Thursday, December 24, 2015

Old Friends Hunt for Moose

       The morning after the 2015 moose drawing, my phone rang.  I picked up and on the other end of the line was a gentleman named Arnie Clay from southern Maine.  Arnie was the fortunate recipient of a 2015 October moose permit for zone 9.  Arnie with many years in human resources was interviewing me and I with a few moose hunts under my belt was interviewing him to see if we would be a good match to hunt together in October.  I guess I passed the test as shortly after Arnie and I finished our talk, he was able to call his hunting partner of many years, John McMorrough and reach a consensus to hire me to guide them in October in search of a bull moose to fill their tag.  Arnie called back and secured me as their guide for their October moose hunt.
     Wildlife management zone 9 is a rugged zone roughly between Moosehead Lake and Millinocket.  I am located about 5 miles from one of the boundaries to the zone.  Two years prior to this hunt I had a different client fill a tag right up the street from my home, and I was in hopes we could do the same this year.  Towards the end of September I began scouting in earnest to find some areas where there was good moose sign.  What I found in the area where we filled a tag just two years prior was the cuts had been sprayed by herbacide to kill the young hardwood that moose eat.  With no food there were no moose in that area.  So I had to widen my search for a spot to fill a tag.  Many miles in my truck and several on foot, I had called a few bulls and found several areas with good sign.  So when my hunters arrived I had a plan and was looking forward to working the plan.  What was against us was the timing of the hunt.  It was late in the year and bulls were going to be less responsive to calling.
     The Sunday prior to the hunt found Arnie and John arriving at my home where they met myself, my lovely wife Nancy and our dog Ranger.  After exchanging pleasantries and showing the hunters to their accommodations, we had a fine lunch prepared by my bride.  During and after lunch we discussed my plan for Monday and the days following to find a bull for John to shoot.  We then went to the range to check the sights on John and Arnie's rifles and then returned home to swap stories about past experiences.  We all were looking forward to Monday with great expectations.
     Monday found me rising in the early morning to brew some coffee, pack some lunches and get ready to hunt some moose.  We headed out in the predawn darkness to an area where just the week before I had seen a couple of cows, lots of bull sign and had called out a pretty good bull.  We parked the truck, exited the vehicle and walked into the cut to try to call that bull out again.  We gave it our best effort, but came up empty on our first attempt.  We gathered our gear and headed off on foot.  We repeated our efforts in several locations throughout the morning and met with the same results, no responses that we could detect.  We saw some beautiful country, found plenty of new and old moose sign, but failed to call out any moose.  John, Arnie and I hunted throughout the day right to the final minutes of legal hunting and called it a day.  While heading back to the lodge I was deep in thought trying to put together a plan to find a responsive bull on Tuesday.
     Tuesday morning we arose a little earlier in the morning as we were going to drive a bit deeper into zone 9 in search of a bull.  I had been to the spot we were going to hunt the prior week and had a young bull come trotting down the road to me shortly after I had cow called while scouting.  There was lots of sign in the area of large bulls so we were going to give it a thorough hunt this day.  We parked the truck and headed off on foot along the overgrown roadway.  We made several calling attempts as we trekked further and further into the overgrown logging area.  Finally we reached an intersection of roads that had several small lakes, old cuts and heavy timber all in close proximity.  There was also lots of moose sign.  I set up my call, sprayed some cow urine, then John and I hid in the bushes where John had a pretty decent field of view.  Arnie sat a few yards away watching our backs.  I began calling to try and entice a bull to step out of the thick cover.  After 15 to 20 minutes I heard the unmistakable grunt of a bull.  I took the initiative and tapped John on the shoulder to tell him to get ready a bull was coming.  Well just seconds later John turned to tell me he could see it as it had just stepped into the road about 20 yards from our location.  John sized up the bull, decided it met his requirements, placed the cross hairs on the animal and fired his rifle.  The bull turned and John fired again, then Arnie squeezed the trigger on his rifle and finally the bull fell to the ground.
     So mid morning Tuesday we were able to help John fulfill a lifelong dream of successfully hunting a bull moose.  We spent much of the rest of the day getting the moose out of the woods, and drove it to a processing facility where the meat of this animal was professionally handled and processed into steaks, burger, sausage and more.  Moose is excellent table fare, and John and Arnie each have many meals and stories to share about hunting moose together.  Nancy and I were privileged to play a part in this as well.  Congratulations to John and Arnie.  A couple of real gentleman that have hunted together for many many years.  Our wish for you both is that you have many more years to share some other adventures together and continue to relive some of your past experiences over a fine glass of scotch and good cigar.
John and Arnie with their bull


5 comments:

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  3. Planning on entering 2017 lottery for Moose. Excited just reading your report. Enjoyed Bear hunting with Rick couple seasons back and great meals Nancy prepared. Mike Walker from Louisana

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