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A Hunting Lesson
An uncomfortable yet common situation
I won’t post the photos, they’re not what you want to be seeing before eating, but wanted to touch on a common hunting situation.
There are times you search and search, then when you find one it’s impossible to get to him. Sometimes after ten years of applying for a moose draw the shoot first and worry about how to get him out later is a real trigger / itch pun intended.
For us this year we had him coming to our calls even pre-mating season and we set up “operation Karen.” Karen is my decoy that looks like a cow moose. We were fully ready to call this guy right into us for the final show down when we found his previous days stool where he came to our call the day before.
The stool contained both adults and larva from what was likely to be a strongyle worm. We went back and poked around in another stool we knew was his and discovered he was leaving softer unhealthier stool. We asked some other hunters, the local natives, the butcher and finally dropped stool samples with the wildlife biologist.
Everyone except the other hunters said to leave the meat alone. What this other hunter told us was “I’d have cranked it anyway.” when we finally found out that this wasn’t just the common moose measles tape worm you find from time to time we thought maybe that jerk should have “cranked this one” - but even he doesn’t deserve a round worm that drills into your arteries causing blood clots and other issues.
My new hunting apprentice got many new lessons on this trip but this was the most valuable lesson. We made the decision not to shoot together. Our two big lessons : know when not to shoot and hear how stupid you sound when you say “I’d have cranked it anyway lol.” There are lessons every year which is why I love to hunt so much.
With the collective wisdom we had obtained, we decided together that it was likely that the worms were in his intestines and meat - but that his other fluids would be ok for breeding. At least he can do some good out there with the three cows and calves we tracked in his circle. Another lesson was learned here on this hunt.
Driving around and hoping to “pop one” is fine, people do this and are successful; however there is no substitute for getting into his world first! Seeing where he eats, drinks and who he’s hanging out with is invaluable. Most importantly we learned just how powerful identifying who is who’s stool and what is inside it can be.
In our case, the butcher figured even common moose measles in the stool was a very advanced form and he’d likely not take the meat. The ethics of having to throw away a chunk of meat from a bull that otherwise could be out there mating would be a really tough one to deal with.
We are both really glad we let this one go - with a dwindling population [wolves were on just about every baby moose track this early in the season] we hope leaving him does some for the mating pool.
Girls with Guns