For the first time, a group I've been part of has gone on a calf-only hunt and connected. This year (as usual) there were only two of us, but on wednesday evening, my buddy Pat was sitting in a tree stand when a cow went by. He was regretting his bad luck when a second (much smaller) moose went by as well. After weighing all the features he decided it was a calf and shot.
The calf dropped and the cow stopped. Then he heard a noise to his right and a large bull was standing looking at him. After a bit the bull moved toward the cow, and then another noise announced the arrival of two more palmated bulls that were clearly smaller than the first guy and subordinate. These two spent a little time sparring, before the remaining four moose moved off.
After an evening that included some celebration, the next day dawned in a heavy rain (all week had been mostly rainy). We hung close to camp waiting for a break, when it eased up near evening. Pat and I decided to take short walks in opposite directions. When I was just a short distance from camp, the sound of a shot and a radio message that went something like "Rick: I think I've done it again." announced the end of our moose season.
This time the calf came into a clearing a short distance from camp, and Pat was weighing its haracteristics to see if it was a calf or not when the cow stepped into the clearing removing all doubt. A quick shot took this calf down as well. During our 3+ days of hunting we saw 10 moose and 1 bear. Pat saw 8 moose and I saw 2 plus the bear.
With the bear, I may be kicking myself for years for passing on it. I was looking for a trophy animal, and this very large one appeared across a beaver meadow tuesday evening. It never looked straight in my direction so I could evaluate the skull. I thought I'd have another chance when it went behind a small stand of evergreens, but it didn't come into the open again.
It was a very large animal, and the head looked small which is often the indicator of a trophy bear, but the ear placement and forehead are the critical items and I never saw them clearly.
Maybe I'll see him during the deer hunt.
It would have easily been my largest bear ever by body size. If I'd been more familiar with bear it may have been an easier decision for me to make.
If I'd shot it though, our 3+ mile trip out of the bush with two ATV's and two small trailers would have been much more interesting with a large bear and two moose.
One thing for sure is we could have used a couple more pairs of hands handling the beasts we had.
Here (hopefully) is a picture of Pat posing with his moose.