Mossy Antler Hunt

Let me preface my story by stating that my name is Dave Ames. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1996 and have not been actively hunting since 1997. I motor along ok using two canes and have some balance and tremor issues. My brother Daryl and I met Chris Franke at the Washington Sportsman’s Show Jan. 2014. She was the only moose guide who gave us an emphatic yes on being able to accommodate my disabilities. We booked 7 day moose hunt for Oct. 2016 on the upper region of Quesnel Lake,B.C. Was I in for one hell of a ride!

Mossy Antler Hunt

This is a story unlike one I’ve ever told. It starts at the mouth of Quesnel Lake, 70 miles of crystal clear glacier fjord water oh so freezing cold.

The two hour boat ride to Mossy Antler cabin was an epic ordeal in itself. Rain driven frothy swells churned the water and I then realized how the Captain and Gilligan must really have felt!

Our new friends Alf and Marie helped store what seemed like two tons of food and gear. They had literally tracked us down by our Washington truck plates and then invited us to their Likely town pub for a cold Canadian beer.

After checking out Marie’s trapping cabin with her grizzly bear marked porch we arrived at our destination. The astounding panoramic vistas had my eyes misty and unclear.  After 2 yrs. of planning, working out and outfitting our long awaited bush hunt was finally here!

I’ve been hunting all my life and hardly ever lost my nerve but thinking on those grizzly claw marks had me a might concerned about becoming his hors d’oeuvre!

We saw a huge bull that first clear sunny day. He snuck in behind us to investigate the zombie like cow calls that Chris randomly screamed his way!

Never had I heard such a dreadful and mournful sound. I was to repeatedly ponder, is this the way moose are found?

Being the first day we were incredibly excited and pumped. The moose Gods were smiling on us, no way we’d be skunked.

Here’s where I admit that my quad experience is nil, so I was perched behind my brother hoping I wouldn’t take a nasty spill.

Nobody warned me that the water bars in B.C. are as deep as my chin. After seeing Chris race down and out, my brother just gave me a big huge grin!

We hit that first one doing about twenty five. My legs went one way, my top half the other. I’m not to proud to say I think I screamed for my mother!

After that, all was well because I’d learned my lesson and hung on like hell!

As the days quickly progressed and became more increasingly surreal, it became clear that Chris Franke was a woman of steel.

She leapt tall quads in a single bound. Could chop big rounds faster than I could lay them down. Hike and cook, pack and haul. She had me on bended knee saying please stop Chris I’m gonna bawl! Even her fruitcake dog Arte hid on the couch too tired to howl.

Five days of brutal machine and body thrashing later, we had not seen nor heard any more moose. As the old saying goes, cooked was our goose!

Sunday morning Oct. 23, 2016. Daryl and I are tired, road weary and kinda stinky with sweat. Neither one of us wants to make that long empty truck ride home just yet.

Heading past old moose track lane and huge grizzly scat landing, time suddenly did slow. It’s now 10am and Chris is up ahead frantically waving her arms, hurry let’s go!

About five seconds and three shots later our trophy did lay. The harvest of a lifetime was complete on this the last day.

Now the fun starts is a statement that all successful hunters deem relevant. My question is how many have dressed a huge giant elephant?

It took all of us three hours to skin, quarter and game bag our prize. Loaded gun was always near to deter Mr. Grizzly’s prying eyes.

I cannot possibly put pen to paper all the fascinating memories from those gruelling yet special days. Chris Franke is an awesome outfitter whose friendship will forever stay!

Thanks Chris from the Double D boys

Dave and Daryl Ames

A Daring Adventure

A DARING ADVENTURE

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If hell has willows, devils club and huge fallen trees from now on I’m behaving myself.  Due to the heavy snows the willows and trees were draped onto the road.  We cut several fallen trees with an ax and saw and maneuvered under some giant leaning ones and Chris even jumped several trees up to 30” diameter with the 4 wheeler.   On one such jump the hitch broke on the trailer which pulled the bolts out.  Analyzing the situation and contemplating what we could use for washers Chris suddenly had an idea.  With a grin she pulled out a can of beans which according to her had traveled in the 4 wheeler for the past ten years.  She cut off each end and I punched a hole in the middle and there we had two washers large enough to cover the torn holes and off we went.  We pushed through the willows with the 4 wheeler until they became so thick we had to cut our way forward.   After battling our way 6 hours to travel 8 miles we arrived at the trailhead which had been cleared a couple years prior.  We hiked as fast as possible our footsteps quietly echoing through the most beautiful and serene ancient forest of Cedars, Englewood spruce, Douglas Firs and Hemlock to the slides.  Its 3pm and its been a long day already when we arrived to sit under two giant cedars in the hopes of a grizzly appearing from the tall vegetation.  I was silently thinking how long we could wait before starting our arduous journey back to camp and already dreading the trip.

It’s been 30 minutes and Chris decides to hike a short distance downhill to glass the bottom end of the clearing when suddenly a grizzly appeared walking onto a snow bank 200 yards away and laid down.  I frantically got her attention as she was getting ready to leave.  With pounding heart I setup my shooting sticks and prepared for a shot if she gave me the ok to shoot.

It all began when I met Chris Franke of Mountain Spirit Outfitters at the Missoula, Montana outdoor show in March 2013.  As the Executive Director of the Montana Wild Sheep Foundation I was manning a booth adjacent to her and for the next two days discussed her grizzly hunts, success rates and quality of animals in the Cariboo Region of British Columbia.  I had been on 12 outfitted hunts on the North American and Asian continents including 4 trips to Alaska to hunt brown bears.  My goal was for a 9’ plus boar and in the past have turned down sows and 9’ plus bears because they were rubbed.

