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Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Hey Mike, what zone is it

Hey Mike, what zone is it in?  Did you see the bull photos I put in the Moose section???  My dad saw a few cows too while he was out and about......

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Zone 4

Zone 4 scroll back a few posts for the map. Not too far from Houlton! Sure did - GOOD looking bull indeed!

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Freezer is full!

The terrain is so thick in the Maine North woods that it is difficult to still hunt. The recommended method for killing moose in the late season when the rut is done and calling is ineffective is simply road hunting. Drive the paper companies’ logging roads in a 4 wheel drive pick up until you spot a moose, then shoot it and put it in the truck. Sounds easy right?

The hunting area was basically uninhabited logging territory. The only roads were those built for the logging trucks. The only lodging besides tents and campers were expensive lodges for guided hunts. I opted to stay outside the hunting area at a lodge that offered flush plumbing, a hot shower, a real bed to sleep on, a full kitchen, and electricity by generator. It was $250 each for 7 days of lodging and food. I thought that was a pretty good deal, but the down side was that we needed to drive 60 miles to get to the edge of our hunting area.

My place is 50 miles west of my hunting partner’s home in VT. I got up at 2 AM and drove to Gene’s loaded my stuff in his truck and drove 9 hours from his place to the lodge. The temps were in the high twenties and we were cresting the White Mountains of New Hampshire when the sun came up and lit the frosted world. That was a gorgeous sunrise worth remembering. We DID stop at a wonderful little dinner in NH called “What’s for dinner” and had a truckers’ breakfast worth paying for at about 9 AM.

When we arrived at the lodge we found no one home. The owner invited us to make ourselves at home via cell phone. He and the other hunters had gone grocery shopping. The door was unlocked and there was a turkey roasting in the oven and two friendly labs to great us. We had a full turkey dinner that night. Yum! The lodge owner had somewhat overbooked and gave us his own queen sized bed to split while he slept on the couch. No problem for me. I just laid my sleeping bag on top and put my pillow inside and I was good to go. Gene had brought no sleeping bag and ended up sleeping in his clothes every night because the bed was covered in dog hair.

Hunting Day 1 – Up at 3 AM and drove to the hunting area before sunrise. We saw LOTS of trucks of hunters going in at the same time. Not only was the moose season open but so too were deer, bear, partridge, and rabbit. We found out when we got there that the “public access” hunting area involved a gate fee of $12 per day per person for non-residents. Loading up the truck I pulled my lever action Marlin that I had killed my last moose with out of the case and felt the sites snag on a fiber. In the dark I tugged it loose. When we had driven to the hunting area and daylight came up – I found that my rear site had broken clean off. Tried to shoot it without the rear site just in case I needed to and found it a foot low at 25 yards, and 2 feet low at 50 yards….

About noon we did see 2 doe white tail. We had buck tags. One looked at me from 10 yards away. She was safe. Day 1 drove 200+ miles and saw no moose.

Day 2 - Up at 3 AM. Hard pancakes made with water for breakfast with the bacon I had brought. But thank God there was coffee even if it was only Maxwell House. I switched to my back up rifle. This was a side by side 45-70. This was a gun I really did not intend to hunt with. It is at best a short range gun. Sighted to about 50 yards with the POI crossing and then getting farther apart. Hitting about a foot apart at 100 yards and getting wider beyond that. I made sure it had a rear site. I made sure it had a front site. I put cartridges in my coat pocket and in my day pack and in my pants pocket just to be SURE I would have some. Gene carried a scoped Savage in 7mm magnum. I figured we were good because I could cover short range and Gene could cover long range. We found an area with a lot of moose sign. The moose were raking the maple trees with their teeth. Moose have a sweet tooth!

We decided to walk around a bit where we saw the moose sign. With no small game license I saw an immense snowshoe hare and partridge. Gene hit a fresh moose track and followed it. He said he got close enough to hear the moose going away but never saw it. After giving up on it he was following his GPS back with his rifle slung over his shoulder when he jumped a buck and 2 does. They didn’t wait for him to get his rifle off his shoulder. Day 2 – moose sign but no moose. Got home and found that the other hunters had shot a little 500 pound cow. They said they had seen several other moose brought out of the area they were hunting. We decided to drive farther to that area the next day.

Day 3 – “The day that everything went wrong” or “why we have back up plans”. Up at 3 AM Cold cereal for breakfast. What kind of hunting camp was this? The other hunters slept in. They hadn’t missed their little moose.

