It was quite the day. I started off attending a church meeting in the morning but the whole time I kept thinking of the afternoon hunt and all the things I had to complete before leaving, the most important being the 4X6s needed to build a 12′ hoist in my garage. The urgency of the hoist was apparent but I was not sure I would shoot a moose that day. I left for my favorite hunting area half hour from my home and arrived around 4:30 pm. I was confindent I would get an opportunity because of the amount of animals I seen the week prior.

I was not more that 100 yards into the bush when I heard the cracking of willows from a fleeing moose. I instinctively gave a quick grunt and stopped the bull in his tracks. We stared each other down for about two or three minutes before he made the move. With my bow at full draw he stepped into the opening at 30 yards but unfortunatly was on the run. I gave a quick grunt again and stopped him broadside. I ranged him at 74 yards. 14 yards further than my comfort zone for moose so I let off my bow. The bull fled onto the trail I had planned on following to the tree stand my friend and I set up the year before. As I stepped onto the trail to go to my stand I had an erie feeling. A slight fear came over me and I found myself constantly looking for the next climbable tree. The fear soon was replaced with frustration as I could not find the tree stand. I went back and forth along the trails adjacent the willows when finally I spotted a group of pine trees. I knew that was the spot the stand must be in so I headed that direction and found the stand. I was finally settled at about 5:30 pm and ready for the hunt

I began to cow call throughout the evening but did not see anything. I heard some walking to my left but could not see anything then quiet. An hour must have passed since hearing the walking animal. I decided that I would leave the stand at 7:40 pm as that would allow me half an hour of sunlight to get myself out of the bush as I knew my calling may turn the moose aggressive. 7:40 came and I lowered my bow down the tree on its rope and began climbing down myself. I was just over half way down the tree when I heard CRACK! to my left. I looked over and saw a young bull coming in. I briskly got to the ground, grabbed my bow and untied it. I was caught. The bull was 40 yards off staring me in the face. With my bow in hand I gave a slight cow bark and he committed to me. I drew my bow and he stepped out at 30 yards and turned to go back so I released. The crack was louder than any I’ve heard in my 18 years of bowhunting. The bull ran about 60 yards and I heard him fall, followed by the low grunt of another bull coming in from straight ahead of me.

The larger bull was over 40″ and aggressive. He ran to the bull I had shot and proceeded to fight him while he was down. I began to yell at the bull to scare him off but he turned and ran to me instead. Raking willows and grunting he displayed himself to me in attempt to intimidate me. I returned the call with more yelling. It seemed to work as he turned and walked away. I thought I was OK so I took a step and immediately heard CRACK CRACK CRACK as he came running back at me. I could not move him to run away from me. Every attempt made to leave brought him back in with increasing aggressiveness.

By this time the light had fled and I was a lone in the dark with an angry bull moose and a cell phone. Maybe I can call the landowner to come in with his quad to scare him off, after all, he was the ONLY one that had any idea where I was. Unfortunately he was out of town so I called my dad.

Meanwhile, the darkness only amplified the grunting and charging of the bull. There was no way I was going to walk out of there then. I was tired of hanging half way up this tree so decided to go back up and sit in my tree stand. I continued to yell at the bull but those attempts were all in vain. My dad finally arrived at my truck. I was to have him bring my quad in to me. Unfortunately, it had been over 8 years since he last hunted the area. I doubted he would find the cut-line that led to the quad trail the led to the area of my stand.

Two hours after shooting the young bull I began to get cold and impatient. The bull was still there and I was still in the tree and my cell phone was going dead. I decided that I was either going to spend the night in a tree and freeze or I’m going to get out NOW. There was a road to my east, the opposite direction of the bull so I decided I would try to sneak out that way. I made one more call to my dad and said I’m headed east and my battery died. Just then the full moon came out from behind the clouds and everything was illuminated sufficiently to see where I was going.

With an arrow knocked I worked my way east and finally cleared the trees. I jogged the remaining 500 yards to the road. My dad met me on the road with my truck and we, together, headed back in.

Three hours after shooting my bull, we were back at my stand but this time with a quad and a lot of noise as we came in. If that bull was still there and still mad, he deserved to have his way with me by then. We drove the quad into the willows where I last seen the bull. There was no blood so we just walked in the general direction that the bull did and after about 10 minutes we found him. My shot was perfect. He didn’t go far. I field dressed him and then hooked on to the quad and drug him out to the truck, loaded him and headed for home. After arriving at home we hoisted him up on my new hoist and skinned him out. We retired the next morning at 3:30 am. It was a long day and one I will remember for a long time.

Matt Depeel