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Author Topic: I'm Your Huckleberry  (Read 4757 times)

Offline WAcoueshunter

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I'm Your Huckleberry
« on: October 08, 2019, 03:00:40 PM »
[In case you don't get the reference, the subject line is from the movie Tombstone, one of my favorite lines ever.  I have a hard time saying the word huckleberry without seeing Val Kilmer.   :chuckle:]

With 19 points, I was finally able to buck the odds and draw my first WA OIL permit, the early Huckleberry moose tag.  I went on a guided moose hunt in Canada about 15 years ago, but for all intents and purposes I was a complete moose novice.  I had limited scouting time for various reasons, including a Nevada elk hunt in September, but made a trip to the Huckleberry in August just to learn the roads and figure out the lay of the land.  I read all the Hunt-Wa posts on NE moose to learn what I could, and contacted a few of the moosey members here (Benhuntin, Shane, Boneaddict and Bowhunterforever) for any tips.  Really want to thank you guys for taking the time to point me in the right direction. 

I got to the Huckleberry three days before the season started to do some scouting and try to locate a good bull before the opener.  With me for those first few days were my 10 year old kid, plus my cousin and a buddy from Arizona who were able to come up for the weekend and opener.  We were still learning roads and checking new country, but were able to lay eyes on seven bulls, all small, between Sunday and Monday.  None of those bulls had cows, which led me to think the rut hadn’t quite kicked in.  It snowed quite a bit in the high country last weekend, about 10” or so on top of the mountains I wanted to hunt.  The early snow pulled down countless trees across the roads.  Between that and snowdrifts, a number of the higher roads and areas were effectively inaccessible.  So I focused a little lower where we could still get around, but the snow definitely put a crimp on our plans. 

We couldn’t hunt moose til October 1, but that didn’t keep my kid from utilizing his .410!



[to be continued]
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 10:13:06 PM by WAcoueshunter »

Offline WAcoueshunter

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2019, 03:00:59 PM »
The opener on Tuesday was a beautiful day in the snow. 
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 03:12:35 PM by WAcoueshunter »

Offline WAcoueshunter

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2019, 03:01:08 PM »
Since we had already been looking for moose for three days before the season actually started, I was totally okay to shoot one first thing Tuesday should it come together while everyone was there.  Another hunter punched his tag about 8:30am opening morning on a smaller bull they called in, and we helped them load it whole into their truck.  We saw five bulls that day, but no shooters.  Interestingly, of those five bulls we saw on Tuesday, ALL of them had cows.  None had cows on Monday, and ALL had cows on Tuesday.  Crazy to think they could all just pair up that quickly?  I did a lot of calling, but ultimately I’m a glasser and don’t have the patience to sit and wait and hope something responds to my calls.  So instead I’d make a few calls and give a spot 15-20 minutes while we glassed, but then we’ve move on to the next glassing point. 

All my crew had to leave on Wednesday after the morning hunt, at which point I’d be left alone to load a bull if/when it happens.  That was a scary thought since none of the bulls we had glassed up were really all that close to a road.  But I had time and the weather was cold.  It might take me three days to get a bull out but figured I’d just cross that bridge when the time comes. 

...a few of the bulls from Tuesday.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 03:21:02 PM by WAcoueshunter »

Offline WAcoueshunter

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2019, 03:01:17 PM »
On Wednesday we went back to the same general vicinity we were in on Tuesday.  My kid and I went one direction and quickly glassed up a smaller bull with a cow.  My cousin and buddy were just down the hill, and at about 8am they called on the radio to tell us they’d found a bull worth looking at, in about the same spot we’d seen a bull the day before about a mile as the crow flies across a drainage.  By the time I got there, the bull was bedded behind some trees and all I could see was the body of his cow through the spotter.  I couldn’t see a good way to get there without hiking up from the bottom, and that didn’t look fun, let alone the idea of putting a bull on my back from that location.  I was prepared to move on, assuming this was probably the bull we’d seen previously, but then I zoomed in on a digiscoped pic taken by my cousin before the bull bedded.  He had a big paddle that got my attention.  This one was worth going after, at least to get a closer look. 
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 05:57:20 PM by WAcoueshunter »

