Palms Up

By Andrew Munsell
Colorado, DIY, Public Land

Palms Up - Andrew MunsellMarch/April 2014 EBJ (Issue 82) - "That’s probably too high for moose. You should concentrate your scouting below 10,000 feet,” was the response from the biologist when I asked him about where to hunt for my Colorado DIY Shiras moose hunt. Based on the data the CPW collects and statistically speaking, he was right, but my personal experience was telling me something different.

It didn’t sink in until I was describing the draw result to my houseguest, an English soccer coach. I was showing him how a zero in the "points” and "weighted points” columns meant I drew my deer and antelope tags.

After a slight pause, he politely asked in his English accent, "So what do these zeros mean next to moose?”

I hadn’t even noticed it! At that moment I realized I had drawn my once-in-a-lifetime Colorado Shiras moose tag! After nine years of applying, it was finally my turn to be that lucky hunter. My mind started racing trying to figure out where I was going to hunt and how I was going to get the moose out if I was fortunate to get one.

As the summer progressed I managed to get out and scout four times, not as much as I would have liked, but nevertheless, I took the biologist’s advice and concentrated my search below 10,000 feet. On one of the trips, my good friend Jeremy and I started at 9,000 feet and worked our way up to almost 11,000 feet in a drainage that I had never hunted before. As the biologist predicted, we saw very little sign above 10,500 feet. Maybe he was right; all the good bulls were going to be at the lower elevations.

The opener of my hunt was delayed as my mom had to fly in to watch our daughter since my wife had to go on business travel that week. With my mom in town and a soccer game scheduled for the morning of the opener, I decided it would be best to miss the morning of the opener in favor of being with my family. After the game, I hugged them and they wished me good luck on my hunt.

By this time, I had decided I was going into the high drainages where I hunt elk even though I hadn’t scouted it. What helped this decision is that the CPW provides all the GPS coordinates of moose taken with any weapon over previous seasons. For these high drainages, there were no reported moose taken. I figured most folks didn’t hunt this remote area because it was too far from the trailhead.

Once I got to the trailhead I recognized Glen, one of the other lucky moose tag holders that I met at the CPW moose seminar. He was all smiles as he started sharing the details of his hunt on a great 36-inch-wide Shiras.

While he was telling me his story, he mentioned that there were two other bulls with the one he shot and then preceded to show me a picture of all three bulls that he took several days earlier during a scouting trip. The biggest of the three bulls was over 50 inches wide. However, they both had narrow palms and I was looking for something bigger. Ignorance is bliss, especially when you don’t hunt moose every day or year. Exactly how big is a BIG Shiras moose?

Palms Up - Andrew Munsell

For a full account of Andrew's adventure, go to page 46 in the March/April 2014 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.