Love late-season moose hunting

In what has become a tradition over the past decade for me and my friends, we took our annual late-season moose hunting trip up north last week for the last few days of the 2016 Ontario rifle season.
We like the late-season hunting because we can use snowmobiles to get around and access remote areas while the cold weather gets the moose up on their feet and moving around a little more than earlier in the fall.
Over the years, we’ve had some great trips and usually always manage to find at least a moose or two to tag. It has become more challenging in the past few years to get as many tags as we used to, but it still usually works out that we get at least a tag or two for an adult moose.
It always is a fun getaway from home for a few days. We rent a cabin, get up early and hunt hard during the day, then eat well at night. After four or five days, we’re usually worn out so it’s time to head home.
This is one of the social aspects of hunting I really enjoy.
The trip last week was a workout because of the cold weather but we still had fun. It was hovering around minus-30 every morning when we started our trucks so that made things somewhat of a struggle.
We needed booster packs to help get our snowmobiles fired up and we had to cover up all of our skin because of the risk for frostbite. As it turned out, I got a little sample of it on one of my big toes and in a couple of small spots on my face.
There also was a lot more snow up north than there is in the southern part of the region. On the ground, there was probably a foot-and-a-half but in many of the open areas where it was drifted, we were up to our waist.
Add the snow to the big hills they have up north and you were going to get a good sweat on if you took a walk. It’s different country up there, for sure.
Reading all of this, you probably are asking yourself, “What is fun about this?” But cold weather, deep snow, and the challenge of actually getting a shot at a moose are all part of the experience.
Once you’re there, the beauty of the landscape is awesome. I love being in remote country where your cellphone doesn’t work and its rare to see other people.
We have radios that allow us to communicate and we stay close to each other during the day, usually meeting up a couple of times to have a snack, and report on any moose sign that we find.
Last week was not our most successful of these trips but we did manage to tag one cow moose, so we all are getting some meat to put in the freezer. We had a couple of cow tags and saw one other one that we were not able to get a good shot at.
We also saw a couple of bulls but we were not fortunate to have a bull tag this year.
The area we hunt still has pretty good moose numbers, but it’s tough hunting because the bush is so thick and grown up. There are very few clear-cut areas left so you have to work hard to get up on the big hills, where you can get a good look at the valleys where moose like to hide.
Sometimes we find sign in areas where we can organize a drive and we have had success with that in the past, as well.
Next year we’ll go through the whole process again, applying for tags in the spring, making plans for the actual hunt over the summer and fall, and then heading out for the big adventure in December.
I can’t wait to do it all over again!

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