Moose - Archery Record

1. Angus McKenzie 204-5/8 2011

For most of my life I’ve had a personal ambition to fly my own small float plane to a remote, otherwise inaccessible location and bow-hunt a trophy bull moose; alone!

I knew I would accomplish it someday but it took a few years of searching to find a likely spot and then a couple more years applying for a tag for the intended WMU. Though I was casually prepared, it was only after receiving the Bull Moose/Archery Only tag in the mail that the excitement set in.

Ten days tenting at the edge of a small lake on an island in Northwestern Ontario culminated in the approach of this monstrous animal.

I’d been hopeful that the sudden cold snap from a changing weather system would get the bulls out rutting after the unseasonably warm weather so I’d been up early in the morning prepared to begin hunting as dawn broke. It was an icy cold, perfectly still morning and the sound of pouring water from my borrowed birch bark call into the lake echoed off the rocky shoreline. That pouring water to simulate the sound of a cow urinating in the water combined with a few long mournful cow calls (Thank-you Alex Gouthro) must have been the trigger that intrigued the big bull to come and see what was available in his range.

After beginning the calling sequence at the lakeshore I hiked slowly up a ridge behind my camp toward the site of an old forest fire burn, where the terrain was fairly open, allowing me a more open view of any approaching moose. Calling every 15 or 20 minutes I reached a point about 100 yards from the lake and set down my gear so my hands would be free. Almost immediately I heard a bull grunting steadily a few hundred yards away and the sound was coming nearer by the minute. As further effort to entice, him I used the paddle from my floatplane to thrash some alders and bull grunted hoping to make him think another bull was in the vicinity of the cow he searched for. My bull imitation really seemed to get him excited and I could hear him tipping over small trees and grunting louder and more frequently. While I waited for him to close the distance I quickly readied my gear. I set up a silhouette Montana cow decoy, nocked an arrow, extended and locked my bow-sight arm, checked my arrow release and ensured my jacket collar was tucked under and all the snaps done up to eliminate any interference with my bow-string. Not wanting to miss any of the action I turned on my stabilizer mounted digital HD camera and checked to see ensure it was recording.

While I was being busy preparing I could hear the sound of the bull’s grunting become louder and more clear as he came out of the heavy brush and into the open area of the fire burn. With my final preparations complete, I hung my bow on a root and used my binoculars to look and see what he looked like. At first I thought he didn’t look very wide but as he got nearer and the light caught his rack I could see a lot of points and amazing-looking fronts that were almost as big as his paddles!!!

He continued in, rack swaying with dominant posturing, looking for the cow he expected to see.

At what I estimated to be 30 yards, he stopped and looked toward me and the Montana Decoy a few yards away. By now my APA bow was in my hand, the release was on the string loop, and my bow pointed at him so the camera would capture what I was seeing.

As he paused, I drew the bow, settled the 30 yard pin just behind his shoulder, took a second to verify my aim, and I touched the release.

The laser red flash of the Lumenok arrow hit him exactly where I’d aimed with a resounding thwack!

The bull leapt ahead a few yards into some heavier brush.

As soon as I’d shot I put my bow down and cow-called. That call seemed to stop him from going further and he turned back to see where this lady moose was. I watched his silhouette standing in the heavy brush about 50 yards away and after a few moments he disappeared.

Gathering my gear, I headed to where I’d last seen him and there lay the bull of a lifetime!

Getting him off the island is another story…

A truly remarkable dream fulfilling adventure!


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