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Tag Archives: moose
I knew where I wanted to hunt for partridge this morning. It’s a place in Waite I was sure Tammy, who is new to the area, hadn’t been. There’s a clear cut that’s in the process of regenerating. There are acres of open land dotted with hardwood coppice, small jack and white pine, and some fir trees. The jack pine plantation was cut a few years ago. I thought we might find some birds there, and I had an ulterior motive. We might find moose hunters. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to interview and photograph a successful moose hunter.
Tammy mentioned Scott Harriman has a permit to moose hunt this week but she didn’t know where he might be. We talked about how many people it must take to load a moose and how it was done.
We drove out Bingo Road in Waite, past Dwelley’s gravel pit, and into the woods. It didn’t take long to see headlights through the mist. Someone was coming toward me on the narrow road. I backed up and pulled off to the side to make room for the vehicle. I waited a couple of minutes but it didn’t show up so I drove to meet them. “I think we have hunters,” I told Tammy.
They were finished with the hunt. We pulled up just in time to see Scott Harriman of Baileyville jump out of his truck. In a flash, Jeff Tomah drove an ATV onto the trailer behind Scott’s truck. Jeff pulled Scott’s moose behind him, neatly parking the ATV and moose on the trailer.
Ryan Lincoln of Baileyville joined Scott and McKenna for the hunt. McKenna is Scott’s daughter and the subpermittee on his hunt. She’s 10 years old. This is the first year she’s old enough to hunt. What a way to start out. Scott, McKenna and Ryan were in the woods very early this morning, long before sunrise. They checked their watches, waiting for the beginning of legal hunting time. They saw eight cows and a bull in the same place yesterday. The bull was too far away and unwilling to leave the cow he was interested in to answer their calls.
They called and waited. It didn’t take long. They spotted the bull coming across the clearing near two jack pines. Scott pulled the trigger and claimed his moose at 7:05 am. The ATV was unloaded and they dragged the moose closer to the road. Roger Harriman, Scott’s uncle, and Jeff Tomah came out to help. McKenna watched as they field dressed the moose. Tammy asked her if it was a little gross. McKenna nodded.
We went with Scott, McKenna and Ryan to Waite General Store when they tagged the moose. Wayne Seidl, co-owner of the store, measured the moose’s antlers, pulled a tooth, and recorded Scott’s license and permit numbers. He made note of whether the antlers are palmated (they are) or servicorn (like a deer’s antlers), and estimated the age. The bull field dressed at 699 pounds.
Congratulations to Scott, McKenna and Ryan on a successful hunt!
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.
Independence Day was cool, gray and sometimes rainy. We skipped the usual cookout fare of burgers, hotdogs and salads for moose stew. I packed carrots, potatoes, an onion, two pounds of moose stew meat in the cooler. Steve had charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid in the truck. We loaded kayaks and supplies and made our way upta camp.
Cooking in a Dutch oven outdoors over coals is simple. It takes a little practice to get the temperature and timing right. If you use too many coals your oven gets too hot; too few and it’s not hot enough. Timing is the same as with an electric or propane oven—too long and food burns, not long enough and it’s under cooked.
Choose a safe spot. I used the concrete fire pad we have at camp. I’d rather use wood coals but didn’t want to tend to a fire so we brought charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid to keep it simple. I used a six quart, 12” Dutch oven. To create a 350* oven you need 12 briquettes on bottom and 14 on the cover. Use a cover that is flat and has a lip around the edge. It’s helpful to have legs on the oven to allow air flow and not smother the briquettes. I heat extra briquettes in case I need them. Pile them up, add lighter fluid and light. The coals are ready to use when they’re gray. If you can hold your hand 6” above the coals for five seconds they aren’t hot enough.
Brown the meat as usual in a little olive oil. Add your usual soup/stew ingredients, cover with hot water and put the cover on. I use hot water to avoid cooling the hot cast iron. Place 14 hot briquettes or the equivalent in wood coals on the cover. The coals don’t reheat themselves like an oven does so don’t remove the cover and let the heat out until you think your meal is nearly done cooking.
My stew took an hour from browning to being almost finished. I dumped the coals from the lid, took the oven off the bottom heat and put it aside. The carrots finished cooking and the stew stayed warm until we were ready to eat. I left my camera at <gasp> home and the phone battery died so I don’t have a picture of the finished stew. It was a delicious one-pot meal. Donna made homemade biscuits (we’ll make them in another campfire cooking installment) and strawberry pie to top off the meal. We ate well!
The sun was out yesterday morning. I swear I could hear the dirt roads calling. “Come out for a ride. You know you want to.” I filled the CamelBak with cold water and lime slices, got the bag of almonds to munch on and grabbed the camera.
I went to Democrat Ridge first, discovered wet road and not wanting to get stuck again, turned around. I like to think I learn when my escapades don’t turn out well. The first few miles of West Lake Road were so uneventful that I was happy to find a pond with pollywogs.
