very close to me.

Jeremy had explained to me at the beginning of the hunt that when a Bull came in, he’d stop cow calling. He didn’t want the Bull to know exactly where he was. It was better if he came in looking for the cow. He said that once he commits, he’s coming all the way in, unless he winds us. He told me that it was up to me to decide if I should shoot (is he big enough) when I should shoot, is he in range?, Is the angle right? He’ll just keep quiet.

This Bull had a slightly different agenda, I guess he hadn’t read the script. Every time Jeremy stopped calling, the bull stopped walking. Jeremy would call, the Bull would grunt and walk down the hill towards us. He’d stop calling and the bull stopped. Rather than let the bull figure it out, since we only had maybe 20-25 minutes of shooting light left, Jeremy kept calling.

I was facing the direction that the Bull was coming from, he was obviously pretty close but I still couldn’t see him. If he went to the left he’d walk right down or possibly across that logging road he’d walked up earlier. That would be ideal. If he passed me on my right on the way to Jeremy, I’d have very little opportunity for a shot at all, unless he was practically on top of me. Jeremy told me later that he was cupping his hands, “trying to throw my voice like a ventriloquist , to the left” so the Bull would come down the trail on my left and give me an open shot.

Somehow I remained fairly calm, probably the fact that I couldn’t yet see the moose helped. Suddenly I could see the black of the Bull’s body, he crashed through some thick stuff and now it was obvious that he was going to come down the trail on my left: “Perfect!” I remember thinking that he would be moving and so close that I would only have a second or so to decide to shoot or not, and I’d have to be full draw already.

The next thought that went through my mind was “who are you kidding?, you are going to confirm that he has antlers and shoot this moose!”.

I saw antlers! Big Antlers, I distinctly remember thinking to myself, ‘concentrate on the shoulder, not the antlers’. I was at full draw, yet I don’t remember drawing. I was aiming and I released, and I don’t remember aiming, I do remember that I was looking through my peep, so that’s a plus. He had been walking, and at the shot the Bull started to run. He ran straight towards Jeremy and I saw my arrow in his shoulder. I could see maybe half of the shaft sticking out and I thought “Oh Shit, was that enough penetration?”.

From: wily one
10-Oct-13
I am spellbound! Exceptional writing!

From: Ace
10-Oct-13
I stepped out into the trail and watched the moose stop about 20-30 yards past where Jeremy was set up. I was worried, but Jeremy looked ecstatic, he was smiling and pumping his fist. I saw the moose walk out of sight and heard what I thought was a crash.

When I walked up to Jeremy he said something like “Wasn't that unbelievable? what do you think? That Bull was high 40s or 50 inches wide!” He was obviously very pumped up. I don’t remember if he asked me why I wasn’t all excited or if I read that in his face, but I asked him “what do you think about that penetration?”. He pointed to the direction the Moose went and said “He’s dying right there, He ran by me at 10 FEET! I got it all on video!”.

I felt a little better, but as I said to Jeremy: “I just want to put my hands on those horns, then I’ll believe it”. I shot the bull at almost exactly 6:30 PM, legal shooting light ended at 6:57. Every bow hunter knows the feeling of wanting to pick up that blood trail immediately, but knowing that you have to wait.

We walked down the hill, back to the truck. I was excited but holding back. Frankly I think I disappointed Jeremy by not being more excited, but I just couldn’t shake the worry that that bull was going to go a long ways.

We reviewed the video, and it’s some amazing footage. Jeremy has great audio of the moose grunting and breaking branches, then he emerges from the thickets and onto the road. A couple of seconds later he walks by me at maybe 8 or 9 yards and you see my arrow hit him, he starts running and passes right by Jeremy!

The first thing we notice is that the left antler, the one I saw as he walked by me was quite a bit bigger than his right one. Not a big deal but it was pretty unusual. I pointed that out and said something like, ‘he’s sort of nontypical, that’s odd’. Then we looked at the penetration and saw that he certainly had enough arrow, and a very sharp Slick Trick far enough into his chest to get both lungs, and you could see lots of blood on the video. I texted my girlfriend the good news. Jeremy called a few people, including his fiancée who keeps close tabs on his hunts and shares his enthusiasm. After what seemed like forever, but was probably about 45 minutes we walked back up the hill, with flashlights.

