Memory Made: Wyoming Moose Hunt
Growing up in Wyoming and hunting from the time I was little it is very difficult to narrow down my favorite hunting memory. From the time I was old enough to walk I was old enough to tag along. I was rabbit hunting, prairie dog hunting, and varmint hunting from a very young age. These hunts built the foundation for all successful hunts in the future. Of all of my successful hunts there is one that is easily my favorite. This hunt did not end with a giant animal, but it ended in memories that I’ll be sharing when I’m old and gray.
My favorite hunt was my Western Wyoming Moose hunt. This hunt was completed in 2016, but began many years before. My dad had been purchasing me points for years and we kept waiting for the right time to put in. When planning what could be a once in a lifetime hunt timing is everything. First college got in the way, then weddings, a baby, and then another. Finally my children were old enough to be left behind with grandma for a week while my husband, dad, and I headed into the backcountry.
Our trip began by leaving the day before opening season to get to camp. The night before opening day was filled with anticipation and also mom guilt for leaving my kids behind. One of them decided to get sick the day we left so the mom guilt was multiplied by 100. When we finally settled into bed I tossed and turned all night worried I wouldn’t wake up in time and I’d miss my opportunity. Who am I kidding? My dad and Seth would never allow me to miss this.
Opening morning was met with hot coffee and Jan’s delicious breakfast. When the horses were saddled we finally hit the trail to head to an area a moose shed had been found the summer before. As we were riding along my dad explained what to look for, listen for, and what horse behaviors to notice. As we rounded every corner I just knew one would be right there in the middle of the trail. We continued to climb the mountain and eventually got into some thick fog. As hard as it was to make the decision we had to turn back to make sure we didn’t get turned around. Day one ended with driving the road and making a game plan for day two.
Day two we went further up river and set off behind the Box Y lodge. The trail was slippery and every step of the way I was thankful for the sturdy horses SNS always uses. We got to the top and gave the boys a nice long break and glassed the bowl below. To our delight and slight disappointment we saw a cow and calf down below. This had to be a good sign that bulls would be in the area. We bush whacked our way closer and sat for hours just waiting for the one to step out. Unfortunately day 2 also ended up with us driving back to camp empty handed. I wish I could say day 3 went better, but I can’t. I left camp that weekend with an unfilled tag. Odd that this trip could be my favorite hunting memory when I didn’t even harvest an animal. This was my favorite hunting memory because the time I spent with my dad and husband was the best of my life. It’s the moments we spend with the people we love the most that make hunting some of our favorite memories, and this one took the cake.
I am happy to report I did eventually fill that tag. I got a young bull and fed my family for an entire year. I was with my dad, and if you’ve read my previous article you will know my favorite part was the slap on the back, and the “atta girl!” that followed a perfect shot.