The largest (to date) moose I’ve personally ever guided for was the bull shot by Jeff Emerson in 2009. It was 53” wide, long tines, tall and wide paddles, great brows, and uniquely had the longest bell I’ve ever seen on a moose cape as well at about 3 feet long.
The story takes us to Lost Lou Meadow, named after nearby Lost Lou Lake, named after Lou, who got lost there and shot a big moose.
We hiked into the meadow early in the afternoon, and parked under a tree on the west side while I started making moose cow calls. I was training a new guide at the time, Ben Polowich, and Jeff, Ben and I took turns napping as the afternoon wore on. I made cow moose calls every 10 minutes or so for about three hours without a single response. Now most of the time I’m willing to give an area about an hour before I move on, but I really like hunting Lost Lou Meadow, I’d shot other great bulls there before, and I was determined to get the big one I knew was lurking around there somewhere. But after three hours you start feeling like nothing is going to happen. I decided after the sun set to go to the lake 300 yards away across the meadow to the east and check it out before it got dark. I stopped calling, we packed up our gear, and the three of us sauntered over to the lakeshore. We no sooner stepped on the lakeshore to glass the shoreline than I heard a bull calling back in the meadow we had just left, and it sounded like he was standing on top of where we’d been calling from! He'd come to my calls silent until the last moment and we'd left before he got there! We rushed back at a full run, we could hear him grunting and moving up the ridge away from us. As soon as we got to the meadow I started moaning like a cow in heat, “eeerrrgheeereeeeeerrrrrgh” and he turned back towards us. “Are you ready?” I whispered to Jeff, who nodded vigorously. I could tell he was pumped, and I have to admit, I had no idea how big this bull was yet, but I had the fever too - I almost always do.
The bull came in slowly, grunting. I was worried about daylight, so I bull called to bring him in faster. In fact this had the opposite effect. The bull stopped in his tracks and stopped grunting as well. I suppose he was cautious about another possible suitor and the possibility of a fight on his hands. I went back to cow calls and moved closer to the bull. We were now in the middle of the meadow, using a lone swamp spruce as cover. I called again “eeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrugh” and seeing his new lover was coming to him and not leaving with another bull gave him courage and he started back into his steady grunting rhythm. When he stepped into the meadow I caught my breath, what a bull! And it didn’t take long for Jeff to pull the trigger with the bull still walking towards us at 20 yards.
There are only a few moments I’m comfortable hugging another man, and in the 30 second window after a moose is shot, that’s one of them! Hugs all around, awe and admiration for such a magnificent bull, pictures, and then the sober reality of getting him out!
We quartered him, cut a pole and hung him on the edge of the meadow. The next year that meat pole would play an important role in calling in another bull in Lost Lou Meadow, but that’s another story.