First Moose from a Saddle? - The Shawn Hines Story #7 "MOBILE ORIGINS"

April 20, 2023 9 min read

First Moose from a Saddle? - The Shawn Hines Story #7 "MOBILE ORIGINS"

Saddle Hunting Moose with a Stick Bow - The Shawn Hines Story 

By: Justin Hunold 

Once in a lifetime is a word set that gets thrown around a lot in the hunting community. Once in a lifetime buck, once-in-a-lifetime situation, once-in-a-lifetime action, but what if you were presented with a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Well Trophyline’s own Shawn Hines had just such an experience. In 2021, Shawn drew a coveted Colorado Shiras Moose Season’s, Choice Tag. I could finally sit down with him and talk about his hunt, his ups, downs, strategies, and one thing that shone through ….Dedication.

Sixteen years, Hines faithfully applied for the Shiras hunt for sixteen years straight. When he found out, he drew the tag he was driving down the road at 75 miles per hour, and had to control the stream of words, and tears and engage in some evasive maneuvers to stay on the road when he found out. A Seasons Choice Bull Tag in the Unit Shawn was most familiar with was the goal all along, this in his opinion gave him the best situation for success. It also put him in a place that was important to him.

After being a resident of the Rocky Mountain State for five or six years Shawn decided to start putting in for this tag, but understand he didn’t grow up in Colorado, he didn’t grow up hunting the mountains or even big game at all.

“I grew up in Texas, which is a great place to leave.”

And from there Hines went to the East Coast and began outdoor guiding in the Adirondacks, and the White Mountains, along with River Guiding and Fishing the area. When a few of his guiding friends informed him they were moving to Colorado, Hines figured, why not? He packed his rig with his stuff and his dog and headed west. That was 1999.

Shawn had always chased stuff with his BB gun as a kid and did some dove hunting. He tried the whitetail scene in Texas with his uncle and a 30-30, but it just didn’t spark him. Enjoying hunting but not necessarily the way he had hunted, he had two friends from work take him under their mutual wings and teach him to Elk hunt.

“There is Elk Season and then the other 350 days of the year.”  

Hines hadn’t bought red meat in 12 years when the 2020 season rolled around. He was entering that season with seven tags in his pocket. We all know what a weird year 2020 was, and a lot of us were able to escape that nonsense during hunting season.

As a Trophyline Ambassador, Shawn was excited to take to the woods and contribute to the team. In 2019 the Ambassador Staff was a small group, just nine of us. By 2020 it was considerably more significant, with success comes growth. He was poised to be THE Western guy, likely to take many animals out of his saddle.  And as much as we were all able to escape to the woods, he wasn’t. And it hurt him.

Wildfires ripped through the mountains that surround Hines home and the units he had drawn in and hunts regularly. 500,000 acres gone to the flames. And that wasn’t all that went up in smoke. So did all of Shawn’s season. He was unable to get out at all. He felt as if he was failing to hold up his end. Shawn Ferguson (Trophyline Managing Director) stepped in to reassure him that he was all good. “Our folks in the Trophyline family are super supportive, and we are lucky to be a part of the group.”

When Hines was trying not to crash his rig as he was reading the draw results a few things went through his head, some I can repeat here. This was a season’s choice tag, he could hunt with Bow, Muzzleloader, or Rifle. He would take the entire 30 days off to do so. He would attempt it with his Stalker Stickbow and he wanted to be the first hunter to kill a Shiras out of a saddle. He also realized what a monumental task this was. He needed to begin the planning process immediately. And for a man who has elk and then 350 other days, it wouldn’t be the case in 2021. He was all in on the Shiras moose hunting season.

“I sold my compound the year before, I was only going to hunt with my Longbow,” said Shawn, “ I called Ferg and told him I was going to Kill a bull out of a saddle on Video.”

Scouting for a Shiras Moose is no different than any other scouting, except for understanding the animal behavior and the distances a hunter is dealing with. Shiras moose hunting guides exist, but that wasn’t the way this was going to happen. Shawn was dedicated to doing this his way with his team of folks, friends, and family that were there to support him.

Lots of glassing and windshield wheel time was the majority of fruitful scouting for the upcoming season. “I invested in the best glass I could afford.” Shawn was also focusing on known draws, water and willows. These are what make up a lot of the Shiras’ preferred habitat. Trail cameras were placed out in likely moose-holding areas.

Side note, one thing to consider is the lack of available information on Shiras moose hunting. We are used to jumping on YouTube or a hunting forum and having answers immediately. This isn’t the case with a once-in-a-lifetime limited tag game species. Most of this would be trial by fire for Shawn. It didn’t dawn on me until we were mid-conversation and he alluded to how easy it is to find deer calling videos but good luck finding anything about calling in a Shiras or Shiras moose hunting gear.

With his scouting done, weapon ready, and all the other tags, including his antelope tag that took seven years to draw, turned in or set aside, the season was upon Shawn. He had done the work. He had scouted hard, set up a base camp on a hilltop that a friend owned in the unit, he had shot 5-7 days a week with his Stalker 53 Lbs. bow and Cutthroat Broadheads. He was dialed in.

He was Dialed up until he realized one of the limb tips on his 53lbs limbs was cracked. So, with the season on top of him, Shawn was forced to switch them out to his 46lbs target limbs, just one pound over the legal minimum weight for this hunt. Can you imagine what was going through his head? Would you have packed it in and bought a compound? Waited for Muzzleloader or even Rifle to open up? Not Shawn, Longbow or bust.

