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Bowhunting Whitetails in Kansas - a LIVE Bowhunt from



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Day 7

Morning was as glorious as ever, as yet again we waited a few kilometers up river on the high bank for first light to appear before moving high up into the mountain to take advantage of hunting with the binoculars. Fresh Moose tracks riddled the ground more so than any other day or anywhere else we had covered.

High on top of the mountain we settled in with the binoculars and spotting scope, working over every viewable bit of land in sight. It wasnt long and Byron was glassing the first bull in some heavy timber that I photographed yesterday up behind a small lake. I then picked up on two other bulls, one traveling the middle of the river and an impressive bull at that, the other a young bull trailing some cows.

The light switch was turned on. Elusive as they are, the rut calls their instinct and here they were out doing their thing chasing the girls. Then another two bulls appeared chasing the same cows as the bull Byron was watching, both young bulls satelliting around the action.

Before racing off we kept glassing, monitoring each bull and what they were doing or heading towards. After much glassing, the bull above the little lake that Byron was watching looked to be an absolute cracker. He was definitely the biggest bull we were watching. These were very exciting times and the days of hiking looking and searching for big Moose were now paying off.

Descend the mountain onto the mammoth.

This was a great big bull Moose and the icing for what has already been a remarkable adventure.  We needed to hike back down the mountain and cross a large draw before moving into the thick forest towards the big bulls last position, which was in a high timbered ridge.

Our best idea was to find the small lake inside the forest, which would make finding the bulls position easier. The bull was some two kilometers away and at his level, impossible to see due to the heavily timbered forest. No doubt in the thick of it all, the land would look the same.

We finished our descent and checked the wind a number of times by dropping dry moss grinded between our fingertips. It wasnt the best wind for our approach, but being so close to the draw and the streams, the wind would be stirring a bit. Wed continually check the wind while entering the bulls realm.

We crossed the draw looking both ways deep up into the mountains and wide out down onto the river. I thought this is a great moment in time, my time. We weaved our way into the thick forest carpeted with dense moss and checked the wind again, still not great but better than out on the draw as it cut across the side of our faces.

With the current wind we headed out wide from where we imagined the bull was positioned, it was around 1pm now. We last saw the bull over an hour ago from up on the mountain, the bull looked as though he was all rutted out for the morning at that point, so we hope he was going to stay put as they can cover a serious amount of ground in little time.

The little lake appeared out in front of us and we slowed to a sly sneak from there. You could imagine the bull popping out at any minute, the grounds were just beautiful. We snuck forward step by step, glassing in all directions and then I froze and motioned behind my back for Byron to stop still. There through the poplar trees and small pines I could make out an antler, a Moose antler.

At first I wasnt game enough to lift my binoculars up to my eye, I could just make out it wasnt alert or looking. I lift the binoculars up and focused them between the trees on the Moose, it was one of the satellite bulls laying down that had earlier been chased off by the big bull when it tried to get near the cows. The satellite bull blocked our route to where we believed the prize bull was laid up.

Ever so quietly we snuck around out wide avoiding the satellite bull, which would mean wed have to cross the waters of the lake. As we got to the lake I glassed back at the satellite bull, which looked to be fast asleep with one antler jammed into the ground and the other antler sticking straight up into the air, it looked quite odd.

Our first footsteps into the water, as quiet as I thought they were, had the Moose sitting up and listening. We were fearful hed spook back towards the other Moose and spook the big bull. Staring in our direction, I grabbed the decoy antler from Byrons backpack and slowly waved it back and forth. The young bull stood up and headed straight for us around the side of the lake, the bull was happy but coming straight at us grunting.

All we could do now was bring him close enough and spook him back away from the other Moose that were still somewhere in front of us. It worked brilliantly; the satellite bull came right in and slowly moved around behind us before getting wind and running off away from the others.

On the far side of the lake we got into position and started to call. I was on edge waiting for the big bull to show up at any second waving its antlers back and forth and grunting, but it never happened. We moved forward again, stalking along quietly just expecting the bull to be anywhere here now. We got into position again, positive that the bull and his cows were within a hundred meters of where we last saw them from the mountain.

Byron called out but there were no replies. Its now been two and a half hours since we left the mountain and left the view of the Moose. We kept covering ground and calling for the big bull, a now swirling wind gave us some doubt that the harem was now nowhere near our position at all.

Wed stalked and called a massive area with no luck and doubt was building, but we kept at it despite a wind turning for the worse. We sat down and discussed a new game plan and listened for a while. All we could do was keep a little higher than we were and stalk and call our way back to the mountain. We would glass back down to where we were and maybe make another plan for the late afternoon or morning.

