It’s been the toughest year to get motivated for hunting season. I’ve spent about 80 days over the last three years hunting moose and we’ve broken the Rhino, the truck, and the boat several times , trying to fill the freezer.
The dull grey sky loomed over us like a curse as we loaded the truck and camper one Saturday morning; everything felt wrong about the adventure we were about to embark on.
Given the problems we’ve encountered with the truck over the past year , I had little faith that we would get out of town. As usual , Hayley had little concern about the truck , or breaking down , or getting a moose.
The leaves were green, willows were barely showing sign of fall , and I wondered if my timing was off , again , for the forth year in a row.
As we got further from town the sky started to clear, the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds , bringing the gloomy North to life.
Arriving at Little Salmon Lake , we were surprised to find the campground empty.
We unloaded the boat and drove it to our campsite to find a dead raven floating near the shore. This added to the bad feeling I already had, because the raven is my favourite bird. We floated the raven towards the river to help it on its journey to the spirit world.
This got the better of me and I felt we were not in the right place , so we loaded the boat a few hours later and moved to the Pelly River in Faro , before dark.
Early the next morning , we were floating down stream, by mid-day the temperature was nearly 20°C. We continually removed layers as the day went on. Around 3 p.m. I was actually able to take off my shirt and catch some rays.
As we drifted , we talked about school, work, and things we had to do before the snow came; the last thing on my mind was getting a moose. I shut off all the stresses from work and our fast-paced lives.
But the Pelly didn’t treat us well; the second day we destroyed a prop; broke the skeg off the motor , and barely made it back to camp. Losing a prop every two days wasn’t an option because I only had one spare, so we moved again early the next morning.
When we arrived at the next lake on the tour the warm weather had turned to early-day frost, and rain later in the day. We found a place to call home for the day and retired early for the night.
As daybreak came , Hayley’s cold got the better of her , and I let her catch some extra sleep. The sun barely lit the morning sky , and the cold cut through me like a frozen knife as I loaded the boat.
Idling from the dock to return to our spot for the morning I spotted a broken aspen floating in the water, I paid little attention, and continued on-course to my destination.
As the branch got closer , I was able to make out through the binoculars that it was actually a small set of antlers.
The “floating tree” was actually the first Bull Moose I had seen in several years. Following the moose to shore I was able to get a good shot from less than 100 yards. The bullet landed clean and the moose lay still in seconds.
Once I got him on shore I returned to camp to get Hayley.
“ Hayley get up, we have to go, I got a moose,” I said; and she replied, “Are you being serious?”
I expected nothing less.
We field-dressed our moose and headed home.
Three years, thousands of kilometers, dozens of attempts , and a ton of support from my family and friends finally paid off.
Moose is on the menu — after a long due.