It was a cold brisk morning late in September, unusually cool for this time of year but, we awoke early and shook the frost off anyway. It was the second day of Moose season in Central New Brunswick and after a day of too much heat and not enough animals, morale was down a bit.
Someone hollered out "Coffee's done!", but I shrugged it off in the normal Nelson grumpy morning mood and reached deep into the cooler for a cold Mt. Dew, it will rot your gut on an empty stomach but, I thought it would toughen me up for the hard day ahead. Two Dews and a stick of buck jerky later I found myself nuts deep in a bog we had seen a nice bull in a few days back. All the others were scared to go in because it was known to be packed full of bears waiting for an easy meal to mistakenly slip in.
I had no fears, I had handled bears before and with my trusty Old Timer lock blade at my side, I was sure there would be no problems. As I eased out front behind a fallen birch tree I could see steam rolling out from behind a pine tree no more than twenty steps away. A large bull quietly cooled himself in the early morning fog. I had stalked large animals many times before but, a strange feeling fell over me that I had never felt before, it was as though I was the one being stalked.
It was evident to me that I had been seen so as though I was back in college lined up across from a linebacker ready to rip my head off, I stepped out as if to say "Lets dance Bitch." He knew I had the advantage with my old single shot 10 gauge, packed with a slug just waiting to bust out of the barrel and head straight for his heart. He also knew it was one shot and one shot only, he would surely cut down those twenty steps in a heart beat and trample me like a freightrain hitting a Volvo. He snarled once and a let out bellow that could be heard rumbling through the high soft wood ridges that surrounded us for hours.
He lowered his head swept his foot like a bull and began after me with a look in his eyes that would make a mere mortal man weep. I shouldered Bertha and took dead aim at his chest, squeezing the trigger just as he had closed close enough that I could smell his breath. He stumbled slightly and kept coming catching across the chest with his left pan. The blow knocked me back what felt like thirty feet and I landed face down on a grassy knoll, my chest on fire with pain, my gun no where in sight. I reached for my Old Timer just in time to hear the brush behind me crack and crumble like a log truck rolling over on the highway. I was ready to go for the throat but, what I heard was the big fella goin down like a boxing champ that had fought one too many rounds.
I stood tall and proud over my animal and we shared a look that only a few men can say they have had. It was a looked shared by two warriors, a look of respect and admiration. As he expired I thanked the good lord above for the opportunity to chase such an animal and the bounty of meat he would provide. A sadness fell over me as I realized that I had won this match and I would not have the chance to face this animal again, many a hours and many encounters we had had, my next opponent unknown to me and unknown to them will surface shortly.