I watched them for a few minutes, scanning the edge of the pool for frogs so to find out what kind of pollywogs these are. No luck though. The one frog I did see didn’t catch my eye until it splashed into the water and hid under leaves. The pool was made by heavy equipment working on a logging operation. Pollywogs aren’t incredibly exciting and didn’t hold my attention for long. I drove further out, passing the turn off to West Musquash Lake. It warmed up enough to open the sunroof and put the windows down. Hearing is an important tool when you’re outdoors. Listen to the activity around you: rustling in the brush and trees, hoots, howls and splashes. If you only look you’ll miss a lot.
I glanced into a small stream as I crossed a wooden bridge just in time to see a star nosed mole swimming up stream under water. I think of moles as underground creatures, not underwater. It was amazing. It darted upstream, bouncing off rocks. I watched for five or six seconds until it found the stream bank and disappeared. I learned something yesterday. Moles can swim.
My next stop was a tiny bog where I’ve been meaning to take pictures of a beaver feed bed. Feeding beds are piles of saplings cut down and stacked up for a food source.
I knelt down to take the picture and heard a sharp crack in the woods. I stayed still and watched while chastising myself for wearing a bright coral shirt that made me easy to see. A moose walked from the back of the little bog toward me and another move across the back of the bog. I noticed a set of fresh moose tracks crossing the road, into the soft sand and gravel and disturbed bushes into the woods but didn’t think too much of it at the time.
It should have occurred to me when I spied this track that there was a moose behind me. Should have, but didn’t.
I walked back to the Jeep parked 15′ away, and continued to listen. That’s where I was when I heard the moose behind me. hmmm… these are very large, very wild, unpredictable creatures. I had one forward and slightly to the right, one forward and now to the left, and one behind me to the right. One or two might be calves though it seemed unlikely that a cow would cross the road and leave her calf or calves behind. The track going into the woods was from an adult moose.
Staying in that spot wasn’t an option. As much as I wanted to see and photograph the moose, I know better than to keep myself in a potentially dangerous situation. I drove 150′ ahead, parked and listened. Nothing. I could safely be there and watch for a moose crossing the road, and get a few photos. I got out, took the cap off the lens and heard another crack to my left, the same side of the road as the bog. I closed the door quietly and looked through the trees.
I’d parked at the edge of a clearing. A cow moose walked out of the woods, into the tall raspberry bushes. At first she didn’t seem too concerned with me. We watched each other, barely moving.
She stepped out from behind the bushes. It went well at first. I was respectful of her and she didn’t seem too concerned about me. Isn’t she beautiful? They’re often thought of as ugly but really, look at that cute tail and face. I think this is a two year old. She looks very big from this angle but from behind she’s clearly still young and gangly.
But then the moose on the opposite side of the road walked through the trees, snapping a branch and catching her attention. She laid her ears back and started to leave. Moose press their ears back the same way horses do. Body language is very important when observing wildlife. I stepped back to the Jeep and stood between the seat and door.
The moose on the opposite side of the road stayed in the trees behind the clearing. This moose crossed the road and I assume that she joined the other moose when she walked back into the woods. The third moose, on the same side of the road, came to the clearing but didn’t step out where I could see it.I left, feeling sure I was the reason it wasn’t crossing. I want to observe as much as possible but I don’t want to cause a lot of stress.
Moose will always be one of my favorite animals, second to black bears. Moose are moving a lot right now because of the heavy black fly activity. They move into clearings to allow the wind to blow the black flies away. Be careful on the road. Moose don’t look both ways before crossing, especially when the flies are driving them crazy.
We didn’t want to leave camp and avoided talking about it. After another leisurely morning sipping coffee on the porch steps, watching ducks in the stream, we headed out to explore again. More mushrooms, flowers, caterpillars and oops, poison ivy. “What’s that saying about poison ivy,” I asked.
“Leaves of three, stay away from me,” she replied.
“Crap.” I was up to my knees in it. I backed out. Back at camp later, I peeled them off, inside out and put them into a plastic bag. One poison ivy rash in my life was enough.
“Let’s have your big lunch later, pack up and go to the stand. We can leave to go home from there.” Tammy made fried chicken, new potatoes and fried okra for lunch. Delicious! It didn’t take long to pack the Jeep, clean camp and leave.
The first hour in the observation stand was quiet, then Tammy spotted a large, dark-colored doe walking into the left side of the field. She grazed way to the apple tree. I couldn’t tell if she was eating apples or leaves. Healthy, large, beautifully colored and moving with grace and ease through tall grasses to get get to a patch of clover; she was perfect. She must have heard one of us move. Her head snapped up and she started into the eight foot long window of the observation deck. We froze. She knew we were there.
