This week we look at Moose and Goose Break. Along the coast of James Bay people are out goose hunting and further inland they are out Moose hunting. We asked people their observations and of course how they like their goose or moose cooked.
George Snowboy Sr, Chisasibi said he didn’t have much chance to go out hunting this fall. He said there were only the small geese called the Richardson goose and added there were others that are smaller like the lesser Canada goose.
Years of hunting and watching has made George an expert. “What I like about goose hunting is when the wind direction is from the south east, then that was the best time for me to shoot geese. Others just like to shoot down geese. You have to know everything about geese.”
Of course everyone keeps an eye on the weather. “If the weather is bad, it’s very hard to travel by canoe to get to your destination.” He says you can’t take good traveling weather for granted. “Even if the wind is calm, it can change so rapidly.”
The feeding grounds have changed as well, he added. “I can only blame it on Hydro Quebec. The goose eats seaweed called eelgrass but there’s hardly any eelgrass along the shores these days. If the weather is always bad even berries won’t grow. When that happens the geese cannot eat properly and they stay thin and do not taste good. I feel sorry for the young people just learning to hunt, it’s hard to go hunting when there’s not much geese. It used to be always good in my days.”
How does he like his goose cooked? “I like the goose when it’s boiled at medium rare. It’s also good in the open fire in the teepee. I like the goose when it’s cooked in any style.”
Sherman Herodier, Chisasibi likes to go out for the goose hunt when they first come in: “When they see the goose decoys.
“In the old days the elders told everyone to close the curtains when they heard geese fly at night. They’d blow out candles because the geese are very afraid of light.” Herodier likes his goose smoked.
Samuel Mianscum, Mistissini an Elder says he “really respected this way of life… I always had luck when I went hunting. I helped friends and other people with moose and other game. It was around the time when we were allowed to trap beaver again.
“I was always happy to help and feed others. I felt good about that. In the old days moose were plentiful. But not everybody was lucky to get moose.
“Many times my dad directed me where to go to get moose.
“I like Moose meat when it’s cooked in the open fire on a stick. In the old days we cooked moose in many ways when it was boiled we could add oatmeal and that was good too.”
Paul Dixon, Waswanipi because says the kids don’t see the old way of life. “I just go out on my canoe and try to remember what life was like in the old days. I’m not only happy to go out for the moose but it’s an obligation to go get the animals that are still there to sustain us.”
He says his favourite way to cook moose is on a stick but said nothing beats a stew for a crowd. “You can feed more people or your family if made it into a moose stew.”
Finally; the Nation asked Luke Macleod from the last issue his favourite ways to prepare the moose he got this fall. “I like moose meat in the open fire or making it into a filet mignon, elders like it making it into sausages. Nowadays you can take your meat to your local butcher shop here in Mistissini or Chibougamau.”