Moose in Memoriam

By Dan Drake
Idaho, DIY, Public Land

Dan Drake - Moose in MemoriamDecember/January 2014 EHJ (Issue 140) - I started hunting with grandpa when I was just "knee-high to a grasshopper,” as he put it. I was old enough to tag along and that was all that mattered.

Grandpa Ron finally drew the moose tag he had waited so long for. He was an experienced hunter and had many kills under his belt, but meat was always the objective of his pursuits, while the rack of the animal was considered a bonus. It was a bit different with a moose tag though, and Grandpa often talked about the big rack that would soon adorn his fireplace.

When the time came, we loaded the old Ford and set off to try and find a trophy moose. We spooked several moose out of a nearby creek bottom while setting up camp. They made their way to the cover of timber, but not before we got a look at the big bull of the group.

We ran to the truck and drove down the road to where they had made their escape. I stayed by the truck, not wanting to slow Grandpa down. He jumped out and ran up the hill to get a better look. No sooner had he disappeared into the timbered darkness when a shot rang out. It was followed by an excited yell from Grandpa that he had gotten him.

I was pumped to see the bull and made my way only a few hundred yards up the hill to where it lay. When I got there, I could see the disappointment in Grandpas’ eyes as he told me what had happened. The trophy bull had made his way into a thick timber patch before a shot could be fired. When the antlers appeared in a clearing on the other side, a single shot to the heart ensured a swift kill. It was then that the big bull emerged from the patch, looking at his fallen friend. Grandpa had shot the wrong bull!

Being the true sportsman that he was, Grandpa paid respect to the magnificent animal and we set to work on the meat. The time was used to teach me a great lesson that I have remembered ever since. Grandpa told me that he was disappointed but still grateful to have taken a beautiful animal.

He then looked me in the eyes and said, "Danny Boy, hunting will be what you make it.”

As the years drifted by, my grandfather grew sick and increasingly weaker. Feeling the need to honor him in some way, the time had come to try for a moose of my own. However, it wasn’t meant to be and Grandpa Ron passed away before the next hunting season. Four long years later, I found out that I would finally have my chance to hunt moose.

Dan Drake - Moose in Memoriam

For a full account of Dan's adventure, go to page 50 in the December/January 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.