as told by Greg Dussome
written by Sherri Dussome
At age fourteen my passion for hunting was ignited. Uncle Nick had a farm near the small town of Waugh, Alberta and at every opportunity I journeyed there to exercise this passion. This is where I got my very first whitetail after many hours of practicing on the farm’s pests - squirrels and gophers. Uncle Nick taught me how to handle a rifle and a shot gun. I did some bird hunting; ducks, partridge and prairie chickens but big game was what most intrigued me.
In my early thirties I bought my first bow after deciding that I needed something new in my hunting agenda. I was excited and anxious for bow season to open. I spent the weeks prior to opening learning how to work this silent avenger. A hunting buddy of mine also had recently purchased his first bow and the two of us set up a sawhorse, quilted it with layers of old carpeting, tacked a whitetail life-size target to the apparatus, and went for it. After a very short time, and one very bruised arm, I figured I had mastered the art of bowmanship! We tried shooting from a variety of ranges until we felt quite comfortable and competent.
Excitement mounted on the day that I finally headed for Waugh to do my first whitetail hunt with my bow. It was a beautiful autumn day. The leaves were still clinging to the poplars although many had already started their golden transition. The willows were reddening up. The grass still green. Fields of wheat, barley, and oats rippled and waved in the fall breeze.
I reached Uncle Nick’s farm and decided to start my hunt in one of my favorite spots. Uncle Nick had not worked the farm in some time and the field had returned to a semi-natural state. Small shrubs and trees were beginning to grow but there were a lot of volunteer oats as well. At the far side of the field, downwind as luck would have it, was a stand of willows. This is where I would plant myself, wait for the right whitetail to appear, and take my first buck with my bow. At least that was my plan.
I hiked across the field and situated myself where I figured I could best watch for my prey. Making myself comfortable in the willow thicket, I began my wait. It was not long before a few does appeared and gracefully grazed. I anticipated that as dusk approached, so would the bucks. This proved to be true. A nice buck had just cautiously made its way to the feeding ground, when a movement to the right of me caught my attention. Glancing over I saw what would appear to be a moose rack. Not possible. In all my years of hunting here I had never seen a moose or any sign of a moose. Nobody else in the area that I knew of had either. I dismissed the possibility and credited the brief sighting to my over active hunter’s imagination!
Once again I turned to watch the deer. Another buck. A beauty. I counted; five points on either side; high, wide rack. Perfect. Now I saw another movement and glanced to the right again. My word. There, coming over a small rise not fifty feet away, was a giant of a moose. I estimated his paddles to be at least fifty inches across. What on God’s earth was this 1500 pound creature doing here? I no longer paid any attention to the deer. This moose was coming ever closer. I was not feeling very secure with the little stick I had for protection! Somehow, I could not see coming out the victor if I had to defend myself with a bow and arrow. I wondered if I should make a noise. Moose can be very temperamental and I certainly didn’t want him charge me. I couldn’t shoot him as this was not even zoned for moose. I thought maybe if he got close enough to smell me he might voluntarily turn and leave. By now he had stopped about ten yards from me and was munching on the very willows where I was hiding.
I swear I could almost feel his breath! And expected that momentarily he would be nibbling on my ear if I didn’t do something right smartly.
My mind raced while the moose munched, moving even closer. Fearing for my life, I coughed. The giant’s head popped straight up and turned from side to side, nostrils flared, sniffing. And although I know they weren’t, those paddles looked ten feet wide and very foreboding. “Oh, please,” I silently prayed, “turn and run.” In what seemed an eternity, and was in reality a few seconds, the moose made his decision, turned and ran away. I breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”
I sat there for a few minutes in an attempt to regain my composure. The deer. Were they still there? Yes, they were. My buck was now within range and had positioned himself for the perfect shot. What luck. I stood up very silently, positioned the broadhead arrow, raised my bow, and was shaking so hard that I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried, draw back. My arms failed me - they had no strength whatsoever! In total frustration, I trudged back to my truck on still shaky legs. I could almost hear that big buck laughing as he high-tailed it back into the bush!
Next year, I must add, I shot a moose with my bow - largest in zone for that year.
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