I turned 51 on Tuesday, September 29th, and had a good feeling about the day. My guide, Eric, found a nice moose shed on our hunt that morning and I thought that was some pretty good mojo. He later used it to call in the young bull I killed that afternoon.
Eric knows this area like the back of his hand and we were deep in the bush early that afternoon at a place that we had hunted the day before. We had found a ton of rut sign in there and had some bulls talking to us so we were quite optimistic. Eric had dug some of the urine-soaked soil out of one of the rut pits and was using that as an attractant. He had sprinkled some on our trail and had hung a little bag of it up in a tag alder that was about 10 yards in front of the ancient treestand we were hunting out of.
After 90 minutes of sitting quietly, Eric decided to do some calling. He cow called a couple of times and then started to rake the tamarack our treestand was attached to. As soon as he did that, I heard the brush pop behind us about 30 yards. I urgently told him to stop and listened hard for more moose noise. I heard twigs snapping two more times and I knew that we had a moose really close. It was the same exact place we had heard one the day before and I was afraid that this one would wind us like the last one did. Eric hadn't heard the commotion so I don't think he really believed me. We sat quietly for 15 minutes or so and the Eric suggested he get down from the stand to rake some more trees. I said "No Way!" because I knew that we had a moose in our midst and we just needed to wait it out.
Another 10 minutes goes by with me staring in the direction I had heard the noise when suddenly Eric poked me in the leg and whispered, "Get ready, he's coming in!" Now a moose is a big animal and I was a bit puzzled because I couldn't see a moose anywhere. Eric whispered that the bull was on the path we came in on but I couldn't see it because a tree blocked my view. I leaned way over to Eric's side of the stand and saw a moose-colored object about 35 yards away. Now I started getting excited.
The moose stood there for what seemed like forever. I still couldn't make out any details until he finally turned his head sideways and I was looking at a nose that was easily 6 feet off the ground. With that confirmation, I started to really get excited! Slowly the bull started coming down the trail, smelling the soil that Eric had sprinkled around. The problem with the direction he was coming was that he was quartering to me at a pretty good angle. I sat there with tension on the string just hoping that the animal would give me a shot.
When he reached the dirt bag hanging on the alder, he was about 10 yards away. The bull sniffed on that for a bit and then started walking to my left like he was going back into the woods. The distance was great but I am left-handed so it was going to be tough to swing around and shoot without spooking him. Luckily, he turned back right towards the pee dirt and gave me a 5 yard broadside shot. I drew my bow then but he saw the movement and quickly turned completely around. Now he was quartering hard away and heading back the direction from which he had come.
Quickly thinking, Eric grunted softly and the bull turned to his right and was now 15 yards away and broadside. I let go of the arrow and watched it hit him in the lungs; a little higher than I wanted but still a good shot. Within seconds, we heard the bull coughing and we knew we had a dead moose on our hands. He ended up going a little over a hundred yards through some of the thickest stuff imaginable! It was pure luck that Eric stumbled upon the carcass as quickly as he did.
After I put my hands on the bull, I gave thanks to his spirit and told him that he would not go to waste. His young body would provide a lot of good eating for my family and some great memories. We took some photos, congratulated ourselves on a successful hunt and then the work began.
I used a Tall Timbers longbow made by my friend, Don Orrell, in Fordland, MO. It pulls 55# @ 28". I made the arrow from a 11/32" maple shaft and tipped it with a 190 grain Cutthroat broadhead. The total arrow weight was 812 grains.
Moose camp (left to right): Guide's tent, our tent, cook shack
Eric doing his thing
Loading up. The gentleman on the left was our other guide, Ken Madsen. He was the first person to kill all 8 big game species in Alberta with a bow that made Pope and Young. Now that's some pretty good cred!
A truckload of moose. I got 263 pounds of processed meat from this bull not counting the 5-8 pounds of tenderloin we ate in camp. It cost me a fortune in baggage fees but I wasn't going to leave a scrap behind!
Moose tenderloin hot off the grill! We ate like kings on this trip.
What a great story and bull!
Best of Luck, Jeff
Happy Birthday too!
By pure luck, I got my arrow back...and in one piece. Four days after I shot it, Eric was hunting with my buddy, Dan, at the same spot I killed my bull. Eric walked off in the bush a little ways to rake trees and there my arrow was just laying on top of the grass. How we missed it the day I shot it is a mystery to me! I only got about 18" of penetration due to hitting a rib. However, I had planned for that scenario and used single bevel Cutthroat broadheads. The head worked as advertised and split the rib on the way in.
This is a picture of a bull Eric and I saw out in a field while we were driving to his house. The bull was about 200 yards out and just ambling along. Eric stopped the car, jumped out and proceeded to call to the bull. That dude came running like you'd just whistled for your dog! He eventually got as close as 40 yards before finally spooking.