I decided to hunt with Chris for grizzly and black bear in May of 2014.  I have to admit I wondered how hunting with a female outfitter would compare to my previous hunts with all male outfits.  She assured me she had plenty years of experience and would personally guide my hunt.

During the following year we corresponded by email planning the hunt dates and logistics for the upcoming hunt.  It was suggested to be flexible with my dates as there had been record snowfall that winter and so I cleared my calendar for the better part of May up until the first half of June.  I didn’t want to be embarrassed so I spent the winter and spring working out in order to get my 68 year old body in shape.  I also noted each correspondence from Chris included the quote “Life is either a daring adventure…or nothing” by Helen Keller.  What was I getting myself into?

The departure date arrived and I headed out driving the 770 miles to Likely, BC.  The ice had just melted off Quesnel Lake the day before my arrival.  Chris decided to travel up the lake to hunt black bears while the heavy snows melted providing better access to the slide areas.  It took several hours in her tri-hull boat to the cabin which was fortunately still standing considering the effects of the heavy snows evident by the damages to the other cabins.  As the lake was calm that morning I was able to enjoy the scenery which is spectacular,  the snow capped peaks, the clear aquamarine glacier fed water and the warm sunshine on my face.  It was great to be here.  Upon our arrival it was discovered to her dismay the stove pipe had broken off due to the snow, but was still hanging in place.  Not to be deterred she crawled into the small attic space.  One and half hours later, after beating on the roof with every available tool to dislodge the old pipe she had a replacement pipe in place.   With not much to work with she insulated the area around the pipe with aluminum foil to protect the roof and we had heat.  I no longer wondered whether this lady was qualified to take care of clients in a remote environment.  As a matter of fact she scared me a little.

Early mornings found us on the porch enjoying our coffee, chatting about world events, watching the world go by and trying not to get hit by low flying hummingbirds.  Upon our arrival Chris had set out the feeders and it didn’t take long for them to find the sugar water.  It’s interesting to watch them as there is always one bully who jealously guards the feeders.  The location of the cabin is perfect for within sight and sound is the Mitchell River delta.  The abundance of wildlife that can be seen roaming across is a wonderful sight.  It’s also the calving ground for many moose and on occasion one can see a cow with a new born calf at her side.   There are huge flocks of migratory birds landing along the shoreline and the noise they create is astounding.  Every morning to watch the sun slowly rise turning the snowcapped peaks pink is so beautiful.  What a paradise.

The next few days were spent accessing the log landings by boat.  Although Chris had a 4 wheeler at one of the landings it was of limited use as the snow was too deep.  Several days were spent hiking through snow looking for signs of black and grizzly bears.  Each day we saw several bears but no griz.   On one occasion we came across a smaller black bear which we decided to stalk for fun to see how close we could get.  It was exciting and somewhat nerve racking as we managed to come within 15 feet before he decided that we weren’t the friendly sort and luckily left the other way.   We proved the old saying that bear hunting is hours and hours of sheer boredom followed by 10 seconds of sheer terror.  The days were spent hiking and glassing areas with new grass for bears to appear.  I have spent the past 43 years hiking the mountains of Montana and set a fast pace.  It was a pleasure hiking with Chris as she matched me step for step up and down the mountains.

After spending days stomping through snow it was decided to return to Likely and hunt another part of the area while the snow melted in the higher country.  Hunting from Likely we saw many black bears and turned down one male grizzly at 120 yards that was deemed too small.  Another day was spent travelling to the north end of her territory hoping the snow levels would at least allow a 4 wheeler access to her griz camp.  We found only more snow.   It was frustrating to say the least, however you can be rest assured, Chris always has a plan.  She asked whether I wanted to return to Missoula while she guided her upcoming black bear hunt which would allow more time for the snow to melt.  Agreeing it was a good idea I packed my things and made plans to return 10 days later to hunt until the end of the season.

Upon returning to Likely 10 days later we again boated to the cabin on Quesnel Lake as snow depths still precluded vehicle access to her griz camp.  Most days we left the cabin about 9 am boating to the log landings and either walking or 4 wheeling the old logging roads looking for bears or sign.  One evening we staked out a road junction when a black bear appeared on the road at 165 yards.  One shot from my 338 magnum grounded the bear.  Chris quickly and efficiently caped the bear, we grabbed our packs and headed for the boat as it was getting late.  Our boat ride to the cabin was spent in the dark and it was good to get back, build a fire, eat one of her great meals and recap our day.  The next day we hauled the bear hide to the top of a logging unit where I glassed for bears while she finished fleshing and turning the lips and ears.  There is no lost time when she is in charge. 20140605_202923

Afraid the bear would drop over the other side of the snow bank Chris told me to shoot upon the next opportunity.  With a pounding heart I steadied my breathing and fired one shot.  The bear stopped with no appearance of being hit.  Quickly jacking in another shell I fired again and as the grizzly rolled down the bank towards us he let out a loud growl.  We could see the vegetation moving as he moved downhill parallel to our position.  I was able to get another shot at his back when he crossed an area with shorter vegetation.  He let out a huge death growl and the vegetation stopped moving.   We stayed in our spot for several minutes slowly calming our heart rates, watching and waiting to see whether there was any more movement.  Aware that time was of the essence we crossed above the last known position and climbed the snow bank glassing the vegetation trying to locate the bear.  We found a blood trail and soon located the dead bear.   I stood there beaming as Chris did the jig of happiness laughing with delight.  It was with surprise and pleasure when she pulled out a small flask and a Cuban cigar for us to toast the grizzly.             20140607_170939

Then a few pictures, a quick caping and a forced march back over the huge downed logs quickly found us back at the 4 wheeler at dark.  I was very impressed with her ability to cape, skin and then carry a very heavy pack back to the trailhead.  The trip back down the road jumping the logs and deflecting the willows was a very tiring effort and we arrived at the pontoon boat shortly before midnight and used the moonlight to find the cabin.