Loading up, I could not find my required blaze orange hat but had a back-up hat. 20 miles en route spotted my missing hat on the side of the road where we had changed drivers the night before. We reached the gate and discovered that I had no wallet. In said wallet was my hunting license and game tags. I called the lodge owner and he drove 30 miles to bring us the tags while we drove 30 miles back to meet him. I was glad I had his number saved to my cell phone. I made sure Gene wrote it down too. We were now entering the hunting area an hour later than planned, popped over a rise and saw 2 young bulls standing in the road. They were standing at the bottom of a long slope. Both sides of the road were the thickest nastiest hemlock swamp you could imagine. Trees with interlocking branches that you literally could not walk between without breaking sticks. WE pulled over to the right side of the road and from 500+ yards with binoculars we determined that they were legal (antlers shorter than ears). There was another truck ahead of us so he would have dibs, but turned out that he was not a moose hunter.

Gene said “what do we do?” I said “When you have a shot, take it!” I loaded my rifle, clicked off the safety and started slowly walking toward the moose on the left shoulder of the road. When I had slowly closed the distance to about 125 yards the moose decided that I was close enough and headed for the trees on the right side of the road. I shot at the lead bull and Gene got great video footage of departing moose. Sure would have been nice to take a skinny bull right on the road side! But it was not to be.

I went back to the truck, reloaded the rifle, got my coat and daypack and set the GPS so I could find the way back and went to look for blood. I found that I had knocked hair off the bull but found no blood. I picked up a moose track and followed it into the thick stuff. I followed it to a moose. The 2nd bull was at most 25 yards away from me. I could EASILY have killed him. But there was no blood on this moose track and that bull was healthy and unwounded. I looked at him a long time and I made the deliberate choice to let him walk away because I expected the other bull to be mortally wounded. The short version is that I never found a blood trail and never found a wounded moose. My best guess was that I nicked him and he lit out like he’d been stung by a bee leaving his twin behind wondering what happened. We saw 6 dead cows being trucked out. Day 3 – were there any cows left? We now had the camp to ourselves and the owner and the labs. I had a glass of wine and went to bed.

Day 4 – Up at 3. Cold cereal for breakfast. I think the lodge owner (Ed) was trying to get rid of us. He decided to drive us around that day. I thought he might be better at spotting moose than we had been. He wasn’t. But today I had my rifle with sites. Had my hat. Had my wallet. Had my tags. We saw one moose butt going into the roadside trees before legal shooting light then drove another 200 miles without seeing anything except for many moose like stumps (false alarms). Until half an hour before sundown I saw a moosey looking shape 100 yards off the logging road. “Back up, Back up, Back up. It might be a stump, but it looked like a moose”

Ed backs the truck up. I say “It’s a moose” and get out. Ed hollered “And it’s an fuking Cow, SHOOT HER!” as he slammed the truck door. That sends her off at a trot parallel to the road. I start to follow. Ed screams “Don’t let that biotch get away!” Gene is somewhere behind me (again). She trots out of sight in the thick stuff but I hear the truck start and drive a quarter mile ahead and the door slam again. Ed had spotted her going parallel to the road and got ahead of her. She turned back toward me and at that point it was not so much a successful hunt but an execution for butchering as I put a 330 grain cast lead slug through her head at close range.

Then the work began. You know that routine! The knives got a work out over teh next few days!

She was down at 3:30 and we were back to the lodge with her by 8 and moved her to Gene’s truck. Next morning we drove the 9 hours back to Gene’s. Moved her to my truck and then to home where my wife and son helped me get her in the freezer over the next three days. BUt now I am happy to say that my freezer is FULL.

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Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Very nice Mike!!! You had me

Very nice Mike!!! You had me laughing, Gene sounds like quite the character.....lol

Congrats!  Great eats right there!

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yes indeed!

Ca_Vermonster wrote:

Gene sounds like quite the character.....lol

Congrats! 

Gene is quite a character. Great guy and I need to add that he not only drove hundreds of miles looking for moose on this hunt, but that he also carried each of those moose quarters out of that swamp to the truck in the dark by himself while I was doing the knife work. I was very glad for the help!

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AWESOME

That's Great that you got your moose. I enjoyed reading that story, it was almost like I was there with you... Big smile

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Congrats!

Congrats on your moose.

I hope to fill my freezer in 2015 with a Newfoundland moose. Your story was very informative and funny to read. I really enjoyed it. Sounds like a tough go but you stuck it out and hung in there.

Congrats again.

Biker

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congratulations on getting it

congratulations on getting it done Mike!!

Can't wait for my chance at one.

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Congrats!

Good job on getting you Maine moose! Enjoy that great meat! Kevin

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That almost sounds like a

That almost sounds like a couple of hunting trups that I have been on through the years, but then that is what makes them a special hunt weather you get a animal or not. 

 

Congradulations on the moose, I'm sure it is a hunt that you will never forget.

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