Most of us know the overwhelming sense of accomplishment when we work our rear end off to harvest an animal, then work it off even harder to get it out of the woods. Although this is often the case, sometimes things just fall into place–almost too easily. I’m not one to pass up a freebie, and that’s pretty much how my moose hunt went this year.
With work being as time consuming as it’s ever been, I was fortunate to be able to hunt the last two and a half days of the late bow moose season near Fairbanks. I unloaded my boat about 5pm on Friday evening with the season lasting through Sunday.
I was thinking about all the calling I was going to get to do and the new country I was going to explore as I negotiated the tight river in my jet boat. That all came to a halt when I came around a bend about a mile from my planned camping spot and saw a bull standing in a slough next to the river. My first thoughts were, “Holy cow! That’s a nice bull…and he’s not moving!” I pulled the boat back to an idle and looked around for a gravel bar to pull up on. I couldn’t believe the moose was just standing there looking at me as I pulled the boat over to the opposite bank. I beached the boat, pulled out my bow, and waded back across the river directly at the moose, grunting as I went. He was so deep in the rut that he just stood there staring at me.
I had closed the distance to about 40 yards when he started to get nervous, so I drew and held high, thinking my arrow would drop significantly. I should have trusted my instincts, as my first shot hit him where I was aiming, right in the hump. He ran a few steps out of the slough and stood there looking around, wondering what had just stung him. I wasted no time and put the second arrow right in his ribs. He spun around again, acting like he didn’t know what was going on. I crept closer and when he stopped I put another arrow in his ribs. He ran a few steps and stopped to look around yet again! Now, from about 30 yards, I slipped another arrow into the boiler room. Almost unbelievably, he ran a few more steps and stopped again! I was down to my last arrow, so I worked in to about 20 yards and threaded it through the brush into his lungs as well.
With no more arrows to shoot, I walked back to the boat to let the ones I’d put in him do their work. Shortly after that, he collapsed right on the river bank with his nose in the river. It took me several hours to clean the badly positioned moose by myself, and a bear dragged all of my meat through the dirt by the time I made it back from my tent the next the morning. I wasted no time shuttling the meat out in my boat, and luckily I had all of about 10 feet to pack it (pretty unusual for moose).
All in all, it was a great hunt–he’s my first bull with a bow–and it was over before it ever started.