"Very ecstatic" is how Joel Lawson of Minot described the day he opened a letter from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department informing him that he was successful in drawing a once-in-a-lifetime moose tag.
"I'd been putting in for quite a while," said Lawson. "We hunt deer in that area and had been seeing more moose than deer lately."
Lawson's chosen hunting area was north of Maxbass. He didn't have any luck on the first day of the season, Oct. 5. However, he and hunting partner Dwight Orimiston of Minot devised a plan for Day 2. Shortly after receiving permission to hunt from a cooperative landowner, the two hunters spotted a nice bull near one of a series tree rows.
"I'd seen this bull for about four years. I knew it was there. I hit him with the first shot but he didn't want to go down. They are pretty tough," said Lawson.
Eventually the bull did go down, in a thicket of willows in a slough bottom. The antlers measured 40 inches at the widest point with nine points on each side. Then the real work began.
"We knew the two of us couldn't move him," said Lawson. "We had to quarter him out. It took about three hours. They are a huge animal. I'm estimating close to 1,200 pounds live weight."
Lawson took the moose quarters to a processor. He is expecting 400-500 pounds of meat for the freezer. The moose tag was the second of the "Big 3" to be drawn by Lawson. He was fortunate enough to receive an elk tag in 2009. However, he was unable to fill that tag.