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The Story of Two Record-book Shiras’ Moose Found Floating in Idaho

By PJ DelHomme 

After a pair of moose lock their antlers and fight to the death in Idaho, a hunter and his daughter attempt to recover the racks and have a day they will never forget. Oh, and one of the bulls is the fourth largest recorded for Idaho and number 16 of All-time. 


In mid-September 2022, Chad Cline got a tip about a couple of dead Shiras’ bull moose floating in a remote Idaho lake. He likes to hunt and thought the deadheads might make a cool mount because he’s never actually drawn a moose permit himself. Before he drove more than three hours to investigate, Cline knew there was only one person he could rely on to help—his daughter Teiryn who was 15 at the time.

Cline and Teiryn had an audience for their salvage operation as a cow moose and two calves didn't seem to mind their presence. 

It was a school night, and it took time to convince Mom that this salvage operation was worth a little lost sleep. After Mom gave the okay, Cline hitched up a small, plastic “sneakboat,” tossed in some knives and a bone saw, and drove into the mountains. 

Around 7:30 p.m., they pulled up to the five-acre lake in the Boise National Forest, and three moose (a cow and two calves) were having their evening meal. “My daughter had never seen a moose in the wild before,” Cline says. “We stayed in the truck until they moved on a bit.” 

Wading Into Stormy Waters 

They got out of the truck and surveyed the grisly scene. Two very large and bloated moose carcasses sat in about three feet of water. And it smelled worse than you think it would. Regardless, they weren’t leaving empty-handed. After pulling on their waders, they launched the tiny boat, and Cline tried to piece together how they died. 

The Shiras’ moose rut begins in September, and these two bulls had gotten into a fight. A tine from the rack of the larger bull was hooked under the younger bull’s mouth, and it never came out. Cline says the younger bull was more water-logged than the big bull and likely died first. As the bigger bull struggled to free its rack, it probably succumbed to exhaustion and drowned. And that’s how Cline and Teiryn found them. 

When he paddled the little boat up to the carcasses, there was no budging them. “I told my daughter that we might have bitten off more than we could chew,” he says. Cline started hacking with just a hunting knife and a small bone saw. Teiryn’s wader sprung a leak, so she stayed in the boat and tried to steady the moose for her dad. After a while, some nasty weather moved in. 

CSI Idaho: During the rut, things turn ugly when antlers are involved. You can see the entry and exit of the larger bull's antler. 



Want to see the score charts too?

The lake sits at roughly 8,000 feet, and storms can roll in quickly over the mountains. The wind picked up, and the lightning became intense. The situation turned dicey. “My daughter looked at me and said, ‘Are we okay?’ I’ll never forget that,” Cline says. Luckily they were just wrapping up the job thanks to some help from two folks camped nearby. Using the flashlight on their phones, they navigated back to the truck, loaded up the moose, and Teiryn was tucked in by midnight. 

Cline said he was worried about leaving the carcasses in the water, but without a heavy-duty winch, there was no way those moose were moving. He also checked the regulations multiple times to make sure it was legal to remove the racks, which were fair game, as long as the animals died of natural causes. 

Rickey Addison was the local Boone and Crockett Club Official Measurer called to measure the bulls. Addison says he spent three hours measuring the racks and needed help rolling them around on the floor. But, he adds, they made sure everything was level when making the final measurements. He’s been measuring since 2008, and this was the first time he’d ever measured a pair of locked antlers. The smaller bull taped 143-5/8, and the big bull measured 188-1/8 points. In an interesting twist, no moose permits are available for the area. 

Cline took the heads to a local taxidermist after removing as much hide and meat from the skulls as possible. He’s keeping the bulls hooked together for a pedestal mount after getting them beetled and bleached. He hopes they fit in the house next to the television. Otherwise, “I might have to build the house around it,” he says.

Teiryn posing with the spoils of an evening adventure with her dad. The bleached and beetled skulls will be turned into a pedestal mount.


The final product!


B&C Policy on Found or Picked-Up Trophies

The Boone and Crockett Club sets the rules for entering a trophy into its record books, which are based primarily on principles of wildlife conservation and fair chase. The fact that the Records Program accepts entries that have not been harvested by a hunter but instead are "found" by people (whether on a hunt or not) may be surprising to some, but there are sound reasons for doing so.

Found trophies include animals that die of natural causes, such as advanced age, environmental factors, and predation. Found trophies also include animals that die of unnatural causes, such as vehicle collisions. Found entries, along with the locations where found, are listed as "picked up" in the B&C record books to distinguish them from hunter-taken entries, which are subject to different eligibility requirements, including the principles of fair chase.

Does Boone and Crockett Only Accept Game Taken with a Rifle?

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The big game records of the Boone and Crockett Club are a set of wildlife and hunting data that the club began to collect over a century ago to initially track the recovery of big game populations from decades of unregulated overharvesting. The focus today is on monitoring the quality and distribution of specimens that natural conditions and sound wildlife management are capable of producing.

Having sportsmen participate in this data collection system by voluntarily submitting their trophies is vital. Having people submit trophies they find is equally important. Mature males that have lived long enough in the wild under favorable conditions to grow large antlers, horns, or skulls to qualify for the B&C record book are indicators of healthy ecosystems, balanced age structures within a given population, acceptable mortality (natural and human-caused), and sustainable recruitment. The Boone and Crockett Club maintains that all trophies, both harvested by hunters and those that are found, add to the data set that helps game managers adopt successful policies to benefit big game populations of North America. The Records Program was never intended to be a numeric ranking of a hunter's skills.

The Importance of Records in Big Game Management

When you enter your trophy into the Boone and Crockett system, you aren’t just honoring the animal and its habitat. You are participating in a data collection system that started in the 1920s and was refined by Club members in 1950. Today, there are nearly 60,000 trophy records. By establishing a records database more than 70 years ago, the Boone and Crockett Club established a scientific baseline from which researchers can use to study wildlife management. If you’re still  on the fence about entering your trophy, we encourage you to read Why Should I Bother to Enter My Trophy. To the best of our ability, we ensure that the trophies entered into the records were taken in accordance with the tenets of fair chase ethics. Despite what some may think, the Boone and Crockett records are not about a name or a score in a book—because in the end, there’s so much more to the score.



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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt