Randy Bell of San Angelo, Texas just completed his mixed-bag hunt with Bearcat Outfitters. Shiras moose was the primary quarry so we concentrated on this species first. Day 1 and 2 of the hunt resulted in a few cow sightings and a brief opportunity on a 2-year-old bull, but Randy was holding out for a 3-year-old bull or better. Day 3 was slow in the morning, but in the afternoon we spotted a pretty decent bear and Randy decided he would be happy to harvest him. The boar was taken and we had our first animal in the bag.
Day 4 started out with clear, blue skies and a temperature of about -7 at the high elevations – perfect hunting conditions for moose. We snuck into a small meadow at first light and did a bit of calling with no luck. We then decided to try an area a little further to the south and as we were driving to that spot, we sighted two cows in a meadow. We moved ahead a bit so we were out of sight, parked and snuck down to the end of the meadow to get a better look at the cows and to see if there was a bull with them. When we get to the edge of the meadow we could see a number of other cows plus one large bull chasing one of the cows. We moved a bit closer to close the shooting distance and got Randy set up on his shooting sticks. We watched the bull breed the one cow and once he was off her, Randy made the shot. The bullet from his .338 Ultra Mag connected but didn’t kill the bull quickly, so a couple of more follow-up shots were required. We later determined we must have had a misreading on the range finder and the range was over 300 yards, not the 260 yards we thought and the first shot hit low in the shoulder. It all ended well, though, and we just sat and watched the sight in the meadow once the big bull was down for good. We saw about 15 moose total including two other bulls chasing and breeding cows over the next 20 minutes. One of the bulls appeared after we shot our bull and was at least as big as the one we harvested. It was a sight both of us will never forget. The rest of the day was spent getting the huge animal into the truck. It was a big job and when we later weighed him at the butcher, his carcass weight was 625 pounds. That is about as big as a Shiras moose gets. No wonder we had so much trouble getting him out! We spent the rest of the trip looking for a decent mulie buck for Randy, but did not spot any good ones. We saw a number of one- and two-year old bucks every day, but never saw a mature buck Randy wanted to take. We did do a bit of grouse hunting and managed to get a nice pair of blue grouse one afternoon, which added some good action and some very nice eating.