Moose Hunting Requires Endurance!

Day One of my 2013 Moose Hunt

The allure of a Maine moose hunt is difficult to convey. Sitting in the open back end of a pick-up, pitch black, 26 degrees, listening to the sounds of trees cracking in the cold, Mike Pineau trying to call in a big bull. I guess you had to be there.

In October I enjoyed my first-ever moose hunt, with Ed and Cate Pineau, Mike Pineau, Norm Pineau, Lester Pineau (partial Pineau list – there were a lot of Pineaus in camp) and our friend Kevin Stewart from Texas – the man with the permit for a bull moose in WMD 4, the location of the Pineau’s camp in Northeast Carry on Moosehead Lake.

On Day One moose hunting is more about endurance, less about enjoyment.

We drove over 1000 miles – at least it seemed like it. Back and forth across “unimproved” woods roads, eyes straining to see a moose. Any moose. Anywhere. It was warm. Moose were not moving. At least, that’s what Maine Guide Mike Pineau told me. As far as I could tell, moose were not there, period.

Other than hearing a single grunt from a bull moose when we got out of the truck this very-early morning, we saw and heard nothing. We did see a mouse – but the slight change of an “o” for a “u” makes quite a difference.

I have very sad news to report. All the wild critters have been eradicated from the north woods – no lynx, no bobcats, no foxes, no coyotes, no deer, and certainly no moose. We did see a lot of grouse – but Ed wouldn’t let me bring my shotgun and shoot them. We were moose hunting and only moose hunting.

As we drove, and drove, and drove, I snacked, and snacked, and snacked, and napped, and read a 2-day old newspaper – and occasionally got up into the Moose Ridah attached to the truck bed, to risk frostbite, gazing out into the cuttings for those nonexistent moose as we motored along, and along, and along.

But the experience really improved when we finally got back to camp, to enjoy an outstanding dinner of moose chili and moose shephard’s pie. I had three bowls of chili, one plate of shephard’s pie, and two cold beers. By 8 pm I was in bed, dead to the world. Dreaming of moose.

UP NEXT – My entire moose hunting experience was transformed on Day Two, when Norm’s voice blasted from Ed’s walkie talkie: “Fifty pointer. Number seven road!”

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.