Pro Fishing, Bushcraft and Wild Edibles

Stories from the Field

The Great White Hunters

Posted by robouellettefishing on February 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

The Great White Hunters

I wrote most of this about 20 years ago …. When I was about 20 years old. You do the math…I’m “over the hill” now …..ha ha ha

I took a buddy of mine from college for the walk in the woods. He was from St Catherine’s area of Ontario and really wanted to experience hunting and the rugged back country of the North. To me, Corey was a tough streetwise “city boy” and spent most his time growing up playing competitive hockey.

It was partridge season and I had been down this back road dozens of times. My favorite place that dad took me hunting for birds when I was a child. The middle of October was moose season as well as partridge season and the chance of seeing ol’ Bullwinkle was pretty rare at this time of the year. Usually!

 

We parked my old gold Ford Tempo on the side of an abandoned logging road. I gave him a spare orange vest and hat and we headed in. Right away he noticed an old faded pop can off in the bush by a small gravel pit area and since he had been bugging me the whole trip to shoot the gun, I though that this would be the best time. I explained to him how to aim a shot gun and he fired a few successful rounds into the can and knocked it off the branch. He was surprised at the amount of kick and fire power it had.

We had walked about 3 miles on a winding trail back behind Crean Hill Mine road Northwest of Sudbury. Partridge hunting is pretty easy going – just a nice afternoon walk in the bush. We hiked along and chatted about college stuff -- like the ongoing top ten list of good looking girls at the college --- you know…cool dude college stuff.

About 3 miles from the car, a bag of chips and several forks in the path later, we came to an area where the ground was really beaten up – beaten so badly that it looked like someone just tilled a garden down the trail and into a small clearing. Welcome to the “rut” (mating season). I was about 20 years old and quite savvy in the bush but I had never seen anything like this before. Fresh tracks everywhere. I explained to Corey that it was an area that moose were mating but that they are very weary of humans and will leave at any sound or smell. I told him that when I see a moose in the bush, I like to sit and watch it for as long as I can but usually they don’t stick around too long after they have spotted or winded you.

We continued down the narrowed trail and came to side of a swamp and as we walked, Corey noticed a coiled wire from an old Hydro Pole that was lying off to the side. He said “I wonder how this got way back in here” and he pushed it with his boot. It was quite long and made a rustle in the bushes.

Instantly a huge Bull Moose let out a loud call sound right beside us. Aaaaaarrrrrffffff!!!

Oh my god….. It was so loud that I would compare it to the wail of a train whistle! The amount of air that this animal bellowed out could have filled up a double air mattress in one shot. Scared the living crap right out of me!!!

I dove down to the ground under the edge of the pines and could see the legs of this huge beast about 12 feet away from us. It was one of the biggest old grayed moose I have ever seen to this day. There were no big trees to climb – It was all swamp bush and small pines about 10 ft tall. I looked over and signaled to Corey to get down beside me – he was standing in the middle of the trail –mouth wide open in awe and staring as if we were at the zoo. He calmly walked over, kneeled down and said “What’s wrong? That thing there (pointing at my 12 gauge shotgun) will kill it if we have too eh?” – I said “this thing will only make it madder!” Corey’s face turned white instantly – I only had #6 birdshot for ammunition – we crouched quietly for a moment and he said “what’s that sound” – I said “that’s my heart beating!!” (For real… it was hard to believe for me too that it could pound like that) I think at that point, Corey realized that...if the guy with the gun is scared, then he is in really, really big trouble!!

The moose stamped his feet on the ground as he shifted around and back again. The entire ground rumbled deeply like a bus passing close by – then from in front of us and behind us, came the long moans of two Cow moose in heat. WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL!!

I motioned to Corey to sneak away. I figured we could hook up to a surveyor’s trail I noticed earlier on our way in, for a more direct route back to the car. We got up and crept away slowly and the big bull started thrashing and raking its antlers in the trees. The two of us hurried and ran down the rough trail – I paused and put a couple of shots into the air hoping to scare it off, then quickly reloaded. We found the surveyors trail and carried by adrenalin, stumbled our way over fallen logs protruding boulders and up and down ridges – I never thought I could run so far in work boots!

We made it back to the beginning of the main trail….phew! With about a half mile back to the car and we walked quickly, trying to catch our breath. Just then a partridge instantly fluttered and flew up from the brushes beside our feet and went into the bush – the sudden sound startled us again – we both laughed and I walked in with the gun ready and hoping to bring home supper. About a minute had passed as I searched for the bird Corey said to me from the trail side “Rob….I heard something” I said back to him in a loud whisper “A big something or a little something” Corey yelled back “A big something… and its coming this way!!” I ran out to the trail to see this huge moose crashing the bushes at the bottom of the ridge, his head tilted back and coming straight our way – if it was coincidence it was coming our way or not, or weather or not it was the same moose se encountered earlier, we were on the run again…full tilt back to the car. I guess the moose stopped or turned off, but at that point we did not care. Believe me…we found the energy to sprint all the way back to the car.

It started out as a bit of a quiet ride home but then we started to recount what happened and after we thanked our lucky stars, we had a good laugh. Funny thing was though…Corey never asked me to go hunting again….go figure.

Rob Ouellette

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