Its a Cow!

Day Four of our 2012 Moose Hunt

 (Before you tackle this Day Four column, please read previous blog posts: Day One – Searching for Moose at Northeast Carry, Day Two – Electrified by the Bellow of a Bull Moose, and Day Three – Good Grouse Almighty! Moose Hunting’s Exciting!

 Heavy rain, spitting snow, and a fierce wind last night got every moose in the North Woods up and moving, at least it seemed that way on the morning of Day Four of our 2012 moose hunt at Ed Pineau’s Northeast Carry camp.

Our shooter, Kevin Stewart of Texas, had been very patient, passing up small bulls and one I thought was massive, hoping to get a bull of more than 1000 pounds.

I started the morning in the Moose Ridah with Ed, not wanting to miss a thing. The wind was still very strong, but we started seeing moose almost immediately. Ed would spot the moose and my job would be to pull the rope, alerting the driver to stop.

After an hour and a half, I was getting pretty good at pulling the rope, as we’d spotted seven moose by that time!

Alas, I wasn’t getting any better at spotting moose. In the early morning light, I pointed up ahead and asked Ed, “Is that a moose?”

“No,” he said somewhat sarcastically. “That’s a pine tree.” By now, my level of excitement was so high that I was seeing moose everywhere. Most were big dark stumps.

About 8:30 am we were coming down a slight incline when I glanced ahead, up a tote road, and spotted what I was pretty sure was a moose. I pulled the rope, quickly stopping the truck, and brought up my binoculars. Ed was in the Ridah with me.

I pointed out the moose to Ed, quite a ways up the tote road to our left, as Kevin and Mike exited the truck and moved quickly up the road, getting into position where they could see and shoot up the tote road.

There were trees and leaves between Ed and I in the Ridah and the moose, but I thought it was a cow. And here’s how that went.

“It’s a cow.” Bang!

Literally milliseconds after I said the word cow, Kevin shot. I won’t tell you what Ed said next about my ability to identify moose. Very unkind!

It was a huge bull, slightly larger than the one we’d seen previously, and by far the biggest we’d seen this morning: 717 pounds with a 40 inch rack. Everyone was happy.

Then the work began, although the Pineaus have this down to a science, saws, knives, rope, pulleys, and before I knew it, the bull was on the snowmobile trailer and we were headed to Raymond’s Store in Northeast Carry to register the animal.

Norm had the best comment after we got back to camp. We were all standing around the trailer admiring the moose. “That’s next year’s menu, sitting on that trailer,” said Norm.

I can’t wait!

 Postscript

 Having gotten our moose early in the day, I was able to get in some grouse hunting in the afternoon. We all piled in the truck and hit the road, looking for grouse.

I shot appallingly poorly, whenever the guys would let me out of the truck to try my luck. I blamed it on the audience.

So after we got back to camp, Mike took pity on me and drove me up and into the hills behind camp. I never missed a shot, getting my limit fairly quickly.

That got me some bragging rights back at camp. And allowed me to return home with my possession limit of 8 grouse.

But what I really brought home was a basket load of memories of a very exciting hunt, great friends, and delicious food, along with a new-found appreciation for moose hunting in Maine.

It’s been years since I applied for a moose permit. But I’ll be doing that in 2013!

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.