I watched in amazement as my arrow hits... too far back! A Bad Shot!
First light and heading back to where I had been the night before. The morning, still in its infancy was awesome. The still air left every sound discernible... including a BULL GRUNT! Oh my, I am not to my spot yet, and this guy is close. I scramble to get to where I plan to set up and get my bow ready. I can tell this bull is closing the distance, I think he must be the bull that was coming the night before.
Once I am prepared, I cow moose call... he answers... very close. And there he is, coming out from behind some trees. He'll pass me at 25 yards if he follows his current path. As his vision is blocked by a bush I come to full draw. He clears the bush, I pick my spot... the arrow is on its way. The Lumenok lights up unfailing and shows the arrows path.
Oh No! A Bad Shot
I watched in amazement as my arrow hits... too far back! The bull runs out of sight. I do not know what happened. I remember seeing the arrow fishtailing, or I think I do! Did the arrow touch an unseen branch, did the bull jump the string or did I just fail to stop him. I do not and never will have the answer to these and other questions, but I can tell you I have relived that shot a million times since.
My archery bull moose from 2011. He was hard earned and I was glad to have him on the ground. The days events had been full of emotion and adrenalin after tracking two moose and walking for hours we were beat. We did our field dressing that night and left him till morning.
I made these remarks just minutes after the I made the shot .
I wait an hour before I start to track. The blood trail actually looks good to start with. I find good marks and drops of blood. I follow the trail for three hours. The bull never stopped once as though he were not hurt too bad. As I track, I follow fresh tracks in the frost, blood splatter on the grass, blood on the underside of leaves. It is slow painstaking work. It is looking like it really was a bad shot.
I follow until I find the last blood I can find. I look for more... nothing. I mark this spot with my GPS and return to camp for lunch and to get help. After filling everyone in we head out and continue the search. We look for almost four more hours and find no more blood after the last I had found in the morning. We felt we had done everything we could to recover the bull.
Dejected that I had lost this animal because of a bad shot, we return to the ATV's. I know the animal will die, there is no doubt and he will not go to waste. With wolves, coyotes, bobcats and lynx in the area, not to forget the ravens, his sacrifice will help the forest through a fall and winter maybe when there is not much food to be found. Knowing this is good, but I do not feel any better.
I have no excuse for my bad shot, maybe as I said in the video it was a branch deflection... I just do not know for sure.
This is the view from where I had been setup. I setup a Spypoint Trail Camera at this location to monitor the moose movements. I have taken a few real good pictures of moose here and this spot continues to produce some good bulls.
I realize at some point I had lost my wind indicator, possibly it fell out of my pocket that morning where I set up. I decide with only an hour of hunting light left to return to this morning's location. At least maybe I can find my wind indicator.
I go, and climb the back to where I stood that fateful morning. There on the ground was my wind indicator... well, at least I found something today!
I do not even bother to wait, I just pick up my birch bark horn and give a cow moose call. What...! Did I hear a bull grunt? I call again! No question and he is coming my way. I check the wind, its good. It sounds like he is coming down the trail I am set up on. I call again, and they answer. Yes they... there are two bulls coming!
I prepare myself mentally... I cannot afford another bad shot. I stand beside a bush that will conceal me and my movements. Here he comes... I come to full draw. He walks into the open, I grunt and he freezes in his tracks. Oh, he is close (18 feet confirmed later), the sun is in my eyes, I look beside my peep to be sure of my aiming point.
Mental check... Anchor point, sight pin... release. Again the Lumenok lights up unfailing. This time there is no bad shot. The arrow finds its mark, exactly where I had aimed. I could have aimed a smidge lower and tried for a heart shot but I was happy with a double lung shot.
A split second after the arrow hits the bull moose, he bolts ahead and disappears from view. I cow call to him, hoping to reassure him that the sting he felt was nothing to be concerned about.
There is still the other bull coming down the trail and he is close too! I think to myself “I wish my partner were here.”
As every hunter knows, especially a bow hunter, after a shot you need to give the animal some time. I thought if I could sneak down off the bank onto the trail I might see both my bull piled up and be able to watch this second bull come in.
I step out onto the trail and there looking back at me was the bull I had just put an arrow in. I can just imagine what went through his mind at that point, "OH OH, human... I'm outa here"! He turned and vanished into the forest. Incredibly the second bull was still coming and now in full view. I spoke to him... stopping briefly before turning and running.
Did I mention I did not record any of today's events (other than my brief comment after the bad shot), not even a still picture of the second bull. I cannot believe it!
I go and find my partner who was hunting just a few kilometers down the road from me. Once I located him and filled him in on the events, we returned to track the second moose in one day. We used our GPS to track our own movements and about an hour later we found him. It was again blood drop by blood drop to find this moose; he traveled about 300 yards before he lay down in a thicket. He never got up again.
Elated that this bull was down and still upset by my bad shot earlier in the day I was not exactly sure how I felt.
By the time we found him it was plenty dark and we knew my Dad would be back at camp waiting to hear of the day's events. It was decided to go tell him what was going on then come back out and clean the bull. We would leave him in the bush overnight and come in the morning and drag him out whole.
Watch our video on field dressing moose.
Day six we spend the better part of the day getting the bull back to camp and processed.
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