Nov-Dec, 2021: Southern Shore Late Season Moose Hunting

Submitted By: Andrea Bassan

My father, Peter, had the only license in our group this year, an either sex license for Area 36 Ė the Southern Shore. Mike, Roger, my father and I have been hunting as a group for close to 10 years now and the arrangement normally works out well with fresh meat every fall. This year, we were more or less operating on my fatherís schedule and for someone 80 years old, heís quite busy.

Partridge hunting is one of his many passions for which he spends most of the fall at our cabin in Trepassey. This summer and fall he was busier than normal because he was also lending one of his construction buddies a hand with a bridge construction supervising large concrete pours. This meant his time for early season moose hunting was limited compared to other years. We did have several day hunts from the opening day of the season to Thanksgiving weekend, but with no success unfortunately.

At Dog Pond Barrens, a missed opportunity on our first hunt and one well seasoned moose that managed to evade us without a shot another day at daylight were our best opportunities. We have since named this elusive moose Ghost. We have seen him and signs of him, several times throughout the fall but he has managed to keep a few steps ahead of us on every occasion. Heís a big bull and appears to be educated in how to stay away from hunters.

Late season moose hunting can bring all kinds of weather and hunting conditions. Warm and sunny to cold and snow. Our October 30th hunt in Trepassey started out as a cold and crisp morning but warmed up nicely by 10 AM.


Our second setup of the day showed some moose activity from earlier in the season but no moose were seen on this morning.


By noon, it was 20 degrees and getting too warm so we decided to get in an afternoon partridge hunt.


One week later, we had an overnight snowstorm that brought 20 cm of snow to the Avalon Peninsula. Pete Tucker joined us on this day for a moose hunt on the Trepassey barrens. We knew it would be hard going in the snow but we decided to try an area where my father saw a couple of moose earlier in the week while partridge hunting. Rabbit tracks were the only sign of life seen.






For our afternoon hunt, we tried a few spots closer to the shore which had received less snow than the higher elevations and open barren country. We did find one set of tracks that looked fresh (from earlier that morning Pete figured) but the moose were nowhere to be seen.

For the remainder of the season, Pete continued to hunt with us. We hunted the Trepassey area and Dog Pond Barrens once or twice a week until the end of the season. Late season moose hunting for us involves setting up early in the morning at a prime spot and keeping an eye out for any moose that may be on the move. If we donít see any moose moving around we then go for a walk until we find fresh tracks. Then the fun begins. If my iPhone health app is accurate, we walked anywhere from 15 to 22 km on every hunt. We had some opportunities and found fresh sign of moose, but nothing that resulted in a successful hunt.



Hunting Dog Pond Barrens is much different than hunting in our usual spots in and around Trepassey. In Trepassey, thereís much more open country than forest where at Dog Pond Barrens it's the reverse. Moose can easily hide in the thick woods and arenít too keen on coming out into the open. This was the case on one mid-November hunt.

We had a moose come to edge of the woods 4 times, each time stopping just inside the tree line and turning around. Eventually, the moose did cross the pole line but well out of our sight. It was as if the moose knew that his crossing spot wasnít visible from our look out. I call that one educated animal. Hunting conditions were generally good during the remainder of the season, with everything from bright sunny skies to cold, dull wintry days.








We did have one good opportunity at Dog Pond Barrens that did not end well, and one that still bothers us today. Just after daylight on one late November morning, we saw two moose grazing at the edge of the woods. The shot was made and the moose went down after a few steps inside the woods. Success! Or we thought anyways. We had a short walk to get to the moose but when we got there, the moose was nowhere to be seen. We couldnít believe it. We were sure a sucessful shot was made Ė the moose went down and stayed down. So we thought anyways. All that we found was an imprint of a moose and some tuffs of moose hair.


All 3 of us knew what we had to do next Ė start looking for the moose. We found a very light blood trail and did everything possible to find the animal. At first the blood trail was easy to see on hard ground or on rocks, but it started to dry up and quickly we were only finding a few drops here and there.

We had seen 2 moose that morning and we did find the two sets of tracks. We followed both until we couldnít track them anymore. When the blood trail eventually dried up we were able to follow the animalís tracks for another few hundred metres into a couple of large cutovers. That track eventually disappeared in the ground cover also.

By sunset we knew there was nothing else we could do. We determined that the moose wasnít fatally wounded. The fact that the blood trail stopped and tracks continued was a good indication that this was the case. None of us were happy about the dayís hunt but we knew we did everything that responsible hunters should do in this situation. The drive home was a quiet one.

Not being inclined to quit while there was still time left in the season, we continued to hunt through December. Christmas week also provided a couple of good hunting opportunities which we took advantage of. Our last hunt was on December 30th. Unfortunately, our season ended without my father filling his license.


Oh well, thatís moose hunting. Hopefully our group has better luck in the 2022 season.


Cheers, BASSAN

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