Scouting photo of an Idaho bull moose. Photo credit: Deadline Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member
More summer scouting.
As a seasoned guide and outfitter with 14 years of experience ranging from New Mexico to Alaska, I have asked myself, “What is a trophy?” countless times. Male or female, young or old, wealthy or day laborer doesn’t seem to matter in the hunting world; the language that seems to link all hunters is, instead, the ability to speak in “inches”—and it doesn’t seem to matter who measures the inches: Boone & Crockett (B&C), Pope & Young or Safari Club International. While some use it as a means to communicate generalities of size, others see it as a benchmark minimum in determining the success of a hunt.
With the increasing popularity of hunting magazines and websites, many of the biggest trophies harvested each year are seen by millions of people. Sometimes this can distort a hunter’s viewpoint of what a “representable” animal looks like for a certain species. The reality is no matter how hard an outfitter or guide tries, not every person hunting with them each year will harvest an all-time B&C animal. These animals are truly special in that they have both the genetic potential to grow world class headgear as well as being able to survive long enough to develop it: a truly rare combination.
Last year, my off-season was filled with the typical preparations for the upcoming season when, on June 21, 2016, I received a phone call from a prior client of mine saying, “I have a friend who drew the super moose tag for Idaho. I told him you were the guy to call.” 15 minutes later my phone rang from another client/friend who said, “I have a buddy who has a buddy who drew the super moose tag. He’ll be calling you today.”
Both of my clients spoke very highly of him and were adamant that this guy was the most genuine, nicest guy I would ever meet. My phone rang later that afternoon with an unknown Montana phone number. On the other end of the line was the proud recipient of the Idaho moose super tag.
After introducing himself as Dyrk, he started off with, “Based off the conversations with mutual friends it looks like we are hunting moose together this fall like it or not.” This guy was stoked. After talking with him for 20 minutes I think I was as excited as he was. It was obvious what an accomplished bowhunter he was with numerous animals harvested all over North America, including a top five all-time Stone sheep. His energy and enthusiasm was contagious. He booked with me during that initial phone call and I don’t know who was more pleased about the arrangement.
More summer scouting.
Dyrk was unable to hunt the opener due to a prior booked hunt, which meant that we were starting a week into the season and the warmer weather was making for tough hunting, keeping the bulls holed up in thick vegetation all day and feeding during the cool hours of darkness. After several unsuccessful days, we agreed to suspend the hunt and start again later in the season when the bulls would be rutting. Dyrk came back a month later and we had several great bulls located again. The first bull we went after was huge—an obvious top 10 all-time B&C bull. On the first day, we had fog moving in and out of the pocket we were in and we just couldn’t seal the deal. Regardless, it is always fun to be that close to a giant. The bulls were rutting hard and we were pumped to try again the next morning.
That evening passed with fretful sleep and we all rose early, eager to resume the chase. We located the bull right after sunrise and couldn’t believe our misfortune. There, standing 50 yards away was the giant bull with only one antler left! He had broken the right side of his paddle off very near the pedicle. What a fight that must have been that night. We were able to call him in very close and could have easily harvested him. I am excited to try and locate him again this year.
Suddenly, I realized that the bull was so focused on my calling that he was going to run right over Dyrk! I watched Dyrk quickly pull back his bow and release an arrow. The first shot struck the bull in the brisket and exited out his lower back at 7’! In the next five seconds, he put two more arrows into the bull’s vitals and the bull didn’t make it 20 yards before he went down. I was a little shocked how quickly things transpired and, before I knew it, Dyrk was tackling me to the ground. He was pumped! I told him I didn’t get time to try and visually score the bull to see if he was the right one and his only reply was, “Hoby, he’s the right one!” The rush of adrenaline that bull provided as he came storming into the calls made for an unforgettable experience.