Stone Castles, Mountain Lakes, & Bull Moose

By Scott Hergesheimer
Montana, 2009, DIY, Public Land

Scott Hergesheimer - Stone Castles, Mountain Lakes, & Bull MooseOctober/November 2011 EHJ (Issue 127) - The cold mountain air felt good in my lungs as I crept along the lakeshore. At 8,300 feet elevation on a special draw moose hunt, everything feels good! There were pockets of two-day-old snow scattered about the timber along the lake. In the patch of snow before me were the tracks of what appeared to be a bull and cow moose.

I had drawn a bull moose tag for an area in southwestern Montana. I live 250 miles away, but am somewhat familiar with the area due to the fact I have family near there. Finally, 14 years of waiting were over!

I was already on my eighth day of hunting as I studied the fresh tracks in the snow. I had seen some moose on previous days, but not the mature bulls I had been hoping for. The tracks veered to the left, heading into the light wind toward the lake. I decided to go to the right in a big loop and come back on the track along the lakeshore with the faint breeze in my face.

The sun danced in and out from behind the clouds as I rested on a huge boulder looking over the glass-like lake. The trout were making plenty of fuss over the afternoon bug crop. I glassed up into the 10,000-foot peaks and watched several mountain goats grazing on the steep faces of the giant stone castles. It was almost surreal being that high in such a magnificent place with such an astonishing vista.

The cold steel of my Sako rifle flashed me back to reality as I grabbed it to proceed along the lake. Breaking the calm serenity of the afternoon, I let out a cow moose call, knowing it would carry for a great distance. After a brief wait I crept up along the shore and called again.

My whole body went cold as the sound of a bull moose grunt penetrated the mountain air. The grunt came from straight ahead of me. I chambered a round and returned the grunt with one of my own. The bull again responded.

I tiptoed 50 yards up the lake through the boulders and Christmas trees when I heard another grunt. Peeking around some large rocks and saplings, my heart jumped out of my chest as my eyes looked upon a giant white moose paddle jutting from behind some eight-foot pines.

Scott Hergesheimer - Stone Castles, Mountain Lakes, & Bull Moose

For a full account of Scott's adventure, go to page 30 in the October/November 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.