Long Time Coming

By Rob Hensley
Wyoming, DIY, Public Land

Rob Hensley - Long Time ComingAugust/September 2013 EHJ (Issue 138) - I have been applying for a Wyoming moose license since 1983. When I received my tag in the mail in May of 2012, I was more than excited to finally have my chance.

I started bow hunting in early September with two friends, Kirk and Jeremy. We spent a week covering my area. There were a lot of encouraging signs, but we could never find the bull I was looking for. I decided to wait for the rifle season when the rut would be started and the weather would be cooler.

On October 5th, I was on my way home from Buffalo. I had spent the past week guiding deer and antelope hunters for Corey Fischer with Crandall Creek Outfitters. On my way home, I received a call from a friend who had just seen a great bull moose as he and some friends were elk hunting that morning. The area he described was an area that I had been hunting during bow season. After being gone all week, I was planning on being home for a few days, but I knew I needed to go look for this bull. With such short notice, I didn’t expect anyone to go with me, but Jeremy volunteered, so the two of us headed out that night.

We pulled up to Rich Mathson’s cabin early Saturday morning. Rich, Nick, Zach, and Parker were waiting for us. They showed me a picture of the bull they had seen the day before and I was impressed. I knew there was no guarantee of finding him again, but just knowing he was there was exciting. These guys were elk hunting and I didn’t want to interrupt their hunt, but they were quick to tell me that they would like to tag along to look for the moose. I was very happy to have the extra help.

We arrived at the trailhead right after daylight and saw two cow moose and one small bull. I had spent several days hunting in this same area in September, so I knew where we were going. We grabbed our packs and headed out through a big burned area. The drainage we were hunting was a huge area so we decided to spread out and start glassing. The rut was on, and with any luck the big bull would be close to the cows we had just seen.

We hadn’t been hunting more than about 45 minutes when Zach came to tell us that he and Nick had spotted the bull. We quickly headed that direction and caught up with Nick. The bull was at the edge of the burn in some green timber. He was just over the top of a hill and we couldn’t get a good look at him. Zach and I started moving up the hill.

As we moved closer, I could see a big downed tree between the moose and us. I rose up and could see the bull facing me. I wanted to make sure that this was the bull I wanted, so I put my binoculars up to take a good look at him. That was all I needed to know that this was what I was after. I got my rifle up and waited for a good shot.

The bull was only 30 yards away. He began to quarter, and I placed the crosshairs on his shoulder and fired. The shot was perfect. The bull had no idea what had happened and his first reaction was to run. The direction he chose to run was straight at me. The moose jumped the deadfall and was coming down the hill at me. My second shot was fast. The bull was halfway to me when I fired. He stopped at about ten yards and turned broadside. I fired the third shot behind his shoulder. He took about ten steps and went down.

As we walked up to the bull, I was excited. His tine length and mass were amazing. Zach made the comment that he was bigger than he remembered. He got out the picture from the day before and we were all shocked to realize that this was not the same bull they had seen. Several of the tines were different; these were clearly two different bulls.

The rest of the morning was spent taking pictures, caping, quartering, and reliving the story. I was so glad that these guys were there to share this experience with me. I was also very thankful that they were there to help me get this giant back to the truck.

Now, the 29 years seems well worth the wait. The bull was 48 inches wide and had 23 scoreable tines. He ended up 167 6/8 B&C points and an amazing 409 6/8 SCI.

I am so grateful to all of the people who helped with this hunt. Thanks to the Fischer family, Rich and his crew, Kirk and Jeremy, and especially my wife Angela for all of her patience during hunting season.

Rob Hensley - Long Time Coming

For a full account of Rob's adventure, go to page 55 in the August/September 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.