First attempt, first moose

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A local student took a once-in-a-lifetime trophy this month when he shot a bull moose.

Cade Hill, a senior at St. Maries High School, was more excited than usual for the start of this year’s hunting season. He had applied for moose tags for the first time and had won the drawing for one set.

Cade Hill poses with his first bull Moose, which he shot near Calder.

Cade Hill poses with his first bull Moose, which he shot near Calder.

Moose tags are controlled tightly in order to preserve the population, and very few are issued in each unit every year by random draw. Hunting Unit 6, which includes areas of the the Idaho Panhandle National Forest east of St. Maries, was allocated five tags for the hunting season between Oct. 1-14.

“This was my first year applying for moose tags,” Cade said. “I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’ve been putting in for twenty years or more and still haven’t gotten theirs.”

In anticipation of the season, Cade arranged to be absent from school for the entire week of Oct. 3-7. It was during that week that, while hunting with his brother, Chase and friend Charlie Harpole Jr., he spotted his quarry.

“I went up to the Calder area to hunt for a moose,” he said. “While we were there, we spotted one about a thousand yards away from us.

“We snuck up to get a good shot,” he added. “And when I was close enough I finally hit it just behind the shoulders, right in the lungs.”

The moose died instantly, and the three hunters used a winch to drag their kill up to their vehicle. They measured the span of the Moose’s antlers at 38 inches.

The hunters then butchered and processed the animal, and with the help of Ryan Harpole, filled their freezer with steak and hamburger.

“We kind of did it all by ourselves,” he said.

Cade said the hunt was a memorable experience for him and hoped he’d get a chance at another moose in the future. As this is his senior year, he isn’t certain where he’ll be living in the years to come. However, he said, he expects he will apply for whatever moose tags are available to him.

Cade extended special thanks to Charlie Harpole Jr. for taking him hunting that day.

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