Climbing the steps to the cabin deck I realized we had just experienced a fantastic daring adventure.  The lake was dead calm, it was a warm evening and a perfect end to a great day of hunting.  With a pleasurable sigh I dropped down into the easy chair and grinned from ear to ear.

Every hunt I have completed has left a lifetime of memories.  This hunt certainly added to that list.  Chris Franke is a very pleasant person, she knows her guide area, and is very resourceful when required in the field.  I look forward to hunting with her again in the future.

Jim Weatherly

Missoula, Montana

 

 

A Great Goat!!!

A GREAT GOAT !!!IMG_0005

Finding a better spot to drop off the ridge we began working our way slowly across to the next draw several hundred yards away.  My heart rate quickly accelerated when we peeked over the rock bluff to see the two Billie’s grazing, completely unaware of our presence.  The wind was in our face and we were in no hurry.  It wasn’t difficult to determine which the whooper was and with pounding heart placed my rifle across my pack on the rocky ridge which made an excellent rest.

Chris set up the video camera, hit record and signaled I could fire when I was ready.  She had ranged it at 240 yards and my rifle was zeroed in at 200 yards with a 9” drop at 300 yards.  Slowly releasing my breath I squeezed the trigger.  Bang!!!  The goat fell on the steep slope and began to roll downhill slowly gaining momentum.  I was ecstatic and a little emotional as a long time goal had just been achieved.  My enthusiasm waned a little and I voiced a few choice words as the goat continued to roll and bounce down the mountain.   He continued tumbling over boulders passing through juniper bushes and eventually disappeared from sight.

I met Chris Franke of Mountain Spirit Outfitters Inc. at the annual SCI Lake Superior Chapter held in Hinckley, MN April 2013.  Again that year she had donated a goat hunt for the Saturday night banquet and after spending time with her decided to bid on her hunt.  With excitement I won the hunt which was for September of 2014 giving me 1 ½ years to prepare myself.

September 1, 2014 finally arrived and Chris picked me up in Williams Lake where we drove to her camp, Cameron Ridge, arriving well before dark.  This allowed me time to unpack and sight in my rifle once more.  The next few days brought low hanging clouds and fog.  We would hunt from Cameron Ridge until the weather improved in order for us to get to our hunting location.  On the third day the hunting gods were on our side as the clouds finally lifted and Chris spotted two billies laying on the side of a steep grassy slope.  One was a whooper.

The excitement on her face and voice was contagious and with eagerness I got my first view of a British Columbia mountain goat.  With much enthusiasm we headed back to camp to prepare for the following day pursuit.  The plan was simple.  Drive the ATV to the end of the logging road, hike up the mountain, shoot the goat and return to the quad where we would spend the night.  Simple…

That night I dreamed of big goats and easy mountains to climb until daybreak arrived.  After a hardy breakfast we loaded the gear in the trailer and headed out.  Driving around the corner ten minutes from camp brought us face to face with a huge grizzly bear.  He quickly darted off the road and disappeared into the undergrowth.  Three miles further as we rounded another corner we saw a monster bull moose trotting down the road.  Chris estimated him to be close to 5o”.   We continued on our way towards Ghost Lake and soon found ourselves bouncing along an old logging road.  The farther we drove the worse the road became with the willows almost entirely across the road.   Time to change the mode of transportation so we unloaded the quad and packed up the trailer with our supplies.  It appeared to me that the trail hadn’t been used for some time as it was completely overgrown with 8-10’ willows.  Ducking, dodging, cussing and crying out in pain as willows lashed across my face was the norm during the drive up.  Some sections were precarious and it was a bit hairy winching the quad and trailer up the trail.  Regardless of the pain and discomfort it was still much better than hiking that same distance on foot.

The end of the road finally arrived and I was very happy to see the end of the willows.  We grabbed our packs travelling as light as possible.  Along the way we ate huckleberries, only stopping long enough to catch our breath and pick ourselves up out of the tangle foot.  (Another horrible willow type shrub which entangles your feet causing many face plants and much cussing)  Breaking out of tree line we stopped for a quick bite to eat and Chris pointed out our destination was just a couple of draws over.  We continued our climb towards the ridgeline as we wanted to get above the goats.  The ridgeline turned out to be an expanse of about 4’ wide and Chris was almost crawling along.  I was laughing as here’s my goat guide afraid of heights trying not to glance at the thousand foot drop, which fortunately was the opposite side of the goat.   But instead she was concentrating and focusing on making it along the ridge.  Unfortunately for her we had to turn back as we ran into a cliff which offered no way to continue.   As we were looking for a safe spot to drop down we glassed across the valley and spotted a couple of white specks which turned out to be a nanny and kid.  I learned that glassing for goats requires patience and one could sit for hours until a goat decides to move.

As we continued to watch the goat tumble down the mountain and disappear from sight a small fear overcame me as I figured we would have little hope of finding the horns intact let alone finding the goat.  Quickly packing up we began slowly making our way down to the last spot we had seen him.  After descending about 1000’ we began to question ourselves whether we may have walked past until suddenly we saw blood spatters and white hair clinging to the rocks.

