2019 Utah Moose

bowhuntrben

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
44
Location
Minnesota
I joined this site a few years ago and did an intro, but life got busy with moving several times, doing work on a new house, and having another baby, and I haven't posted much. I really like this site and think there is a lot of good content here, so I want to become more active. I have been more active on another forum, so most likely if you are on said other forum, you will see me posting my experiences there as well. With that said, I'd like to share my moose hunt from this past fall.

Hunting for moose is something that I’ve dreamed of ever since I was little, but it was one of those things that I never really thought there was a possibility of, just something that would be awesome to do.

In my younger days, we didn’t know anything about point systems (and not sure we would’ve had the money to dump into them anyway). When I was in college, my cousin in Colorado invited us out to visit him and to go hunting (he is not a hunter, but we’d go camping together, and my dad and I would hunt while he fished). This was the beginning of my knowledge of point systems. With that knowledge and now the motivator to actually go hunting out west, I started applying for moose in Wyoming. I later started in Utah and New Hampshire, and have applied in Idaho as well as doing the lotteries here and there. Knowing what I know now about point systems, I’m not sure I’ll ever actually draw a tag for moose. If I do, I will be an old man, and my dad will likely not be around anymore. In hindsight, I wish I had started building points in Colorado rather than Wyoming since I might at least have some chance of drawing a tag (though still not a good chance).

Every time we’ve gone hunting out west in moose country, we’ve seen loads of moose. This pushed my desire to hunt them through the roof. My dream was to be able to do this with my dad. I wanted to have this experience with him…not to just go and shoot a moose…but to have the memory of a great time with my dad. Finally one year, my dad said after our elk hunt that we should just book a hunt and go for moose. 2 years later, here I am writing this story. It was an expensive hunt, but it’s the place my dad was willing to go, and I’m glad we did it as it’s a memory I will have the rest of my life.

This is the first guided hunt I’ve ever been on, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it. I really like doing DIY hunts where I have to do all the planning and figure out where I’m going to go and how I’m going to hunt. I didn’t have that aspect of fun on this hunt, but I still found the hunt to be an amazing experience. When my dad and I were in camp, there was just one other hunter after elk. All other hunters had already tagged out and headed home. My dad was along as an observer, and I had the tag. Our guide and the elk hunter’s guide were both amazing people that I really enjoyed sharing company with. There was also a camp chef that was great to have around, and we had some great conversations (not to mention, I’ve never eaten that well while out hunting before!). I think the best part of all was that the guides and chef were people of faith, and it showed in the way they did things. I really enjoyed the thoughtful prayers before meals and the acknowledgement that He is our provider. I didn’t expect this, but it was a blessing.

On to the hunt. It was a short and sweet hunt.

The first morning of the hunt found us on a point overlooking a valley. We were just about to move on and go to a new location when I thought I saw a black dot in the distance. There were some cattle out there, so I figured that’s what it was but took a look through the binoculars anyway. When I looked, I saw the light colored legs and knew we had a moose. The guide got out his spotting scope, and we took a look. Sure enough, it was a bull! I took a look, and it appeared to have 8 points on one side and 6 or 7 on the other. He had a double browtine on one side but only a single browtine on the other. I was really hoping to get one with at least double browtines on both sides, so I decided not to go after him. It was a very difficult decision, though, since this was the first moose tag I’ve ever had (and could likely be the last). With the bulk of my away-from-home adventures being on OTC tags, it’s not been my experience to let things go, so it was really difficult. Being that it was the first morning, I just couldn’t bring myself to go after one that quickly, though, unless he would be huge. We also ended up seeing a cow while looking this guy over.

Here’s a view of the first glassing spot:

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Here is a screen shot from a video the guide shot with his phone through the spotting scope.

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While glassing at another location on our morning hunt, we saw a small bull elk. We headed up by him and called to him just to get the experience. When we got there, he had disappeared into the timber. When we called, we heard a deep raspy bugle and knew immediately it wasn’t the same bull we had seen. We called for a little while, and he would respond to every noise we made. We could hear him tearing trees up…he was pissed! Eventually we saw the small bull come out again, and he chased the cows into the woods towards the bigger bull. We left the bull alone since he was in a great place for the elk hunter to have a chance at him. After the morning hunt, we told the elk hunter and his guide about this elk. Apparently within about a half hour or so of when they went up there that afternoon, they shot the bull we heard. It ended up being a very mature 5x5 (I didn’t get pics of it). It was a pretty cool experience since I haven’t really been into bugling in my DIY adventures.

During the day, dad and I went for a hike while everybody else was in camp. We just couldn’t sit around. We didn’t see anything, but it was still nice being out there experiencing that place.

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bowhuntrben

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
44
Location
Minnesota
For the evening hunt, we started out by hiking down into a little drainage. There was a lot of sign, but we didn’t see any moose there, just a couple of deer.

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After checking out the drainage, we went to another glassing spot. We looked around there for a while but didn’t see anything (the trees were still covered with leaves, so animals had to be out in the open for us to see them). We just packed up and were about to hike a little ways and glass again when the guide saw something black go running across the opening in the bottoms where we had been glassing. A quick look through the binos and we knew it was a moose. We got the spotting scope out again, and another moose came across the opening..another cow. Knowing the rut should be starting, we waited. Sure enough, a couple minutes later out came the bull. There ended up being 3 cows and the bull (that we saw). This is a bull that other guides had seen a couple times in the same area we saw him, so it was good to get to look him over. He was a bigger bull overall than the first one, but he lacked that moose-look with his poor palms and long tines. It was easier to pass on this one.

