As I gaze out my office window to the northeast, Mt. Baker stands snow
capped, prominently positioned in the Cascades. However, it’s not the mountain I
strain to see, my focus is on central Alberta where the odd pretty girl and
handsome moose reside.
I am dreaming of sitting by a small lake under a spruce tree as the last
golden slivers of sunlight caress the water’s mirror like surface.
Beavers patrol just off shore and the far off song of a loon serenade my
attentive senses. Then, ever so timidly, a lone cow with her hopeful lover
treads lightly as they approach the water’s edge. I can just barely make out her
sweet voice inspiring a deep guttural masculine response as the mating
negotiations commence. Dim light allows only shadows and ripples on the water's
surface to direct my straining eyes to observe this ritual.
My outfitter has purposefully placed me in this location to observe this
scene, as he's done for over a decade. Scouting the bush this summer, sledding
last winter, studying maps and staring at his feet a lot has enabled him to
select a likely area. It’s early October and Mr. Bull Moose is venturing about
like no other time of the year.
The view out of my window inspires memories of gazing at the stars around
midnight having arisen to discharge last night's libation and put some wood in
the stove. A canvas wall is all that separates our crew of snoring bastards from
the morning frost in the making. As I slip back into my warm bunk I swear if I
could find a woman that felt that good I'd marry her. Going back to sleep is
difficult as I envision my plan of attack for the upcoming day.
4:30 comes early and I thought it would never get here as I rise to stock
the stoves and put on the coffee. I sit there in the dark quietly thinking as
the coffee finally starts to perk, trying to decide if my guide would like coffee
in bed or not. Never have figured out how they decide which fellow gets the
company of a nice Yank such as I.
While the lads begin to amass in the cook tent, I exchange niceties and walk
out back in the morning frost to bemoan the wind that come up. How the hell is
my guide supposed to sweet talk a bull into range with a blow out of the
northwest. Ya know, it could be rainy and wet with big pools of loon shit in the
lines or the wolves could be all around, maybe I ought to be grateful for the
Nonchalantly, I slip back into my canvas home to get prepared for the day
before the others race in to find their socks and fancy new gear strung all over
hell. I caress my handcrafted bullets, meticulously matched to my finely tuned
rifle. You'd think I was preparing the inventory of my wallet like it was Prom
Night, that memory is a story of its own.
My handsome, young and extremely good moose calling guide avails himself to
help his charge off to the bush for the day with delusions of 60" bulls and one
shoot kills. Well that ain't happening, but we do get to a good spot before
light to look and listen as best we can in the wind.
Then, at first light, the unmistakable bellow of a cow rejecting the advance
of a would-be suitor sounds off. I immediately fell right at home as I try to
pin down the exact location of this commotion. We drop our packs and coats to move quickly downwind of the ruckus and sneak
along in the grey morning light. Just as we stop and wonder which way to go in
the bush, she bitches at the poor guy again. Slowly we approach an opening and
look down in a creek bottom and there is a young bull with about a 20" spread
dining quietly all by himself.
There's an old cow over across the creek and then I see the recipient of her
wrath. Carefully I rest my gun on a limb and wait for him to move in between two
trees for a clear shoot. My guide waits patiently because he can't see a thing
where he's at and now the young bull has him pinned down. As I study through my
glass, the bullet takes off to its destination just behind a shoulder. Now you
tell me how something this big and black can disappear so fast, damned if I know.
Now take it easy, wait, listen and watch. Well you can't hear anything
because the wind is ringing in your ears and all you see is that mouthy cow. Did
you know my office walls are adorned by fine bulls and bucks that succumbed to my
rifle while pursuing sex, oh how I can relate. Don't even think of going over
there till you flag the exact spot you shot from cause it's over 200 yards and it
won't look the same.
Just take your time, look and listen, move carefully and don't destroy any
sign. Look back at your flag where you shot and line everything up and look
down, there is the sign and we look where he should be.
Well he apparently didn't get the memo on where to be, because he isn’t
there. As the wind swings, you catch his smell... damn ain't he dolled up for
the occasion. This is the third time my guide and I located an animal by smell,
glad I quit smoking.
Now it’s an hour back to our packs and all we have to dress him out with is
my panty extraction unit (I'd have to tell you about my last x-wife to explain
that one). We get things all cleaned out and properly open... well if my guide
reads this, he'll say, “What's this WE got it cleaned out!
As my Illustrious Canadian Outdoorsman type guide finds his way back to our
packs and the other hunter, my assignment is to find a way out with our prize.
We got ‘er done in good order and all is well. One of the benefits of escorting
me in the bush is that you have to drink my kill shot as well as your own cause I
ain't old enough to drink, but I hear Wiser's is smooth.
My only obligation at this point is to get word out to my potato peeler in
the States that there's enough meat coming south for the next Hunting Moose