Offline WAcoueshunter

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 03:21:15 PM »
I marked where I thought the bull was on OnX, then down, down, down the mountain I drove to get around to the other side of the basin.  I drove up the other side as far as I could, then got out and started the hike back to the top of the ridge where I thought the bull was.   My buddy Chad came along for the first hour of the hike, but then everyone had to bail for the airport at 10am.  No more spotters or helpers after that.  About 9:30a on our climb, we got to where the bull should be according to my OnX mark, but no bull.  So we quietly called back to my cousin, behind the glass at the original glassing spot, to see if he could point us in the right direction. But he couldn't see us?  What?  We're standing on an open hillside?  So I get out some hunter orange and start waving it, and after a minute or so we hear back from my cousin...we're no where close to where the bull is, and in fact have to hike back down the next draw and up the ridge on the other side before we were on the right spine and could climb the last 1,000 feet or so to the bull.  Good grief. Did I mention they all needed to leave at 10am?  That news was the capper, and Chad was off back down the mountain to the airport, with my kid and cousin in tow.  I was alone with a solid 1,000 feet to climb to the bull.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 09:43:25 PM by WAcoueshunter »

Offline benhuntin

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2019, 03:45:55 PM »
Hello  let’s get the good ones up there.


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Offline Brushcrawler

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2019, 06:23:27 PM »
And then...
There is not enough wilderness left in the world, or in the hearts of men.

Offline Alchase

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2019, 06:34:16 PM »
Thanks for taking us along, anticipation sucks, lol
Only 2 defining forces sacrificed themselves for you:
The American Soldier and Jesus Christ. One died for your freedom, the other for your soul.

My rock,
He trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.
Psalm 144.1

Offline CaNINE

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2019, 07:34:28 PM »
Along for the ride
The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.

Proverbs 12:27

Offline jackelope

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2019, 07:34:41 PM »
What the heck! I will ban you fast enough to make your head spin!!
:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

My posts, opinions and statements do not represent those of this forum

Offline teanawayslayer

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2019, 07:44:38 PM »
What the heck! I will ban you fast enough to make your head spin!!
that would be abusing your power! :bdid:
Happiness is being in the woods!!!

Offline WAcoueshunter

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2019, 09:51:12 PM »
The climb was VERY slow with the snow, seemed every few feet I’d step in a hole and have to dig my way back out.  And for some unknown reason I left the truck with 10's around my neck, and 15's, a spotter and a tripod in my pack.  The climb continued for a couple hours until I got pretty close to the top of the mountain, still without seeing a moose.  Of course, being on the same side of the hill makes it much harder to find the animal.  I looked and looked but never caught a glimpse of a moose and really had no idea which of the many bunches of trees they had been in.  So I kept going uphill, staying on the downwind side of a small draw where I was thinking they would be.  Eventually I was within about 200 yards of the ridgeline at the top of the mountain when I decided I must have passed them or they bailed.  So I crossed the draw to the other side, downwind, and just then caught a glimpse of a big black hind end back across the draw towards the top of the ridge.  193 yards away.  I got out my big glass to zoom in and see if I couldn’t make out horns through the trees.  From the size, I was convinced that back end had to belong to a big bull, but I watched for probably 10 minutes and was 90% sure this was just a cow.  About then, another cow poked its head out from a tree nearby…still no horns.  After a minute or two, that second cow took a couple of quick steps out into the open, and right on her tail was the bull.  He looked good.  I still had the big glass out and could quickly make out a good paddle, laid out flat and wide, with a double brow on the near side.  Then he turned his head and I could see a triple brow on the opposite side, and that was enough for me. 

Offline WAcoueshunter

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2019, 10:02:05 PM »
I jacked a shell into the chamber and waited for the cow in the back to clear.  When she did, the bull was quartering away, and I fired behind the shoulder.  The bull did a classic deer kick and quickly ran out of sight.  In the videos, seems the moose usually lock their knees and stand there, but this guy reacted like a deer.  Clearly I hit him, but did he run off and over the mountain?  I couldn't tell, but had a good feeling about my shot. 

Before I even laid eyes on him and confirmed he was dead, the panic set in on how would I get this bull off the mountain?  I moved over a few feet and could see horns in the snow, I had a bull down.  It was 12:30p Wednesday, Day 2.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 10:08:47 PM by WAcoueshunter »

Offline WAcoueshunter

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2019, 10:30:29 PM »
I made my way over to the bull and was blown away by his size.  Man these things are big.  From the blood in the snow, I could tell the shot went through both lungs.  He didn't make it 20 feet.  I spent the next 15 minutes or so cleaning up the scene for pics, then took a few timer pics off my backpack until my phone died in the cold.  I gutted him and propped him open, skinned the top side to help him cool down, then left my sweater on his rack for scent.  I headed down the mountain about 3pm with the goal to find a better way in than the three hour uphill trek in the snow.  It took me 90 minutes to get to the truck, all downhill. 

Sorry folks, you'll need to wait til tomorrow for pics!


Offline huntnnw

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Re: I'm Your Huckleberry
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2019, 11:03:20 PM »
 :tup: cant wait to see pics

 


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