Following the blood trail we dropped another 500’ and suddenly there he lay.  Although he was beat up around the eyes I was especially happy to see both horns fully intact.  I gazed at my goat with great elation and gave Chris a hug for fulfilling a long time dream.  As it was still steep we braced the goat with rocks so he wouldn’t roll down into the valley below.  As time was of the essence we quickly took pictures and began skinning.  I stuffed the goat hide with head and feet intact into my pack as I was determined to carry it myself.  I wasn’t sure whether my previous training prepared me for going up a 65 degree mountain with a pack full of billy, but I was prepared to give it my best shot.   Chris already had a route picked out for us as we needed to climb back up to the quad.  It wasn’t the same way back as there was few vegetation for handholds.  I had suggested dropping into the valley below but Chris referred it as ‘Hell Valley’ as it’s covered with 30’ willows.

Off we went, me doing the crawling and clinging this time, not out of fear but of exhaustion to keep from sliding back down and ending up the same way as the goat.

It wasn’t much farther up when we exchanged our loads with Chris taking the goat and I took some of her things.  It felt like I was floating for my pack now was far lighter.  We continued around the mountain as there was good vegetation for handholds.  It was starting to get dusk and I suggested we find a place to spend the night, however Chris was determined to get off the mountain.  We continued on with the terrain getting worse with each step.  One spot we came to looked especially difficult to cross.  Chris went first with her pack and slipped but managed to grab a rock outcropping to prevent herself from falling farther.  Because of her position she was unable to dig her rope out and all I had was a 50’ para cord.  With my heart in my mouth I scrambled to get the rope out and tossed the end to her and digging my feet into the ground to hold her weight.  She wrapped the rope around her wrist several times and was able to pull herself back to a spot regaining good footing.  After we both took time to steady our pounding hearts it was mutually agreed we needed to find a suitable spot to spend the night on the mountain.  I had enough excitement for that day!

Finding a goat was far easier than finding a flat spot on the side of a mountain.  We did manage to find a ledge large enough for the two of us and our packs but it wasn’t flat.  Changing into something dry was very important as our base layers were wet.

Chris managed to find a narrow spot and dug out a small depression in order to sleep.  I commented that with one roll she would be a goner to which she just laughed.  I decided to remain in a seated position and Chris gave me ½ a foam pad to sit on.  We also each had an emergency sleeping bag.  This combination kept us relatively warm throughout the night.

It was a clear night with no wind and crisp air.  The stars were shining and twinkling like sparkling diamonds against the black sky.  The moon was a bright sliver and I watched it slowly ascend high into the sky.   Regardless of the cramps in my calves or the discomfort of a slow drip of water landing on my head all night I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this experience and adventure.  Laying there with only my thoughts for company I looked back on the day and was filled with pleasure and a deep contentment.  How many others could have accomplished what I had today?  The wonders of the night sky, the images of the goat dropping on my first shot, the excitement and joy on Chris’s face upon finding the goat with the horns intact.  It was all worth the exhaustion of the climb back up, the cramps and discomfort of sleeping on the side of the mountain.  I fell asleep for a few hours with a smile on my face only to wake up shivering before sunrise.  It was good to see the sky lighten in the east as this meant I would warm up and we would get off the mountain today.

As the sky began to brighten we looked at each other in wonderment as to how we had managed to climb up to the ledge.  As the first rays began to crest over the peaks I began to warm up and I gazed with uneasiness at the route down and across to the ridge where yesterday we had lunch. Was it only yesterday?  Expressing my anxiety of free climbing, Chris convinced me that we had the strength and ability to make it.  Checking the distance with her range finder to yesterday’s lunch spot eased my worries as it was only 280 yards away as the crow flies.  The only problem was we were not flying and the path to our goal was filled with some very steep rough rocky ravines.

It would be about 500 yards by the time we went up and down the draws.  This flatlander from the prairie had never experienced hiking in this type of environment and all the training I did over the past 1 ½ years never compared to what we had travelled and what was still to follow.  Chris pulled out her rope and taught me a few knots.  It was slow going but each time I trekked the length of the rope it gave me a much more relaxed feeling.  A few times she would point out the path we would be taking and most times I looked at her as if she were crazy.  But it never was as bad as it looked once you began to work your way up or across.

The strength of the low growing mountain laurel was astounding and really helped a great deal.  Chris also had some screw in corks for our boots which helped us dig in better while side hilling.  She also wore gloves with rubber pads which enabled her to grip everything much better.  I would highly recommend them.

3 ½ hours later found us back on our previous days lunch spot, relieved and exhausted.  The hard part was over and although we still had a 2 ½ hour hike through dead falls and tangle foot I was actually looking forward to it!  On the way down we again switched packs and I only fell about 10 times.  Soon the quad was in sight and I was so ready to dump the pack and ride for a while even though it meant face slapping willows.  Several hours later we reached Cameron Ridge and weighed our packs.   Chris’s with the goat weighed 68lbs and my pack was 40lbs.  My goat measured 9 3/4” with 6” bases.  A fantastic goat!

It’s a tough job Chris chose and it astonished me how deep she reached within to carry that pack, never losing her positivity and humor as well as getting me off the mountain.  Helen Keller’s quote on the bottom of her emails ‘life is a daring adventure…or nothing’ says it all.  Many thanks to Chris for her encouragement, strength and tenacity during the most exciting hunt of my life!

Bob Anderson

Carroll, Iowa

 

 

 

Our Stories

2013 Season

We opened up camp first week of July, and immediately had to repair the tack tent frame once more.  It had been a long winter with lots of heavy snow.   It was wonderful to be here once more!  The horses arrived a few days later and immediately headed down to their stomping grounds in the meadow below.   Our summer of hiking and trail rides started out slow, but picked up in August after word began to circulate that we were open for business.

Fall came upon us quickly, but not before we had everything ready for our clients comfort and success.   The huckleberries and blue berries were so abundant, we even managed time to pick some for ourselves and thanks to a friend of ours had jam made for our clients.

