Bull. . . bull. . . .

I awoke to the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs. My dad opened my door, gave his signature three knocks, and told me to get ready. It was my first day bowhunting. We departed at about 4:30 a.m. and drove to a spot near Divide, Colorado. I remember sitting in the truck, shaking from nervousness. I had never been in the woods in the dark before, which terrified me. At about 5 a.m. we met up with friends in the parking lot of a small town grocery store. Everybody camoed up, and we headed for our hunting spots.

The August air was bitter cold, and I quickly zipped up my Squaltex Bone-Dry jacket. My dad handed me a head lamp, and we headed off into the pitch-black forest. I was glued to my dad’s hip the whole time we were walking through the rugged terrain, but when we finally found a spot on the edge of the forest looking into a valley, I sat about two feet away from him. I wasn’t expecting to see anything the first time we went out, and I relaxed a little bit.

While my dad was taking off the hoodie underneath his Squaltex, I heard what sounded like horse hooves on pavement. I thought, There are no horses here. Could it be some elk? The sun was barely grazing the surface of the valley, so I couldn’t really see what was out there. I kept scanning until I caught a glimpse of a very dark brown, almost black blob moving about thirty yards away from us. It came closer, and that was when I knew exactly what it was.

“Bull. . . bull. . . ,” I whispered while pointing at the enormous animal. My dad thought I had seen a bull elk, so he knocked an arrow, ready to shoot. “Bull. . .” I kept repeating.

It wasn’t until the animal emerged from the thick brush that my dad realized what it was. “That’s a bull moose, Mikayla!” he exclaimed. The creature wasn’t pleased with our presence and let out a small grunt. “We better get out of here!”

Without grabbing our packs, we sprinted up the hill as quietly as we could. About halfway up, we took cover in a small triangle of fallen trees. At this point, I was shaking and trying not to cry so I could keep a look-out up the hill while my dad looked downward. The moose wasn’t too far away because you could hear him stomping and grunting. Cautiously, we made our way back down the hill to retrieve our packs. When we got to our spot, there were huge moose tracks right where we were sitting. I thought, Wow, my first ever time going hunting, and we encountered an angry bull moose. Maybe I should stay in bed tomorrow.

Photo By: Mikayla Moors