Cloudy, windy, and fixing to storm, the weather that is.
Interesting day yesterday……..
About 8:30 or so I’m getting ready for the weekly trash run (loading up the truck, separating the tin cans from the newspapers, etc) when the phone rings and it’s my friend Roland asking if I still have that coil of ¾” nylon rope (100 feet) and can he borrow it. Now I know Roland was one of the lucky bastards that got a moose permit this year and moose season did start Monday so I figure his need for the rope had something to do with it. Sure enough it did.
He and his son (his legal sub-permittee for the hunt had bagged a nice 2 year old bull over across the river on the other side of the Interstate. Roland’s got a Dodge Ram 1500 4WD truck (year older than mine) with a winch on the front end. He’s also got a large snowsled trailer and does a lot of outdoor stuff winter (snowsledding ) and summer (ATV’ing), so he was set for moose hunting (the easy part) and hauling (the hard part). He gave me instructions on where to meet him and I headed out, making a quick stop at the dump ‘cause it’s on the way and the truck was already loaded up.
I meet his son on the ATV out at the intersection of two dirt roads. When RJ (as we call him…he’s Roland Jr.) showed up I noticed that he and the ATV were pretty well soaked with mud, leaves, and other crap. I didn’t think much of it at the time because RJ is a bit “terror on wheels” on his four wheeler and this part of Maine has a lot of bogs and cedar swamps.
He yells out, “We got a nice bull, great rack, follow me”, and speeds off down one of the roads. I follow him for about 2-3 miles, occasionally by sight but mostly but dust cloud. I make a turn up a small rise and then start down. I see Roland’s trailer parked up on the right up on the next rise after this small valley between the two “hills”.
Now this area was about a couple of hundred feet wide and the road went down the side I was on, crossed the valley floor and went up the other side. Each side of the road had thick pine and cedar trees and it was damn hard to see more that 15 feet or so back into the woods. But the trees did stop about 40 or so feet up from a small creek that flowed along the valley floor right (uphill) to left (downhill) as I saw it. I had to parked my trunk at this point and walk down the road because Roland had taken his truck and parked his fully across the road with the front end just off the road making it look like he spun out and nearly went into the ditch.
As I walked down and got beyond where the tree line was, I could see that uphill that creek turned into a sizeable bog and swamp due to the remains of an old beaver dam and while there was a good size pond, most of the area was mud, cat-o-nine’s, and just plain hard walking. I also saw a very large and quite dead bull moose over on the over side of this bog.
Roland came up and said, “Whatda think?”
I looked at him and said, “You got a problem. How you going to do it?”
“Cable too short, that why I need that rope. Can’t reach it. Thought about dragging him across the bog at first, but that’s too soft, not really sure now.”
“What about quartering him with your chain saw?” I replied.
“Like to keep the cape intact if I can. We tried hauling him with the ATV, but only got him that far. RJ shot him over there”. He pointed to a spot further up on the right hand rise. “We were coming down the road and when we broke out into the clearing; RJ spotted him and jumped out of the truck. He had been eating down there and when RJ jumped out he finally moved but not fast enough.”
I looked around. On the right side of the bog there was a steep slope with not enough room to get an ATV let alone a truck up in there. On the left side, the slope was considerably less, but it was dotted with pine trees with maybe (if you went sideways and squinted at the tape) 6-8 feet between them.
“Thread it” I said. “Let’s take the cable and rope and work them around some of those pines and pull him out that way.”
Now the way this set up was that we first had to turn the carcass around so that the head was pointed off to the left (which we did using the ATV), then ran the cable as far as that would go, attach the rope, run that around a tree trunk and then to his rack and pull him along. Then we would have to move his ass end around so that he was set to make it through the opening of the next set of trees. All of this involved repositioning both the truck and the moose many, many times, but after close to four hours of work, Bullwinkle was up on the trailer, strapped in, and ready to be turned into gloves, rugs, hat rack, and lots of tasty bits.
But all that was almost a footnote in a way. You see this all happened back in The Woods and out in that part of the state, the roads are narrow and places to turn around a truck and trailer are far and few, so we had to travel an additional 5 or so miles until Roland could get turned around and headed back to town and the tagging station. I followed simply because I wanted to see just how big that damn fur covered Godzilla that I had been pushing and pulling on all morning was.
880 Lbs, dressed out with a 64" rack was the verdict.
I’ll be eating well next week.