It all began with a moose hunting show on the outdoor channel. As usual, I instantly bookmarked the website provided on our computer. Later that month I decided to visit the sites I had marked in detail. The original website was filled – I found numerous websites and browsed for several hours dreaming of a myriad of hunts – all successful!! I could not resist emailing several outfitters about hunts. Fortunately, Rick (probably Rita) responded. Luck was with me – they had openings for 2 archery hunts.
I quickly consulted with my wife about going on the hunt. The decision did not take long as she is an avid and accomplished bowhunter. I could not believe our luck and we began to prepare for the hunt, I am sure I asked more questions than I needed to and probably bugged Rick and Rita more than anyone ever did in the past. My wife (Sheryl) and I took hikes around the farm with our daypacks and practiced shooting out to 60 yards. Rick had said to be prepared to take shots approaching 45-50 yards.
September rolled around and I consulted with Rita about the drive from Edmonton to Grande Prairie. She recommended the scenic route into Jasper national park. What a recommendation!!!!! Absolutely breathtaking views – not to mention the monster sized bull elk right next to the road or the bighorn sheep on the mountain we hiked up to get a closer view.
Well, as you can see just getting to camp was exciting. When we arrived, the camp was all we could have imagined. Nice wall tents with wooden floors and propane heaters. Roughing it in style.
We began the hunt in a snowstorm that quickly turned to warm and windy. This was equivalent to having the bull moose take a cold shower. We kept checking different locations and calling without much success. On Wednesday, Rick & Ricky took Sheryl one way and I went with Charlie a different direction. At lunch, Sheryl was excited. They had spotted 2 bull moose and began to call. Not having much success with cow calls, Ricky decided to grunt and thrash the brush. The moose came in to less than 30 yards and turned sideways without offering a shot. But the excitement was evident when the story was told. The next day Rick and I took a grand walk through some beautiful remote Alberta bush country. While unsuccessful, we were seeing more evidence of the approaching rut every day. If the weather would just cooperate and turn colder with clear skies. That evening, Rick and I were calling near some clearcuts and played with a cow longer than we should, hoping she had a boyfriend. As we were leaving, we met up with Sheryl and Ricky. Ricky quickly spotted a moose ahead and when it began to thrash a willow bush, we knew it was a bull. It was fast approaching dark and we moved to close the gap quickly. Unfortunately, the moose spooked and my heart sank. Then , fortunately, Ricky cow called and the moose stopped. I had my bow at full draw and Ricky gave me the yardage. I could not believe the shot. I watched my arrow arc over the bush and hit the back side of the moose within 2 inches of my aiming point. I never imagined taking and making a 48 yard shot. I’m glad I took Rick’s advice on practicing. The moose had a 34″ spread and my dream that had began with an outdoor channel show had become a reality. The next day Sheryl and Charlie saw 2 more bull moose without a shot opportunity. That made her 5 bull moose spotted – a true testimony to the number of moose in the area. I could only imagine what we might have seen if the weather had cooperated and the rut had kicked in while we were there.
We look forward to another moose hunt and the great food Rita prepared. Hopefully, Sheryl will be successful and my next one will be bigger than hers.
Richard Ray, West Virginia