Once we got to the spot where I had shot, maybe an hour later, the blood trail was obvious and easy to follow, even in the dark. The Bull indeed had stopped just past Jeremy and then walked off. I’m not sure if the crash I thought I heard was him falling, or just him stumbling and breaking branches and trees, it’s pretty thick once you get off the trails or out of the cuts.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
We found the Moose maybe 85 yards from where I had shot him, he was down and facing directly away from us as we walked up to him.

NOW, it was real, it was actually sort of surreal!

I’m not sure about other people, I guess hunters don’t often talk about these things, ... but what I always feel at those moments is a mix of elation, gratitude and sadness.

I said a quick thanks, and walked around to the front of him and I grabbed those antlers.

The oddness in the rack, that we’d noticed in the video was immediately apparent. The left antler has a dip in it and the right antler is not only smaller than the left but it has a drop tine or maybe more appropriately a drop ‘club’, that almost grew into his right eye. What a unique rack.

We took some pictures, as best we could in the dark, then gutted him, and went back to the truck to figure out the extraction process.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
In many part of Vermont horses are often used to pull out a downed Moose. No motorized vehicles are allowed on many of the public properties. Jeremy called Chris Lowe and discussed the options. We decided that since it was going to be pretty cold that night, dropping into the 40’s, and since a nighttime extraction was going to be a lot harder than waiting until the morning, we would go to town, buy a bunch of ice, pack the body cavity with ice and come back first thing in the morning with more help and a big draft horse named Chase.

The excitement of shooting my first moose was becoming real. All the work in front of us was too.

We stopped by the restaurant where Jeremy’s fiancée works and she and her mother and sister seemed as excited for me as Jeremy was. These are some great people, and hunting is a big part of Jeremy's life, they totally accept it. It’s nice to be among people like that, Everyone wanted to see the video.

After a celebratory beer and reviewing the video, I went back to my motel and spread the word among some friends who were anxiously following my hunt.

It was finally sinking in, I had done it, WE had done it, I killed a bull moose.

From: Chip T.
10-Oct-13
Great bull! Great story!! Thanks for taking us along.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
Me and my Guide Jeremy Ballentine.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
Day 4.

Jeremy picked me up although thankfully not at 5am, this time. We drove up to the mountain and met a friend of Jeremy’s named Tom. Tom was a taxidermist and fellow Moose hunting nut. He was there to assist with the extraction and let me tell you, he was a huge help! We took some pictures, better ones since there was now great light. Shot a bit more video. And then when Chris Lowe and Chase showed up. We all walked back up the hill to the moose.

The entire drag out was maybe ½ to ¾ of a mile, mostly down hill, and thankfully mostly on a logging road. Still, a horse dragging 750 pounds of dead weight is a pretty impressive thing to see. Chase worked hard and built up a good sweat.

We manhandled the moose onto Jeremy’s trailer, and drove to check the moose in.

From: Ace
10-Oct-13
I hadn’t anticipated how much excitement a bull moose would cause at the country store that served as the check station. Quite a few people came over to offer congratulations or asked if they could take pictures. And all this in the pouring rain. One lady wasn’t too excited about getting close to the bull that her husband was so interested in, but when he told her I killed it with a bow and arrow, she asked if she could see my bow. I happily obliged.

It was pretty cool, to be in an area with a lot of tourists, transplants, and leaf peepers, in a Southern Vermont area more known for Skiing than for Hunting, and get such positive reactions.

A couple of State Biologists even came by, they had heard someone had a moose that was being checked in. They weren’t there in any official capacity, just interested. One of them had drawn a General Season tag, and he wanted to pick Jeremy’s brain. The other, when she realized who he was, said to Jeremy “Oh, I recognize your name, you trapped a lot of Fishers last season didn’t you?” Seems I made the right choice in guides!

We drove the moose on the trailer over to Tom’s Taxidermy Shop, the ‘Rustic Moose’. He and Jeremy Quartered it and Caped my Bull. And we loaded it into three big coolers. Which took up the entire back of my Jeep.

The head and cape were strapped to the roof, and I got plenty of strange looks and Thumbs Up on the ride home to CT.

On the way home, I called some friends of mine who wanted to hear the details, and my friend the taxidermist to make sure he was going to be at his shop, and ready for me to drop off the cape. I asked my Girlfriend to plug in her huge Commercial sized fridge, so we could load it up and age the meat.

I made the stop at my Taxidermist’s shop. Kevin Conroy of Middletown, CT does the best work I have ever seen. His assistant Greg handled the chore of skinning out the rest of the head and cutting off the antlers, which they sent home with me.

From: Rick M
10-Oct-13
Awesome!! Great story. Congrats

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
Once I got home, We loaded up the Fridge and sampled a small bit of the tenderloin that night, Delicious!