Black bears were first on our agenda and with the huge amount of berries there should have been one standing behind every berry bush.  However, since there wasn’t a salmon run this fall it brought the grizzlies inland for food, resulting in most of the black bears leaving.  We chased some around and did take two beautiful bears, with one on its way to Poland

We began our moose season end of September hunting out of our cabins on the far end of Ghost Lake.   The amount of sign was absolutely incredible with few moose seen.   One morning we had two moose come up to the cabins pre-dawn. The following day he circled the boat thirty yards away, and the next day beat up the bushes fifty yards away, never completely stepping out.   The rut had kicked in earlier than usual and as the valley is long and narrow most of the bulls had already picked up their cows and headed for higher country, just a few days before our arrival.   The weather was strange, from snow fall to heavy rains, with none of the days staying really cold.

We had far better success out of our main camp at Cameron Ridge for moose, with three moose for the four hunters. Unfortunately the black bear continued to stay hidden hunt.    We celebrated Thanksgiving again with a large turkey along with our clients and some friends travelling up from Likely.

After the last tail lights pulled out we began shutting down camp for the winter.   A day later our horses left for winter pasture, I’m sure they were happy to leave!    The following Sunday we returned to drive a couple of ATV’s with gear down to Quesnel Lake to finish off our moose season.    We had tied our pontoon boat at the neighbours dock for the summer.  When we arrived it was mostly sitting on land as the water had receded so far!  It was an interesting and challenging project to get our boat out, we did it!

Our last hunt off Quesnel Lake was very successful taking two moose for both our clients, one the first day and the other the last day, within the last hour.

A few days later I headed for Alberta to guide a mule deer hunt purchased through my donation to GOABC.   The amount of snow was astonishing, about 2’.  Because of the huge amount of snow spot and stalk was out of the question and I spent several days scouting out some great places to set up a blind.  Unfortunately over the next 6 days we saw very few mule deer as nothing moved out of the timber.

Testimonial comments from the bear hunt this past spring…bottom line is that I don’t have any negatives…and I’m pretty critical:

  • extremely diligent in getting hunter on game, even in very trying conditions that Mother Nature throws at you, great positive attitude…realistic evaluator of her hunting client’s physical condition…safety oriented…can make tough decisions which might not be initially popular to her client, but absolutely the right thing to do for the success of the hunter…communicates in a very helpful way.
  • very enjoyable to be around…always upbeat…loves to laugh…good conversationalist…good communicator…has lots of hunting stories.
  • tough as nails…can steer a quad through some unbelievably rough trails without mishap…has pistons for legs and can pack a lot of weight…very impressive…meets unforeseen Mother Nature’s challenges head on and totally focused on solving the problem, e.g. taking 3 hours to cross a swollen stream, getting back to our cabin very late at night by boat in a rainstorm, etc.
  • patient and helpful…since I’m 65 years old, frequently asked if I needed to stop while hiking to get to where we hunted grizzly…told me how she handled a foreign hunter older than me to hike along a trail that took him 5 hours while it took me 2 hours, and would have taken her only a little over an hour…that’s patience extraordinaire and excellent client service.
  • very good accommodations…rustic log cabin, wood stove, great meals…true hunting-in-the-bush experience for city-slicker hunting clients.
  • thinks about details…reminds hunters of things they need to pack before heading out (e.g. extra snacks, socks, gloves, shirts, rainwear, etc.)…prepared for backwoods challenges, e.g. nylon rope to cross streams, fire starting materials, etc.
  • loves the guiding business…20 years experience…gets along well with fellow guides in her area and has developed mutually beneficial relationships with guides whose areas adjoin hers…as good as any male guide I’ve ever hunted with and better than most.
  • well-regarded by government fish and game personnel familiar with her operation.
  • very good equipment, seems to be very organized
  • knows her hunting area and where game might be, good sense of direction in the woods…loves animals, fascinated by Mother Nature’s creatures that we encountered, large or small.
  • prepares downed game very well…excellent skinner, very detailed and precise care of my bear hides….clever use of bear skull, bear hands, and human cap for once-in-a-lifetime pictures…very funny.

Overall…an extremely enjoyable hunting trip which was very successful, having taken a beautiful mountain grizzly and a black bear….no hesitation about recommending Chris to any hunter
   It sounds like you paid me to say these things, but I really mean them…and they reflect the feedback from your references that I called…totally positive.

Mal Vaughan

San Antonio Texas

 

Spring 2010 Bear Hunt

Spring 2010 Bear Hunt

 

June 14th, 2010

Our spring season was looking really good until our grizzly hunt cancelled and unfortunately we have been unable to re-sell it. It’s a little frustrating as we have an abundance of grizzly in our area and they are much bigger than most inland grizzly as they are salmon fed. As with the other game here the grizzly has had very little hunting pressure. I have been itching to get into some of the avalanche chutes with clients as that’s the place to hunt them in the spring. There are some fantastic slides that may have any number of bears on them at one time. However, on the brighter side we may have a black bear hunter coming later this month from Turkey. His wife will be travelling with him as well and I’m getting really excited as he has never hunted black bear before! And it’s always such a pleasure to see the excitement and joy on their face! We have had to push the hunt back a little as the snow hasn’t quite melted off the road yet. But once we get in there it’s going to be great! That’s it for now but I will be back and keep you posted.

 

 

 

Tuesday May 18

It’s been a busy day packing up EVERYTHING, all the equipment, gear, clothing, and building material. We headed to McBride at 4:00pm to spend the night with my brother and his wife. The first part of the 9 hour drive went well. We took along two of our hounds, Metro and Yodel just in case we needed to chase down a wounded bear and of course for company.

