Last night it really kicked in how elusive
these Moose are, especially big bulls. We are into day six now and havent had even
a glimmer of a bull in his prime, but thats what makes them such a desired
animal to hunt, so big yet so hidden from searching eyes. Kilometers and kilometers
of hiking, miles and miles of glassing, hours and hours of calling and no big
bulls. But todays a new day, time has taken us deeper into the rut and five
days have given us a fantastic insight into this particular area.
Today we make like a squirrel and climb
higher than any other day and glass, particularly on the other side of the
river where the old bull was rutting last night. Hopefully a few bulls have
been drawn to the cow and the bulls rutting sounds and scent.
We worked our way up the river and ventured
up a draw with flowing water before heading up onto the mountainside behind
camp. The view was getting better by the meter as we climbed the â€˜in your face
landscape. In other words, steep.
I looked down into some lightly timber
country below our incline, "struth!" Thats what we wanted to see into and
thats what we wanted to see in there. An absolute monster moose tilted his
antlers back and forth as he moved through the Poplar trees. With a gap from
ear tip to the inside of his palms, wide palms at that, with good supporting
points, he was pushing well into the high sixties. The tops and sides of his
antlers were riddled with points and his fronts barely divided in the palm as
they flowed around and curled up.
There was no time to spare as the bull was
headed straight towards our trail that we had taken when entering the climb of
the mountain. Byron checked to see if he was interested in the call and the
bull froze on the sound, replied with a grunt followed by another and started
to come for what he thought could have been a randy cow.
I slid down the mountain and got into
position, picking a likely game trail out of three in view to wait beside while
Byron kept calling from up high. The big bull was coming and he grunted
straight at my position.
So far the wind had been great. The bull
popped out as if it was dropped in front of me and I ease back to full draw.
Two steps were all that was required to have a clear path to the vitals at
thirty meters. I pealed my eyes off its huge antlers and tried to focus on the
kill zone, which was blocked out by the trees.
The wind swirls for a split second and the
bull is gone in about the same split second with no ethical shot on offer. Heartbreaking
on such a massive antlered Moose, but awesome and overwhelming at the same
time. I hiked back up the mountain to Byron, we were both choking, but bloody
grateful to see such a beast.
We hiked up higher and glassed for the rest
of the day. We gave the feet a bit of a break and no other Moose were spotted.
I also glassed nine Dall sheep rams and two ewes, which were always pretty cool
Each night we would get the pack stove
blaring and hang any wet clothes or damp socks up in the top of the tipi and by
morning they would be dry. This night, warm or not, I woke a few times as an
animal moved around beside the tent under the concealment of darkness, a heavy
animal. The safety stick laid beside Byron at the ready, it just needed a lever
back and forth before it would make a big loud noise. I conjured up an image in
my head of that massive Grizzly tearing into the tipi and having to let loose
the 45/70 and painting the walls red with Griz and having ringing ears for the
next day while hunting. Luckily the animal moved off, whatever it was, and I
fell back to sleep.