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  1. Default Maine Moose - Opening Day Success

    Im from a small town in central South Carolina, but my mom is from a small town in Northern Maine. Every summer or 2 my family would load up in our Toyota mini van and make the 20+hr drive to northern Maine to spend a couple weeks with my grand parents. It was during these family vacations that I was first introduced to the largest member of the deer family. My family would go visit Baxter State Park and look at the moose feeding in the ponds. Every time we would go visit I would demand (as much as a kid can) that we take a trip to go look at moose. These were the trips that made me decide that one day I would hunt moose.

    I started apply for a Maine moose tag shortly after college. I was fully expecting it to take 20-30+ years to draw the tag. I remember jokingly telling my mom that I hoped I would draw while I could still walk. While filling out my application I always marked the box saying I would accept a cow tag if my name was drawn and there weren't any bull tags available. I think so many people get fixated on the size of the antlers that they don't realize that the adventure is as much of a trophy as the animal is. Don't get me wrong I love to kill an animal with a massive rack, but at the end of the day that's just icing on the cake. June 9th came and Maine had their annual moose festival and posted their results online. I was in the truck with my friend on the way back from the coast and a day of catching red drum when I remembered that it was moose draw results day. I remember looking up my last name and saying "no way, I got a moose tag". There in the middle of what looked like 5,000 residents was my last name with SC beside it. I drew a cow moose tag in my 7th year of applying. I couldn't believe it. I was in shock. I wasn't supposed to draw yet. Not only that, but I drew zone 5 which is on the northern boarder of Baxter state park where I went to see moose growing up. It was like something from a fairy tale. The planning began...

    I convinced my friend to make the drive with me and be my sub-permittee. I started breaking down the unit like I would any unit. My plan was to hunt old cutovers. Most guys in Maine are heater hunters and prefer to drive the roads until they see a moose from the truck and hop out to shoot it. I don't have any problems with that, I just knew that wasn't how I wanted to hunt them. Zone 5 is a massive unit and I broke it down using onX, but it still looked pretty daunting. I knew I was only going to have 1 full day to scout because of my friends work schedule and the conclusion of my NM elk hunt. We would have to make the most of our scouting time.

    We left SC for the North Maine Woods on Friday, Oct 19. Some how we survived the drive through DC, Philly, and NYC and I vowed that we would drive home another way even if it meant going 4hrs out of the way. We arrived in Maine early Saturday morning, but our excitement upon crossing the state line was muted a little bit when we realized we still had 350 miles to go. We arrived in Ashland sometime that afternoon and headed to the 6 mile check station to get into the North Maine Woods. We spoke with the lady at the desk for a little while and made a plan on our camping location. While looking for a camping location we got turned around and met a few locals who were incredibly kind and even told us to come back and use there phone or wifi if we needed to. We finally arrived at a campsite and set up camp. We decided to start scouting that night with only a few hours of daylight left.

    Upon arrival we decided that trying to hunt all over the unit was crazy because of the sheer size of the unit. So we would focus on the area within 15ish miles of our campsite. We quickly discovered that the area we decided to scout first had a great moose population. We didn't see any moose, but we found a ton of sign and I found my first moose shed. I was excited. My buddy said "Your going to kill a moose right here". We laughed, took some pictures and headed back to the tent. When we got back to the campsite we ate fresh elk steaks and got in bed. 2 SC boys camping in Northern Maine...it was cold... The next morning we got up bright and early to continue scouting the area where we found the shed. We were about 90 minutes into scouting when we started to find very fresh browsing sign. Green twigs snapped off, no frost on the end of the branches. Shortly after this we jumped a moose beside the trail in some very thick vegetation. It sounded massive. I looked at my friend and said "That was a moose". He responded with "No kidding, I felt the ground shake". If you have never jumped a moose from 10 yards away it is tough to explain what it sounds like, but I will do my best. Think if a Volkswagen beetle had 5' legs and it didn't care what it ran over to get away from you. That's what it sounded like.

    We scouted the rest of the day. We found branches snapped off 7' above the ground. Tracks the size of my boot. Trails that looked like highways. Bedding areas. Feeding areas, but no other moose. Right before dark we made the decision to drive about 8-10miles up to a massive cutover and glass for moose until dark. Right before getting to the cutover we came around a corner and there was a big cow running up the road. She ran 30 yards into a cutover, stopped, turned and looked at us and began feeding. I got some great video of her completely relaxed as snow flurries came down. This encounter gave us a lot of confidence. It was going to happen. We went back to the campsite and ate some elk tacos and got in the tent. It was even colder then the previous night, but that was ok because tomorrow was opening day.