We booked a couple from Istanbul, Turkey who would be arriving on the 21st. Sevim and Tony Trupia made the long journey to Williams Lake to come spring bear hunting for two black bear and one grizzly. Two years ago Tony had been diagnosed with lung cancer and at his last checkup he was given a clean bill of health. So this hunt was very important for Tony and Sevim and we would work our hardest to make one of his dreams come true.

Heading into BC in the spring is always a pleasure as most times they are far ahead of us when it comes to growth. The vegetation here is phenomenal, you can practically watch things grow in BC. The bear hunting here is far better than Alberta as far as the amount of bears and it’s so much more fun doing a spot and stalk. We saw an enormous black bear in their field, but by the time I got there to get some video he was finished eating. Things are looking good.

We spent a pleasant evening solving the world problems, went to bed late and got up early so we could get to camp a little earlier in the day.

 

 

 

Wednesday May 19,

Pulled into Comet Creek shortly after 3pm, the road was in good condition. Danny was ahead of me and had seen a couple of black bears at the Cariboo River. Everything looked good, not much mice activity which is always a blessing. We unpacked most of everything, cleaned our cabin and began to settle in.

Peter and Fraser arrived around 7:00 to help with the hunt and getting the place operational for our summer season. On the way to camp Peter saw four black bear at the Cariboo River. Things are looking good!

 

 

 

Thursday May 20,

We left for Williams Lake early as the road isn’t open yet to drive through Likely and it’s an extra 1 ½ hours via Quesnel. On our drive six black bears were eating along the road. We picked up the hunting licenses, the two camp containers in Likely and bought enough groceries to last the entire hunt. It’s been a long and busy day. We spent the night with a couple of friends, and of course solved more world problems!

 

 

 

Friday May 21,

It was time to repack the pathfinder as we don’t know how much baggage they have brought with them. We strapped as much as possible on the roof without caving it in, and the remainder into the back. After a great breakfast we headed for the airport. Of course the plane was early and Sevim and Tony were waiting for us. I was really happy to see that there wasn’t much baggage and we managed to get everything in with room to spare for all the wine, champagne and whiskey we purchased in Quesnel. Tony is a smoker and as there is a non- smoking policy in my vehicle there were frequent stops along the way to keep him happy. Outside of Wells we stopped for lunch and of course a smoke. It was cold and snowing! Welcome to Beautiful British Columbia! After settling them into their cabin we went out for an evening hunt. On our way back to camp there was a small Black Bear which crossed the road then disappeared into the ditch. It got our adrenaline pumping! The weather was cool, windy and rainy.

 

 

 

Saturday May 22,

Cool morning again with fresh snow falling up high. Two Canadian Geese have taken residence here in our yard; they come every morning and evening for several hours at a time. After a great breakfast we headed out for our first day’s hunt. Just before noon I spotted a medium size Black Bear and we did a great stalk on it. The wind was good and it was unaware we were even there. Sevim had her video camera ready for some action. It was a 97 yard shot, and Tony was ready using his tripod he had brought with him. I was certain this was a dead bear, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him shoot to the left and slightly below him. The bear ran down the road, then up into the cutblock, stopped with a good broadside shot at 137 yards. He’s dead now! Another miss, now I’m wondering what’s up with this guy. The bear moved farther up the hill and disappeared over the top. We rounded the corner on the road, but Tony was unable to get in another shot. Tony was very upset and as it turned out one of the legs on the tripod had given out slightly, hence the miss. Well, back to finding another bear.

Later that day Danny spotted a beautiful blond grizzly so off we raced to try and get a shot at it and hopefully everything would fall into place. This same grizzly had been spotted three times prior so it was just hanging around the same area. It was a small grizzly however the color made up for its size. Tony was going to make the decision upon seeing it whether he wanted it or not. We never did see it and after walking slowly and quietly up the road we decided to wait there awhile and see whether he would come back out. Meanwhile Danny headed back to camp and within five minutes saw three black bear! Go figure! We sat until our patience ran out and off we went to drive down the main road. There were six different grizzly tracks headed in either directions, three were made earlier that morning which was a sow and cub with a big boar following them. It was getting late and time for supper.

 

 

 

Sunday May 23,

We woke to a cloudy, cool drizzly day, but that doesn’t bother the bears. After breakfast we headed out to see whether we could find the boar whose tracks we had seen. We didn’t find him, however it was a good morning for bears. Three black bear, one of which was a sow and three cubs, all from this spring, then later across the valley in a cutblock we spotted another black bear travelling along at a good pace. Jumping into the Bronco we hurried over to try and intercept him. He was gone by the time we got there, oh well this one wasn’t for Tony. Looking back across to where we had been, we saw a grizzly sow with one cub. Sevim managed to get some video of them, but they were a long way away. It was interesting to watch them as they made their way feeding along the road. As the bears came to where I had sat previously glassing the sow sniffed around the log then immediately tore down the mountain. I tell you they can run just as fast down hill as they can uphill! Several hundred yards later they finally slowed down. Our travels took us down an old logging road with the most incredible amount of moose sign I had so far seen. The amount of rubs and tracks were amazing. I catalogued that place for future moose hunting.

Meanwhile Danny took his ATV down the road to see how much snow there was. Along the way he spotted a smaller grizzly boar that stayed on the road for a few minutes. Then farther a strange sight, a sow in the ditch with her head stuck in a culvert with the cub jumping on the road above her. Danny sat and watched for several minutes until the cub finally managed to get her attention and she popped her head out of the culvert and they took off into the brush. As it was getting late we headed back to camp for supper. As the last touches of supper were being put together I dug out the hummingbird feeder. Last year there were a few of them buzzing around checking out the red curtains. They are such a delight to watch that I was determined to set out a feeder this year. I was thrilled when one showed up, then all hell broke loose. News travels fast out there and suddenly there were more than ten, scrapping and beating on each other to get some sugar water. Three different species were at the feeder. Over the next several days the numbers dwindled and Danny figured they went into a diabetic coma!

