Wednesday, September 28, 2011


    Fall is upon us once again here at home on Salmon River and the maples on Moon Island in front of my house are ablaze with different shades of red,orange,yellow and some green that is still hanging on. This is the time of year that many of us wait for faithfully,those first outings to the bush,starting with the moose hunt and then to the duck meadows for our annual duck hunt.Both of these outdoor activities are long-standing traditions with both the Hargroves and myself. If our duck hunt goes as well as our moose hunts did,we'll all be grinning from ear to ear and giving out hugs and high fives! As I mentioned in my last post, ol' Wes Hargrove got drawn for a moose tag,as well as his nephew,James. To say the Hargrove Clan had a great moose hunt would be an understatement and as luck would have it,I got to go on a moose hunt as the designated hunter.
This was the first time that Wanda Doherty,wife of good friend Stephen Doherty,had ever been drawn for a moose tag and since they both have such tight schedules,they thought I should come along to do some scouting and help Wanda during the hunt because Stephen was having a hard time juggling his work schedule. I've known Stephen and Wanda for years and I wanted Wanda to be comfortable and enjoy the hunt,without having to work too hard. I checked around and scouted some areas around Chipman and much to my surprise there was a couple of spots about ten minutes outside of town that held good numbers of moose. Stephen and I kept a close eye on the two spots we had chosen to hunt and we were seeing fresh sign each time we scouted the area.One thing I really liked about these two spots is there was a large bull hanging around the choppings in each area we had chosen to hunt and we would eventually decide to hunt a cutting that overlooked the Coal Creek Valley. A more scenic spot to hunt moose would be hard to find,especially with the fog hanging over the valley at dawn on the first morning. Stephen and I thought it would be a good idea to invite our long-time friend and fellow guide Allen Davidson along on the hunt to call for us a bit and cook up his tasty lunches at dinner time.Stephen and Wanda's daughter Chelsie rounded out the hunting party on the first day. After coffee and discussing some strategy,the Dougherty's started off down the road at legal shooting time,looking carefully into the choppings for a black shape that might be a moose. Allen and I stayed back on the crest of the ridge so we could call out over the valley in hopes of bringing in a big bull.The following video shows Allens calling sequence on the first morning.We called all morning and a big bull must have answered us fifty times with grunt after grunt but he wouldn't come out.Allen thought the bull was with a cow and he wouldn't leave her and I think he was right.After a while,during the height of Allen's wailing and the bulls grunting answers,the cow he was with took to wailing too,for a short time,as if to say 'Yes,I'm here and he's staying here with me'! That's just exactly what they did.Those two moose never moved from their spot all that first day. The next morning,I went to meet the girls and Stephen had been sick all night and couldn't get out of bed and Allen had other commitments so it was me and the two ladies striking out for our moose hunting area.After coffee and some small talk,we started down through the choppings,stopping once at a slough hole to call,then moving on to the last chopping at the end of the road. The girls and I stood on the road and I called twice and was peering off into the distance straining to hear a bull that was grunting far off in the distance when Wanda calmly said'Dale,there's one right there'. I couldn't believe my ears but as I slowly turned,sure enough,there stood a young cow facing straight on to me with it's ears up like a german shepherd. I didn't like the shot and Wanda told me to come over by her because she could see it well from where she was standing.I said it was a little small,should I shoot it? Before she could answer,I remembered what she had told me. She just wanted a moose,any moose,so I just said 'we can't fool around' and I laid that young cow moose down low. The girls and I were very happy to have our moose and we had just been standing waiting for the help to arrive when a huge cow came out and crossed the road just as Allen and Stephen were coming down the road. Chelsie later said that she saw the moose's ear flicker and motioned to her mother that the moose was standing there looking at us.That's when Wanda whispered to me that the moose was there.The following photo shows Wanda and I with her moose shortly after it was taken.This young moose was a dry cow and it dressed out at five hundred and eleven lbs. I already had some tenderloin and it was delicious so I would expect the rest of the meat to be very tasty after it has been hung for a week and then cut up. The next photo shows Chelsie and her mother with her moose before we dressed it out.
