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Voyageur's Best Features of 2006

Frank Huspek

A once-in -a-lifetime chance to watch a bull fight
Members Coop has a new building
by John Grones  |  October 10, 2006

McGregor resident Frank Huspek didn’t have high expectations after he received his once-in-a-lifetime moose license. If he saw a nice small bull, he was going to shoot the first one that came along.

He didn’t, and now he has quite a story to tell.

Frank is part of a group that has been applying for a license for nine years. The group includes Bill Dean III, Josh Henderson, Brett Nelson, Kris Rinta, Tony Rinta, Paul Bajda, John Hausner and Jeff Swedberg.

Although some of the guys have already shot their moose, they enjoy making the trip to help out. This year, Frank and Billy Dean were picked, and they ended up near Isabella in zone 24. Their goal–to hunt Minnesota’s largest animal.

Frank’s moose hunt started off slowly. “I got in my tree stand on Saturday and sat for 12 hours,” said Frank. “I never saw a moose the whole day. I was getting a little worried.”

Back at camp, the locals shared that when it’s windy and rainy out, the moose don’t move. “It’s really not a good time to go hunting,” added Frank.

The next morning Frank’s luck would quickly change. “I got out to my stand at 6:30,” Frank recalled. “After calling for about a half hour, I had a moose come in at 7:00. He came up over the ridge and brushed by my stand. He was bull with one antler. It looked like he had been fighting. His side was all gored.”

Frank toyed with the bull with a few more calls, but ultimately chose to pass on the first moose he witnessed in the wild.

“Then about 8:00, I could hear another moose calling. I’d call. He’d call. He sounded like a freight train coming through the woods. I could hear the brush cracking. My heart was just racing.”

The moose came just enough over the ridge for Frank to see the antlers on the bull. “I’d call. He’d answer some more, but he didn’t come close enough. All of a sudden the antlers disappeared, and he headed to the back side of the ridge.”

Frank figured he’d never see the moose again.

Then he popped out again about 175 yards away in the clearing. “I started shooting. On my third shot he dropped to the ground.”

At this point, Frank reached for more bullets in his pocket, and that’s when things got really interesting. “Out of the blue, here comes another bull—head down, full steam ahead—and rams my bull. They sounded like two cars in a crash. They both get up and start fighting. So now my heart is really racing.”

“I’m kind of worried and scared, so I start loading more bullets into the gun. I shoot three more times, and he takes a couple of steps and falls over in the woods. The other smaller bull ran off.”

Frank wisely waited in his stand for another 30 minutes.

Once Frank came down from his adrenaline rush, he ran down the road and hung his hat on the truck. That was the signal to the other guys that he got a moose. “Just as I was getting to my truck, Josh [Henderson] and Brett [Nelson] were just pulling up.”

They all headed out to check out the situation and take a few pictures.

Frank isn’t sure how much the bull weighed, but the antler spread was 44 inches. He plans to have the head mounted.

Frank’s two sons, Johnny (8) and James (4), are pretty proud of their dad. In fact, they’re fighting over where they’re going to hang the head in the house.

The once-in-a-lifetime moose hunt is just that—once-in-a-lifetime, and now Frank will get back to chasing the trophy buck. “I’m one of those guys that is still waiting for the trophy [deer] wall mount,” he noted. “I still don’t have one that is worthy of hanging on the wall. Hopefully, this season I will see a nice one.”

That would make 2006 quite a special year.

For now, Frank has a great hunting story to tell at deer camp. “It’s one of those deals. I don’t know if I will ever top that,” he concluded. “You don’t realize how big they are until you are standing right next to one.”

Looking back at the whole hunting experience, Frank realizes that had he shot the first bull that passed by his stand, he wouldn’t have a story to tell.

“To be honest, if he would have had matching horns, I would have probably shot him. Like I said, he only had half a rack, so I let him pass.”

Good thing. The kids certainly wouldn’t be worried about where to hang the mount.

This article first appeared in the October 10 issue of the Voyageur Press.