Here’s a view of our evening glassing spot:

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Here is a screen shot of the second bull from video taken by the guide:

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We spent the rest of the evening glassing at this location but didn’t see anything else.


I was super pumped after the first day of hunting and seeing 2 bulls that I could be happy with if I ended up taking them later in the hunt.
 
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bowhuntrben

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
44
Location
Minnesota
The second morning started out great. We headed out in the dark on the side-by-side. On our way to our glassing spot, we saw a bull right on the road. He was smaller than the two the first day, but it was still a great start to the day!

The temperature started dropping quickly which was great for getting the rut going. The first day was probably in the 60s and it was soon dropping into the 30s with pending snow. Great for getting animals moving.

When we got to our first glassing spot, we quickly realized it was too cloudy to glass there…we were in the clouds. We looked for just a little bit then decided it would be best to head back to where we glassed from the first day since we would be able to see a lot farther and cover more territory with our eyes. I thought this was a good idea since we might see a different bull, or at worst, maybe keep tabs on the first one we saw in case we decided to try for him later in the hunt.


View from the place we were hoping to glass the second morning:

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Heading back to the place we glassed from on the first morning, we saw a cow and calf running through the woods above the old logging road we were on. We stopped and turned the machine off. As soon as we turned it off, we could hear grunting and knew there was a bull. We got out and soon spotted the bull a ways up in the woods. Soon, a second bull appeared. We couldn’t quite make out what they were. The guide called to them, but they didn’t appear to head our direction, so we headed up to check them out. We quickly found that they were both young bulls, smaller than the ones we had seen the first day. We got within 80 yards and watched them spar for a bit. Then they started coming our direction looking for the “cow” they heard a little while ago. They got quite close with one of them within 15 feet. I’ve been close to moose before, but it never gets old seeing them up close!


Here’s a couple pics:

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bowhuntrben

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
44
Location
Minnesota
Once the bulls moved out, we headed out to our glassing spot. We got there and started glassing. The three of us started glassing different areas but almost immediately the guide was excitedly motioning for us to go over by him. This wasn’t a place we were expecting to shoot a moose from, just glass, but that didn’t stop a moose from deciding it was a good place to hang out. Apparently we had bumped this moose as the guide could hear something breaking through the brush below him then saw a bull step out into an opening on the other side. I looked at him for about a second through the spotting scope and said “that’s the one”. I rested my gun on the spotting scope and lined up on him. The guide tried calling to him, but he wouldn’t stop walking. I could tell the bull just wasn’t going to stop, and if I didn’t take the shot he would be gone. With it being just a slow walk along an old logging road, I opted to shoot. I pulled the trigger and was amazed as I watched him drop in his tracks. This is only the second animal that I’ve taken with a rifle, so I’m not accustomed to seeing animals drop in their tracks, let alone a moose. It was a great feeling! He tried to push himself up, but a second shot finished him for good, and he rolled 18 yards downhill. Hugs ensued.

The moose was approximately where the arrow is pointing in the image below with the image taken from where we took the shoot. I used a .300 Weatherby Magnum with factory Weatherby ammo with 180 grain Barnes TSX bullets. Shot was 266 yards.

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Picture of me and my dad right after the shot:

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After collecting ourselves, we headed around the finger we were on so we could head over and get our moose. When we looked on the other side of the finger, we saw another big bull walking up the adjacent ridgeline! He wasn’t as nice as the one we got, but he was still the second biggest bull we had seen. We didn’t get any good video of that one as he stayed pretty well hidden in the trees.

Heading over to get our bull, we found one of the two smaller bulls we had seen earlier on the logging road with his lady friend.

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bowhuntrben

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
44
Location
Minnesota
Walking up on our bull, I was ecstatic. I’ve heard people say before that they can’t believe how big a moose is when they walk up to it, and I’ve thought “yeah, yeah, I’ve been close to a moose before and know they’re big”. But, man, when I walked up on that thing..I couldn’t believe how big it was! Their head is huge!

Here’s some pics of our bull. I know there were probably bigger ones out there, but this guy had everything that I had hoped for in a moose, and I couldn’t be happier with him!

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bowhuntrben

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
44
Location
Minnesota
I am very thankful for all the meat we got off this animal. It was fun processing it with my dad as well.

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Bone broth material:

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I figured I might as well try the tongue too. When am I ever going to get another chance to try moose tongue!?

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Not everything happened the way that I would’ve done it if I were hunting on my own, but I was blown away by this hunt. It far exceeded everything I had hoped that it would be. I do appreciate my DIY hunts, but I would do this hunt again in a heartbeat given the opportunity! I also learned a lot on this hunt about elk hunting, so hopefully I’ll be able to take that with me on my future DIY hunts and use it to get an elk!

In total, we saw 14 moose in 1.5 days of hunting with 8 of them being bulls. We also saw a LOT of deer, though no big bucks. We saw a lot of elk too with several decent bulls but no giants.

The memory of this hunt will last me the rest of my life. You never know when your last day is, so I’m glad I was able to fulfill my dream of moose hunting with my dad while I had the chance. Even if you’re a hardcore DIY hunter, if you have a dream to hunt something that might require a guide, I recommend considering it. You may be surprised at how much fun you can have even if it’s not DIY.
 
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bowhuntrben

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
44
Location
Minnesota
One last thing. In addition to other things, the guide was great to have because he had his phone and captured many images that we may not have otherwise captured. When I'm in a hunt, sometimes it's easy to forget to pull out the camera. Already looking back at the pictures, I'm glad he was there because he got some great shots. Having him there also made it so that we got lots of great images after the shot from multiple angles of me and my dad. If it were just me and my dad, we wouldn't have had that many different angles which can lead to getting just the right one.
 
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