A successful moose hunt

Across Northwestern Ontario, it remains unclear what’s going to happen to our moose population.
The southern part of the region has seen a major reduction in moose numbers over the past couple of decades while populations in the north seem to be hanging in there.
Because of this uncertainty about the moose population, the Ministry of Natural Resources has continued to reduce the number of adult tags that are given out over the past several years, in addition to reducing the calf season to two weeks this year from the usual two-month season.
There has been some disappointment from hunters and outfitters over this reduction in tags and hunting opportunities. But from my point of view, I’m willing to see if the reduction in the number of moose, and particularly calves, that are harvested helps get the population headed in the right direction.
For those of you who are not hunters, the way the tag system works is each year, each hunter can apply for an adult tag (either a cow or a bull) in a specific Wildlife Management Unit (WMU).
Usually a person gets drawn for a tag every second or third year, at least in the more moose-populated areas.
My wife, August, has been trying to get an adult tag for quite a few years and just hasn’t had any luck in getting drawn for one.
But that all changed this year. When the tags were mailed out late in the summer, we both were pleasantly surprised when August opened up hers to see that she got a bull tag for this season.
We made plans earlier in the fall for a mid-November moose hunting trip to the Red Lake area along with a few of our friends, and last week we took our trip.
The first day was uneventful but we were able to check out a few spots that have had moose in the past and did not find a lot of sign, so we eliminated a few places.
On Day 2, our friend, Ian Cooke from Five Lakes Lodge in Red Lake, took August, her cousin, Tara Savage, and I to a little area where he had been seeing moose frequently this year.
Early in the day, we did a small drive where we noticed a lot of fresh sign and a small bull came out for the girls. They made a couple of great shots and harvested their first moose.
They were very excited.
There are a lot of emotions when you take a moose. The enormity of these animals is unbelievable really, especially when you try to move one around on the ground.
We enjoy eating moose meat so for us, this harvest is all about the experience of hunting together and then enjoying many meals over the coming months.
It was a fun day and one we’ll remember for a long. That’s what hunting is all about!

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