October 5-13, 2020 Moose Hunting Part 3 (62 Photos)
Part 3 of our crazy 2020 Moose Hunting Extravaganza began the afternoon immediately following Stroh's successful harvest. With two licences filled, French and I held the last remaining sets of tags. Since we put in a long night cleaning up the last harvest French and I opted out of a morning hunt and headed down the shore after lunch for another crack at it.
Funny enough we found a set of Moose tracks crossing French's driveway while loading up our gear!
French and I had a great afternoon in the woods stalking a bunch of ground and finally setting up on the long skinny bog with my Foxpro caller. It was coming on dark when French spotted a moving dark spot at the far end of the bog, sure enough it was a beautiful bull moose. I measured the bog with my range finder at 400 yards, since the moose was headed towards us and we still had 10 or more minutes of legal daylight left we waited.
When the animal got to about 300 yards he suddenly turned and headed perpendicular towards the tree line moving left to right from our vantage point. Mark made 3 shots but the big bull didn't even break stride and disappeared into the woods. We spent the next 2 hours diligently and thoroughly looking for the animal with our high power flashlights and later the big light bars on our Argo's but although we found the tracks there was absolutely no sign of blood. Not good for a moose hunt but very happy that we dint have a wounded animal on our hands.
The following afternoon I was back at the SJRGC rifle range this time with French and his new shooting rest to make sure his Tikka 30.06 was on....which is was.
As French is also a member we could both shoot together at the range, so this time I took my Grandfathers .308 Remington and once again my trusty, cheap to shoot Stevens .223.
The following morning French and I headed back down the shore for yet another crack at filling a license. This year most coffee shops have been closed in the early morning hours when we leave town, mostly due to restrictions stemming from the Covid Pandemic. Therefore we've been making our own coffee for the early morning drives, today's beverage of choice was this amazing Siren's blend from Starbucks. 100% would recommend.
We spent the day in our usual hunting areas with French set up on the long skinny bog and myself covering a large area on foot taking notice of fresh sign and checking our game cameras.
On my walkabout I even came across this dandy grouse, too bad I never had a shotgun with me, my 30.06 Browning would be a little much!
I provided lunch today which consisted of my own custom recipe Italian Moose Sausage meat sticks and a feed of fresh fish white puddings. I had the puddings made earlier this year from my own cod at Porters Meats in CBS, they fry up beautifully when sliced into discs and browned up in the pan.
That afternoon Matthew & Stroh made the trip down and joined us for the evening hunt which unfortunately was unsuccessful as well.
Thanksgiving weekend arrived and all of the crew had family plans with French at his camper in Marine Park all weekend while Stroh and Matthew were equally tied up with family gatherings.
Sunday Sandra and I had family over for a full thanksgiving dinner.
Our outdoor boiler not only makes jigs dinner much faster but also keeps the steam and heat out of the house! A section of cardboard temporarily fastened to the patio rail makes a great wind block to get maximum heat into the boiler.
Monday morning I got up early and made an awesome breakfast hash of Moose sausage, onion, mushroom, egg, hashbrowns and green peppers.
With my Argo locked in French's trailer I decided to load up Project Foreman and head down the shore for a hunt/scout.
I covered a lot of ground on the bike and on foot taking note of lots of fresh sign.
After an unsuccessful afternoon/evening hunt I had a quick boil-up to warm up before heading back to the truck.
Acting on a hunch I left the bike in the truck overnight and headed back to Ferryland early Tuesday morning again on my own while everyone else went to work.
About 10 minutes after daybreak this dandy young bull came out to my iPhone caller steadily walking closer and closer to my vantage point. At 80 yards my Browning BAR 30.06 barked to life and I made a successful harvest! I love early morning hunts, the air was crisp, the wind very slight and in my favour, moose cant see much so I was able to stand in the open and just be quiet. This comes down to wearing noiseless clothing (doesn't have to be fancy) and having my firearm already loaded once I set up to hunt, the only noise I made was clicking off the safety.
Now I faced the task of cleaning the animal solo which seemed daunting at first, but having cleaned many before I simply took on the job one step at a time. Like we do with the Argo's, I parked project Foreman and used it as a tie off point to hold the legs up and out of the way.
In no time I had the paunch removed using a few tricks including a rope tied around the windpipe and a ratchet strap to adjust the upper front leg as I worked through the process bringing the wind pipe in, the arse in the other way and dropping it all out the centre.
I knew a moose halved up would be real heavy to lift on my own so I had my good Stanley handsaw with me to quickly and easily quarter up the animal in the woods.
I took the animal and my gear out in 5 total trips, the maximum legally allowed. I didn't want to fool around with less trips by strapping a quarter on top of my rear cargo box, plus it was a short 15 minute round trip from the kill site to my truck.
I stacked the 4 quarters on a fresh tarp in the front of my truck's bed which left enough room for the bike at the back resting the rear tires on the tailgate.
On my way back to town I immediately dropped off the jaw bone to the wildlife station at Paddy's Pond before it got gross, then to my place to drop off the bike, and then on to Harry's to hang and clean my harvest. This was my first time harvesting a moose solo and I have to say it's one of the most rewarding accomplishments I've made in my hunting career to date. It's amazing to be in the woods with the bye's which we've done a lot this year and will keep doing so, but to me this was a unique and extremely rewarding accomplishment that I wont soon forget.
In Portugal Cove Harry, Arch and I got to work skinning the moose graciously making great use of Harry's state of the art facility and equipment.
Once again I washed down the quarters with a 50/50 mix of water & vinegar using a microfiber cloth to clean, sterilize, and seal the meat and effortlessly remove all hair left by the skinning process.
French's cooler was put to good use to hang the quarters until Bassan, Roger and I got a chance to process them.
Hard work done and all cleaned up again!
About a week later Bassan, Roger and I got to work processing the quarters.
Just like our past animals, we debone, cut out & bag all the prime cut roasts and label them using Bassan's easy peezy 27 class moose roast classification system. The rest is placed in 50lb meat tots and ran through the grinder.
This year Matthew and I wanted to enhance our sausage making and move away from the prepared sausage mixes which have a lot of salt and binder. We started creating our own mixes using only pure spices (and less salt) based on extensive research, trial and error. Over the course of the fall we made up a bunch of 3lb test batches to dial in a few recipes. Bulk barn turned out to be a great source for ingredients.
I organized mine into sealed containers to keep them fresh and orderly. My favourite two recipes are Spicy Italian with Red Wine, and Okto-beer-fest which features mace & ginger in the mix to which I add a quantity of my favourite beer of the day. Matthew also had great success replicating McDonalds breakfast sausage blend!
One test batch of Okto-beer-fest was made with this Innis & Gunn whiskey barrel aged stout which turned out amazing.
My Italian recipe multiplied out well for a 16lb batch but I did cut back and adjusted the amount of minced garlic and salt in the larger batchs. Accurate note taking of any changes is key to replicating the recipe in the future.
For most of my own sausages I've moved away from putting them in casings. Not because it's hard, I have the right equipment, but I really like taking the sausage meat, flattening it out in the pan and splitting it into meat sticks as it cooks, I find it better than eating casings.
There ends one of my favourite moose hunting trips to date, but the season is not over yet, French still has a set of Not for Profit tags to fill which is a partner either sex license.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith