Columbus, OH –-(Ammoland.com)- USSA’s Vice President of Marketing, Doug Jeanneret, tells his tale of hunting for one of the animals at the top of his hunting “bucket list”: a bull moose.
I began hunting at nine years old with my dad and brother, chasing rabbits, quail, and pheasants in Northwest Ohio. There weren’t many deer then but the love of hunting small game instilled a passion in me that made my quest for big game an easy, and necessary, transition as the years rolled on.
Over those years, I’ve been lucky to be able to check off a number of animals from my so-called “bucket list”. However, the possibility of taking the one at the top of the list seemed to grow fainter as my wrinkles increased – my desire to shoot a bull moose. My brother-in-law changed all of that when he convinced me to accompany him on his great adventure after getting a moose hunt through a local sportsmen banquet, .
We decided to drive to Newfoundland despite the 39 hours it would take from Ohio. Although most thought we were crazy, driving would allow us to carry gear for any condition and also to bring home our bounty if we were lucky enough to score.
We left on the last Thursday of September and the trip to the “Rock” as it’s called by locals – was nothing short of amazing – driving through upstate New York, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia with the fall foliage near its height.
After a six hour ferry ride to cross the St. Laurence Seaway, we were finally in Newfoundland. However, our outfitter in Roddickton, Ross Decker of Moose Country Adventures, was another eight hour ride after the ferry and then we had another 20 mile trek to camp.
Most of the road to camp was gravel with the last few miles being literally the roughest road you could imagine. After nearly 30 bone-jarring minutes on those last few miles, we arrived at the camp – a clean and very comfortable house on a beautifully calm lake.
Up early the next morning to the sound of the generator (no electricity but for that) and the smell of eggs and real Canadian bacon, I was ready for my adventure to begin. My guide Junior and I boarded a small, very traditional, wooden boat as dawn broke and slowly slipped through the water to the other side of the lake.
I am a bowhunter and had my recurve with me this first morning. My gear from Ohio also included my muzzleloader in case 30 yard shots weren’t in the cards during the hunt. We spotted a moose this first morning, however after one call, the huge cow let us know this was her area and didn’t appreciate the cow moose we seemed to have with us. We saw one good bull the rest of the day but he was too far to stalk.
The next morning we planned to hike several miles to a valley which had not been hunted for years. Junior felt that it wasn’t going to be a good day for a recurve and that he had some stands we’d try later. So it was my Knight 50 cal. over my shoulder, heading up the mountain this morning.
We were only about 500 meters off the shore when we saw fresh tracks in the path we were following. Junior let loose with a cow call and immediately, a bull responded and we heard him crash through some brush.
When we reached a plateau, Junior’s voice cracked “there he is – get down”! I knelt on the ground and looked to my right. And there he came, almost at a trot, heading through the thick brush and turning toward us! I saw one side of his rack, and it registered this was a good bull.
As the moose turned to go around a small tree, I touched off a shot. Through the fire and the smoke (something you muzzle loading nuts will understand), I saw the bull wheel and go down.
We’ve all experienced the thrill of a tremendous hunt and the exhilaration that comes when you are successful, but I had never had the pleasure of something like this. The moose was dead on the ground and I found myself giving Junior a big, bear hug – something that a rough, tough commercial fisherman by trade, probably hadn’t gotten too often from a guy! But you know, joy is contagious, and we both laughed and back slapped for what seemed like many minutes.
My “bucket list” moose weighed approximately 900 pounds with 12 points and a 41 inch spread. A good animal for Newfoundland and that’s all I ever wanted out of this hunt. We also ranged the shot which was about 15 yards. Yeah, he was close. So much for not getting that bow shot today!
After more photos than I care to count, Junior began to bone out the animal quarter by quarter. For all of the horror stories I’d heard about packing out moose, this wasn’t bad at all. Of course, a call to the camp brought camp mate Mack and Chef Jessie up the mountain to help. And I was still so exhilarated with the morning’s events, the pack out was somewhat of a blur.
Four half mile trips and three hours later, nearly 300 pounds of boned moose meat, a cape and a set of horns were in our boat heading to the dock then back to Roddickton for processing.
There are many, many special moments as a hunter that I’ll take with me to the grave and you probably will too. But my first, and perhaps, only moose hunt is one moment I will never nor could ever forget.
About:The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen's organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. Visit www.ussportsmen.org.