October 16, 2007: The lodge is officially shut down for the season! The bear and moose hunt was very successful this year, and we’re excited to show some great pictures! The hunt started off with Tom and I going to Aswap Lake to practice calling, see what the moose were doing and to see if we could take a nice bull or a calf for meat for the winter. We spent 4 days running around the lake looking for tracks and attempting to call a bull out. We found incredible amounts of tracks and other sign showing that they were in the area but we couldn’t get them to make a sound. One evening we went out to a spot where we had found some very fresh tracks. Tom called a cow and a calf to the waters edge and waited to see if a bull was going to come out, but it never did. The next night we went to another spot with some very fresh tracks. We did a bunch of calling but we did not get any replies. We were a long way from camp, so we decided to pull out a bit early and after we rounded two bends in the creak a bull, cow and calf were standing on the edge! I killed the motor and drifted to shore as Tom let out a couple of calls so that the moose wouldn’t leave right away. I took 2 shots at the bull moose and he went down. Tom was thinking about taking the calf but we decided that we had a full night of moose cleaning ahead of us already! It would have been nice to hear the moose call back to us, but at least we knew we were getting through to them and they were coming towards us.
Once the guests arrived at Bolton Lake Tom took the moose hunter out and Jotham (guide) took the bear hunter out. The bear hunter (Marty) sat in the tree stand that first evening for about 3 hours before a nice bear came out. He took the 350 pound bear in 2 shots, but the first shot was all he needed from the wounds we found. The moose hunter (Jim) traveled the lake for a few days from dusk til dark, he sure put in a great effort. The weather was switching around quite a bit so it was not easy to be out there all day. Winston (guide) and I went out one evening to see if we could help them spot a moose and report back to the guys so that they would have more of a chance. We cruised around the lake and tried calling in a few places. We came around a bend in Moose creek and there was a cow on the water’s edge. We killed the motor and started to call so that she wouldn’t leave again. The cow ignored us and just kept walking the shore line and eating. I tried calling for another 10 minutes and she barely noticed us. When she looked up at us at one point after calling her, I took my paddle and made it look like I had a small rack on my head. She really took notice of that and started to come towards us. The next thing we knew she was coming across the river to us. We didn’t quite know what to do, so we just kept quiet and hoped she’d go back to her side of the river. I was really just trying to get her to call back or get a bull who might be nearby to give us a grunt to let us know he was there. After she went back to her side of the river, we quietly left the area to find Tom and Jim to let them know about the cow.
We met up with Tom and Jim about 5 miles away and I jumped into the boat with them to take them back to the spot where the cow was hanging around. We got back and found the cow just a bit further up Moose creek. We called to her again but she still would not reply. After about 5 minutes of watching her we let out a couple more calls and then heard a bull grunt back. He was further up the creek and he was angry! He grunted, raked his rack in some bushes, broke a lot of branches and let us know he was coming for a fight. It was getting darker all the time, but we still had enough light to see well enough if the bull would get to us soon. He was getting closer and closer and we spotted him along the creek edge about 500 yards ahead of us. It was very intense hearing the bull come towards us and making his threatening sounds. Eventually he was right across the creek from us but there was just not quite enough light to get a clear shot. Through some very expensive Zeiss binoculars we could see him clearly, but without them he disappeared into the background. The bull knew something wasn’t quite right so he eventually left our sight. We heard the cow call him and heard him call back to her. We had been grunting like a bull to challenge him to a fight over the cow and when he left us he would no longer reply to that call. After about 10 minutes we tried a cow call and got him coming back towards us, but we knew it would be impossible to get the shot. It was just exciting to try the different calls to get the bull to respond.
The next morning, Tom and Jim went back to the same area to see if they could get him out again. Tom could hear the moose back in the bush and they did not seem interested in coming back out. They came back in for lunch and then back to the same area again. Once again Tom could hear them so he moved to the area he thought he’d be closest to them. After waiting around for half an hour he tried calling again. Right away he heard the reply and knew the bull was coming towards them. He told Jim to get ready and steady himself for his shot. A couple more challenging bull calls (we called them “I’m going to steal your girlfriend” calls) the bull and cow came right out on to the shore. Jim took his shot and the bull ran about 50 yards and dropped into a bit of a hole. Another nice moose down! The rest of us were called out to help get the moose out of the hole and skinned out. It was a great afternoon of celebration and moose cleaning.
For the second week of the hunt we had Dan and Tom come up to try their luck. Dan teamed up with Tom (the guide) and they hunted with a rifle. Tom (the guest) teamed up with Jotham and Tom hunted with a bow. The moose were much more vocal this week, the guys were hearing them in all corners of the lake and they were getting great responses. I went for a jog to our gravel pit about 2 miles from camp and climbed to the top of the gravel hill. From there I spotted 2 moose in the back of a bay. When the hunters got back I told them of the moose and that’s where they started the next day. Tom and Dan spotted a cow moose near the area, and they called to her for a while. There wasn’t much going on until all of a sudden a bull answered back. Tom told Dan to get ready and steady himself for a shot. A small bull came out into view on the shore. Tom asked Dan if he wanted to take this one and Dan said absolutely! He took down the bull while Tom was calling him towards them, even after a couple of missed shots, the bull kept coming to Tom’s calls! Jotham and Tom were not far away in another boat so they came along to help the guys clean the bull and get it into the boat to bring back to camp. Dan went back out that evening after buying a bear tag and sat in the tree stand for a few hours. Dan took a nice bear that same evening! Tom and Jotham worked hard every day trying to get another bull moose to come out for a shot with the bow but never had any luck. They had some calls and knew they were in the right spots, but the bulls were not as aggressive and wouldn’t come out of the thick bushes. Every other tag sold this season was filled this year, so this was our best year yet! Tom (the guide) played a huge role in getting all 3 moose, Jotham (the guide) did a great job with the bear baiting, cleaning the animals and trying to get Tom his moose with a bow and Cindy’s cooking was great!!
Here are the pictures from the fall, the fishing was pretty good too: