2010 Maine Moose Hunts

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Week 1

The first week of the 2010 moose season had Pieter Huebner from Bergey Windpower here in Maine as my sub permittee hunting moose with me on a tag it had taken me twenty years to draw. Well after some airline challenges Pieter finally made it to Bangor and we headed up I-95 to Millinocket with high hopes of taking a big bull moose on Monday. I had purchased a TC Encore Pro Hunter muzzleloader last fall and had hopes of taking my moose with it. I had sighted it in with 150 grains of 777 powder and it was shooting 2 inch groups at 100 yards, which was fine for moose hunting.

Well Monday morning found Pieter and I driving to a spot I had scouted the week before that looked like it held a good moose. We worked our way into the woods 1/2 mile from the dirt road everyone else was hunting and began to call our bull. Well after 20-30 minutes we heard a bull respond so we continued to call. Finally he was close and was raking alders about 70 yards away. From where Pieter was he could see its rack pretty well, but I couldn't see at all. When I finally could see the bull he was maybe 50 yards away and closing, and he was a monster. I slowly cocked the hammer of my encore, and discovered it wouldn't engage. The action was jammed. The bull ran forward towards our location and I opened the action of my encore and reclosed it hoping that I would get a chance to shoot, but the bull would have none of that and he was off like a shot. Pieter shot some good footage of it as it came in, but we did not get an opportunity to shoot this monster bull. We passed on two other bulls that day that were small, as it was only Monday.

Well Tuesday had us hunting all day and not seeing or hearing any moose. Wednesday was a copy of Tuesday and Thursday passed with us seeing no more game. Well it was getting down to the end of the week now. Well at last light Friday we had a bull sneak in silently and manage to escape as I missed my shot at it in the waning light. Well it was getting to be desperate times now. It was Saturday and I had yet to fill my moose tag. We were out at first light and hunted all day with no action. As the end of the day drew near I decided I would end my season, win or lose, where I had missed a small bull the day before. Pieter and I set up on the end of a grassy road and began to call. Every once in awhile I would hear something, so I continued to call. The sun began to set and finally I saw an antler and the bull slowly stepped into the open. I settled the crosshairs on it and squeezed the trigger, the bull bolted at the shot. It stopped a short ways off and I centered the crosshairs again and fired once more and it dropped to ground. After hunting from first light to last light on my moose hunt I filled my tag with a nice young bull that has already provided many fine meals.

Week 2

The second week of the 2010 moose season had Mike Healy who was here just a few weeks prior on a successful bear hunt, back in camp to take a Maine moose. Along with Mike was his brother Brian who was to be the cameraman. When they arrived in camp I mentioned to Brian that the toughest job of the week was that of the cameraman. Getting good footage during the heat of the moment can be difficult. We headed to the rifle range to be sure Mike's rifle was sighted in properly, and returned back to the lodge to get ready for what we hoped to be an action packed Monday.
Mike had drawn a tag for zone 18 which according to the statistics is gives about even odds on filling a moose tag. The success rate in this zone has historically been 50%. Well I had done a good amount of scouting to increase our odds of taking a good moose and had settled on the area we would hunt. Our first location in the morning had us calling right at first light on Monday morning. Shortly into our calling sequence I heard a bull, but after about 45 minutes I had yet to see it. As I rose out of the brush I was hidden in I suddenly spied a young bull moose, that let me walk to within 50 yards or so, before it got too nervous and disappeared into the brush. We continued to work further and further back on the winter road we were hunting and continued to fine more and more good bull sign, but we did not see the large bull that called this area home. We headed back to the truck to get some lunch and head off to hunt another spot I had found some good bull sign on.

We set up on the edge of large heath bog, and began to call loudly across the bog. About 10 minutes after I started calling I saw a silhouette of a bull coming across the bog towards us. I moved towards Mike who was hidden about 15 yards from me, and said a bull was coming. The bull was coming fast, and trying to get down wind of us. I could see it from my location perfectly, but Mike was having difficulty seeing it. I grunted as the bull closed within 50 yards and it stopped broadside. I told Mike to take the bull, but for some reason he couldn't see it. Finally the bull had enough and ran off across the heath. After it was gone I looked at Mike's scope and saw what the problem was. It was on high power, and the bull was really close. I dialed it down to 3 power, and told Mike it is easier to see a moving animal on low power, and often if you just aimed at an opening and waited the bull would step into the sight picture, and then you can shoot.

Well so far by noon we had two bulls in front of us and a lot of good time left to hunt. We covered some ground and called in a couple of other locations, but I had a great idea on where I wanted to hunt as the sun began to set. I had found an area with several wallows when I was scouting the week before, and it was there that I wanted to try as the sun began to set. We parked the truck and walked the 1/2 mile to the bottom of the winter road and found a spot to hide as we began to call. After 25-30 minutes I could hear a bull coming. From my vantage point could see it pretty well when it stepped out of the thick stuff. It stopped and raked an alder and slowly walked right passed Mike, who had listened to me earlier in the day, and waited for it to pass into his open shooting lane. He squeezed the trigger and the hammered the bull. As Mike began to work the action of his rifle for a follow up shot the bull reared up on its hind legs and dropped to the ground. It was a nice mature 50" bull moose. We dressed it off, and loaded it on the truck. That was the easy part. The hard part was driving back out. We got the truck mired in the mud, and it took some work and several hours, but we finally ended up getting the bull to the tagging station early the following afternoon. As for the footage that Brian was to capture, well as far as I know the best picture we have is the one taken with Mike's I-phone.

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