2010 Northern Ontario Archery Cow Moose Hunt
I have been hunting Moose since 1994 and moose hunting has truly become a lifetime obsession with me, and I have been fortunate to harvest well over 20 moose since I started.
In 2007 I decided it was time for something different, the last couple of moose I shot were not that exciting just a lot of work! So I purchased a new Martin Sabre Compound Bow in 2007 and haven’t looked back. I have harvested 3 cows and one calf with the bow since 2007 and am totally addicted to Archery hunting, the rush is back except its way more intense and exciting than rifle hunting could ever hope to be at least for me.
The 2010 Moose archery season was pretty exciting with lots of action. This cow was taken right in the middle of the rut and was a hell of an experience. I like to call Moose in but I also like to spot and stalk as well! And it can be extremely successful if the wind is strong and blowing the right way. This particular afternoon I was slowly making my way along an old winter logging road hoping to get an opportunity for a crack at a cow or calf either would do fine as I was by myself. The wind was strong and it was raining pretty hard so in my mind perfect conditions for a spot and stalk you just gotta see them before they see you!
I had walked about 3 -4 km in when I spotted a good cow about 300 yards away the wind was strong but blowing the right way the hunt was on! I slowly made my way towards her using whatever cover I could. I was still around 150 yards away and had to walk right out in the open it was the only way to get at her, the trick to doing this is to wait until they put their head down to feed and then you move, don’t worry about being exposed or in the open as long as you don’t move when their heads are up or when they look at you then they won’t see you!
Sometimes I think they must be partially blind. I made it past the clearing and I was now down in a hollow and she was up on a ridge about 80 yards away and I couldn’t see her as she was just past the top of the ridge. I stayed there for about 10 minutes not sure what to do maybe she would move towards me and I might get lucky, well never one for a lot of patience I decided to crawl up the ridge and see how close I could get, quickly checking my gear, heart hammering away I started to crawl up the ridge.
It is almost impossible to explain or describe the level of excitement I was experiencing and as I crawled along in the grass suddenly all I could see was rack floating above the grass lots of rack there was a bull with her and he was bedded down and he was huge and only 20 feet away and right in my path. I froze and just laid there it seemed like forever what do I do now! His rack had 15-20 points a side and must have been in the mid 60’s hard to believe but I was close and have worked in the woods all my life I know a 60 inch plus rack when I see it.
As I lay there he suddenly stood up I figured he had busted me, but he started feeding right in front of me. I didn’t have a clue what to do so I stayed put which was fine but he started to feed towards me and I didn’t want to startle him and get trampled and he was no more then 15 -20 feet away and I still wanted his lady! So my bow ready arrow nocked range finder ready I stood up right in front of him which got everyone attention pretty fast, and yeah right behind him was the cow and past that a decent calf which was still bedded down but not for long. I started walking right at the bull and I said to him MOVE ASIDE BIG FELLA, COME ON MOVE ASIDE BIG FELLA what a bull what a rack and he did move aside. I haven’t told this story to much because it sounds like a bunch of bull but it is as true as can be.
Well anyway some lessons are learned the hard way and I was about to learn another one the hard way. I have done enough bow hunting to know the importance of using your range finder it is just as important as the bow!! So I decided to take the calf instead of the cow I had done the exact same thing the year before and harvested the calf instead of the cow and had plenty of meat and the cow was left to breed again (that was an incredible hunt and story), so up with the range finder and I pushed the button.... nothing I must of pushed that damn button a dozen times (all the moose were frozen and looking right at me) before I gave up and yeah my 3 year old bushnell range finder doesn’t work worth a shit when its pouring out!! Another hard learned archery lesson under the belt! I guessed the calf at 40 yards put the 40 yard pin on her went to full draw ran thru my mental checklist and I let her fly and the arrow looked perfect just a foot to low just gave him a haircut (bull calf) completely missed he was closer to 60 yards damn!!
The bull which was still alongside of me and to the right of me took off and so did the cow and calf. So I took off after them and as they had not heard my moose grunt yet I let one go and they stopped and went broadside looking at me, I kept on running and they took off again I grunted them again and desperate to get closer I kept running and they stopped again and went broadside. I knew it was unlikely I could stop them a third time so I slowed down and stopped running (if running after game you must slow down to get your breath back before you can shoot) and as soon as I figured I was in range for my 60 yard pin I went to full draw put my 60 yard pin on the cow as she was closer than the calf and I let her fly the arrow was perfect and 2 /3 of the arrow buried itself right in her chest. The sound an arrow makes when it strikes a moose is incredible. They ran off but you know when your arrow is good you just know.
I stayed put for 5 minutes then walked over to where I had arrowed her looked up in the direction she had went and there she was 80 yards off just standing there with the arrow sticking out of her chest and her calf well he was there as well. As I waited for her to fall down I saw the calf actually sniff the arrow in her kind of sad but it is what it is and our winters have been so mild here the last few years with almost no snow! That you never know if he doesn’t get shot during rifle hunt maybe just maybe he might make it and I had spotted these moose hanging around with a monster cow which had twins earlier in the season (I actually missed her from 15 feet away the week before my arrow hit a twig on the way in a clean miss and a different story).
As I stood there looking at them I just knew she was going down, and then I saw a slight shudder go thru her and I thought she is going down, she is going down right there and then she walked over the ridge and was gone. There was only about 30 minutes of light left and as I didn’t see her fall down I decided to mark the spot and walk back out to my truck and then go to town grab the quads and a good friend Nick Doyle owner of Rocks Hunt Camp (bear and moose camp) to come out and go have a look for her and help get her out. He was busy with his guests but agreed to give me a hand so after rounding him up out we went. The rain was making me nervous and it was plus 15 Celsius it would be good to get the gut out in this type of weather. It was close to 9 O’clock p.m. when we headed back in to the woods to look for her and very dark. We found my broken off limbs where I last saw her and found blood, good blood right away and started tracking 100 yards later we are in a small opening and lost the blood trail! Tracking in the dark in the rain in the woods is difficult and after another 30 minutes with no fresh blood I figured we better wait until morning before we get lost and have to spend the night or mess up whatever blood trail there might be, just then we heard a loud snap straight ahead of us. While we realized it was probably the calf leaving the cow I didn’t want to take any chances in case she was still kicking. I didn’t want her to get up and start moving so we left.
On the way out it was pretty apparent that if we hadn’t flagged our way in we would have stayed put it was that dark but the rain was finally slacking off. I slept well that night as I knew where I had arrowed her, I was more worried about the hot weather and leaving her with the gut in. First light we found her right away just 50 yards past our last flag what a hunt, some people are addicted to Deer Hunting and I love that as well but Moose is what it’s all about!