North Dakota hunter bags state-record archery moose

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“It was an adrenaline rush,” Rick Ellingson told Fox News of first seeing the record moose he bagged with a bow and arrow back in September. “My heart just started thumping.”

Ellingson, from Williston, N.D., has been hunting for close to three decades. But it was on Sept. 8 – on a day when he wasn’t even planning to catch anything – that he bagged the “once in a lifetime” moose, which has now officially been recognized as the largest ever taken in North Dakota with a bow and arrow.

MooseRickEllingson
Rick Ellingson wasn’t even planning on hunting the day he bagged the record-breaking moose. (Rick Ellingson)

“I was just going to put a stand up that day and hunt the rest of the weekend,” Ellison, 44, told Fox News. But those plans were dashed when he couldn’t get his tree stand up “because it was so muddy.”

On his way back up the river, however, Ellingson spotted something from his boat — a massive moose, “just standing on the bank.”

Ellingson said the moose quickly turned back and headed away from the bank, toward a back channel. Fortunately, Ellingson knew the route well.

“So I ran my boat up the back channel,” said Ellingson, who then hopped out of his boat. “He came right up to the willows, right to me.”

Ellingson said the moose was about 25 yards away at this point, but he would need to shoot through a “basketball-sized” hole in the willows.

He fired. And his first arrow landed “right in the chest.” The moose turned, and another arrow hit him in the rear. The third and final arrow, straight into the animals’ femoral artery, “knocked him down,” Ellingson said.

Ellingson said he and eight buddies were later needed to haul the moose out of the woods, a process which took “six or seven hours.”

“We actually pulled it up into a trailer, backed it up into the river and floated him up on the trailer,” Ellingson says.

He would need to keep the antlers for a full 60 days before any official measurements could be taken.

Fast-forward to November, and Ellingson is now recognized as having taken the largest moose in North Dakota by bow and arrow, at 190 6/8 inches — shattering the previous record of 166 7/8 inches from 2012, according to the publication.

And Ellingson isn’t even that far off from the state record for a moose taken by any means, as the current record – be it by an archer or with a hunting rifle – is 205 7/8 inches.

Ellingson now has big plans for his moose, he told Fox News.

“I’ll be taking that over to Billings, Montana, to have a taxidermist mount it,” he explained, adding that he’s already built his own pedestal for it.

“The whole thing was quite a rush. That’s all I gotta say.”