My 9th. Moose Hunting Trip on the Romaine River

My 9TH. Moose Hunting Trip on the Romaine River Quebec.

I’ll skip my 6th, 7th and 8th. Moose hunting trips as they are pretty similar to the other ones. Yes close calls but did not manage to bag one. But we gained more experience and that for a hunter is worth more than gold.

It was around the middle of September 1974 my brother in law JM and I decided that we were going in by plane and on the Romaine River once again. We had picked a spot just above the Big Falls. Not to far from our village Havre St. Pierre. about 20 miles away.

That morning the weather was not at it’s best for flying and we were not the first on the list to take off. We had chartered a Beaver bush plane on floats. We had a lot of baggage and our chestnut canoe. We crossed our fingers hoping not to have to take a bigger plane like an Otter. Big difference in the price.

The morning had gone by and we were still waiting. Also part of the afternoon had gone by and it was 4PM and no sign of the Beaver. No choice we had to wait.

At 4:30 PM the dispatcher said, we will take you in with the Otter because the Beaver is going to be in to late and this for the same price as the Beaver. We had no comments and that was okay with us. Baggage aboard and the canoe tied on the float and away we were.

Bad weather seemed to be coming in from the north and it was getting late for the pilot to get back. We decided to get off before destination and that a good 8 miles before. Unloaded the plane and away it went and the pilot was glad because he was not interested in sleeping in the bush if he didn’t have to.

Filled up the canoe and installed the 6hp and up the river we went. We were looking for the best place to set camp. The rain had started slowly and fog was starting to set in. We pulled out our rain suits from our packs and put them on. Their were a lot of places we could camp because on both sides of this beautiful Romaine River on the North Shore of Quebec are sandy beaches. The river is about 300 feet at the largest. Yes we both were straining our eyes to find moose tracks. We saw a few old ones, nothing fresh.

After travelling for a good hour and a half I said, JM this would be a good place just beside a nice little creek coming out from the north. He said yes we can camp just on that little lump a bit up in the bush and that is what we did.

After getting everything done, tent up, sleeping bags installed and ready for supper. It was already 8PM I was pumping up the naphtha lantern when we heard the howling call of a wolf and not to far. We stepped out the tent and paid more attention and then another call on the opposite side across the river. I said to JM at least 2 wolves and an other wolf started calling not to far up the river, maybe a couple of thousand feet. They answered themselves for about ten minutes and stopped. We went in, lit the lantern and stove and had a good supper, beef Bourgogne that my wife had put in jars for us. All we had to do was warm it up and with that a good bottle of red wine from Italy. What a snack we had, did not even think about the wolves, until the lonely howling sound was maybe 100 feet from the tent and on the other side about the same distance an other want howling.

It was close to 10PM and we decided to hit the sack. I always and still do today when I go hunting big game is carry along my 12 gauge pump gun and a couple of boxes of SSG (12 leaded pellets per shell) Well that shotgun when things are like tonight and are pretty close to us, that shotgun is loaded and it sleeps in-between JM and me.

The wolves howled and walked around close to our tent for about half an hour. They came and checked and smelt what was going on and left. Then the rain started coming down and pretty heavy and this for me makes me fall asleep in a few minutes and I guess that’s what happened as I woke up the next morning and must have slept like a log. I did not hear a thing.