We waited, not moving. She watched. We waited. She watched. She wasn’t relaxing and we didn’t want to scare her away. And then the excitement began. A noise drew her attention from us to something we couldn’t see. There was something past the doe, at the edge of the field or maybe still in the trees. We were able to step closer to the window to watch. To our right, a moose grunted. “Did you hear that noise,” I asked Tammy. She did. “That’s a moose.”
Where to watch? The doe, still frozen and staring at something, or to the right where a moose might step into the clearing. A branched cracked under the moose’s feet. It was walking parallel to the clearing, still far enough into the trees that we couldn’t see it. Our attention went back to the doe.
When deer are angry they “blow.” The doe blew once, stomping a front foot at the same time. A light-colored, large doe stepped into sight. Ahhhh. She’s the problem. The first doe blew again. A stare-off lasted a few minutes. Did one or the other blink? Something happened. They charged each other, rearing up on hind legs, still running. I thought they were going to bang heads. AsI flinched at the expectation of banging heads, both turned slightly and hooves started flying. We could hear hooves clashing together. It ended quickly and both does were on four feet again.
The lighter doe disappeared from sight, followed by the darker doe. Directly to our left, something large, probably the moose, stepped on another branch. A sharp crashing sound made the doe blow again. Before the excitement was over, she blew a total of nine times. We didn’t see them again but followed them by sound up the slope and into the woods. It was getting dark. Time to go home and wait impatiently for our next adventure in the Maine woods.
What a beautiful day! I spent the day up north with Melissa, my sister. We drove out the Golden Road in search of moose and other photo ops.
The weather was perfect – not hot but warm and breezy. Melissa got a little sunburn. We brought a picnic lunch and ate at Cribworks, also on the West Branch.
Melissa saw Mathew, a friend of hers, at the south gate of Baxter State Park. He’s a ranger there. We’re completely jealous of his job. When we grow up we want to be park rangers at Baxter State Park. We’d get him fired if we could have his job. Just kidding! I can’t imagine anything could get Mathew fired. He knows that park upside down and backward and obviously loves his job. When I said we were going to Ledge Falls, a natural water slide, he said every vehicle that had gone through the gate in the 20 minutes he’d been standing there were going to the falls. “What are the odds of getting into the parking lot to go to Sandy Stream Pond?” The parking lot fills up quickly. If you want to be sure to get in you have to pay $5 to reserve a spot. If you don’t show up by 7 am you lose your spot even though you paid for it. I love BSP but really? Lose your paid-for spot? That sucks. We lucked out. A moose pass had just been turned in. A moose pass gives you three hours from the time you leave the gatehouse until you have to be back. You lose nearly an hour in driving and stopping at an outhouse before hitting the trail.
The boardwalk at Sandy Stream Pond is 4/10 mile from the parking lot. It’s an easy hike. Melissa spotted the bull moose on the left in the shadows at the far side of the pond. Not long after we got there we heard a grunt coming from the woods on the opposite shore. The bull in the water immediately moved away from the second moose when it appeared at the edge of the pond. It took a while for the first moose to relax before they were this close together. The darker moose in the back is very thin. You can see his ribs and lack of muscle tone. They’re two or three years old.
We left SSP and drove nearly an hour to Ledge Falls. It was 5:30 pm by the time we got there so we didn’t slide. We will next time. We’re planning to go back soon with a group of friends and kids to spend another day in the park.
I stood 15′ from her. The man I was standing with annoyed her by using his flash. You can see her ears laid back in the second photo. He turned it off and she relaxed and was still standing still when we finished and walked away. Smaller monitors might have to right click and chose ‘view image’ to see the whole picture. The moose at Sandy Stream Pond don’t know life without people nearby. I wouldn’t reach out to touch one but I’m not afraid to let them walk past me. I haven’t been to Sandy Stream Pond during the rut. I wouldn’t let a bull in rut come this close to me.
23* at 9:30 p.m.
Dull day on the farm. J and B were here at 7 a.m. to start the roof. I kept the meat birds in most of the day so that they wouldn’t chase the guys around in hopes of being fed again. I also kept the chickens and most of the turkeys in the hen house pen for similar reasons. The hen turkey and poults, who are now half her size, and the ducks were liberated. Seventeen ducks marched to the pond, waddled down the bank, quacked up a fuss, turned around and marched back. I did notice they came right back but didn’t think much of it. I had a week’s worth of newspapers in one arm and a day’s worth of kitchen waste in a container in the other hand. By the time I added my stuff to the compost pile and collected eggs on the way back I’d forgotten the ducks.
Have you ever seen ducks march? My ducks go in single file except for Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. They’ve given up waddling for wings these days. They crouch, exchange looks as if to say, “Clear for take off!” and off they take. The mallard/runner cross that spends time flapping in the wind every day took off last week! Mission accomplished. He took off in front of the barn, circled the back yard and garden, peaked in the hen house window as he flew by (ok, so maybe that didn’t happen, he’d either bash head first into the lean to I store the rototillers in or impale the chicken wire with his bill), came back to the barn and landed.