My heart was beating like a bass drum, as was the steady pulse of pounding blood in my temples. Before taking off after the bull I had a slug of water and chewed on a granola bar. We had been walking and calling since daybreak. I peeled off a layer or two, albeit too late...my base layer was sweat soaked. Rising, I half opened the bolt to be sure a round was in the chamber.
I had taken a couple of smaller bulls on previous hunts. This trip, I was hoping for a good bull. I had passed up a couple spikes earlier in the week. For a guy who doesn't get to hunt moose all that often, it was tough to let them walk. As they walked off into the dark spruce, both times I reminded myself the words a more experienced hunter had told me. " Ya can't shoot a big one...if you shoot the first small one you see". Point taken.
Anyone who has hiked much in Newfoundland knows that the walking can be tough going. While glassing from one side to the other, it's easier said then done to think , I'll just slipped on down this valley and circle above yonder bull.
It was that odd mixture of trying to hurry while being stealthy at the same time. The wind was in our favor. My mind however, was playing tricks on me. We had been out of sight of the huge bull for an half hour or so. I began to worry that he had moved on.
The valley was alive with cow bawls and bull grunts. To this day, I don't think I've ever shared a valley with so many moose, or if I did, they were not as vocal. Just as we were skirting a small yellow bog, we spotted a bull 200 yards away, maybe less.
Dropping my pack, I fished out my binoculars. There before me was a great bull for Newfoundland. I referred to my guide Robert for direction. He indicated that normally the bull would be a shooter. He added though, that somewhere up above us was a legit monster. In short, he wasn't going to tell me what I should do. And I'm good with that.
After much deliberation, I found myself with the model 70 shouldered with the crosshairs on the bull. Snicking off the safety I touched off. The bull was hard hit and only went 20 yards. When he went down, I lost sight of him....I worked the bolt and fed a fresh round into the chamber. Seeing nothing, I cautiously made way way to where I saw him go down. Before long I saw an antler tip sticking up above the brush. He was done.
As we were dressing the bull before the big job of packing him down to the lake, from somewhere high above me, a bull continued to grunt. I suspect it was the bruiser we had spotted an hour or so earlier.
Closing the tag on the last quarter of the moose I just shot....I was just fine with the big bull up above me living to see another day. There would be other trips. Other trips where I'd hold out for the biggest bull in the woods. Maybe......