But then while sitting quietly, a grunt sounded out from above us in the thickest of timber, followed by another grunt, we both looked at each other, "Its him!" we whisper at the same time.

The wind was settled on our face, but it hadnt been lasting long and fearful of its change, there was no time to waste. Byron said, "Lets go at him," as he grabbed the scraping paddle and started trashing a tree with it. I led the way some ten or so meters in front of Byron as we both walked in a motion of a bull moose on the defense. Byron kept scraping trees as we moved up on where we had heard the bull grunt.

The bull started up grunting again and it got more and more aggressive and loud. I moved out to the side a little to hopefully get the desired broadside shot, that being if this is even the big bull I was after. Byron stopped moving as you could now hear the bull clearly and felt its magnificent grunt thump right through you.

I struggled to find a lightly timbered clear shooting lane past a few meters, but it was too late to move anywhere. The bull, by the sounds of it, was right on top of me, and within a moment there it was. The Mammoth, the Elephant with antlers, big mother antlers. I quickly looked at all possible spots to shoot, just one little shooting lane and just six meters in length. Beyond that there was no clear spot for a shot.

I held the bow on the spot as the massive antlers towered over the small trees that otherwise blocked all my view of the bull. It looked like he was going to trudge over me as the timber got darker and darker as the bull approached. He turned slightly and was now slightly front on, but would become broadside in passing my position. I eased back on the string and held at full draw. The bull was no further than six meters, then five meters and still coming to Byrons scraping shoulder blade.

The bull stepped into the gap between the trees at four meters, which made it feel like its left antler was a bone umbrella over my head. I watched the head move past the gap with antlers moving side to side, eyes staring and drool hanging from the mouth, much like my own. The massive neck came into view followed by the front leg as it stepped through the gap. The front of the shoulder, molded by muscle, moved past and the back of the shoulder crease could be clearly seen.

Whack! I clipped off the arrow and the beast exploded as the orange vanes were instantly stuck into the side of the bull. The bull blurred past me at some ridiculous, exciting and unsafe distance, something like a meter away. The first thought in my head was that I had never been so sure of a beautiful shot.

Byron, despite both of us being split in half by a steaming train said, "What happened?" My reply was, "I just smashed an Elephant with antlers, thats what happened."

I explained the arrow placement to Byron and that Ive never been so sure of a sweet shot. We both go ballistic with joy, a super effort both physically and mentally.

The look on Byrons face said it all, he had full appreciation for bowhunting at this point.

My hands were shaking, my legs were trembling and despite my confidence in the shot, we were going to sit down for an hour before following up the trail. I thought of all the finer details, one of that to shoot the bull in the lower vitals I had to aim at my head height on the bull, so at four meters I had to shoot up, which I believe was a great shot on this bull.

Just a few meters from the shot was a small spray of blood and the fletched end of the shaft, we waited for the longest hour of my life then followed up the trail, which had very little blood due to the shoulder muscles closing up the wound as the bull ran. But the deep prints and damaged trees told the story of a Moose in trouble.

Moose dont hit trees on the run only when wounded. When we did find the blood it was on trees at my head height and at this point we wondered if I had hit it a little high. With our heads down following the trail I wondered about my shot and thought back to first impressions, which were of an arrow placed deadly into the right spot.

I lift my head and there lay my mammoth Moose, an absolute beast of a beast. I fell flat on my back, flattened at such a sight, one that this bowhunter has been dreaming of for a long time. I couldnt get over the size of its body or antlers, a truly remarkable animal that Ive been thankful and privileged to have taken with the bow and arrow.

The Mammoth Moose had antlers up around sixty inches wide with big supporting fronts and plenty of length, a real head turner and trophy. Truly a remarkable animal and one that seems like its from another time, much the same as the land that the Moose roams.

The real work started as we raced the sun to recover as much meat as possible before returning in the morning to recover the remaining. It was good times as I started on the caping and Byron on the meat recovery. We had run out of food today and while base camp had offered to do a food drop from the plane, we declined as we now had 800 pounds of hard earned Moose meat, so we removed the sirloins and fat lining around the stomach for back at camp.

We found a suitable area for the helicopter to land and packed a full side of boned out meat before heading back to camp. It was celebration time in camp, so we had a camp fire and sat around eating Moose meat and fat on some sticks cooked over the fire and a few cups of hot chocolate. In the morning wed pack up camp and head back out into the forest over the draw and finish off the moose before getting a helicopter lift ourselves to where we might see some more Caribou.

Next - Day 8


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