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Author Topic: Hirshey's Moose 2014  (Read 81934 times)

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2014, 11:14:51 AM »


« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 05:42:58 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2014, 11:15:26 AM »
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 05:27:21 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2014, 11:15:53 AM »
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 05:27:59 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2014, 11:16:28 AM »
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 05:30:02 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline Skillet

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2014, 11:21:31 AM »
Great.  Anything I thought I might be getting done this afternoon just got shot to hell. Gonna pour me a nice single malt and settle in for story time.
Keep it coming Hirshey :tup:
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"The ocean is calling, and I must go."

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2014, 11:24:01 AM »
At this point, as my local Hunt-WA member says, my trigger finger was aching... did I do the right thing? Should I have taken this beautiful animal? Did I really just find such a masher on my first morning out? I was in disbelief. If I had had someone I cared about there to share that moment with me, I think the outcome would have been different. I would have taken aim at him with my sights rather than my lens... but 20 years of putting in for 20 minutes of morning air? I just couldn't do it. Realizing I might be the biggest fool ever and having shot nerves, I wandered back into cell service to share the excitement and a few photos to see just how stupid I really was. The decision was pretty much unanimous: WHAT HAD I BEEN THINKING??

My parents were still busily packing for elk camp, and I couldn't bring myself to say the words: I need you!

Luckily, another lifeline presented itself... after sending the photos to my friend Jeff from Seattle, there was an immediate response... "How is a guy supposed to work with that excitement? Say the word and I'm there!" We chatted briefly on the phone before it was decided: he was going to take the rest of the week off work and make the 7 hour drive to come enjoy this experience with me.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline superdown

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2014, 11:24:12 AM »
tag

Offline go4steelhd

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2014, 11:28:36 AM »
Tagging!!!
Congrats on a great permit

Offline gr8whthunter

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2014, 11:32:24 AM »
tag
Completely not The Chosen One of the YKWTSASFFRO...

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Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2014, 11:38:53 AM »
I spent the remainder of the day half-heartedly exploring new roads and country, but my mind was still in the back side of that swamp with those animals. I snuck in later in the day; I just couldn't stay away. I was giddy to hear a few grunts and the raking of paddles as my king of the swamp lorded over his land. I left and met up with Jeff, excitedly sharing stories of the day and catching up after 6 months of busy field seasons for us both: he in the marine world and me in fire. Who knew fire and water could get along so swimmingly?  :chuckle:

We headed back up into the woods to my previous night's camp and slept (I use the term loosely for me!) another night in the back of my car, just waiting for the daylight to break.

We were up and at it at the perfect time; the car was defrosted on this nippy 30 degree morning and all that was left to do was hop in when the unmistakable hum of a diesel engine broke through the morning air, and a silver truck came over the horizon. Unable to possibly get in front of him, I stepped out and flagged the gentleman down. "If I might be so rude to ask, what are you hunting?" I pried. "I'm not going to lie, I'm road hunting for mule deer" was the response. Feeling a small sense of relief, I asked him, "Great! I'm hunting moose and there's one down the next left I'd like to get after.. may I please have that road?" He smiled and kindly responded it was all mine. Sweet relief!

We got to the 2-track road and prepared for an exciting morning. Slowly sneaking around the corner, my heart leaps when I hear a giant "SNAP", but immediately falls when I hear the muffled sound of a truck, and see the headlights crest the ridge... the gentleman was unfamiliar with the area and didn't know it was a loop road.. he had driven 3/4 of my swamp already! I stepped aside to let him by, but he was already terribly embarrassed and reversed out the entire mile-long loop. I looked at Jeff as we sat and listened to the roar of the engine as it slowly faded into the distance.

What now?
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline JoeE

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2014, 11:40:55 AM »
This is the moose tag I always put in as my top choice.

Offline jrebel

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2014, 11:43:05 AM »
Tag..... :drool:  Very Jealous!!  Can't wait to see / read the ending to this story. 

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2014, 11:52:33 AM »
Well, I whispered to Jeff that we should wait for the woods to settle. We sat at a spot with a good view of the swamp and just listened. I'd never wanted to hear racket in the bushes so badly, but none was afforded to me. A single branch snapped on the cutbank above us, and one set of moose tracks from the evening headed that direction, but I had convinced myself it was either the smaller bull or the calf... there is no way that bull was leaving that cow.

After 30 minutes of silence, we walked the road until the swamp returned to a stream-like state. No tracks, no noise, no love. I decided we should go back to the set of tracks headed up the hill and follow them; we tracked them to a large bench full of seedlings and saplings, and lost them in the brushy ground. I was at a loss. I looked at Jeff, my patient and supportive hunting partner and whispered, "I think I want to try calling. Let's head up the hill and set up where we can see all of this". I could tell he thought I was kind of nuts, but he played along. We worked our way up the hill and sat with our backs against the large remnants of a logged stump.

Now, I should mention I had pretty much been listening to this YouTube "essential, must-know moose calls" from this gentleman out of Ontario non-stop the last two days. The previous night, Jeff and I had practiced up a storm on our way back out of civilization, laughing and bellowing our way back into the woods. I had adjusted my tone a few octaves higher, and was sounding pretty decent.

So there we were, sitting in the woods feeling like that moose could be 5 feet or 5 miles away and we probably wouldn't have the luck to see him again, when I started my lovesick cow moose calls. No sooner had I ended the two bellows and grunt did we hear the UNMISTAKABLE sound of an excited bull. He was down in the swamp, raking his paddles on anything near him, and splashing our direction. I told Jeff we should get to a spot where we can see the swamp, because I wasn't sure I could talk him out of it, over a road, and uphill. We started to move, and made it about 30 feet when it was obvious we weren't going to make it... he was on his way in, and hot! We sat; me with my back to a 12 inch diameter douglas fir, and Jeff crouched behind it. Moments after we sat down, I gave one more bellow, and tines became visible, swaying above the small saplings. The bull stopped, and for aching seconds stared our direction before starting to orbit us downslope. There was one good opening in the small trees, and I set up over my knees, looking down my muzzleloader waiting for him to arrive. He did, right on cue, and I squeezed, but met resistance... I had been so excited I forgot to take my safety off!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 01:20:36 PM by hirshey »
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

Offline Jason

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2014, 11:58:14 AM »
Great story keep it coming!! :tup:

Offline hirshey

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Re: Hirshey's Moose 2014
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2014, 12:03:28 PM »
I adjusted accordingly but the bull had made it through the clearing and back into the seed-sapling scattered earth. He kept working his way through the small trees searching for the cow that didn't exist. One more opening is all I had to get it done. I set up again looking down my Thompson Center and waited. My king of the woods clambered into the opening and I grunted my best grunt... he stopped, looking our direction, broadside roughly 40 yards. I squeezed off a shot and was rewarded with a thick cloud of smoke. I stood up and started my moose bellows; as the smoke cleared, I saw him standing there roughly 70 yards away. Steam shot out of his side as he sounded like a locomotive train with every breath. I had made a good shot, compromising both lungs. He wobbled, and changed directions. Fearing he was going to try to make it to his swampy castle, I put another shot in him and he laid down, drifting into silence and stillness.

I cursed: "HOLY SH**! That's my moose!"

I walked down to this beautiful animal, grateful for everything that happened the last few days. I couldn't have asked for anything better; the excitement, the company, the beautiful animal, taking it with my muzzleloader, and having the privilege of watching it just BE the day prior. I shall forever cherish yesterday. To be one of the lucky 10... was astonishing. To have lived the last few days... was priceless.
I am not opposed to golf, for I suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering deer.

 

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