 

 

 

Monday May 24,

Yeah!!! Tony shot his first Black Bear today at 433 meters, right through the base of the neck. Tony’s tripod didn’t buckle this time. Incredible shot. No need for the dogs, the bear dropped like a rock, a big beautiful black bear with a white V on its chest which is called a chevron. Don’t ask my why. Maybe the first person to shoot a black bear with a white V was Mr. Chevron. Maybe it’s something I should research so I sound really brilliant the next time someone asks me. After taking numerous pictures and video we skinned it, headed back to camp to celebrate, drink champagne and to tell the story over and over.

 

 

 

Tuesday May 25,

We woke up to a day of clouds and cool wind and no bears the entire day. The two resident hunters saw a sow with cub down the road, about where Danny had seen her two days before. The vegetation is getting greener and more lush every day.

Danny and Fraser headed for our main camp, Cameron Ridge, to get some salt for the hide. There was 2’ of snow still on the road 1 ½ miles to camp. Hiking in went ok, it was trying to walk on that rotten snow with a load that made things rather difficult on the return trip. The camp looked good; a martin had found its way into the pantry and had a great Christmas. On the other hand that meant no mice activity as that is their main staple of food, besides wooden spoons which they ate last year.

Wednesday May 26,

Today is cloudy with partial sunshine. Not much activity again this morning, however this afternoon we went after a Black Bear somewhat smaller than the one Tony had shot. He disappeared rather quickly though and there was no chance of a shot. We stopped and chatted with a resident hunter for a few minutes that had just spooked a black bear in the direction we are travelling, maybe he’ll be back out when we drive by. No such luck. I think it is the same bear we had spooked a couple of days ago.

We found the cutblock that Danny had mentioned yesterday with the western beauty flowers that bears just love. The root is tubular and sweet, I’ve tried one and they would make a great sweet wine. No bears were there so we are coming back in the morning to sit awhile.

Thursday May 27,

Nothing is happening so we are changing our routine and left camp this morning at 7:00am to a cool, cloudy day with some sun. Danny preceded us with his ATV. We caught up with Danny just before the flower patch. As he got off the ATV he ducked down and frantically waved at us to hurry to him. Parking the Bronco we snuck over to where Danny had last seen the bear. It was a chocolate Black Bear. That would make a great second trophy! He was out of sight for a few minutes then briefly popped back into sight, but Danny was the only one to see him before he disappeared completely. We stayed until 10:30 then slowly drove back to Comet Creek.

Around 4:00pm we headed back to the flowers, nothing was eating on them and after staying until 7:00pm we headed slowly back. Part way back we encountered Danny racing towards us, to let us know of a black bear he had seen not once but twice at the same spot. If our luck holds he’ll still be there. Off again! Parked the Bronco at the corner and walked the 150 yards to where Danny had spotted him. Walking slowly down the road to our left I suddenly saw a flash of black and rustling. Stopping we stood quietly waiting as the bear was undecided whether we were friend or foe. The wind was in our favor and Mr. Black Bear began to slowly make his way around us. Occasionally I was able to hear him rustling through the dry grass. Finally I saw him about 6 yards away behind the willows. He was very cautious and unsure what we were. I was going crazy trying to point him out to Tony. At that distance it was by far too close for a rifle with a scope, so I offered him my 30/30 which he declined. Tony finally saw the bear and shot. I watched the bear spin and the noise he made was a good sound. However after Danny and I went slowly into the ditch there was no bear and no blood. How could it have been possible to miss at that distance? As we found out later it was easy if your scope was still turned to the highest power!

Tony was pretty upset at himself but after letting him know about the scope it was easier for him to accept. Back to camp for another wonderful supper, wine to drink, more stories to tell, and laugh until our sides hurt.

Friday May 28,

It’s a bad day today as we are out of fuel, wine, whiskey and could use some groceries. It’s time to make a dash to town. We hunted in the morning to no avail, and then Sevim and I left for Quesnel. On the way we saw one Black Bear, of course Tony wasn’t with us. We stocked up on everything we could think of and with items we didn’t think of.

On the way back we saw one more bear in our area and two we had seen on the way into town. Danny and Tony headed out on the ATV around 5:30pm to do some evening hunting. They arrived back about 8:00pm with having seen only one small Black Bear a mile from camp.

Saturday May 29,

It was a cool morning as Danny and Tony left early using the ATV once more. A couple of hours later we heard the wonderful news. Another Black Bear on the ground! It was smaller than his first one, but it was beautiful. Tony had again taken a long shot, around 300 meters. Then an awesome cowboy shot as he called it, off hand at a 100 meters, taking the bear down. After many pictures, video and poses, Danny and Peter got busy skinning, butchering and fleshing the bear. We left later in the afternoon to take a slow drive down towards the flowers in hopes of seeing a grizzly along the way or with his face buried in the flowers. We didn’t see any grizzly nor black bear however we did see very fresh sign on the road to our destination. And what a pile! We did see a cow moose up in one of the cut blocks. We glass the same spot every time we drive by and finally were rewarded with some sort of creature on the hillside.

Sunday May 30,

Today we left to check out a very special spot. It’s a long ways in and hopefully Tony will be able to make it. He has incredible will power considering what he has endured the past two years. Off we went arriving far into the afternoon, but Tony did manage to make it. We stayed a couple of hours hoping that a grizzly would come out to feed, but it was not to be. We used a push/pull program on Tony for the return trip and managed to arrive back to the Bronco before dark. Tony is quite an inspiration and made me realize that yes if you really want to do something…

On the drive back to camp there was a fresh big pile on the road. Yup, all the work and he was wandering on the road.

