I got into hunting toward the end of my post secondary education by a classmate of mine named Jason. He invited me to go out grouse hunting. I remember that we got three birds and after that, I immediately got my possession acquisition license and started going out on my own. I was hooked. Last year, I was invited by a work colleague of mine to enter our names into a draw for a moose tag. It was my first big game hunt. The way it works up in Ontario is that due to the population of moose, people enter their names, whether be individually or in a group, in a lottery. Some get the ability to hunt while others do not. Fortunately, last year we got a cow tag and manage to get that moose on Thanksgiving Monday; just as I got back from my friend’s wedding the day before. This year, I was invited again and we got a bull tag as our group was big enough that we had higher chances of getting a tag.
On Thanksgiving weekend, I got my stuff ready for the next morning and drove to the camp which is about an hour and a half away. We had a couple of drinks, caught up on life, displayed how sharp a knife was courtesy of my arm hair, the normal stuff. We were about 12 of us total but Chris, his brother, and myself crashed in his trailer. We woke up early the next morning and drove out to one of the sites where Chris, Mitch (another group member), and I were to sit in tree stands and wait for the moose. The others would go to other stands to cover more area. It was a pretty cold morning and it made me realize how lucky we were last year; the weather was nice, the sun was shining, it was t-shirt weather, and the hunt and ended relatively early in the morning. This time we weren’t so fortunate weather wise. It started to rain as soon as I got to the top of my tree stand. The rain was like icy needles. I happened to be facing the direction out of the rain and it was windy to boot. A couple of hours later we all decided to head back to the camp and meet with the other groups.
Chris’s nephew-in-law told us that while he was waiting, he heard rustling in the bushes behind him whenever his grandfather used the moose caller. Classic bull behaviour. Many of us were fairly inexperienced when it came to their behaviour and we didn’t really know what that meant. Chris told his brother to go to that site along with that group as that group was made up of newer moose hunters like myself although their outdoors experience was a lot more than my own. Lo and behold, they saw a bull as they were walking into the area. We didn’t even make it into our tree stands when we received the text saying moose was down. First day success! We field dressed the moose, transported it back, and hung it up for a little while prior to butchering. The rest of the afternoon was spent celebrating and cooking the back straps/tenderloin of the moose. It seems to be tradition for this group.
The next day we were able to sleep in and have a good breakfast. The forecast looked rather warm so we decided to butcher the moose since we didn’t want the wasps and flies to get on it. The heat could also risk the integrity of the meat. We had a lot of help and the process went smoothly. The group was pretty big so the shares were not the biggest but hey, it’s going to be some good eating for this year. Since there was a leftover bag of ground moose meat, we decided to have some drinks again and make a beautiful spaghetti dinner courtesy of Chris’s brother. To end a great weekend, I locked my keys in my car when I put my vest in the trunk. Shout out to Ford Roadside Assistance for managing to get a car unlocked in a pretty rural area. It was another awesome experience that I’d love to threepeat. Everyone is awesome and it’s a great time. Always a great learning experience too.