2010 - The Family Moose
In my 15 years eligible to apply for a moose license, I have never been selected. I know this is a pretty standard story in this province, but it’s still a sore point for me. Luckily, I have had the opportunity to be designated as a partner twice now, first for my father and then for my brother in 2010, and this was the year it paid off for us in a big way.
He was drawn in a southern zone and immediately we began scouting for a good place to stage our three day hunt. We found a couple of places that looked promising, and as is the general practice, we placed a sign at the primary location, and returned a few times before the season began. Our father was coming along as our “Cook” and mentor, and we were all pretty excited about our chances, as the Moose sign at our primary area was staggering.
We returned the Wednesday before Moose Season began to find that our sign had been torn down, and was lying in a puddle nearby. We were furious, but rather than fight with the clowns that did it, we quickly went to check our secondary location. Luckily, this location turned out to have exploded with Moose sign in the previous two weeks, and it now looked much better than our initial location. If you’re at all familiar with Zone 20 in New Brunswick, there are about a million small lakes that sit about 500-1000 feet off of main road that you would never even know are there. Our GPS had told us about this small lake, and we decided to go with it.
We set up our ground blind the night before the season, and just went back to our camper and “chilled” for the evening. I don’t think any of us got more than a couple of hours of sleep that night with all of our anticipation. Thursday morning we were up and ready to go. The first day was mostly uneventful. At about 11:30 we had a cow answer our calls several times, but never caught a sight of it. We stayed in the tent from just before sun up to just after sun down. We got to see a lot of interesting wildlife that day, including a family of otters that played in the small lake for about an hour, oblivious to us being there. I really wish we had brought a camera in with us that morning, because it was very cool.
Day two was a terrible day for us, it was a downpour all day. We sat in the tent for several hours in the morning, but not long after lunch, we decided we could take it no longer. With two large people in this “two person” tent, we were both getting very soaked and quite miserable. We spent the afternoon driving the roads, stopping at bogs and trying our calling prowess. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a damned thing that day.
Day three was so foggy, we could barely see across the 75 yard lake straight across, and couldn’t even come close to seeing the 200+ yard banks in any other direction. We could not have spent any more time hunting throughout the season, and neither of us had gotten much sleep, so we were both quite drowsy that morning. I think between the time we got to the tent and 9:00, both my brother and I had nodded off a couple of times. We were calling every 15-20 minutes, and that was the only thing keeping us awake at that point, since we couldn’t see anything. At about 9:30, my brother says “Does that sound like a moose walking to you?” “No, I don’t hear anything” I said, and continued to look out my side at the beautiful fog. At 9:45, he whispers “Dave, that’s a Moose!”. Stupid me, I still thought he was talking about hearing something, and I said “No, I really don’t hear anything...”
At that point I see him reaching for his rifle and can’t believe my eyes! Across the lake at about 84 yards (We used the rangefinder later to get this distance), there was a Bull walking along the side of the lake. My brother gets the Moose in his sights and is waiting for me to get turned in my chair and get my rifle up as well. Across the lake is about a 20 foot patch of grass and then woods, and he was walking along the grass. The whole time while I’m getting ready, he keeps whispering I think he’s going into the woods, and I keep telling him to take the shot. Well, my brother is pretty stubborn, and unless he had to, there was no way he was taking that shot until we were both ready. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only 10 seconds, I whisper, “I’m ready, he’s in my sights now”, and my brother whispers “Ready, fire”, and we both fired at almost the same instant. The moose wheeled to head back the way he came, and because he did it so fast, I said “Oh no, I think we missed!” This was ludicrous, as we both had plenty of time to line him up and are both pretty good shots, but the mind does crazy things when your heart is pounding like that. The Moose turned away from us and I fired a third shot but just as I did, that Moose disappeared! The fog was so thick that we thought he had just disappeared into the woods across the lake.
We piled out of the tent and headed around this lake. It was so boggy that it took a very long time for us to get around and through all the obstacles. We got to the other side hoping we had wounded that Moose and would be able to catch up to him. As we got closer, we both saw him at the same time, the Moose had piled up less than 10 feet from where we shot him. He had disappeared because he dropped down in the long grass! This has to be the single most exciting moment in my entire hunting career. We were both in awe of how great this was. We had had such a swing of emotions from the high of Wednesday finding how travelled our spot was, to Friday in all that rain, to this new ridiculous high of shooting not only a moose, but a Bull!
My brother and I decided that when we got back to the camper we would pretend we just got tired of sitting in the fog and were coming back to see if Dad wanted to go for a drive. When we pulled back into the “yard”, Dad immediately opened the camper door with a big smile on his face. He said he had heard the shots while making breakfast and said to himself “That’s my boys!” He had just known it was us that fired, “Bang! Bang! *pause* Bang!” was how he described it. Our plans of tricking him went right out the window, but I don’t think we could have pulled it off with all of our excitement at any rate.
As I mentioned, this Moose Season was the most fun experience I’ve had as a hunter, and I feel blessed to have gotten to share it with my Brother and Father. Hopefully sometime in the future I’ll get my name drawn and we can hopefully relive it all over again! A interesting thing about our shooting. When we skinned the Moose, we found only one entry wound, but could clearly see two paths, the 30-06 of my brother had gone slap through the front shoulder, with an entry and exit wound, and my .308 had apparently gone in the same hole, and taken a different path once in and we recovered the perfectly mushroomed bullet in the hide on the other side. It's very hard to believe even for us, but somehow we managed to put two bullets in the same exact spot when fired at almost the exact same time!
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