September tends to be the time when bull moose begin ramping up toward the soon-coming rut each year. And while some say the peak of the moose rut is the first two weeks of October, I’ve seen more than my fair share of rutty bull moose activity in the last two weeks of September. And although I’d heard that moose can be some of the most underestimated (dangerous) creatures across the country, I still felt the need to push my luck with the camera when I began having moose show up in my whitetail spots in western Montana. Check out the Bull Moose Charges Hunter video below for a look at what happens when you push in too tight with a rutty bull moose.
I was fascinated when I first discovered several moose hanging out in the riverbottoms of western Montana where I hunted for whitetail deer. My first encounter was a cow and calf that walked by my blind as they crossed a pasture I was set up in. I also encountered a number of young bulls over the course of a couple years. But one day in particular led to an encounter with a nice bull that I had seen in the same spot for several years on what seemed to be his stomping grounds during the rut.
I was sitting in my deer stand one morning when I heard the sound of crashing brush and timber. When I heard several moose grunts, I knew the bull was back. I wasn’t sure if he was fighting another bull, or just raking trees on his own. Either way, I wanted a closer look.
I climbed down from my treestand and headed in the direction of the bull. When I eased out into the pasture, I found the bull thrashing the brush. He had strips of velvet hanging from his antlers and his paddles were bloodied from the process of transitioning from velvet to polished bone for his head gear.
For the sake of the video, I pushed closer and closer to where the bull was hanging out on the edge of the pasture. When I closed in tight, I could see that the bull was actually eating the velvet from his antlers. He would swing his head to make the velvet swing up to where he could grab it in his mouth. At first I thought he was just peeling it off, but upon closer inspection, I realized he was actually eating it.
I got to about 20 yards before I ran out of trees to climb or hide behind if things went south. And it was obviously closer than this bull wanted me to be. He rolled his head back and forth and hooked a few more sticks and brush as he closed in on my hideout. And just when I thought he was beginning to settle back down, he made a grunt/whoofing sound, put his head down and came crashing my way.
I immediately dove into a cluster of trees I had been keeping close by. The three pine trees were just enough to keep him from getting to me, despite running up on the other side of the tree, just three feet away.
After lots of yelling and arm swinging I managed to get the bull headed in the opposite direction. My adrenaline was pumping from the encounter and all the excitement that took place. At the same time, I was glad the bull was headed back down the river to chase cows instead of trying to go another round with me.
If you’re looking for adrenaline rush like no other – a charge by a wild animal will no doubt do the trick. It was my first – and I’m okay if it’ll be my last. Shoot straight this season – and stay safe.