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Big Game Hunting in Newfoundland

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Newfoundland Guided Moose Hunt

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April 19th, 2015

It was Sunday the 22nd of September 2013, a day I had been waiting for nearly a year. We arrived in Bishop’s Falls, Newfoundland around 2pm, six guys including my father all of whom were hunting. After getting off the ferry in Port Aux Basques earlier this morning and five hours of driving we were here. Having received several phone calls from our outfitter Craig Pomeroy, owner of Hinterland Outfitting Ltd. who provided us with directions we pulled into his driveway in two heavily loaded pick-up trucks with one enclosed trailer behind. Craig and several of his guides greeted us with handshakes and smiles as we quickly stepped down from our trucks, just as anxious to get into camp as they were.

It wasn’t long before we had unloaded all our hunting gear and reloaded it into Craig’s suburban and pick-up trucks. We pulled our trucks and trailer up in front of his garage and got one end of our extension cords plugged into our deep freezers. We were now prepared for his daughter who was going to plug them in mid week to ensure they would be good and cold for any moose we harvested. We were ready!!!  

We stopped for some last minute supplies and finally pulled out of town around 3:15pm. After an hour of driving on blacktop we left the main highway and entered a gravel road that was at one time used for logging purposes. We drove for another hour and a half and suddenly Craig applied the brakes and turned onto the final ten minute leg of our journey in vehicle.  We all pulled to a stop at the end of the road in the “parking lot” where six ATV’s and several ATV trailers were apparently, “just left”.

Everybody pitched in and quickly we unloaded all our hunting gear and the cooks perishables, that we would be eating as the week went by, from the trucks and into the trailers. Several of the guys jumped on the back of the ATV’s and a couple of more decided to walk and within five minutes we rounded a turn in the ATV trail and the hunting lodge came into view.  Craig and his guides again pitched in to help us bring in our things as we were each assigned our sleeping quarters for the week. The two worst snorers we all agreed would be assigned to the two single rooms and the rest shared double rooms.

It wasn’t long before Mike who turned out to be Craig’s brother-in-law and the cook, was singing out for everybody to sit in as supper was ready.  Homemade spaghetti, fresh homemade bread, tea, coffee and sweets galore were on the menu. Once finished our outfitter gave each of us our hunting license/s to fill out and after a short talk between the guides each of us was assigned our guide for the week. I was selected to go with our outfitter who also fulfilled guiding duties, apparently when selecting hunters “size” does matter to the guides and they tried to even out the amount of weight on each bike as per guide and hunter.

As everybody was tired the generator shut down around 11pm and sleep came fast. It seemed as if I had just gone to sleep when the diesel genny chugged to life again. It was 5am and Mike and Craig were already up preparing breakfast for thirteen hungry men. After a full course breakfast fit for a king Craig went to change and emerged from his bedroom in full hunting attire and urged me to “hurry up and get ready we need to pull out” he said. I didn’t need any urging as this was what I had come for and I hastily grabbed my rifle and hunting pack and headed for the ATV. With lights on each hunter and his hunting guide began pulling out one behind the other on their ATV’s with everybody wishing each other good luck. The weather was favorable, dry and cool with little wind.

My big game moose outfitter turned around as we drove along the road and said we were going to Lillehammer, which meant absolutely nothing to me, I seemed to remember that was where the Olympics had been held one year. After about a half hour ride and across two rivers that nearly filled my boots on each crossing my hunting outfitter and guide turned right off the main road and onto a trail. Through a couple of hundred yards of alders we stopped the ATV and quietly took what gear was needed. As we walked it was obvious to me that our outfitter had spent considerable time with a saw cutting alders along what I could now see was once a road. We walked at a good pace for about fifteen minutes when Craig stopped and said ““Load your gun as quite as possible and put the safety on, we could see a moose at anytime now so keep your eyes and ears open” As daylight had fast approached I could see that the roadbed had changed and what had been alders, leaves and lichen was now gravel road again.  Craig stopped and looked at the road pointing out fresh moose tracks to me, he then slowly began walking again, careful not to kick any rocks or make any unnecessary noise, and he motioned for me to do the same. I could easily see the tracks and knew there was definitely moose in the immediate area, bulls or cows I had no idea. I had a male only license and could not shoot a cow, I later discovered that very few of Craig’s hunters ever shoot cows and that only one or two cows were harvested per year from his hunting lodge and only then late in the hunting week.

Suddenly my hunting guide stopped and turned to me” did you hear that he said.” “Yes what was it?” I answered. “That was a cow moose and she’s right there” he replied. “There’s a bull there with her too” he added. We slowly crept up over the embankment on the edge of the road and ever so slowly made our way through an open area that was interspersed with dead trees and some young growth about twenty feet tall. Craig suddenly stopped and pointed to fresh moose scat and fresh tracks, he then cupped his hands around his mouth and “called” a low moaning sound emitted from him that sounded like the call we had just heard and instantly he received a reply. “was that a bull or cow” I quickly asked. “Hssh” he said “they are only right there”. We waited listening, calling ever so low, listening again. Then I heard it, a low burp or grunt made by a bull “Come on he said they are out in the road in the alders.” Creeping out the way we had come in we came to the road edge, ever so slowly we edged along, stopping when the moose became vocal, god they were loud I thought. Suddenly, Craig took an antler, which I wondered why he had been carrying, and began raking the alders, “get ready.” Inching along the bank my hunting guide suddenly stopped, turned around towards me and motioning me forward he said to me” he’s right there in the alders standing up with the cow looking right at us, shoot and don’t hit the cow” he warned. I looked up and sure enough there they were a beautiful bull with a big cow. I raised my gun and holding on the bull’s lung area I waited for the cow to move so I wouldn’t accidently hit her. She stepped forward several steps and I edged my safety off and fired. Instantly the bull jumped forward and with its head down began to stumble and fall. I knew I had hit him good but Craig shouted “get another bullet ready just on case he gets up”. The cow remained standing looking at us, oblivious to what had just happened and only moved when we began to approach the downed bull. As we approached it was clear this was one bull moose that was not getting up under its own steam anymore. My hunting guide and big game outfitter shook my hand and gave me a congratulatory hug. “Perfect a Monday morning 17 point moose, it don’t get no better than that” he said. After taking some pictures for memory sake, I helped Craig and we both cleaned and covered the moose with spruce trees. I couldn’t believe it, not even 10am on Monday morning and here I was with my moose, not only shot but paunched and ready for retrieval.

The ride back to camp seemed only minutes long and we no sooner arrived when the sound of another ATV broke the mornings silence. It was Mike and his hunting guide Jim, they were full of smiles also having successfully taking a small bull just after daylight. Our group leader Doug harvested one of two eight point bull moose they encountered fighting the next morning, Jim got a coyote on Wednesday, my father another six point bull on Thursday in heavy rain and Scott saw a nice size bear that same day. The weather cleared late Friday and Saturday morning we had frost on the ground. With two guys still hunting and only six hours of hunting remaining for the week we were all up to see them off and to wish them luck, and luck they had. My friend Scott harvested a five pointer and Jim took a young cow, a great ending to a great week.

Joe Nunlist, Batesville, Indiana

 

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