Moose

Fall 2011

With the early September cold weather I thought that moose hunting would be tremendous. It sure didn’t turn out that way. It started out warm and became warmer. The first hunt we had several moose answer my exotic love call but simply didn’t want to show themselves, guess it wasn’t passionate enough. Only once during the entire fall season was I able to smell the musky scent of a bull moose. Each day we would come across fresh tracks which meant that the bulls were doing most of their travelling and carousing during the cooler nights. After several days of unsuccessful hunting we turned our attention to black bear hunting.

We spotted a black bear high on the side of a mountain eating the few berries that managed to survive the cold spring and wet summer. Taking the de-activated logging road with Ron sitting on one side of the ATV and Bev on the other side was some trip. We laughed all the way up as the willows have really taken over and in some places it’s just a tunnel of branches and leaves. Reaching our destination we walked the last couple hundred yards. Glassing the hillside the bear was not in sight. As the wind was in our favour Bev and I began climbing up the mountain a short distance in order to see the last known destination of the bear. We were unable to spot him and decided to wait. After several hours and no bear we decided to head back. Bev had been sitting above us a short distance and as we were leaving mentioned that she had heard a dog barking behind her and wondered what a dog was doing up there. I stared at her with my mouth hanging open in complete shock. Ron and I began laughing and explained to her that it had been a bear woofing at her. It’s really unfortunate the bear had not stepped out as Ron and I would have definitely spotted him.

The rest of the hunt was spent moose hunting, laughing a great deal, getting a great tan, and seeing some wonderful country.

On the last day travelling down the road we came across a fresh set of tracks running after a cow. I let out a love sick cow call and was thrilled to hear a grunt reply very close. Setting up Ron and Bev I continued having a discussion with Mr. Moose. We were able to hear him slowly moving towards us through the brush, I gave a small grunt and then all was quiet. Not one more peep out of Mr. Bull, so I decided to set up an ambush as he was not interested in showing his mug. We moved around him and dropped down below and from and there cow called once more. The reaction was instantaneous but the wrong result as he dove into the pond and quietly left. Disgusted we went back to camp to find that on the way to Ghost Lake Bill shot a moose, this was his first day of his ten day hunt! Which was absolutely great, and that’s how it works.

The rest of the day didn’t produce another moose or black bear and the following day Ron and Bev headed home. We hunted hard, had fun and they are planning on returning in the fall of 2011.

While Bill, Jerry, Dave and Danny headed to hunt out of Ghost Lake, I drove to Williams Lake to purchase more groceries for the next moose hunt out of our main camp at Cameron Ridge. Antoine and Max were from Switzerland and decided to fly to camp with a helicopter. I tried to hitch a ride to check out the country but no such luck.

This was a 7 day 1×1 hunt and when Terry, the other guide arrived we fitted everyone with their horses to get ready for the next day. The first couple of days we hunted the same area, riding out from camp early each morning. It had been warm and was continuing to stay warm. We would then split up and each hunt separate areas. The days were beginning to count down and no more moose. As we were unsuccessful at our present spots it was time to move on and hunt elsewhere. Terry and Antoine fell into moose, but the buggers wouldn’t show themselves. It had been like that, the moose would quietly sneak in and at times you wouldn’t even know they were there. Others would return your cow call with a couple of grunts…then silence.

Meanwhile Max and I hunted different spots with no results. It was really frustrating as we both knew the moose where there for every morning there were fresh tracks around, however nothing answered during the daylight hours. Terry and Antoine were having better luck seeing cows and having answer Terry’s call. The bull simply refused to show himself. They tried different strategies, arriving before light, hunting the morning then quitting the place. On day five Terry and Antoine arrived back at camp with a beautiful black bear. It was great that something was on the ground! The next day they returned to the same spot, began calling and about ½ later heard a gunshot. The bull they had been hunting was finally coming to their call when some resident hunters showed up… and the rest is history.

The days were still really warm, with very little frost in the mornings. Trying another area we came across fresh bull tracks from the night before herding a couple of cows down toward the river. We decided this was a good place to be and off we followed. If you have never been in an old growth cedar forest, it is quite an experience. There is very little undergrowth, the trees reach for the heavens, an eerie silence listening to just your footsteps and beating heart. It is a place one needs to be very aware watching in every directions. We came out in a small meadow and found a great place to sit and call. At this time of year the salmon are spawning and a grizzly could show up at anytime for we weren’t far from the river. The moose don’t live directly on the river because of the number of grizzly; they stay off a couple of hundred yards. And one has to be very careful when calling as you may just have a grizzly come in. As the light was diminishing I looked over to my left and there was a silver tip grizzly grazing away. I grabbed my gun to be ready and pointed him out to Max. Looking through his binoculars he unexpectedly he swore…’that is the biggest mother ——- bear I’ve ever seen’. Holding my laughter in was difficult. The grizzly didn’t stick around long and headed right back toward river.

Unfortunately neither Antoine nor Max took a moose, but regardless it was a good hunt.

Out at Ghost Lake Danny and Jerry were having just as a tough time. One day three different bulls returned Danny’s call, but would not show themselves. They decided to return to the same spot the next day and give it another try. That night the heaven’s opened and the rain raged down. The river rose three feet overnight bringing a great deal of debris down with it. No travelling on the river that day. Meanwhile Bill and Dave were having fun grouse hunting and seeing a lot of country. It was a sad day packing up their gear on the last day. Danny gave it one more try, calling early that morning. As the last of the bags hit the boat a moose stepped out across the lake. Taking the canoe Dave and Jerry headed over while Danny continued to call from the cabins. It was successful! Jerry had the biggest grin on his face and I’m certain it’s still there. Our biggest moose to date, 49.5”.

Herb, Rob and George, our last hunters arrived a day later. Except for a few really cold frosty mornings the weather stayed warm. Herb and Rob were booked to hunt out of Ghost Lake and off they went with Dave to guide them. It was like someone switching off a tap. Nothing was happening so they decided to pull out and hunt out of Cameron Ridge.

George and I headed up to where Terry and Antoine had seen those cows and hunted there for a couple of days. On the way back from hauling the horses to Horsefly Danny had seen a nice bull cross the road so George and I headed in that direction the next day. We saw the tracks, hiked down to the lake, spent the day, but nothing happened. I decided to hunt return to where we had hunted the day before and as we were slowly driving a small bull moose appeared on our right. Our truck was noisy, but it didn’t seem to bother him. As a matter of fact he kept turning and taking a few steps toward the truck as I was cow calling. George decided not to take him as he was a small moose and he was looking for something bigger. The next morning we went back to the lake where Danny had seen the moose. There were fresh tracks on the beach, like really fresh. We set up and I started cow calling. I happened to glance to my right and saw a higher branch move. There was no wind, it must be a moose. Calling a couple more times I then quit and we waited him out. We got George ready to shoot with a good rest. I was beginning to doubt myself when suddenly he popped out. It was unexpected as he had not said a peep, so it took George a couple of seconds to regroup. The bull stood proudly in the water looking in our direction. George took three shots before he fell. There is a really nice hole through his antler. It was really exciting, and it just goes to show that a bull might be standing there watching and listening, and you are completely unaware of him.

We managed to get an ATV in to pull him out of the water. A beautiful 42 ¾’ moose.