It was 5:30AM got up, dressed and out the tent with my 32spl. That I just bought one month ago. Practised with it a couple of times. It was good rifle, a Winchester model 94. The weather was a little better, a drizzle coming down and fog on the river. I decided to walk up the river, no calling, why, because of the wolves around. I told myself with all those wolves around their no moose around and that for sure. I saw lots of wolf and bear tracks and they were fresh ones. But then the fresh female cow tracks and not to old. I looked up the river and then across the river. All I could see was four polls stuck in the sand on the other side of the river. I kept both eyes on those polls, it was hard to see or focus because of the fog and drizzle. These polls, four of them were about 700 feet away. I kept focusing them and why four polls, then the fog lifted up and the four polls was a moose. She was looking straight my way, not side ways. I can’t run back and get JM if I shoot and miss because of the distance, about 700 feet for my rifle was far. But behind the moose was a cliff not to high a good 10 feet. I decided to shoot, I had no telescope, so adjusted my sight to 450ft. max. Pointed the rifle aimed and fired. I saw my bullet hit the water about 100 ft. in front. I cranked the Winchester aimed higher and squeezed the trigger and must have touched it as it moved a few feet up the river. I shot again and another time, I could hear
JM running with his hip waders on, but not tied up to the hips. He came up to me and said where, what is it? I said over there on the other side, a cow moose and he said okay I see it but it’s looking straight at us. I’ll wait until it turns sideways. JM had a 308 Savage with scope. It had turned sideways and JM was aiming if JM could have put his whole eye into the telescope he would have done it. He pulled the trigger and I saw the moose just bend over and did not move for a few seconds and then jumped into the river and was swimming for us. JM waited with the rifle pointed at the cow waiting for it to get out of the water on to dry land. There was a sand bar about half in-between the two banks and that is where the cow put his two front legs. Then bang and it fell there with out moving. I ran down and got the canoe and up to pick JM and to the sand bar we went. Hopped out of the canoe and ran for the moose. We were both speeded, this was our first moose and it took 9 years to get it. I think that we both had tears in our eyes and a hand shake every two minutes.

It took a good fifteen minutes to get back to normal. Started the job of pulling it out of the water, it sure was a huge cow and in good health. It was maybe 3and a half or 4 and a half years old. Emptied it and started to cut it into quarters, when JM said to me in a low whisper “where is your rifle” I said beside the canoe. He says look on the other side of the river, slowly turn around. That what I did and they were there the pack of wolves 15 of them and mostly adult wolves. The leader was sitting on his behind and probably have been looking at us for some time. They were exactly where we were shooting from. On the rifles we jumped and manage to shoot two big ones.

We finished our job with the moose and transported it to the tent. Went back and got the two wolves and they were big male timber wolves. Skinned them and brought the hides back to the tent. I looked at my watch and asked JM what time is it? He said holy cow it’s 2PM. I guess I’m hungry, we did not have breakfast. But what a morning it was. We left everything as is and the bacon the beans and eggs were cooking in the frying pan and don’t forget the coffee was purking and all this smelt so good. But before we started eating we had good size shot of cognac.

We had planned to be in for 8 days we had 7 days left. We decide to at least stay for 5 days just to let our moose meat age a bit. So we hunted partridges and started setting rabbit snares. Yes we got a lot of both and also saw a nice bull moose that came out on our call. I say our call because JM does the female and I do the bull call. Yes we could have shot it a couple of times it was close enough about 300ft. JM had it in his scope for a good minute.

We had built a rack or stand about 5ft off the ground and our third night a black bear had stolen our nice moose head trophy, we did not hear a sound but the next morning it was gone. The big bear tracks were there. Our tent was to far away and decided to move the tent closer 3ft. from the rack and leave an oil lamp lit on the meat during the night. But guess what, it came back again but this time I heard it going by the tent. I can say that I saw it’s shadow through the tent.
I told JM he’s there, I had the power flashlight in my hand and JM grabbed his 308 and out I went. Turned the light on and to our surprise he was 3ft. from me on my right. He stood up on his hind legs and was walking towards me, his front legs in the air and yellow nose mouth open and growling. I heard bang and the bear dropped to his fours and was gasping for air. It took off for the bush. We decided not to go look for him as he was injured and could jump us. This
Was around 8:30PM and yes very dark out.

The next morning around 7AM JM was up and out of the tent before me. About five minutes later gave me a little shout “come and see” about 500ft. in the trail we use since we have been there, the bear was sitting on it’s rear end and dead. Was it waiting for us? We tried to save the bear hide but a little to late.

We moved out on he sixth day with an otter because of the cow, weighed a good 600lbs. This was an excellent experience and trip that moose hunters never forget. How many times have I told my children, my friends, my grandchildren and now all you people. Bye for now, until the next story.

Good hunting and be careful all you women and men hunters.