October 2019 Moose Hunting (59 Photos)
59. As you have read in my previous post "Moose Scouting 2019" we have been working hard prepping for this years Moose Hunt set to open on Saturday October 5th 2019 here on the East Coast of NL. One of this years additions to my hunting gear is a new Streamlite Protac 1000 lumen head lamp (which would later prove very beneficial!) Streamlite (not a sponsor) make fantastic flashlights, having the Protac HL & Stinger HPL lights already in stock I was confident their headlamp would be wicked bright!
58. Like most things in life preparation is key, today it was making sure our firearms are in proper working order and scopes accurate and on target.
57. Since the St. John's Rod and Gun Club was booked up for an event French and I headed to unofficial range Z to safely fire some rounds to making sure our 30.06 shooting sticks were on the money.
55. Anticipation was high as opening morning finally arrived, we left town at 4:30am to make sure we were the first ones in and set up in our desired hunting area near Ferryland long before daybreak.
54. Today we had a large crew on deck with 4 licenses to fill. Stroh and I would head to the clearing at top of the big hill, Bassan & Roger on the north pole line, Mark & Matthew on the South pole line and Harry & Arch at the road overlooking the bog there which would cover all bases.
53. French's enclosed trailer is super convenient for transporting both Argos also providing a clean dry place to change into and out of our hunting gear. Under darkness we drove in the road in my '89 Argo 6x6 and French's '16 Argo Avenger 8x8, Stroh and I drove right up the big hill parking the machine in the woods at the top. We geared up and walked down the trail and up across the open tundra where I filled my own Moose license in 2017.
52. We were 3/4 of the way across when our kickass new headlamps illuminated some mildly reflective objects about 100 yards away. It was the eyes of at least 2 moose looking at us in the darkness, I presumed it was a calf straight on and a cow side on. Fortunately the gentle breeze was in our favor and they didn't stir. The larger broadside animal was behind a low spruce shrub. I took out my phone and checked the weather network for their official sunrise listing, then waited 10 minutes for it to become legal to shoot (one half our before sunrise).
51. At legal shooting I took aim and brought down this beautiful animal with one well placed round from my Browning BAR 30.06 rifle. Turns out the animal I thought was a cow was a bull, the calf ran off right away and the cow (which was lying down) got up and followed along shortly after. This successfully filled the either sex charity license I was hunting on.
50. The rest of the crew continued to hunt while Stroh and I set about paunching our animal and getting it ready for transport.
49. With no other animals in site all hands arrived and helped load the animal into the back of French's 8x8 Argo while mine was loaded up with knapsacks etc.
47. French's uncle Arch hitched a ride out the trail and down over the big hill back to Harry's truck.
46. Back at the truck we loaded the first moose into the back of Harry's pickup so he and Arch could head back to town and get the meat hung, skinned, quartered and cleaned.
45. Harry has a great moose hanging setup here at his old garage which will soon be trumped by an all out epic set up at his new house!
43. With two of the byes headed back to town excitement brewed almost immediately just as we were enjoying a coffee on the road. About 600 yards away a large Cow and Bull crossed the road heading North into the woods between the pole line and big pond! We rapidly put a plan together with French and I sprinting down the road to the point where they crossed, Bassan crossing the pole line into the woods where the animals were headed and Roger heading to an overlook position further in the pole line.
42. French and I arrived to the crossing point, waited on the road and finally saw both animals emerge from the woods climbing a steep tundra covered hill about 100 yards away. French took aim and fired knocking the Cow to the ground but she quickly got back up and sprinted after the Bull who just crested the hill headed down the other side. Bassan was in the right place and cut off their advance toward the pond steering them toward the pole line directly to Roger where he made a successful shot on the Bull.
41. We searched long and hard for the cow, following every track, but never found a drop of blood or hair. We now surmise that when Mark hit her, it had to be in the hump which shocked/stunned her but did no lethal damage. Sure enough she showed up on our game cameras a few days later unfazed!
39. Roger made a clean shot but the damn stubborn, adrenaline fueled bull ran into thick woods which at first glance appeared to greatly complicate the upcoming extraction process.
38. Once paunched we left Roger and headed back to the road to get the Argos, and I'll be dammed but another bloody big bull moose crossed the road this time headed south! Mark, Matthew and Stroh jumped in his Argo and headed in country to try and cut him off while I broke out Google Maps and planned a route to get my Argo as close to Roger's animal as possible. I went in the back way, drove up the big hill and turned right and headed straight across the rough open tundra to this point above and then kept going into the heavier, taller brush towards the pole line.