We have eaten some of the moose every day since then, so far we roasted a big chunck of Loin, made breakfast sausage, burgers and steaks. It's all good.

From: Fatman
10-Oct-13
Congratulations on a great hunt and a beautiful animal. Great story as well. Dragging a moose out with a draft horse, classic VT. Awesome!

From: Ace
10-Oct-13

Ace's Link
What a trip! What a hunt!

Mike Castillo, I owe you big time for the referral.

Despite the long odds, put in for the tags!

And when you draw in VT, call Jeremy Ballantine

From: jerseyjohn
10-Oct-13
Congrats on a great moose, hunt and story. I enjoyed reading it and I look forward to the video on u tube soon. Do you know when we will be able to watch the hunt? JJ

10-Oct-13
Congratulations Chaz...Jeremy is half moose, and a great bowhunter to boot. I am so glad you had an amazing experience! Mike

From: CurveBow
10-Oct-13
Awesome! Congratulations!! Even no misspelled words! :-)

>>>>-------->

From: sureshot
10-Oct-13
Congrats on a great bull.! Great job on the write up as well

From: Gene
10-Oct-13
Chas - Congrats!! I was really happy to see that a CT. Bowsiter drew a tag. I have also been applying to ME,NH,NB,and VT. I was in southern VT last Sunday and saw plenty of those painted moose but no real ones.

From: elkmtngear
10-Oct-13

elkmtngear's Link
Awesome to see Bowsiters helping eachother have a successful hunt!

Great bull and story, Chaz...an experience I hope to have someday!

Congrats!

Best Wishes, Jeff (Bowsite Sponsor)

From: boothill
10-Oct-13
There is a rifle hunt video on youtube I just watched with inpursuit365 and shows Chase, the draft horse, dragging out a bull. Pretty cool

From: BC
10-Oct-13
Awesome hunt Chas. Thanks for taking us. Hopefully I'm due to draw soon.

From: Mark Watkins
10-Oct-13
COngrats! Fantastic story telling as well!

Mark

From: XMan
10-Oct-13
Ace,

Thank you for sharing and congratulations on great VT moose. I also apply ever year and have yet to be so lucky. Maybe someday I will draw and if I do I will be calling Jeremy.

XMan

10-Oct-13
Excellent story. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

From: JEG
10-Oct-13
Congrats on affine trophy and thanks for sharing.

From: willliamtell
10-Oct-13
Ace

Thanks for taking us on the whole experience with you. When I saw the fridge shot I realized what you meant by three big coolers. Hope you get another opportunity. I may just broaden my moose horizons a bit also.

From: Turk
10-Oct-13
Ace, congratulations!

Thanks for sharing.

I am going up for the next hunt. I'll be hunting in unit I. I know that I am going to have a hard time but am hoping to get one with my bow.

From: steve
10-Oct-13
Congrats Ace !!!!!!! Nice story too ! looks a little bigger then are CT deer .Steve

From: JD1983
10-Oct-13
Great write up. Moose are my dream hunt but I'll have to start applying!

From: Box
10-Oct-13
Excellent job on the story. Felt like I was there with you the whole time. You and your guide really teamed up and made it happen. Congrats to everyone, especially you who held it together in the moment of truth and delivered. Awesome! Memories for a lifetime!!!

10-Oct-13
Grats on a great moose! Good job with the story, thanx!

From: GIT R DONE
10-Oct-13
Ace what town did u kill it in and what town us that taxidermist in?congrats on a great bull

From: HUNT MAN
10-Oct-13
That was a wonderful story. Thanks HUNT

From: Buffalo1
10-Oct-13
What a cool story. Patience paid off !!! Congrats on a nice bull and a great adventure. Thanks for sharing.

11-Oct-13
Congrats! Awesome hunt!

From: hurricane
11-Oct-13
Congrats on a fine looking moose and a great job spinning the tale. Enjoyable stuff, the way you spelled out the various days hunting scenarios.

From: Ace
11-Oct-13
GitRDone, I killed the Bull in the town of Stratton, VT, close to the Ski Resort. The Taxidermist who caped it for me is Tom White, his shop is called The Rustic Moose, it's in Newfane, VT. His shop is well worth a visit.

Thanks for all the kind words guys.

From: wilbur
11-Oct-13
Ace,

Entertaining story and awesome moose which IMO is some of the best wild game to eat. I had a VT moose permit in 1993 which was the first year in modern times that VT had a moose hunt. Shot a nice bull on the first morning in the Island Pond area.

Was wondering if you were going to post the video that you mentioned. I would love to see it.

Congrats on your moose.

From: Ace
11-Oct-13
For those who have asked, I reached out to Jeremy about the video, I'll let you know when it's available to view. Maybe I can get a portion of it now, and the fully edited version later.

Several hunts are available to see on the Website: www.InPursuit365.com I imagine that once Jeremy has edited my hunt he will post it there as well.

From: MJH
11-Oct-13
Congrats, nice bull. Good read too.

From: sas67
11-Oct-13
Congrats ace real nice moose !! And great story glad to see you finally drew a tag !!!

11-Oct-13
Congratulations again. Great story and beautiful moose.

From: GIT R DONE
11-Oct-13
Ace that taxidermist is literally a 3 minutes from my camp I never stopped in there yet. Congrats again

From: Pat Lefemine
11-Oct-13
Super moose! Way to go. And you get to drive all that meat back home!

From: buckfevered
11-Oct-13
Ace, that is a wonderfully written account of your hunt. Congrats on your moose.

From: elmer@laptop
12-Oct-13
Great Story....Great job! Even better...It was done in my old back yard! I used to spent hours upon hours in the woods and trails in unit P! Glad you were successful!

From: Lucas
13-Oct-13
Congratulations! Great write up. The full fridge pic looks like many wonderful meals to come.

From: Ace
25-Oct-13

Ace's Link
Thanks for all the positive comments.

A couple of people have asked, so, Here is a Link to the Video of my hunt.

Jeremy Ballentine (of InPursuit365 ) did a great job on the Calling and the Video. I highly recommend him if you plan to hunt in Southern Vermont.

I encouraged Jeremy to put out a Video of all his Moose Hunts, he's got a bunch. Maybe after the Hunting and Trapping Season is over, he'll have time to get to work on that.

Some of the hunts are on his YouTube channel, and a few are available to watch from his Web Site: InPursuit365.com

The meat, as I expected is amazing. We have cooked some almost every day since I have been back.

Moose Stew, Moose Chili, Moose Burgers, Moose Sausage, Moose Tenderloin, Moose Meat Balls, Mooso Buco ... it's all good.

I'm in the process of making some Corned Moose (with the brisket) and plan to smoke some of it into Moostrami. I'll let you know how that turns out.

From: Kurare
26-Oct-13
Amazing! Big congratulations and compliments on an excellent video!!!

26-Oct-13
Great story, great video, great bull! Good on you!

From: WoodMoose
26-Oct-13
cool - congrats

From: bigbuck
26-Oct-13
Ace, again congrats, great video ,Jeremy does do great a job have seen several of his videos on you tube,did see last years with mike unfortunately did work out for them.thank God for the horse,if you are going to bring them out whole that is the only way to go!!it sounds like you will have some fine eating for a while!!!

From: Hawkeye
26-Oct-13
A truly well written piece-as good as it gets. Thanks for taking the time and sharing it. You deserve all of that success:)

Congrats Ace!

From: Heat
26-Oct-13
Congratulations! Cool looking moose! Very well captured hunt. Thanks for sharing!

From: Medicinemann
26-Oct-13
Great job....thank you for sharing!!

From: Ace
16-Jan-14
As a follow up: The state of VT aged the incisor of my bull, and I just got word from their head Moose Biologist that he was 5 years old.

Also, some stats: 23 of the 50 Archery tags were filled this year which was a record high. I believe that the first two seasons were 16 and 17.

During the General season there were 197 moose killed on the 362 tags issued.

From: DonVathome
17-Jan-14
AWESOME!

From: jax2009r
22-Jan-14
great story...great hunt...congrats.....

From: Barty1970
24-Jan-14
Thanks for sharing Ace; greatly appreciated.

Hope the moose venison is still eating well

From: mixed bag
25-Jan-14
Excellent story.I dream of one of those NE tags someday.I think I'll be in shock when/if I ever see my name on the successful list

From: bill v
30-Jan-14
Don't know how I missed this one.

That was awesome.

Congrats and Thanks for sharing Ace.

Bill V.

From: Ace
04-Jun-14

Ace's Link
Came back here to see if I had to turn any of the pics with Bowsite's new Picture Editor feature, and amazingly they were all right side up.

I'll throw in a reminder that the VT Moose Hunt Lottery Deadline is approaching (June 17). Don't forget that you can apply for both an Archery and the General Season tag.

See Link.

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