Plan Your Moose Hunt
By Mike Stevens

You've drawn a moose tag. You've waited a dozen plus years and finally won the most prestigious lottery a sportsman can win. Congratulations. The next few paragraphs are the most important information you'll need before venturing out into the Maine wilderness in search of a moose. After guiding dozens moose hunts, I have seen common mistakes hunters make year after year. Read the following and your hunt will be a better experience.

Winning the moose lottery is an once-in-a-lifetime event. Hunters need to properly prepare themselves for a six day hunt for North America's biggest game animal. That's the key ingredient folks. A moose hunt is a six day affair. It's not a ride to northern Maine, shoot one off the road and drive home. This may sound funny to some, but too many hunters think this way. Hunters tell their bosses, wives or husbands: "I'll kill my moose on Monday and be back home/work on Tuesday or Wednesday". Don't think like this. Don't put this kind of pressure on yourself. You're not that good! Yes, it happens to some, but not everyone tags their moose on the first day. Figures show seventy per cent of moose killed during the one week season are killed by Thursday. This means thirty per cent are not and you could be of that thirty per cent. Many, many times I've encountered hunters on Thursday or Friday who are in serious panic mode because they have not seen a moose. On a few occasions, I have guided hunters to the last day of the hunt before harvesting a moose. I admit to being a little nervous on these occasions, but luckily we tagged out and all was well at the lodge that night. It can happen to anyone.

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My point, a moose hunt is one week. Prepare yourself for hunting one week. Prepare the boss and the spouse not to see you for one week. You'd be surprise how much more enjoyable your hunt will be.

Don't think the moose you harvest will fall dead on the side of a logging road. Hunters should be totally prepared for the worse case scenario when it comes to getting the animal from the point of death to the trailer or truck. I've found a large percentage of hunters in the moose woods are not prepared. An eight-hundred pound dead animal drags hard and special equipment is needed to get the job done right. For starters, a hunter needs a high clearance 4x4 truck, 100 feet of inch rope, block and tackle, a winch, chainsaw, planks, and some Yankee ingenuity to get their moose out. On several occasions, I have happened onto hunters who have killed a moose. After admiring the trophy, I'd ask how they plan getting the critter out. Some have an idea, but no equipment to carry the plan out and others are standing there with fifty feet of rope or cable wondering how to get the moose to the truck three-hundred feet away. A hunter can never have enough equipment when it comes to hauling out a moose. Moose drag easier when pulled backwards, especially bulls. If you plan on mounting your bull, just keep the head tied up when dragging and the cape will be fine. I have dragged huge bulls backwards without raising the head and got no complaints from the taxidermist.

Never assume in the moose woods. These tips will make your hunt of a lifetime, just that. Please be prepared.

Grouse season opens this month. My Brittney, Riley has been getting ready for the upcoming season. Many hours of field work and dieting has him ready to zigzag through the fall colors in search of thunder chickens (grouse) and timberdoodlers (woodcock). The Jackman region has always been a hotbed for upland game, but the last few years have seen a drop in grouse sightings. Things should improve this fall, as spring hatching weather was good and my logging friends have seen several broods this summer.

Hunters can email this writer with reports from the field up here in the Jackman region. I'm interested in hearing from you. My email can be found at the end of this article. Shoot straight and enjoy the beautiful foliage of the Moose River Valley.

Mike Stevens is a veteran Maine Guide and outdoor writer living and wandering the woods of Maine with sons and grandkids following close behind.

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