The Shiras Moose is the smallest of the four moose in North America. The male can reach the weight of 1,200 to 1,400 lb and stand five feet at its shoulder. To complete the grand slam of moose you need all four; they consist of the Alaskan Yukon moose ( the biggest), the Western Moose, the North American Labrador Moose and the Shiras Moose (the smallest).
It was last February in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that my wife Crocodile Cathy purchased the Governors Moose tag from Wyoming for me. I was unaware of that until I returned the beginning of March from a hunt in Cameroon. The governors tag allowed me to hunt any zone in Wyoming. Once the paper work was filled out and sent to Wyoming's Fish and Wildlife they would issue me the tag. I talked with Jim Wilson a board member of the Eastern FNAWS and past president if he could recommend an outfitter in Wyoming. He gave me the name of Rusty Hall and James Rinehart of Offgrid Outfitters. So after a phone call everything was set up for my hunt. It was to start on the 4th of November and could run to the 14th of November that was the last day of moose hunting in Wyoming. They didn't think that it would take that long and it didn't. The governors moose tag included the hunting license. I only had to purchase a conservation permit and that was only $15.00.
Cathy and I decided to drive to Wyoming so we could return with the moose meat. By the time we arrived in Albany, Wyoming at the Albany Lodge we had traveled 3,300 miles. Our trip started from Wilmington, Delaware and took us 16 miles north of Houlton, Maine to pick up moose meat from a hunt that Rob Gustafson had through a wounded warrior sponsored hunt in conjunction with the governor of Maine. I had volunteered to pick the meat up and deliver it to Michigan and save Rob from a long drive since we were going that way to reach Wyoming. We sure put in some long days behind the wheel of my truck. Our grandson Weston and his dad Guy had flown to Missoula, Montana for an elk hunt and mule deer. Guess what? Pop Pop and Mom Mom offered to drive to Missoula and pick up his meat and trophy. While we were hunting the moose Cathy received a text that Weston had taken his elk, a nice 6 X 6 and they were now hunting for a mule deer. So when I complete my moose hunt we are driving to Montana to pick up Weston's trophy before returning home. What the heck is another 1,600 miles.
We arrived around noon time on the 4th of November at the Albany Lodge in the small town of Albany, Wyoming for my Shiras Moose Hunt. It was there at the bar eating our lunch that we met Rusty Hall. So after a hamburger and a grilled chicken salad we were going to our room and change into our hunting clothes and give the afternoon a go for the moose. We traveled up into the mountains of the Medicine Bow National Park to an elevation over 10,000 feet. We glassed and drove looking in the willow patches and the open hill side. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Some areas were so thick and dense that it was almost impossible to see if there were any animals. The lodge was located at 8,379 feet elevation at night the temperatures dropped into the low 20s and would reach the high 40s during the day.
At dinner that night we met the whole group that was going to be involved with my hunt. Earlier we met Rusty and James now at dinner we met Bryon, Logan and another Bryon. The plan for the morning was the young men would all go in different areas walk through the low drainage areas and the willow patches. They were all carrying walkie talkies to keep in contact and to notify us if a moose was spotted. We were lucky that there was 3-4 inches of snow on the ground that helped following tracks. Besides the driving and glassing we did a lot of walking following fresh tracks, but we were not able to overtake the moose making the tracks. While following the tracks I would try to figure where they were going, but forget that there was no rhyme or reason. I truly believe that they had no idea where they were going. As we walked the later it got we were losing the daylight. It was time to return to the lodge and make plans for tomorrow.
We again split up in different areas the only difference was that there wasn't as big a distance separating us. It was around 8:30am that Rusty had cut fresh tracks heading in our direction. Cathy and I were with James in his truck when he received the message from Rusty. James stopped the truck and told cathy and I to stay in the truck. He was going in the direction of Rusty to see if he could cut the tracks. He wasn't gone very long when he returned in a hurry and told us he heard the sound of horns either scraping through the trees or fighting with another bull. We drove down the trail slowly when Cathy and James spotted the moose off to our left in the woods about 75 yards away. James told me to get my rifle and follow him and keep close so that was what Cathy and I did. We traveled 30 yards into the trees when I finally saw the moose. They were about 60 yards away. The cow moose was looking at us between two trees and the bull was behind her. Now we had to wait for a clear shot. The cow moved out of the way, but the bull had his head down and didn't present a clear shot. James had adjusted the height of his shooting sticks for me; boy do I hate shooting sticks. There wasn't much to rest my rifle on. All of the surrounding trees were quite large and the sticks had to do. Now with my rifle on top of the shooting sticks it was a waiting game for the bull moose to move and give me a shot. Finally! My first shot was just a little low on the shoulder. I chambered the second round and squeezed the trigger that shot was right on the shoulder. The bull moved just a little to my right and I chambered the third round and squeezed the trigger. This shot was in the shoulder next to the second shot. I reached into my pocket and pulled out three more shells. Meanwhile I had continued watching the bull while reloading my rifle. I never needed another shot. The bull started to rock and collapsed where he stood. We waited for a short time then approached the down moose. He was done.
It didn't take long before Rusty, Logan, Bryon and Bryon were there with James, Cathy and I. After pictures it didn't take long for the boys to have the bull skinned, butchered and loaded into the truck. James was lucky, between his driving and the guiding of Rusty they manuvered the truck within 70 yards. After all of the work we returned to the lodge to have lunch, pack up our clothes, settle the bill and travel to the butcher shop. The butcher shop was located in Laramie about 15 miles from Albany. Its name was the Rainbow Butchery. After listing the cuts of meat and what fat we wanted added to the hamburger we departed. We will return on Monday morning to collect the meat and cape and head for home.
After departing the butcher shop we drove to Grand Lake, Colorado to visit our friend John Williams and spend a few days. John is a photographer and travels the world taking pictures. Grand Lake is his home and where his studio is located. We departed early the morning of the 9th of November driving to Missoula to get Weston's trophy. Then back to Laramie, Wyoming to load up the processed moose meat from the Rainbow Butchery and then home.
We were happy that our grandson Weston had taken his first elk with his dad, but we were both a little sad that we weren't there on the hunt with them.