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The Old Moose Hunter Scores an Ontario Bull

by Justin Zarr 28. October 2009 23:17
Justin Zarr

NOTE: This article comes from my dear old Dad, a moose hunting maniac and the man responsible for my addiction to bowhunting.  Growing up around this guy it's not hard to see why I'm so passionate about bowhunting.  Although as you can see, I am a little bit more interested in the latest and greatest gear and gadgets.  Congrats Pops! - Justin 

Well, I guess I am no one's father anymore. At the ripe old age of 53 I am now known as "The Old Man".  I guess this is something that I can live with since I too referred to my Dad as the old man as well. I guess that's just karma.

Almost as old as me is the now prehistoric bow and arrows that I shoot as a bowhunter.  I shoot a very old Golden Eagle "Hunter Cam" bow.  And yes, it still has steel cables AND a string. To go with the antique setup I also shoot something not many people have heard of any more; aluminum arrows! All kidding aside, I am constantly being ribbed by Bowhunting.com's own Justin Zarr and Mike Willand and even my fellow moose hunter Mike about my old gear. In fact, on the very afternoon of our arrival for our annual moose hunt the camp owner, Jeremy Reynolds of Skyline Lodge  in Perrault Falls, Ontario, was checking out my bow and arrows and several comments were made as to the outdatedness of my equipment. I responded by reminding them of the conversation by Joe Pesci and Marissa Tomei in the movie "My Cousin Vinny".  Joe Pesci's character was going deer hunting with the prosecuting attorney and asked Marissa Tomei's character if she thought his pants were good enough for a deer hunt. Her response was that the deer don't care what type of pants the guy shooting them was wearing! I assured my critics  that the big bull I was going to shoot this week did not have a clue as to the age of my equipment, nor would it matter.   

We left the dock about 4:00 pm that afternoon to go on our first hunt of a week long trip. Just a quick trip across the bay and I dropped Mike off at his spot of choice and then proceeded  around the corner and down to the end of the next bay. I parked the boat and made the two hundred yard trip to where I would be spending my evening.


My view over the secluded bay on my first night of our hunt.

I quickly trimmed a few shooting lanes here and there to give myself more shot opportunities should a moose show up. After letting things quiet down for a bit from the sound of the boat I gave the first call of the season. A minute or two later I was relatively certain that a bull had answered from a great distance away.  I quickly gave another call and the answer was crystal clear this time. The bull was on his way.

It took about fifteen minutes before he broke out of the bush and onto the shoreline of the lake.  He looked very nice moose to me, even from 150 yards away. The bull was on a mission to find the cow that called for love. Then at roughly 60 yards away he hung up as many bulls have done to us in the past. But I was ready for that this time.

I dropped to the ground behind a big fallen tree and faced away from the bull, then let out a very soft call so as to sound like his true love was moving away from him, deeper into the bush. My plan worked perfectly. He immediatley resumed his mission and closed the gap to me in very short order. When the bull was about 20 yards away and nearly to the water's edge he stopped and tried to figure out where the love sick cow had gone. Not sure, he decided to walk the shoreline just a few more yards and that was a fatal mistake.

As the bull turned broadside he hesitated just long enough for me to draw my antique bow and let go my antique aluminum arrow tipped with a 125 grain Thunderhead. The arrow hit its mark and the big bull lunged several steps ahead and then stopped! I was happy with the arrow placement but when the bull stopped and offered me another shot I was not about to think twice.  However, before I could get another arrow out of my quiver I could see the big bull was close to going down.  He was already wobbling where he stood so instead of an arrow I decided to pick up my camera and photograph what was about to happen.

Things went too fast for that plan.  Before I could even get the lens cap off the bull reared up and fell over stone cold dead not more than 30 yards from me.  What an awesome sight to witness! Having plenty of daylight left and wanting to make as much use of it as possible I quickly made my way back to the boat and went to get my hunting partner Mike.


My 2009 Ontario bull moose laying in the bay, just yards where I shot him with my antique bow.

Fortunately the bull had headed for deeper water after being arrowed and fell in about 5 feet of water, making the job of getting him back to camp much easier. We tied a rope around his antlers and made the long slow trip back to camp.  Approximately a mile and a half to two miles by boat.  It was dark by the time we hit shore but the rest of the job was easier from there. By later that night my 55 1/4 inch bull was hanging on the hanging pole.


Mike helping with the recovery by tying a rope around the bull's antlers so we could drag him back to camp across the lake.

From the time we left the dock to go on this hunt I was dragging my new trophy back in less than one hour, and I was one happy camper! The very next evening we were able to get within 15 yards of another nice bull but the outcome was not what we had wanted.  We hunted hard for the remainder of our trip but at the end of the week the score was the old man with the old bow and the old arrows 1 (big one at that ), and the other guy with all of the bells and whistles, carbon arrows, scopes and drop down rests, self centering grip, super fancy this and super fancy that, scent blocking clothes and high tech fiberglass moose call ZIP. NADA. NOTHING. SKUNKED.


My old aluminum arrow and NAP Thunderhead were more than enough to get the job done on this nice Ontario bull.

I guess the moral of the story here is that more often than not there is nothing greater than just some "OLD " fashioned hunter know-how.....and you can't buy that.


The Old Man with his old bow and old arrows, next to his trophy bull moose.


Here I am with Ted Mitchell of Mitchell's Meats and Sausages in Vermillion Bay, Ontario.  Wrangling this big bull around and getting him caped out and processed was a real experience, but it's all a part of the adventure I suppose!


Ted hard at work on my moose.  Thanks for the help and the quick turnaround!
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