Big moose tale emerges up northAs proprietor of a bait shop that’s also a big-game registration station, Sue Chalstrom has listened to her share of hunting stories. Now she has one of her own.
By: Forum Newspapers, Lake County News Chronicle
As proprietor of a bait shop that’s also a big-game registration station, Sue Chalstrom has listened to her share of hunting stories.
Now she has one of her own.
Chalstrom, 63, shot a big one Oct. 3 in Minnesota’s once-in-a-lifetime bull moose hunt. The bull had a 52½-inch antler spread.
“Oh, my god, am I impressed,” said her son and business partner, John Chalstrom of Chalstrom’s Bait & Tackle. “She’s never taken a big-game animal in her life. And you could count the grouse she’s shot on one hand.”
Sue Chalstrom and her nephew’s wife, Betty Chalstrom, 44, of Duluth, sighted in their rifles and planned their hunt north of Two Harbors carefully.
“We did our scouting, looking for signs,” Betty said. “We knew they were in the area.”
They hunted opening day of the season the day before. While traveling on four-wheelers at midday, they saw a moose but couldn’t get a shot at it.
Early Sunday morning, on a clear, cool, windless day, they began playing electronic cow moose calls amplified by a birch-bark cone, Sue said. (Electronic calls are permitted for moose hunting.) Sue and Betty were hunting about 100 paces apart, each looking over a clearing and a swamp. Sound carried a long way that morning.
Betty thought she heard a moose behind her, and she had turned in case it approached. Meanwhile, Sue heard a moose off to her left. Then she heard another one straight ahead of her.
“I could hear one coming, grunting,” she said. “I’m watching out. My safety is off. Here I see the moose’s back come out, and – oh, my gosh – it turned toward me with this 52½-inch rack. It’s about 150 yards away.”
Betty could hear it too.
“It was a grassy, brushy noise. The morning was so still,” Betty said. “I knew that was something – not a bird, not a squirrel.”
The moose kept walking toward Sue, not offering a good shot until it was about 100 yards away.
“Then it finally turned, and, oh boy, I’m on,” she said. “I shot and then shook like a leaf and could barely eject the shell.”
After taking her first shot, the moose kept coming. She took a second shot “right under its nose.” It dropped there, dead.
Betty, an experienced bow hunter who has taken deer and a wild turkey, said Sue was beside herself.
“She was just elated,” Betty said. “Like, in a state of I-can’t-believe-this-really-happened. She was exuberant but in awe.”
Sue’s husband, John Chalstrom Sr., had accompanied Sue and Betty to help field-dress the animal. They also called young John to come up with friend Bill Van Kessel to help cut up and pack out the moose.
Sue said she had been applying for a Minnesota moose license for 15 years. Hunters often have to wait that long or longer to draw a moose license, and many never do.
A moose of that size will yield about 400 pounds of boneless meat, said young John Chalstrom, who cuts up several moose each fall. Wild game meat is plentiful this fall. Young John shot a six-by-six (twelve-point) elk in Colorado earlier this fall.
As for the antlers, they’ll soon be mounted in the new home Sue and John Sr. are building.
Meanwhile, young John is worried that his mom might be asking for time off during deer season.
“I’m afraid we’ve created a hunter out of her,” he said. “She’s got her blaze orange, and I think she’ll want to be in it when rifle season comes.”
The moose season in northeastern Minnesota ends Sunday.
Time for yours
As other hunts go on this fall, the News-Chronicle welcomes pictures from your time outdoors. Whether you bag the big one or not, we’ll print pictures of anything you find interesting out there this season. Send them the who,what, why and where (general area is fine) and we’ll let readers know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.