How to Choose a Moose

If you’re a would-be moose hunter, you should know the three simple steps to getting exactly the moose you dream of.

Step One: Decide what kind of moose you want.
Step Two: Go hunting in Newfoundland.
Step Three: Be patient, look over lots of moose, but don’t pull the trigger until you’ve got exactly the one you want in your sights.

For most hunters, the moose they want is a trophy bull with spread, palms, and lots of points. I can understand that.

In fact, I’m looking at a magnificent moose rack from Newfoundland. Spread: 47 and 3/4 inches, with palms 10 inches wide. It has ‘only’ 14 points because the two lowest points on the right side were broken off in a fight. The shortest point is 4 inches long, the longest is 15 inches. I wouldn’t trade it for any moose rack I’ve ever seen, though I’ve seen bigger bulls since.

Closing my eyes, I can still see that rack shining like a mirror in the low morning sun. After a long, moonlit boat ride from the tent camp, my guide and I had climbed the hill in the dark, and watched as the sun slowly lit up the landscape below. From more than a mile away, even without binoculars, we could see this bull’s rack. He was surrounded by two outrider bulls, one a trophy in his own right, and a whole harem of cows and calves. It took more than two hours to stalk that bull and get the shot.

Not everyone wants a big bull. A few years ago in Newfoundland, I was looking for a bull with a rack no wider than 32 inches to fill a space on the wall of a fishing cabin. Took a couple of days and a lot of walking, but my guide and I eventually found a bull with a 30-inch wide rack with ten points. Good eating, too.

Speaking of eating…
The last two times I’ve gone to Newfoundland, my goal has been moose meat. A short float plane flight from a commercial airport, I passed up several pretty good racks before my guide called in a spike bull. Second-best moose I’ve ever tasted.

And this past fall… well, there’s a story. I had to pass up four trophy bulls (including two that were fighting and let us get within 30 yards), several smaller bulls, many cows with calves, and two yearling cows, before finally finding a full-grown, young, dry cow. In the meat house back at the camp, where the guides had a grill going to sizzle up the odd bits of meat, I had to stand guard over the quarters as they cooled. Newfoundland guides know a good eating moose when they see one.

That’s it. Three simple steps to getting the moose you want. The really important step is Number Two. Newfoundland has more moose per square mile than anywhere else in the world. If you can’t get the moose you want there, you probably won’t get it anywhere.
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