As much research, time, and effort as he put in, when the Coloradan stepped out on opening morning, he saw guys out with Muzzleloaders. “ It’s opening day of moose” “ I know why do you have a gun?” Muzzleloader season actually opened first. I wouldn’t even think that could be the case and neither did Hines. He met a hunter from Oklahoma and another from Oregon out there running around the same unit. 

He Wasn’t sure about what to expect. As far as the difference between hunting a moose and just seeing a moose. Moose seeing folks coming up to them with cameras and flannel might be different than when that orange pressure was applied. But it was some of that orange pressure that gave him his first break.

After having a bull moose in camp licking his tent, which his friends got on video, while he was out hunting, and taking time out of his hunt to help that Okie pack his huge bull out, that underprepared out of stater told Shawn he saw two other bulls in the area he killed his bull in. Shawn now had a useable piece of information to put a bull on his wall or in his case, more importantly, in his freezer. “Antlers taste like shit.” Quipped Hines.

It was an area Shawn knew pretty well, but he hadn’t hunted that particular drainage. He had two young bulls in that area, with the decoy in hand, Shawn put a Cochise stalk on and got within 26 yards. Anything within his 37-yard point on distance, and he is very confident in his gear and shooting ability.

When the arrow flew through the air, there was zero indication of what was about to happen. That’s the thing with hunting, sometimes, we just never know. What Shawn did know was that arrow hit bone and bounced out, with maybe two inches of penetration.

“It was Devastating. Honestly, I was shooting at least 5-7 days a week.” “I just pulled; it was my own mess up.”

It had just snowed 3 inches, so, he followed all the tracks he could find within a few miles of that spot, and the only two drops of blood that were apparent were exactly where the shot had happened. Could you have pushed on through that? With the Muzzleloader season going and rifle around the corner, would you have stuck to your longbow? Shawn Did.

“Anybody can quit I am not going to be anybody.”

So leaving his base camp where it was, he decided to go into Bull Mountain. The Spot where he helped the Okie pack out. The woods were electric that night, everything Smelled amazing, it was super Calm. Everything was golden, and as Shawn looked over, he saw a wallow. “Elk wallows are more like pool-like, and this one was just kinda chewed up.”

Hines took his saddle and Jumped into the trees above the wallow. In his best youtube impersonation, he called. And coming in at the point it was too dark to shoot was a legal bull. Not only was it too dark but the bull was directly underneath him. He was 13 ft up in the tree  and he could hear him chewing.

“Rethink. Can't stay. Regroup.”

The night ended with a trip back to camp. In the morning the hunter got up and drove around trying to find some moose. At 10 am, 400 yards in the bottom Shawn spotted a lone cow. “Bullshit you’re alone.” Watching for a bit longer, he spotted him,  30 yards away, he was wobbling towards her. That bull was looking for love in all the wrong places. She was not interested.

Hines went ½ a mile back to the wallow and moved it over 18 yards away from the spot.  Getting up in the trees with his Covert Lite, he trimmed some lanes and got ready. Calling for all he was worth, he saw him coming. Just off to the side of the wallow,  21 yards bull came into 19 yards. Hines drew back the 46 lbs. of potential energy stored in those limbs…. mantra…kill it, and that potential energy transferred into the realm of kinetic. The Arrow disappears. Looking down, he realizes that he forgot to turn on his camera! But watching the bull, he walked 28 yards of blood coming out of both sides. It was a complete pass through 46 lbs. limbs, 700-grain arrow on a bull Shiras.

Still, to this day, Shawn can remember the Death Bellows in the background. He has them on video as he’s talking into his camera between tears of joy and excitement.  He Can’t see him, but he’s only 40 yards away. Tears, Shaking, Cold, Hot, everything hit all at once. I did it in the saddle, which was the coolest thing ever.

“My son is a very traditional kinda guy” “He insists on a last meal” So he took a Handful of grass and put it in his mouth. And snapped a picture.

Just when all of this is washing over Shawn he hears the thunder. He sent his hunting buddy his coordinates and began to cut. It was about 2 pm and he had daylight to start the job, even in the rain. That friend relayed those points to some others, and they were on their way.

As Shawn struggled and took somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 minutes to take the first should off, he heard what could have been angels singing. It was his hunting buddies yelling through the timber to find him.  With the entire team, it was like a Gansu commercial, blades were flying and the five of them had it boned out and began to pack out. As Shawn shouldered the rack, he tore a 6-inch hole in his rain jacket while it was pissing rain.

Antlers might taste like shit, but these ones were 32 ½ inch spread, one side palmated and other side is like elk antlers. That’s very fitting for the man that spends 350 days a year thinking of bull elk. It took the five friends  two trips and then had a group celebration that “I remember part of it.”

Hines called Ferguson to tell him about the bull and that he had done it from a Trophyline saddle. “ I’m pretty sure that’s the only moose that’s ever been shot out of a Tree saddle before...especially with a stick bow. You’re definitely the only guy to shoot one out of a Trophyline. “

That was day 17. Shawn took advantage of the opportunity presented to him. Even though it wasn’t what he expected it to be. He made the final move.  He understood animal behavior. He had the confidence to take it his rig down and move it. You’re 15 yards off. Move your stuff. He didn’t hesitate, didn’t make an excuse to not make a move.

He views this as not just his tags but an entire team. His support system was there for all of it. I view it as a story of extreme dedication. Dedication to a craft, dedication to a hunt, to an area, to an animal, to a weapon, to his friends, family, and himself. I also view it as a testbed for the ideas we espouse in Mobile Venatic, hunt the animals, hunt the situation, hunt the terrain, hunt the information, hunt the conditions, hunt mobile. Shawn did all of that and then some.

 

This is the first and only moose (that we know of) out of a saddle, especially with a stick bow! If you know of a moose taken out of a saddle, please let us know Contact Us. 

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