I swerve to miss a deer. Deer season is on. It occurs to me that if I was hunting deer I wouldn't see a single one but that there would be moose all over the place.
The Yhaawp occupies my thoughts. You can't tell if a moose is a bull from tracks or droppings. Since I hadn't see it, I had no idea if I located a bull or a cow. My tag is good for bulls only. The Yhaawp response I received seemed a little soft. Soft as in cow like. I've not hunted moose, or spent much time trying to call them. I have no way of guessing if I found a bull or a cow.
Still I'm happy; cold, wet, tired and just a little sore from days of hiking but happy. I have a plan for tomorrow's hunt. I'm going back to see if I can spot this moose. Even if it's a cow, there's a chance that a bull will be near by.
I call in. Mrs. Ipsa informs me she is praying for my hunt. I recount my day, and my frustration with my father. I give her a list of things to pack for me and send with my mother if she comes for dad.
I return to where I parked the truck yesterday. As I pull in, I say to myself, "show some faith, back in with the tail gate facing the trail, it'll make loading the moose easier". So I do.
I like hunting alone. It's quiet. My plan for the hunt is to work the outside of the creek bottom and meadow first, then go through it, after that take the trail up the mountain to the east to investigate the ponds higher up.
As I start out I remember what my wife said yesterday. She's praying for me. I've been praying to.
"Dear God, gimmie..." I start out. No that's not right. I've said I'd shoot the first legal moose I get a chance at. What I want is for that chance to be about 90 inches wide with 45 inch palms on each side and about 22 points on a palm. Basically moosezilla.
I slip silently into the chest high grass, skirting my way among clumps of 9 foot tall willows intermixed with pines. I'm partially following yesterdays elk path. Partially I'm working the edges of the meadow and forest to the west of the creek going south towards the Utah line. My anticipation increasing as fast as the elevation.
I take a step, or two, pause, listen, look and move forward again. When I'm hunting I may cover several miles a day, but I do it slowly. I don't bother calling this morning. It's still early. I expect the moose to still be feeding or starting to work their way to a bed to rest for the first part of the day. The sky is light but the sun has yet to crest over the mountain ridge just to my east.
"Heavenly Father", I go on, "My dad isn't doing to good and he is going to have to leave early". "I don't know why he wanted to come" for that matter he doesn't seem to be overly enjoying himself, "Lord I know he won't be happy if he leaves before I get a moose", I say.
Just a side note here. I hope you all realize that I'm "saying" this stuff in my head. I don't wander around the hills and woodlands toting a gun and talking to myself like a crazy person.
The elk trail is going towards the creek bottom. I leave it and move into some transitional cover that is trying to encroach on the meadow grass. There are lots of old water courses where the creek has eroded little mini stream beds in the meadow. I have to be careful or I'll break a leg.
"Lord I want you to bless me", I say. It sounds better than "God gimmie".
"Lord I want you to bless me in some things that I know from reading scripture are in your will for my life". There are some things in my life, one which my blog friends know about, the rest are too personal to me to post publicly, that I've been praying about for some time. These are Godly things, things that scripturally speaking are good and proper for me to have, use and enjoy. Unfortunately they have been lacking.
"Heavenly Father, I know you love me and care about me. I know you are concerned about the direction of my life and that you hold my days in your hand. I know that you hear my prayers. I also know that giving me moosezilla would bring me honor and glory". I'm deeply in prayer while working the trail upwards.
"Father all glory and honor is yours. Don't bring me glory. Lord please give me a sign that you will take care of my dad, and take care of (list of things including a better way to support my family). God please give me a sign in the form of a spike moose today. Let me have a two year-old spike moose as a sign that you are with me and that you have heard my prayer and that you will bless me in these things."
As I said, "In Jesus name, Amen". In the same very second "Amen" came out, a moose jumped up in front of me.
The moose's rear end was towards me. He turned his head and looked back along his body towards where I was standing. It was dark under the pines among the shadows of the willows. I couldn't see more than his nose and ears. Then he turned. I caught a glimpse of two spike antlers coming off his head. Then his body was obscured by a small tree.
I thought, "he's going to run". So I gave a little improvised cow call with my hands over my mouth and nose. It worked. One step and his front shoulder was visible to me. I put the cross hairs behind the shoulder and squeeze the trigger.
He jumps and takes a few steps. Then he falls over backwards, belly up. I don't even have to move him to field dress him. I do have to cross the creek, twice and get wet up to my knees. I don't notice the cold. I am praising God. I get to where the moose is and fall to my knees giving thanks.
I load up my meat and hide into game bags. In all I have six. I move all of it over to the far side of the creeks to get it away from the animal that has been waiting for me to finish so he can have his dinner.
Post mortem examination shows that I placed my shot directly behind the left shoulder missing all the meat on that quarter. The bullet traveled through the rib cage entering both lungs and the heart. It exited out the right shoulder area ruining some meat. I assume this happened because in the excitement of the moment I didn't consider the animals body position before shooting. Since I did not process the animal myself I do not know how much meat was lost.
I was using a hand-loaded 180 grain Hornady Interbond bullets, propelled with Norma MRP at 2,750 fps from a 1898 Mauser action 30-06. The range of the shot was between 30 and 35 yards. According to the charts, the energy at impact exceeded 2,400 foot pounds.
The moose traveled approximately eight yards after I shot him till he died.
The entry wound was approximately .40 inches in diameter against the rib cage, measured after removing the skin. The exit wound was about 1.25 inches at the rib cage after removing the front quarter and over 2 inches on the outside of the shoulder, with extensive wound channel trauma. Needless to say the bullet was not recovered.
After action on my prayer. Two of my concerns were taken care of immediately, as in with in an hour of getting off the mountain. One of them significantly improved and is getting better daily. The others, I don't know about yet. I do know that they're going to work out just fine, no matter what the time table. As part of my prayer I made a vow. I've completed part of that, and will finish another part tonight. I should have the rest of it wrapped up by next week.
I got my moose.
The Creator of heaven and earth hears and answers my prayers! Truly more than I hoped or imagined.