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"My Once-In-A-Lifetime Moose Hunt"

Mike's Trophy Moose
Mike's Utah moose nets 147 7/8 P&Y points.
My Once-in-a-Lifetime hunt for a Trophy Utah Moose, and here I am, sneaking through thick aspen, arrow knocked and my intended target just 20 yards ahead. My heart is pounding as I move as quietly as possible, checking the wind, watching where I step, in fact, if I can make it just three more feet I'll have a clear shot. I say to myself, "Stay Calm, Pick Your Spot, Don't Rush", suddenly, the bull begins to move, he must have caught my movement. I quickly look for another shooting lane, hoping he'll present a shot. Yes, an opening, but it's only two feet wide. I draw my bow back and sight down my twenty-yard pin...

After the 1997 drawing results were in and I saw my name listed for a CWMU in Northern Utah, I knew this was going to be a great year of hunting. I immediately called the Operator of the property and we talked about how he generally runs his public hunter moose hunts and what I should expect. He informed me that I could do some scouting during the summer, but I would be limited only to a certain section of his property.

Beginning in June, I began to scout the area that the Operator recommended and started to become familiar with the terrain. I would only see cow moose each time I scouted, but the Operator assured me that there were bulls around and eventually I would find them. A week before my scheduled hunt was to begin, I spotted two nice bulls down in the bottom of a canyon. After that scouting trip I called the Operator and told him that I had found a good bull and if given the chance, I would take him.

On October 2, 1997, at 4:00 a.m., my good friend, Gene Player, picked me up at my home and we were off to hunt moose. At 6:00 a.m. we arrived at the gate to the property and began loading our gear and saddles onto Gene's mules. By 7:00 a.m. we were headed down a dirt road, with high hopes and lots of enthusiasm. Reaching a central location of the area I was hunting, we tied off the pack mules and began the hunt.

At 9:30 a.m., Gene spotted a cow across a canyon and within a few minutes a bull appeared. Setting up the spotting scope, we took a close look at the bull. I told Gene that it was the big bull I had seen the previous week. Gene said, "that is a good bull, look how wide he is, good mass, the brow palms and the length of those points." That's all it took, so we jumped back on our mules and headed over to the other side of the canyon.

We tied off the mules down wind of the bull and I began my stalk, hoping that the bull was still where we had last seen him. After sneaking through the trees for a short distance, I could smell moose and tracks were everywhere. Then I saw the black form through the trees, my heart really started pounding when I could tell it was the bull.

Now back to where my story began, ....I'm sighted down my twenty yard pin, the bull steps into my lane and I release the arrow. I watch as the arrow flies true, just behind the shoulder. The bull lunges forward and turns uphill by some pines. I move in again, this time I know that the bull is watching me. At thirty yards, I have another clear shot and this time the bull goes down. I can't believe it, just a few hours into my hunt and I have a record book bull down on the ground.

After the high fives with Gene, the real work began. Moose are big, really big! My bull green scores 155 and has a final Pope and Young score of 147 7/8. If the left antler had not been damaged, he would have scored much higher. I used a Martin Warthog bow set at 75 lbs., 2117 Easton aluminum arrows and 125 grain, four-blade, satelite broadheads.

I want to thank the DWR and private landowners for the PHU (now CWMU) program, which allows the public the opportunity to hunt on prime hunting properties.

Written by Mike Pope