Dave …. and the big moose

1979 – ’82 Burns Lake. Southside is moose country, all year, except in the hunting season, but even then there are a few around. We were out for an evening walk, on the forest trails behind the farm, and this huge bull moose was just standing there, in the hillside, with a few cows around him. In a situation like this, there are often smaller bulls hanging around, hoping to get lucky, or just waiting and learning.

I don’t know if I had a gun with me, probably not, as it was a family walk. I visited our neighbor Dave  …. , and told him where to find this moose the next afternoon, he worked with highways, and got home early. By the time I got home from town, it was getting dark. Dave was new to the area, and to the hunting part, it would be his first moose, I made a deal with him to share it, he would shoot it while it was light, and we would part it and hang it in my garage, and I would show him what I had learned of butchering and meat-cutting.

At the dinner table the next evening, there was a lot of noise at the front door, Dave came inside, bloody all over, but smiling and happy as can be. Very excited he told me that he got the moose, right where I told him it would be. Moose have tracks and trails they follow, it was not a science. He was ready for some help to gut it.

Unfortunately he had started without me, with his new chainsaw. It was not pretty, and the reason for all the blood and guts all over himself. Most hunter know not to gut a moose with a chainsaw. But I had a small one, with food oil on the chain, instead of grease, it was fine to part the back bones, and some other pieces, when the hand meat saw was not good enough.

Luckely I could drive the 4×4 right up to the fallen moose, and get the headlights on it. The first job was to get the guts out, after the chainsaw incident, it was lots of extra work, but no meat got damaged, just Dave’s pride. The horns were 65″ across, as are still nailed up on Dave’s barn wall. The meat lasted both families all winter.

One winter with deep snow and hard crust, the wolves would run on top, the moose would sink in to their bellies. On the six km. from our farm to the ferry landing, there were six moose killed by the wolves, visible from the road. In cases like that, the wolves killed for fun, it was up to all the other creatures to strip them to the bones before spring, and they did. You could see a wide variety of birds and animals feeding of the carcasses.

 Dave and me went often hunting, and sometimes for grouse. I carried a 22 and he a shotgun. If I did not get the grouse with the 22, he would. I don’t like chewing lead at the dinner table, and grouse is nice eating. Dave had been manager at a large company in Edmonton, got some heart troubles, changed to a new life, built a log house, got some horses and enjoyed himself with his family. Good memories.

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