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‘Once-in-a-lifetime chance’

By Staff | Oct 24, 2014

Submitted Seventeen-year-old Noah Kraft, of Rugby, took down this moose Sunday morning about five miles north of Willow City.

Noah Kraft will never shoot another moose in North Dakota and the 17-year-old is fine with that.

Noah filled one of the state’s 111 moose tags for 2014 when he took down a bull about five miles north of Willow City on Sunday.

“It happened really fast,” Noah said. “After it fell over, we were high-fiving each other.”

Noah was joined on the hunt by his father, Gary Kraft, Jim Bauer, and Bauer’s son-in-law Ryan Hartje.

Gary Kraft has applied for a moose license for about 30 years and never benefitted from the luck of the draw. His son not only got a moose, but had his name drawn the first year he entered the lottery.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It’d be nice to draw a tag once,” Gary Kraft said with a chuckle.

He’s eager for his chance, but said witnessing his son fill a tag is about as exciting as it gets.

“Noah’s been hunting with Jim and I since he was a toddler,” he said. “It was as much fun for us as it was for him.”

The moose was estimated at between 1,100 and 1,200 pounds. The rack was measured at just under 40 inches, according to the father.

Noah said moose hunting was first discussed in May and planning picked up as the Oct. 10 opening date approached for unit M9, which spans much of north-central North Dakota.

Bauer got his moose 14 years ago.

“I’ve been hunting with (Noah) since he was a little kid, so it was great to be along with him when he got it,” Bauer said. “He was a pretty excited kid”

Bauer said his moose and Noah’s moose were almost identical in size.

“Probably, both in that 1,200-pound range,” Bauer said. “We quartered it out and they were heavy.”

Noah said he passed on a moose a week earlier near Velva and stayed patient in the Willow City area, passing on another before the big moment.

“I’ve never really been up there and we talked to a bunch of landowners and they helped us know where the moose are,” Noah said.

Bauer spotted a bull from 300 yards away and called the Krafts, who had to trek about one-half mile to their truck. The bull was soon in range of Noah’s 300 ultra-mag and his first shot from 70 yards went right through the lungs. A second shot missed, a third hit the rear-end and a fourth shot missed. The bull ran about 300 yards before dropping for good.

“It flinched a little bit and ran like nothing happened,” Noah said. “Those things are tough.”

They plan to prepare jerky and roasts and a shoulder-mount is expected to be finished within two years.

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