Late-season moose hunting fun time

The big game hunting season in Northwestern Ontario wrapped up Monday (Dec. 15).
As has been a tradition for a group of my friends and I for the past several years, we headed north to the Red Lake area to spend the last week of the season moose hunting.
Typically, six or eight of us go and rent a cabin from Five Lakes Lodge, just south of Red Lake. It’s always a fun trip.
There are several reasons we like to go so late in the season. Usually there are very few hunters in the woods. Most of the local hunters already have got their moose so we seldom see anybody else hunting.
We also feel the hunting is good late in the year because the cold weather has the moose on their feet moving around a little bit more than earlier in the season.
Finally, we bring up snowmobiles and have a lot of fun riding the old logging roads looking for moose sign around the cut-over areas.
Our hunting went pretty good last week. Amongst our group, we managed to get two moose—a young spike bull and a big, old cow. We all love eating moose meat so we split it up and each take home a pretty good load of steaks and roasts, as well as some trimmings to get made into various smoked items.
We spent the first couple of days hunting around some of the areas that have been good in the past. A few of these areas had moose around, but the cuts had grown up to the point where it was getting pretty tough to see.
Midway through the week, we started looking at some new areas and we quickly caught up with the bull we got. We then continued trying new areas over the next couple of days and saw several moose, so it was a good call to keep looking.
Hopefully we learned a few things that will help us next year.
Just like in fishing, you must let the conditions dictate some of the decisions you make on where to go and how to hunt. Last year when we went, it was very cold (minus-30 C every day). As such, we were able to cover ground on our snowmobiles, find fresh tracks, and then hunt that area.
This year, with much milder temperatures, we found that doing some drives/pushes was a much more effective way to see moose. The moose seemed to be a little more lazy, hanging out in the thicker woods around the open cut areas.
It is always good to be around these cut areas because all of the new-growth trees provide great food for these moose.
Part of the fun of this trip, as with most hunting or fishing trips, is the camaraderie around the cabin at night. We each take a turn making dinner one night and we split up the clean-up duties amongst each other.
We have a few drinks, play cards, and tell stories—it’s fun.
Meanwhile, my wife, August, spent the past week in Minnesota and South Dakota pheasant hunting, so next week I’m going to get the story from her about her trip.
She had a great time and experienced some great hunting south of the border.