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March 2022
Story by Alisha Hubbard
State: Idaho
Species: Antelope - Pronghorn, Deer - Mule, Elk - Rocky Mtn, Moose - Shiras

It was June 22nd, and my husband, Bryce, and I were shopping in our local outdoor store with our kids, standing in the ammo aisle. Bryce’s phone rang, and they asked for me. He put it on speakerphone, and my world changed. “You have been selected for an Idaho Super Combo Tag! And after checking, you are able to keep the moose tag that you have already drawn in the spring draw!” Disbelief and excitement rushed through us. My husband had only purchased one Super Combo ticket for me. How was this possible? The journey to the Fab Five had started, and the preparation for the busiest hunting season of my life had begun.

Thanks to my husband and all his research, we formed a plan and “schedule” to help make this dream season come true. One big challenge we had to work around was that Bryce had recently started a new job, and therefore, he had lost all his vacation time. Luckily, my father-in-law, Dave, said he would be thrilled to help whenever he could.

With careful consideration, we chose Deadline Outfitters to help with my Super Moose Tag. Bryce was off to British Columbia for a goat hunt, so Dave and I loaded up the cargo trailer with our side- by-side and gear and headed south with the plan of scouting for elk after the moose hunt. We arrived at Deadline Outfitters early in the afternoon and headed straight to the hills to scout. That night, we caught a quick glimpse of a bull, but he went into the trees and never came back. The anticipation and excitement were undeniable, and sleeping that night proved to be very difficult.

August 30th was opening day, and we were up and out the door by 5 a.m. We saw some bulls but not what we were looking for. Trevor, our guide, was determined to get me the biggest bull in the unit. Day two was full of scouting, moving, and more scouting. The hot August temperatures made for minimal movement during the day, and although we saw quite a few moose, they weren’t what we were after.

Day three was the day! We woke up and headed into the hills with some information that we had gathered at dinner the night before at the lodge. We drove to the last known location of “Old Man.” We parked, and after some searching in the aspens, we caught a glimpse of some antlers. My heart started to race. The aspens were very thick, and the moose was standing in the perfect spot, hiding the kill zone. After some shuffling from one direction to the other, I finally got the opening I needed. I took a deep breath, squeezed the trigger, and boom! My dream of killing a Boone and Crockett moose had just come true.

The next day, we wasted no time as Dave and I were off to scout for elk. After an adventurous couple days of scouting and unfortunately rolling the side-by-side (thank goodness neither us nor the machine were hurt), we spotted a few elk and had a couple spots picked out. It was time to head home and prepare for opening day.

The rut had kicked in and the elk numbers were crazy, but after spending another few days scouting prior to opening day and two days into the season, nothing was quite what I was hoping for. After some quick research and some helpful information from a couple friends, we made the decision to move to another part of the unit. We were burning daylight, so a quick pack up of camp and we were on the move. We made it just in time to go out for an evening scout. We split up, and while Dave and our friend, Eric, and I had a pretty quiet night, Travis found all the action. That night, we made a game plan to split up again in the morning to get eyes on the couple areas where Travis had some luck.

Meanwhile, Bryce was finally off work and on his way down. He pulled into camp at 3 a.m., and by 5 a.m., we were off and heading up the mountain. Travis, Bryce, and I headed to the top, while Eric and Dave stopped halfway up. The hillsides were covered with bulls, and bugles were constant. We started working our way down the ridge and heard a very deep rumbling bugle. We pulled out the spotting scope, and there he was, a big, mature bull. After five long hours of watching the trees that we saw last him in, it was time to get into shooting position. Bryce, Travis, and I hiked down to about 500 yards away, and after about an hour of waiting, the elk came out right where we had hoped. With his back to us, he gave us a big, long bugle and then turned broadside, giving me the perfect shot. He dropped right where he stood. Tag #2 was now notched.

After a week off, it was time to head down after the speed goat. This time, it was just Bryce and me, and we hit the ground running. With limited time, we spent the first day driving the unit, scouting, and deciding what antelope we wanted to go after in the morning. The next morning, we spotted the antelope and began our sneak in. The next thing we knew, there was another hunter who came in from the other side and let a shot off. We were back to square one. Back in the side-by-side, we tried to cover as much ground as possible. We came to a gate, looked up, and there was a herd of antelope about 600 yards away. The hunt was on! After a long sneak, with the last 150 yards on our hands and knees through the cactus, we were 180 yards away with minimal cover. On the count of three, I rose to my feet. Bryce extended the shooting sticks simultaneously until I was in shooting position, and with the 28 Nosler, this antelope didn’t stand a chance. Three of the Super Tags had been successfully notched.

Now it was time for moose number two, which was luckily a little closer to home. Many miles were put on the side-by-side looking for moose, and with the help of a friend who lives in the area, we found the moose we were looking for. The next morning, we headed back in, and he was right where we had left him. A cow and her calf were feeding on the hillside, and after a few minutes, that bull came out after her. Soon after he came out, they turned and went up the hill. We snuck up after him. Bryce let out a call, and he stopped and looked back. With one well-placed shot, the moose was on the ground.

It was finally deer time and the final piece to the Fab Five. After a very productive scouting weekend and many miles hiking, Bryce and I returned the next weekend to get after it. With the rut beginning, we were optimistic that more deer had moved in, and they had, but we weren’t seeing that stellar buck we were looking for. We shifted our momentum and tried a lower part of the unit. We started sneaking in, came around a corner, and saw some does feeding. Pulling out the spotting scope, Bryce spotted a buck bedded down. He was an old, mature buck, and after some deliberation, he was the buck I wanted to harvest. We snuck in to 610 yards and waited patiently for him to give me the opportunity. After a few minutes of waiting with my crosshairs on him, he made the fatal mistake of standing up. The surreal feeling of completing the most epic hunting season was now setting in.

This year started out with the hope of fulfilling a bucket list dream of harvesting a moose, but it quickly turned into much more. This season taught me a lot about the important research and preparation and having a solid game plan when you have multiple once-in-a-lifetime hunts. I couldn’t have done any of this without my husband, who also drew a Super Deer Tag, but he put his hunts on hold to make my dreams happen. I also want to give a special thanks to the wonderful team at Deadline Outfitters for all of their hard work and making the first hunt of the season so incredible. It without a doubt set the tone for the rest of the year. And thanks to all of our family and friends who helped physically on the hunts or who stayed at home watching our two kiddos so we could be away and successful. It really takes a village, and I am thankful for mine.