Wicked Temptation

TOOL: Scoped Rife RANGE: 48 yards WIND: 15 mph, in your face

Oh crap! This giant Alaska moose is even bigger than I thought he was when I watched his big backend disappear over a knoll 200 yards away. I’d sprinted up the hill fully expecting to catch Mega Moose walking down a similar slope on the far side—and almost stepped off into space when I crested the hill and discovered a sharp drop-off into some of the nastiest Alaskan bush imaginable.

I shoulder my rifle, trying to establish a sight picture on the walking moose. Crap again! I’ve broken one of my Golden Rules: Always keep your scope on its lowest setting when you’re on the move (dummy). The time it takes me to crank down the scope probably cost me this trophy. When I look back up, the moose is lumbering through the brush, and the only things I can see clearly are those massive antlers and the back of his head. I know what you’re going to say, and it’s exactly what the little hunter on my left shoulder was screaming in my ear: Head shot!

But it’s the little hunter on my right shoulder I’m going to listen to. A killing shot to either the neck or head is possible, but it’s too risky. A moose’s brain is roughly the size of a man’s fist, and the spine is a similarly small target. It’s the final day of a cold, wet 8-day hunt, and I’m pretty certain I’m not going to get another chance at this or any other moose, but sometimes you have to fight the urge to shoot and do the right thing, and in this case it’s let him walk.