Dannie Burkeholder, winner of the Wasp Hunt-of-a-Lifetime giveaway last June, has returned from moose hunting in British Columbia. While there, he claimed some souvenirs – 188 inches of moose antlers and a freezer-load of meat – with a Wasp broadhead.
Burkeholder has harvested deer, bear, elk, antelope, hogs, turkeys and a host of other animals in the past, but never a moose before he headed to the wilds of British Columbia.
“This hunt was everything I wanted,” said Burkeholder. “It was in the mountains, it was deep wilderness, and it was the most challenging and demanding hunt I have been on. It was also the most rewarding.”
The rewards did not come easy. After traveling by plane, truck, boat and horseback, Burkeholder finally arrived in moose country, ready and willing to meet the demands he would face while hunting moose for the first time.
Day One – Cold Weather Breeds Hot Hunting
One challenge waiting for Burkeholder was the weather. He began his hunt at the tail end of the rut, but the moose were not moving much due to a wave of unseasonably warm weather. The trip’s first hunt took place in the afternoon. Dannie and his guides hiked above camp and starting glassing for moose. An hour before dark, they spotted two, but it was too late in the day to attempt a stalk.
That first night, Burkeholder only needed a sleeping bag to stay warm and sleep comfortably. As the trip went on, he found himself having to bundle up more and more before getting some shut-eye because the weather seemed to turn in favor of the hunter.
“I know for a fact that the cold-snap helped hunting,” said Burkeholder. “When we first arrived and spoke to the hunters in the area we were replacing, they told me they were only seeing three or four bulls a day. After it turned cold, we saw eight to ten bulls a day.”
Day Two – A Race against the Sun
The hunting party saddled up the horses and rode a few hours west of camp to glass. It was cold, windy and raining and they did not spot anything. They decided to ride back to spike camp, eat some lunch and try again in the afternoon.
Burkeholder and his guide returned to the spot they were the previous evening and once again spotted a big bull about an hour before dark. They thought they could reach the bull before nightfall and started stalking towards it.
“We took off down the hill and got to about 100 yards from him,” said Burkeholder. “We could hear him breaking branches in some brush, but we couldn’t see him. It got too dark and we had to back out.”
Day Three – A Long Walk to the Promise Land
On the third day of the hunt, Burkeholder was guided to a different lookout and quickly spotted two bulls, three cows and calf down in the valley. The guide’s horse was becoming dehydrated, so they left the horses tied up at the lookout and walked four hours along the side of the hill.
“When we got to the place we had spotted the moose, they weren’t there anymore, but we did spot another one,” said Burkeholder. “He was about a 1/4-mile from us and we snuck up to him, but he didn’t want anything to do with the calls or raking.”
It was a long, cold walk back to the horses.
Day Four – Cows, Bulls and Bears
The following morning, Dannie found himself in the same spot as the previous day. He tied up the horses, and immediately starting seeing smaller bulls, cows and calves. The hunting party watched for something bigger to move as they sat by a small fire they built to keep warm. After a while, they saw what they were looking for. A big bull was rambling in the valley below. They kept tabs on it with a spotting scope for about an hour before deciding to make a move.
When they were making their way to the bull’s location, they were reminded they were not the only hunters in the area. Grizzly bears were looking for food, too.
“We stayed about 400 yards away from the bears,” said Burkeholder. “We stopped and watched them to get an idea of their mood. There was a sow and two cubs and they were happy and content, so we continued with our stalk.”
After watching the bears, Dannie and his guide got off the horses. They were still about a 1/2-mile from the bull, so they began snaking their way through the brush.
“The moose was bedded down in a field and there was a little clearing at the entrance of it,” said Burkeholder. “The guide did his calling from there and I snuck about 40 yards inside the brush surrounding the field.
“After a few minutes, I saw the moose get up about 100 yards deep into the field and to the left of me. I really wanted to sneak out there, but decided to sit still. A minute later, here comes the bull. He is breaking up brush and raking, raking and raking some more. When he approached within 50 yards, I let him have it with the Z-Force and I saw my arrow hit right around the heart area. He ran in a 50 or 60 yard circle, so I took another shot and hit a little high, but he fell over after a few steps.
“We ran up to the bull, and we were high-fiving each other. They told me it was an average bull, but I think that is nowhere near the truth. It was a huge bull to me. It is beyond anything I could ever expect in my life.”
Although Burkeholder’s 188-inch moose fell 7-inches shy of the Boone and Crockett requirement to be recognized in the book "Records of North American Big Game," the bull was big enough to rattle his nerves.
“They are huge animals,” said Burkeholder. “It is not only the size of the antlers, but the sheer size of the body that awed me. When I first saw them, I was like ‘holy cow.’ They are like a Volkswagen with two sheets of plywood on their head coming towards you. Yeah…I would say I was shaking a little bit.”
Danny will be able to remember the excitement of the Hunt-of-a-Lifetime each time he looks at the shoulder mount of his trophy on the wall.
Wasp Archery, along with Turnagain Adventures, was honored to provide Burkeholder with the Hunt-of-a-Lifetime. Stay tuned for more opportunities to win a hunt from Wasp Archery.