A few years back I had arranged to hunt moose up above the area I was trapping. I had decided to hunt with a good friend of mine who is now in the spirit world. His name was Rob and I dedicate this story to him.
We had known each other for some time but this was the first time I had been able to talk him into going hunting with me. He was a bushman from way back and had me in stitches many times with some of his outdoor tales.
I scouted out an area a week before the hunt and was very optimistic about the trip. I had found moose droppings and fresh tracks everywhere. The track was so fresh there was a young bull standing in one set. If that ain’t fresh then I don’t know what is. I had a .308 strapped to my back but I didn’t want to ruin the hunt I was planning. So I told “Mr. Big” I would be back in a couple of days for his steaks. He just gave me his snort and went on his way. I don’t usually start a conversation with a bullmoose in the rut because they can be so unpredictable.
Rob and I arrived at camp a day before the hunt. We used the trap cabin for home base, which is a toasty place to be after a day of hunting. The cabin was fully equipped with hot water tanks, full-size propane stove, two beds and, most importantly, a 12-cup teapot.
The weather for the hunt was in our favour. It was sunny but cold with hardly any wind. Just a beautiful fall day and a good area to hunt – who could ask for more? The only thing better would be if a moose just happened to decide to walk right into camp. But that would have been too easy. After all it’s the work and the stalking and chasing that makes a steak taste that much better.
My trapping partner Derick was also along for the hunt and he was armed with a 300 Magnum. Needless to say, that big gun gave him quite the black eye during target practice that was still smarting the morning of the hunt. And yes, I was teasing him about using that big cannon on our hunt.
Derick left first from camp. We were only 10 minutes behind him. Wouldn’t you know it, Derick had a young bull down by the time that we caught up to him. Well, we cleaned and quartered that moose and sent Derick on his way.
I had decided to try to back-track and drive around another road which would bring us about a mile or so on the other side of the timber cut. Rob was pretty excited. All he kept saying was, “Steak for dinner, steak for dinner.” He sounded like a broken record.
Rob complimented me on how fast I had gutted and quartered Derick’s moose and stated, “It’s been long time since I’ve seen someone clean a moose and throw in the truck in 15 minutes.”
We rounded a corner and came to the edge of the logging cut. We stopped there parking the truck and started to walk the rest of the way in. We stopped to roll our rubber boots down because they were knocking at the backs of our legs as we walked. This made us laugh because we sounded like a couple of old cow moose dip-clopping down the road.
We’d walked for about a quarter of a mile when suddenly, standing there next to the tree line about 200 yards away, were a bull and a cow moose. I almost didn’t shoot them because the way the morning sun was shining on them made them look like a picture.
Rob snapped me out of the mood pretty quickly as he leaned over and said excitedly, “Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot.” He was in broken record mode again. I decided to take out the cow and before Rob could say “shoot” again, I had two bullets in her.
Well, that’s when the fun began. The bull did the unexpected and started down the hill right for us. He was less than a hundred yards away when Rob started the broken record thing again, only this time he was yelling, “Shoot, shoot, shoot.”
I slammed two rounds into the bull and it fell on its face about 60 feet from us. Rob looked back up the hill and said, “You missed.” Sure enough, the moose was standing back up. How could I have missed? I popped the clip out of the .308 and shot two more rounds. This time I knew I’d hit it.
We had to sit down and have a smoke before we decided to get to work on cleaning the moose. We decided to cleaned the cow first. We walked up the hill and wouldn’t you know it, lying there was the cow and a calf in its second year. I knew I hadn’t missed but we never saw the calf lying in the high grass.
There we were, standing in the sun with three moose to clean. It took us all day to get the meat back to camp and we were covered with blood from head to toe. This part of the work was done. Now all that remained was three days or so of cutting, washing and wrapping the meat.
We fed not only our immediate families, but also our extended families and Elders for the winter. It was one hunt that will always stand out in my mind. Rob is in the Spirit World probably telling his version of this hunt and other experiences as an outdoorsman.