Ray, West Virginia - 2004 Archery Moose Hunt
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 (Nov. 2003) I decided to visit the sites I had
marked in detail. I was really looking for a moose hunt in 2005
- I thought all hunts would be booked. The original website was
filled - Of course. However the link to the Alberta Professional
outfitters Society proved to be the biggest help of all. It was
there I found numerous websites and browsed for several hours
dreaming of a myriad of hunts - all successful!! I could not resist
emailing several outfittters about hunts. Fortunately, Rick (probably
Rita) responded. Luck was with me - they had openings for 2 archery
hunts in 2004. 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.
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.
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.
Ray, West Virginia