Completing the Dream

By Jason Stafford

Completing the DreamJason Stafford
Wyoming, 2008, DIY, Public Land

It was October of 1986 and I still remember it like it was yesterday. My dad had drawn a once-in-a-lifetime moose tag in North Dakota. The day before the season opened I saw my first moose in the wild, a 35-inch bull with good palms. Dad ended up harvesting a giant 55-inch bull, which still stands as one of the largest moose ever taken in North Dakota. This adventure as a youngster had sparked my own dream of someday harvesting a moose.

Finally, in 2008, I drew a Shiras moose tag in my home state of Wyoming. The area I had drawn for was mostly a wilderness area where a friend of mine had taken a nice bull the season before. I began practicing daily with my bow, as well as working out to get into shape for the fast approaching adventure.

A scouting trip in August turned up no sightings of moose. My girls had fun fishing and throwing rocks in the river, but I was a little worried about not seeing any moose.

On September 9, 2008, my friend Dave Nyreen and I loaded the pickup and headed out. After four hard days of hunting and no moose sightings, we were feeling a little bummed. We drove into the regional Game and Fish office to see if we could get a few pointers on finding moose in my area. The game warden told us that moose were there; in fact, he told us the best drainage to hunt was the one we had spent the last two days in. He said there was a lot of wolf activity in the area and that moose have started to use the dark timber patches for shelter more than they used to.

Leaving the Game and Fish office with renewed hope, we headed back to my favorite drainage to climb to a vantage point we had found. We took different positions on the hillside to cover maximum country. An hour later, I saw Dave frantically waving me over to his position. He pointed out a lone cow moose feeding in a small aspen patch adjacent to a patch of dark timber. Peering through my binoculars, I could make out a paddle of a bull’s antler. One glimpse of the bull and I knew he was a good moose. I hastily planned a stalking route and was on my way.

Completing the Dream

For a full account of Jason's adventure, go to page 26 in the November/December 2009 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.