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Calling All Moose
This story originally appeared in Robin’s Outdoors and the print edition of Bangor Daily News last week.
Calling all moose! Or at least two moose. That’s what I did yesterday. Around 9:45 am, while picking the last of the corn in the garden, I heard excited voices from what sounded like a nearby dirt road. I couldn’t understand them but the excitement was unmistakable. I grabbed my camera, pen and paper and jumped in the truck in search of successful hunters. I drove half or three-quarters of a mile out West Lake Road to a small intersection and stopped to listen. I didn’t see or hear anyone. I drove a short distance further, listened again and turned around to come home.
I’ve done a little moose calling here at home. There’s nobody around to hear or see me so it doesn’t matter if I make a complete fool of myself. I’m learning. I’m not great at grunting but apparently, I’m not terrible at it either.
What the heck. There wasn’t anyone around to see me. I parked the truck just past a small four way intersection. I stood in the middle of the West Lake Road with a gravel side road in front of me and an overgrown grassy road behind, and I grunted. Nothing. I grunted again, this time a little deeper and louder. Still nothing. I looked up and down the road to be sure I didn’t have an audience. One more time, then I needed to get back to the garden. “Wuh. Wuh. Wuh.”
I heard the sharp snap of a branch giving way under pressure from beyond the gravel road. “Wuh Wuh.” I thought I saw a little movement. “Wuh wuh wuh.” More movement.
Oh my gawd. Now what? I don’t have a moose permit. I couldn’t do anything with this moose. I debated with myself for a few seconds. Keep doing this or quit? I wasn’t sure of the right thing to do. The only way I can shoot a moose is with my Canon. Keep grunting or get back in the truck?
I grunted again.
I waited but he didn’t step into sight. I realized he had to have seen me standing there in the middle of the road. I was kind of goofing off. I didn’t expect to be close enough to a moose to be heard, and I especially didn’t think it was going to answer me. I walked back to the safety of the truck and grunted again. I didn’t see him for the next five or six minutes. I grunted, and got my camera out and ready to go. While I waited, I called my uncle. His brother-in-law and nephew are here to hunt. I left voice mail telling him exactly where I was, and that I was watching a small bull.
I couldn’t see or hear the moose so I took a few steps toward the intersection to see if he’d gone back into the trees. He was there, almost to the main dirt road. I grunted and this time he grunted back. Ohh! I wasn’t expecting that. I love an adrenaline rush! I took a few steps backward to the open truck door. He came close enough to the road to see him through saplings growing on the corner, then walked into the middle of the road.
He wasn’t at all interested in me and wandered off the road and disappeared into the woods. He did at least look over his shoulder when I said “Watch out for hunters!”
The entire adventure took about 10 minutes from when I heard the first crack until he walked away. I spent very little time actually watching him but it was still very exciting! I need more practice grunting. I’ve worked on a cow call, and though I haven’t mastered it, it’s respectable. A bull grunted at my call Thursday evening last week.