    Opening morning we got up, ate some oatmeal and headed to our spot. Anticipation was high. I'd spent years dreaming of opening day with a Maine moose tag in my pocket. We decided that we would head into the area where we jumped the moose the previous morning and found all the fresh browsing sign. We arrived right at legal shooting time and began our hike in. It was cold, 26 without the wind chill. We hiked into our spot and there were no moose. We started to head back to the truck. About halfway back to the truck we came to a separate finger that shot out to our left. This finger was the area we found the moose shed the day before, but the overall sign wasn't as fresh. I asked my friend "Do you think we should hike back in there and check it out?" He said "Its your tag". We turned to the left and headed in. We were just past the spot where I found the shed and there was a slight rise that allowed you to see about 500 yards down to some grass that was between 5'-6' tall. Down in the grass, all the way at the end of the finger was a huge cow. Instantly thing got serious. We began to slowly work our way down close. I wanted a fairly close shot with my 45-70. When we got to about 130 yards she began lifting up her head and looking in our direction, but the wind was perfect. We would freeze when she looked and kept creeping when she put it back down. While she was standing in the grass all I could see was the top 10" of her back, her hump, and her head and neck. I had to wait for her to hopefully come out or get close. I wasn't going to take a shot unless it was perfect. She turned to her left and began to work her way out of the grass onto the old logging road. At 80 yards she stopped broadside pretty as a picture in a magazine. I hit her perfect. I couldn't have gone up and hand placed the bullet any better. She ran 20 yards to the left back into the grass and stopped. I hit her again high shoulder because that's all I could see above the grass. She dropped on the spot. I know the first shot was plenty good enough, but if they are still standing Im still shooting.

    We took our time getting up to her enjoying the moment. She was huge...unbelievably large. We high 5'd and hugged and took a lot of pictures. We started breaking her down and we were able to get her out in 5 trips. Based on the meat hang weight we believe she weighed in the neighborhood of 750lbs. It was an unbelievable hunt. Everything I hoped it would be. I might never get to hunt moose in Maine again and if I don't that's ok. This cow moose is going to live forever shoulder mounted in my office. Some guys might laugh at that, but I don't really care because she is a trophy to me.


    Also, I'd like to say thank you to the guys on this forum that gave me some pointers. THANK YOU!!! If you'd like to see this hunt I film all my adventures. You can look me up on YouTube. My channel is SCliving Outdoors

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    Hunt - Fish - Explore

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Almost North Dakota, not quite Canada
    Posts
    933

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    Great story and pics! Antlers or no, congrats on being one of the few who drew a tag and got to experience the hunt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Utah, after 30+yrs in MT
    Posts
    710

    Default

    Wow! She is enormous. Congrats.

  4. #4

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    What an animal! Any idea of her age?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Western Colorado
    Posts
    223

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    Wonderful story and photos, congratulations on your trophy moose! I really, really like that you're going to have her mounted. I would, too. And, I'd wager that this won't be your one and only trophy moose, just the first.
    So far, so good.


    Eagle Scout 1968, WWW

  6. #6

    Default

    Congrats! I'm putting in for cows in a couple of states, I totally agree with you it's about the adventure and great meat antlers are a distant third place.

  7. #7

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    Congrats on a great hunt, and thanks for sharing your well put together article and pics.!!!
    SLUGGO

  8. #8

    Default

    Now that's one heck of a freezer filler! Grats!
    " There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." - Theodore Roosevelt
    Live to work or work to live... Your choice.

  9. Default

    WOW! She's huge,congratulations.

  10. Default

    They pulled a tooth when I brought her by the check station. Once the either sex resident hunts are concluded the end of this month they will post a document on the website and Ill be able to check and see her age.
    Hunt - Fish - Explore

  11. #11

    Default

    That looks like incredible country to hunt a moose in! Congrats on some of the best eating meat around.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    668

    Default

    Congrats. That’s real nice. How close did you get the truck?

  13. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 3855WIN View Post
    Congrats. That’s real nice. How close did you get the truck?
    Where we ended up shooting the moose was only a little over 1 mile from the main road, but we were able to drive the truck on a secondary road to about 1/2 mile from the moose. The pack out wasn't that bad other then packs being really heavy, lol.
    Hunt - Fish - Explore

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Posts
    1,782

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    Very cool! What bullet were you using? Looks like she got hit hard.

  15. #15

    Default

    congrats!

  16. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Addicting View Post
    Very cool! What bullet were you using? Looks like she got hit hard.
    I was using HSM 430gr Bear Load in my 45-70. They hit hard.
    Hunt - Fish - Explore

  17. #17

    Default

    Awesome story. Congrats and thanks for sharing

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Newhartford Iowa
    Posts
    2,835

    Default

    Congrats

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Wise River, MT
    Posts
    1,363

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    That's one big moose! Congratulations.
    "The Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world" Del Gue

  20. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by el unit View Post
    That's one big moose! Congratulations.
    She was large. Im 6'0 - 210lbs and Im doing all I can to hold her head and neck up in that bottom picture.
    Hunt - Fish - Explore

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
    Posts
    333

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    Congrats on a beautiful Maine Moose!!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    117

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    Great story. That is a big animal. I'd love to see some pictures of those quarters hanging, lol.
    Do more with what you've been given.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Decatur, OH
    Posts
    1,222

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    Awesome stuff! One of our friends from Pennsylvania drew a bull tag a few years back and tagged a nice bull. If you need to free up any freezer space, Ohio isn't that far from SC and I drive

  24. #24

    Default

    Congrats!

  25. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ajricketts View Post
    Great story. That is a big animal. I'd love to see some pictures of those quarters hanging, lol.
    Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the quarters. I did take one of the heart. I’ll see if I can post it.
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