Monday May 31,

We slept in this morning on account of our long day yesterday. Breakfasted at 10:00am and left an hour later to check out some other spots. Along the way we ran into our neighboring outfitter, stopped and chatted for a little while. He was also grizzly hunting and had seen five the previous day. We sat and glassed across the valley into the cut block for about an hour then drove the cut as there are a few places hidden from view. There had been a smaller grizzly travelling the road, but he wasn’t there that day.

We headed for the Ghost Lake Falls to show Sevim and Tony. These falls are fabulous. We ran into a resident hunter who had just finished setting up camp, wonder if he will be alive in the morning as the mosquitos were horrid. Sevim and I hiked down to the lake taking a few flower pictures along the way. They were quick stops as we were getting eaten alive.

Down the road we drove once more hoping to see a grizzly wandering merrily along. Tony began lamenting as to where all the grizzlies were. As we joked and laughed along the way, eating and not paying much attention to what was happening around us, we looked up and there was a grizzly walking down the road heading the other direction. Stopping immediately Tony jumped out much faster than than ever before, however his rifle sling caught around the base of the seat and delayed him a few seconds. As he was struggling I grabbed his tripod and he quickly set up for the shot. The grizzly continued to walk slowly down the road not paying attention to any noise we were making except for the bear heard the shell slide into the chamber even though we were 315 meters away. He stopped, turned and stood up peering in our direction then quickly dropped down and ran down the road. I was watching Tony about to squeeze the trigger when the bear disappeared around the corner. I kept watching and a few seconds later he appeared again running to the left. From our vantage point I wasn’t sure whether he was still on the road or had entered the bush. We sat for about 30 minutes hoping that maybe the grizzly would return or continue walking down the road again after deciding that there really wasn’t a threat, but no such luck. We slowly made our way to the spot where we had last seen him only to discover his tracks entering the bush but there was no further sign of him.

We continued down the road until we hit the snow. I walked farther to see if the grizzly had at any point come back onto the road but he decided that the bush was much safer. During the slow drive back towards camp we were all analyzing and replaying the scene. Almost back to Comet Creek I decided to head back up there as maybe there was a chance after this long lapse of time he may have come back out to the road once more. Along the way we saw a very nice black bear. He was rude and didn’t stay for any length of time for photo’s or video but disappeared down the embankment. We didn’t see the grizzly again nor any other grizzly that evening and decided to head back to camp. There was no triumphant return with a band playing and crowds cheering, only the wine to drown our sorrows.

Tuesday May 1,

Since one day had been taken up with town chores this was then their last day of the ten day hunt. It wasn’t a very pleasant day with rain, some sunshine and mostly clouds. We did see a small black bear on our trip up the road but no grizzly. We sat for awhile then back again. We have been hindered by the snow still on the road as we couldn’t access more of our territory. It had been an early spring, but cold. With Tony’s inability to do much walking each day it limited our options, but even though we did see lots of black bear and grizzly. It was a matter of being at the right place at the right time. Tony did not get his grizzly but he went home with two beautiful black bear, and many wonderful stories. We thoroughly enjoyed both of them and hope that one day they may return for another chance at a grizzly.

Goat

2010 Mountain Goat Hunt

Ok now to our goat hunt or lack thereof… For a month prior to Arlene’s arrival I tried to get up the mountain and find a goat before the season. As her hunt was first I could do exactly that. She is 65, an incredible lady and I sure hope I will be in that great of shape and mind set, mind you if I keep guiding I may only last another ten years. So here it is August and between the horrid weather, running to town for more supplies I didn’t manage to do enough scouting nor climb enough mountains. You may have heard the west was on fire and just when things were beginning to slow down for me and the weather was improving…smoke rolled in for six days. I was screaming with frustration, then it was time to pick Arlene up from the airport and time had run out for me. Ok we can still do this, we have ten days.

September 1st opening morning it snowed up high and continued to rain. Great. Visibility sucked until later that day when the sun decided to come out, pretty fantastic picture with a dusting of snow on the Cariboo Mountains but it doesn’t help with a goat hunt. The morning was spent touring until the weather broke, stopped at Ghost Lake to see the falls, then continued down the road to do more glassing. Holy cow, the dot moved! “Arlene quit jiggling the truck I think I see a goat!” It was, wow, after all these weeks of looking and trying to look and here he was all the time. I tell you I did the jig of happiness! We watched him for an hour, and then drove slowly back to camp as Arlene has a black bear tag as well. Back on the main road a cow and calf moose came busting out of the bush, and stood on the road for several minutes. She suddenly became quite alert looking down the road which we couldn’t see as it was on the downside of the hill. The cow and calf split up, each diving back into the bush in opposite directions. I thought it may be a vehicle. NO, it’s when you least expect it, here was a black bear hauling ass down the hill away from us. Arlene jumped out but had trouble chambering a shell. He was going way too fast anyways and once they hit that bush you couldn’t see them even if they stood five feet from you. It was a great first day. Tomorrow will be even better, it’s goat day!

We saw the goat had moved farther down into the valley and were quite excited as we wouldn’t need to climb as far up. However upon hiking into the valley we could see that it would be far too difficult for Arlene and so had to give up on that goat. The next day we headed down Ghost Lake to hunt the range behind the cabins. Shortly after getting settled the weather went to pot, with low fog, cold weather and pretty much stayed that way for the next 7 days. Needless to say goat hunting was pretty tough. Dave and I did manage to get up top above camp one day, but unfortunately didn’t see any goats. The hunt ended with Arlene leaving for home with no goat, but we sure enjoyed her company and had lots of fun.

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.