The Right Place the Right Time!
By Marcus A. Rogers
Each year for the better part of two decades, Maine's traditional moose hunt takes place in the early fall, when nature is driven to think about what needs to be done before the real cold arrives. As most of us know the process to obtain a moose permit starts at the turn of each New Year with the moose lottery application. The long wait takes us to the middle of June when the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has their drawing. Most permit winners won't know until they get their permit package in the mail. Phase two of this process is Where do I go? Who do I get to help? There are a lot questions to be answered.
For those of us that guide for a living, its time for us to go to work and find the permit holders that want to be guided through this once in a life time experience. Year 2002 started out just like every other year. We sent out the information on our operation and then hoped that the telephone would ring. Time passed and the small number of hunting slots that we have were filling. I had one slot left and low and behold the phone rang. It wasn't from a permit holder but from a Lodge owner from Lincoln, John Rogers from Eagle Lodge and Camps was on the other end of the line wanting to know if I could help him out. I asked what he had. It was a permit holder for zone 28. Zone 28 was miles from my home zones of 4, 5 but I agreed to guide the hunter. I knew my work was cut out for me. It just meant I would have to scout a little harder to learn the country side.
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I scouted three days by air and a solid week on the ground and only came across 5 different moose. Not many for that amount of scouting. Well the day came that the hunters arrived at the lodge and introductions were in order. I met my hunter. He was a very nice man from Ridgeville, South Carolina named Tim Robertson. As the safety meeting was finishing up Tim leaned over and said, "I promise I won't be a burden I will go where ever you go. I just want to shoot a moose." I quickly thought this should be a real easy hunt for us. As everything came to a close I told Tim we needed to be on the road by 3:45 am for the 90 minute drive we had ahead of us. We arrived at our destination just before the still blanket of darkness would be lifted.
Daylight came and we started calling to no avail. The day went on with no results. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went, things were not looking very good. The weather by now wasn't the best that I had ever seen. Tim was thinking that he had made a big mistake by picking this zone. I just kept telling him it will happen. It always happens. I wasn't about to break my 100% success rate this year. It was time to change the scenery a little bit, I said to Tim "Get your gear on, we are going to take a little walk." I remembered seeing a heath from the air that was off from the end of the woods road that we were on. As we traversed the mountains, and the tree tops that had been left from the last tree harvesting operation, we made it to where I could see the edge of the heath.
This heath was about 300 yards across and it had a 25 yard band of alders around its edges which made it hard to see. So I told Tim to stay put so I could check this out. As I worked my way to the outer edge of the alders I scanned the heath just looking for any sign of a moose. All of a sudden 200 yards to my left this massive rack appeared out of the grass. This moose had a rack that looked just like he had two sheet of plywood screwed to his head. I motioned Tim to come to me very slowly and quietly. I asked Tim how close he wanted to be for the shot. His reply was I would like to be up next to this old cedar that was about 70 yards from us now. We crawled when the moose had his head down feeding and stopped when his head was up.
We finally made it to the old cedar. I leaned over to Tim and asked if he was ready. His only reply was "Where do I hit him?" "When his head is down come back just behind his front shoulder and half way down his body and give him one," I said. He replied o.k. The next thing I know Tim jumps up, no more gets to his feet, and fires. The moose dropped right where he stood. The Remington model 788 30-06 180 grain soft point had done the deed this time. I couldn't believe my eyes. He shot this massive creature just like he was jump shooting ducks. I said kiddingly, "You could have taken a little bit more time to aim than that. We went over to see this trophy up close. It was just unbelievable. I said "Tim just shot the next state record." He said "No way." Now I knew the work would begin. After all of the atta-boys and high fives were over, we needed to get back to the truck to call in some help. Our help came and with the help of a near by grapple skidder, our trophy was placed on our trailer.
As we made our journey to the tagging station and to the butchers, we both realized that we really did have a trophy moose. We got it tagged and to the butchers and he weighed 1110 lbs dressed. Tim decided on a shoulder mount, so we took the cape and rack to a first class taxidermist in Enfield, Tad Proudlove. I also knew Tad could give us an idea on how this moose would score.
We got to Tad's and when I saw the look on his face I knew right then that we might be the new top dog. Tad scaled the rack and came up with a rough score of 223. After the long drying period the folks from Boone and Crocket came down to officially score it. After an hour or so of measuring and calculating the final score was 220 ½. The state record is 220 5/8, so we missed it by just a hair. The width of the rack was 62 inches. Each palm measured 30" x 48" and he had 34 points. This trophy did take the number 10 spot in the world, and it was the biggest shot in the state in 2002.
This Maine trophy is home in South Carolina over looking all of the other mounts he has in his living room. It was very memorable for me and a hunt I soon will not forget. This is another year. Lets see if we can do it again.
Marcus A. Rogers, Chandler Lake Camps T9R8
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