Lucky & Irish

By Weldon Flaharty
Colorado, 2009, DIY, Public Land
Lucky & IrishJan/Feb 2011 EBJ (Issue 63) - It was a busy day at work back in summer of 2006, but I found time to make a quick check on the Colorado Division of Wildlife website for moose draw results. I wasn’t surprised when I read “unsuccessful”. I only had three weighted preference points going into the draw, and there were approximately 3800 moose hunting applicants with three or more points competing for about 170 available licenses.

The next day I realized I hadn’t checked my daughter’s moose draw results. Erinn (then 17) had one weighted point going into the draw. I knew she wasn’t going to draw with one point, but I decided to check anyway. As I pulled up her draw results, I saw “Successful” and quickly clicked away. I was sure it was impossible for her to draw and that the lines in my trifocals had blocked out the “Un” of Unsuccessful. I started shaking, knowing I hadn’t read wrong. I pulled up my draw results again and verified that my status had not changed. I started shaking harder as I went back to Erinn’s results. Erinn had drawn a coveted bull moose license! Thus, my 2009 moose hunt really started with Erinn’s 2006 moose hunt.

We took a few scouting trips and eventually located quite a few moose. On one trip when I went alone, I saw a large bull, but he was on private land and would be hard to call away from his cow.

Opening morning didn’t go anything like we had hoped. Erin spotted a big bull and was just about ready to take the shot when she saw another hunter in the way. She immediately pointed the rifle down and hid behind a tree, and shortly after, the other hunter shot the bull right in front of us. Erinn cried, “He shot my bull.”

It was a tough way to start a hunt, but we kept at it. Day two turned out to be bad timing. We came upon another hunter stalking a beautiful bull moose we called “Majestic” in the willows, within a few hundred yards of where the 33-inch bull was killed on opening day. The hunter scored and once again we were out of luck. I again assured her there would be other bulls and other chances.

Erinn turned down four legal bulls on the fifth day and we were running out of time. I was hoping she hadn’t made a mistake. Evening was approaching and we needed to make a decision. I decided to get away from the other hunters and to go to an area we had eliminated during scouting. Because of this decision, Erinn now thinks I am a great guide.

We had just passed a big boggy meadow and were headed up the mountain when we saw a humongous bull with antlers everywhere. “Shoot him! Shoot him!” I yelled.

Adrenaline was pumping as Erinn tried to get in position. I ranged him at 106 yards and he turned broadside. “Shoot!” I exclaimed.

Weldon Flaharty

For a full account of Weldon's adventure, go to page 28 in the January/February 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.