    In my last post I mentioned that Wes Hargrove,Kenny's father,drew a moose tag for zone 18 . James Parker,Wes's nephew,also drew a tag for the same zone.Having two tags in the family meant this hunt was definitely going to be a family affair. The crew of hunters stayed at the Smith camp in Salmon River and from what I was told,they had a great hunt and had some great meals during their stay at the camp. Ol' Wes told the boys right off that they weren't going to shoot any cows or calves on the first day and they held good to their word as they seen a cow and a calf the first thing Thursday morning and let them walk. Friday morning Dallas had a good chance at a four point bull but his scope fogged up and he couldn't see to take the shot.Dal was still fuming about that boo-boo the next day. It was getting down to the crunch on Saturday and as luck would have it,Dallas and James stopped back at the camp so Dallas could go to the toilet.After answering natures call,he stepped out of the toilet and looked down the river and there stood a cow and a nice bull.Well Dallas threw himself together and sprinted back to the camp to get James and they carefully stalked to within seventy-five yards of the standing moose.Dallas told James to wait until the moose stepped up on the bank before shooting and as the moose cleared the shore,they emptied their guns into the two moose. The hunt had ended successfully and everyone in camp was in a celebratory mood. Drinks all around and a good time was had by all!This photo shows Wes standing in the background and James in the foreground,with Kenny standing in the middle with their moose.Ken told me that they really hunted hard and he felt they were very lucky to have taken their moose in such warm conditions. James's cow dressed out at five hundred and sixty-five lbs. and Wes's nine point bull dressed out at six hundred and eighty five lbs. The next photo shows Wes standing beside his 2011 bull.
In summarizing this years moose hunt,I would have to say that overall,the conditions were not very good because of the very warm weather we had.Many hunters were in their t-shirts during the afternoon and the moose were mainly moving at night and staying in the green woods during the day.Many hunters complained that the moose were not calling or answering during this years hunt but It seemed to depend on the hunters location and probably the callers ability to call. There were only three more moose killed this year than last year,in spite of over eight hundred more tags being issued.Our station in Chipman registered thirty-two moose this year with the largest coming in at over one thousand lbs. and having sixteen points.This moose was killed by Kyle Jenkins of Cumberland Bay on the second day of the season. Although the conditions were far from perfect,some very nice bulls were taken all around the province and the Chipman area produced some outstanding trophy bulls for several of the locals.
    Although the trout season has ended,we still have some very good pickerel fishing here at home on Salmon River in the tidal waters. The water is just getting down to a good level for fishing pickerel and fishermen still have time for an outing or two before it gets too cold. There are tremendous numbers of fish in the MSW Miramichi and most salmon fishermen are expecting a big finish to a great year of fishing on this world class river. The fall run is just starting and the Cains River has fresh fish in the lower river that are slowly making their way up to the pools in the headwaters. This has been a great year for many salmon rivers and lets hope this trend continues well into the future. The striper bite is starting to heat up and some nice fish are being taken in all the hot -spots on the Saint John River system. Quispamsis is holding its annual sturgeon contest soon and there is a muskie tournament in the city of Fredericton for you guys that like to throw the heavy hardware.
    Our annual duck hunt is coming right up on the first of October and it looks as if we will have a good hunt again this year. There seems to be good numbers of ducks around and I think they had good nesting conditions this past spring. Look for my next post in October to see some video and photos of the duck hunt.
    I have been collecting outdoor magazines for some time now and I have amassed a large assortment of these magazines that date back to the early nineteen hundreds.I try to get ones that are in very good condition and they must have a desirable picture on the cover with the date displayed prominently.I do make an exception to that last rule but only if the cover is exceptional. The next photo photo shows a large bull moose about to be taken by a sport.Note the date on this magazine,December 1959. The next photo shows a cover in which a black man is being attacked by a lion while a white hunter tries to save him.The date on this one is January 1936.The last vintage item I have to show in this months blog is a souvenir item from Minto,New Brunswick. I believe this is a piece of Blue Mountain Pottery formed into a canoe with a native paddler navigating the canoe.I would say this piece is from the late sixties or early seventies.
I hope the readers of my blog enjoy seeing these items I have collected over the years and if anyone would like to purchase something they see here,just send me an e-mail. I will ship anywhere in Canada or the US.
    If anyone would like to spend a day or a week on the water or in the bush with Ken and I,just give me a shout and we will get you set up for a trip you will long remember! Until next time,Happy Trails to you....Until we meet again!

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