37. I travelled another 500 yards or so through mildly dense tall brush and got the machine to within 20 feet of Rogers moose, entirely avoiding the heavy forest between here and the pole line. This thankfully avoided chain sawing a path through the woods to get the animal out! The beauty of these robust machines is their ability to crawl along very rough ground with ease and do no damage to the terrain. Here my machine is turned around pointing back at the route I just travelled in and it still looks untouched.
35. We quickly knocked the limbs off a few saplings and in no time had an awesome path to carry the young bull half at a time to the Argo.
33. I decided to take the animal half at a time back to Bassan's truck. My machine is older and still only has a few easy shakedown rides under its belt since the major rebuild earlier this year. On top of that the terrain was very rough. Tundra is dry and covered in scattered granite boulders buried in lichen & low lying red leaf shrubbery. Coming out with the load was slow but steady with the last bit of open riding crossing a marsh before finally hitting the well used ATV trail back out over the big hill.
32. I only managed to get hung up once and that was on the first trip out, a quick call to Bassan and he arrived with his Honda Foreman 400 to give me a quick pluck backwards.
29. We unloaded the first half onto his trailer and we both headed back in to retrieve the second half. Bassan left his bike half way across the tundra stuff as it's really rough going.
28. Bassan got some decent video of the second trip out once we hit the ATV path.
27. By this time the two French's and Stroh returned after unsuccessfully tracking down the big bull moose so we got Bassan & Roger loaded up and on their way back to my house in Torbay to get the animal hung, skinned quartered and cleaned up.
26. With two licenses filled we were now down to a crew of 4 and we finally got a chance to boil the kettle and have a lunch.
25. French, Stroh and I found these awesome silicone/stainless steel collapsible kettles (similar in design to my Sea to Summit x-pots) for a super deal on Amazon so we all bought one. They are designed solely for use on gas stoves and work really well!
24. The evening of opening day brought a few rain showers which didn't last long and cleared off beautifully just before sunset.
23. We headed south on the pole line which overlooks a beautiful big bog but were unsuccessful in making opening day a Hat Trick.
20. When I got home Roger and Bassan had the meat hanging well underway.
19. After skinning and quartering we always wash the meat down with salt water then vinegar water to kill off any bacteria. This also aids in hair removal and overall makes for a better finished product especially where we will be processing the meat ourselves.
18. The following Thursday morning was good and frosty, French and I headed back to Ferryland in search of an animal to fill his either sex tags.
17. Once again we were in the woods well before daybreak in the clearing at the top of the big hill where I successfully harvested the young bull last weekend. We got the caller going and the woods came alive North of us and continued to circle right around. Two cows finally popped out of the woods right where the cow I harvested in 2017 came out. French pulled the trigger on his Tikka 30.06 and made a successful harvest.
15. With just two of us on deck we used French's Argo as an anchor for tying off the legs so we could get to work with ease.
14. In no time we had the animal paunched, halved and loaded into the back of the Avenger.
13. We headed back to Harry's garage where we got the meat hung, skinned, quartered and cleaned up.
10. On this trip the replaceable blade in my Outdoor Edge knife jammed and would not release, I broke the tip trying to get it out with pliers. I ended up sending it back to Colorado for warranty where Outdoor Edge honored it with ease and mailed me a brand new knife! These knives are fantastic, literally razor sharp and the blade can be swapped for a fresh one in seconds. One blade will stay sharp for paunching and skinning a moose no trouble!
9. The following Saturday was Thanksgiving weekend French, Stroh, Rob and I headed back to Ferryland to try and fill Rob's either sex tags and close out our hunting season.
8. We headed down early as usual and were greeted by really cool fog formations as the sun came up. Stroh and I went up the big hill while French and Rob went south down the pole line.
4. The weather was absolutely perfect. It was crisp, little wind, and quite frosty however the animals had other plans and never showed thenselves all morning.
3. The day was not completely lost as we stopped for an epic cook-up where I prepared my long standing tradition of marinated moose roast cut into cubes along with onion & fresh mushrooms (pre arranged at home and marinating all day) served on top of beef flavored white rice and some coffee to boot!
2. One of my favorite meals to make in the woods. The day was cut short as Rob had family commitments that evening so we packed up and headed back to town in the early afternoon.
1. This trip pretty well finished out our 2019 hunting season. We spent time processing our harvest by cutting/bagging meat, grinding a lot and making a load of sausages all on our own. Mark then had a vacation to Florida with his family and when he returned work schedules and weather often didn't work out for another trip. All in all it was a very successful and most important an extremely enjoyable hunting season from pre season prep right to the finish!
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith