Here’s a quick moose tale for you. Our #1 son just got moved back in-state after a 3 year dental school adventure in that chithole San Fran. On a whim, he put in for cow moose for a unit near Park City. When the draw results came out, we were shocked to see his success. This is his 3rd moose tag in Utah. At 17 years old, he took a cow with my 44 Mag and about 7 years ago got his Utah bull.
This year’s unit is mostly private property, with a public WMA and a few other slivers of public land. We hunted the WMA the first weekend, putting in about 8 miles of futility. With his new dental practice taking up most of his time & energy, we did some Google Fu and talked to a great guy that had been successful a few years earlier on the unit. He pointed us to a piece of public and we went in with high hopes.
We hiked in about 3 miles from a summit trail head, gradually descending about 1500 feet elevation along an intermittent stream. Late in the afternoon we were excited to hear what we believed to be bull moose glunks. We got higher on a bench and glassed like crazy but couldn’t pin him down. But with the better vantage point, we felt good about the return trip out to the truck.
We kept elevation and crept along. Across the canyon, we glassed up two bulls sparing a little and we were sure they’d have a cow or two nearby. After glassing for 30 minutes, we conceded they had no girl friends.
We moved on, eventually meeting the stream about ¾ mile from the trailhead. Soon we heard some very obnoxious calling ahead of us and up to the left in the mixed pines and quakies. It was definitely a cow moose, or more likely a dude trying to sound like a cow in hopes of pulling in a bull. In any event, Mike made ready and we moved along listening and glassing.
We got to a semi-open spot in the trail and the calling had stopped. We thought he/she was probably another little ridge ahead of us. Just as Mike started to walk again, I glassed the hillside one more time and saw a big ear twitch. I grabbed Mike’s arm and sat him down in front of me. “80 yards up and right through those big pines that make a V, see her?” He had the rifle across his knees and said, “I can see eyes and ears, but that’s it!”
She was on a little bench and with the elevation and cover, that’s all we could see. She was looking right at us, but her snout was completely obscured to the point we began second guessing what we were looking at. With the hump behind her ears, at one point I thought it looked like a bear! But not with ears like that. “Just stay on her and be ready!” I slipped my pack off and got it in front of Mike for a rock steady rest.
After what seemed like 10 minutes, but probably only 1 or 2, she swung her head to the right and that big old schnoz removed all doubt what we were looking at. “Ear hole!,” I hissed. Mike thought it more prudent to hold a bit down on the neck at let fly. At the shot, her head swung clear to the left and disappeared from view, replaced by a couple of hoofs coming up and then straight back down.
“Holy crap, did that just happen?” “Ya, I think so buddy! What a shot!” We gathered ourselves and gear and made our way across the creek, up past the V-pines and knew she must just be a few more yards ahead. I looked to the left, and there stood a huge black thing. I heard Mike chambering a round just as the big black thing swung his head toward us revealing a beautiful set of moose antlers. “Sorry about your lover, big fella!” He stuck around for a bit and then moseyed off.
A few more steps and there she was. “Um, looks like you ordered the extra-large!”
(Rifle looney notes: Sucks 700, McMillan
classic, VX2 3-9 (the horror), 168TSX)