Accidental Moose Hunt
On my way home after a hard day’s work cutting and loading a gooseneck trailer full of large poles for the ceiling of the cabin I was building, I came around the corner of an old mining trail and there, walking along the other side of the creek, was a very large bull moose.
My Mom was with me and due to fly out the next day for her home in Oregon. She hadn’t even started packing yet and we were almost 200 miles from the airport. She was excited, telling me to shoot it. I took my time pulling over, parking, looking for my rifle in the backseat, loading it. The darn bull was still there, Mom was still all for my shooting it.
A full year’s supply of meat right there on the hoof and free. Finally I couldn’t stall any more, so shot the bull. The sun hurried up and set, Mom took off back down the road in the truck to see if the neighbors, a few miles away, would give us a hand. My rifle was in the truck, and as I and the tourist that was visiting from Poland started skinning, a bear showed up in the dark. I did have my handgun, but since it was dark, no flashlight, and no idea whether it was black or grizzly bear or how large or small it was, I was sort of nervous.
Yeah, I was scared half to death, but still skinning, going around and around the bull, trying to keep its body between us and the bear. After what seemed like days but was only about an hour, Mom showed back up and the lights of the neighbors’ truck behind her was certainly a welcome sight.
By this time, the temperature had dropped below freezing by quite a bit. A bit of a breeze had started and I was freezing, partly from cold, partly from nerves and that darn bear.
We finally drove the bear off a ways, but it didn’t entirely leave and packing large chunks of raw meat through the head high brush down to the trucks in the dark was not relaxing. I thought I was lighting the trail for the guys packing meat only to see their shadows over near the pickup and realize I was lighting the trail for the bear. Another oops moment.
I gave half the moose to the neighbors for all their help, and we finally made it to my little cabin about midnight.
We made it to town in time for Mom’s flight the next day and her cool chest was packed with large chunks of fresh moose and the liver, for my Grandmother, in Oregon. The bull’s antlers measured a bit over 60 inches wide and he was very heavy bodied. He had a fat layer over his back and rump over 6 inches thick, and had not started rut yet. There was still a bit of velvet on his antlers, so he was fine eating.
My Grandmother decided moose liver was her very favorite food for breakfast. When the slices of frozen liver ran out, she told my Mom to go back and get more. Mom told her the season was over. She said a little thing like legal seasons never seemed to bother us before, why let it stop us now?