Back by popular demand, here is guest blogger Kim Papaw Warren, to tell you a new moose-hunting adventure. Hope this story makes you laugh as hard as it did me!
I went moose hunting again yesterday afternoon. In my area of Southeast Alaska, our season lasts one month and we are allowed one bull. So far I had seen five bulls but no shooters. (To be a legal “shooter,” a bull must have a spike or fork on one side or three brow tines on one side, or there must be a 50-inch spread between the extremes of the antler.) As I approached the willow-covered muskeg I had chosen to hunt, I saw a cow watching me from about 300 yards away. She continued to watch with mild curiosity as I settled under a spruce tree, levered a round in my Winchester Model 71 and got ready to start calling. I sat unmoving for about 15 minutes to let things settle down. The cow lost interest and moved on, grazing on the willow tips.
I started calling, doing my best to mimic a love-sick cow in season. After the second series of calls, a bull stepped out of the woods on the other side of the clearing, paddles flashing in the late afternoon sun. He was looking around, trying to locate me, or rather, the cow he thought I was, so I did another series of calls. Immediately he zeroed in on me. At over 300 yards away, I couldn’t tell if he was legal, and he couldn’t see me, as I was all decked out in my cammies.
Slowly I picked up my binoculars and watched him as he came around the perimeter of the clearing, moving obliquely in my direction. When he reached a point closest to me, which put him about 75 yards away, he turned and headed across the clearing straight toward me, never once taking his eyes off me. By now, I could tell that he wasn’t a legal bull, so I just sat unmoving and watched him come.
At about 100 feet we made eye contact, and he kept right on walking casually toward me making low grunting sounds. Almost a cooing sound…he was sweet-talking me. At 50 feet I began to get a little nervous. At 20 feet I started talking to him. “That’s far enough. You don’t want to come any closer.” I began waving my hands and continuing to talk to him. “Don’t make me have to shoot you!” He just kept coming, ignoring my now-frantic waving. I tried not to be too demonstrative for fear of ruining my hunt, but the situation was now serious.
At less than ten feet he stuck his head under the spruce bough where I sat and stopped. He just stood there, making low grunting sounds. Sweet-talking me. This bull was smitten! He was in love. I could have stood up and in two steps kissed him on the nose. I know he must have thought I was the ugliest cow he had ever seen, but it didn’t seem to matter. He wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer.
I started yelling at him and waving my rifle in his face. This didn’t faze him. I was the love of his life and he wasn’t going to give me up. He decided on a different approach. Slowly he circled around under my spruce tree and came up behind me. I intensified my yelling and waving. At this he very reluctantly began to move away. I know he was thinking, “I’ll let her calm down a little. I know she’ll come around.”
As he stood watching me from about thirty feet away, I quickly gathered up my stuff and began to walk away. The bull followed me for a few feet, then stopped, broken-hearted, and watched me leave. Looking back over my shoulder, I said, “Cheer up! We’ve both lived to love another day.”