Moose Hunt on the Pagachwa River

Moose Hunting on the Pagachaw River

It was late October 1970 my father Arthur, brother-in-law Bill and I decided to go hunting on the Pagachwa River up in northern Ontario. I had a great uncle who lived in Pagwa and maybe he’s still up there. Anyways we took a chance and up we went.

We had a good days ride from Kapuskasing to Pagwa. Up early that morning, we tide the Radisson canoe on top of our Volkswagan station. Baggage aboard and our way we were. At Hearst we stopped and had a good lunch. Did about 50 miles passed Hearst, just crossed the Pagachwa River on highway 11. On to a rough, muddy road. It had been raining for the last couple of days and this was not going to stop us from going moose hunting. The road was in a hell of condition. This was our first time
ever on this trail. I knew that it was 25 miles from highway 11 to the small village of Pagwaw

We had been travelling for two hours and 9 miles done and yes stuck in the muck. We worked for another two hours to get that Volks out. To make this short we arrived at Pagwa at 5PM and getting stuck only another time. We asked the first native we saw, does George I. still live here? Yes it’s the house over there. Yes my uncle was there and all surprised to see us. He asked us what we were doing up here? I said we want to go moose hunting. The answer was quick, he said I was looking for someone to go moose hunting with. I said well were here and ready. We’ll leave early tomorrow morning and it’s a good time and a good 3 to 4 hours up the rapids. About 15 miles from here. We had a good supper, smoked geese and a good bottle of red wine. We hit the sack around 10pm and this after listening to about 50 stories that my uncle
George told us about the old days, he's in his late 70’sand still in great shape.

The next morning at 5am after a healthy breakfast, few cups of coffee, fat bacon and eggs. We were ready for that canoe trip up the rapids. Because of the extra baggage we had no choice to haul the Radisson canoe with some of the baggage in it. Uncle George had a 20ft. Rupertshouse canoe with a 10hp outboard.

At 6pm. we were on our way and all seemed okay with the canoe tide to the rear. It was a beautiful river, not to large 200ft wide and a shallow. It looked like a great place for moose hunting. After travelling for two hours we arrived at his first camp. He said were not going to hunt here. We’ll be going to my second camp instead. I asked him how many camps do you have like this? Four he said, but the best place now is the second camp. How far from here, another 2 hours.

It was 10:15am when we arrived at the second camp. We did not see any moose on our way up, but did see a few ducks, Canada Geese and 2 otters.The camp was a
Prospector’s tent with a wooden floor and 4 foot walls. Inside was a couple of bunk beds, a table, chairs and a little wood stove. Just what we needed. I asked him where do we hunt. He said anywhere along the river. The moose cross on both sides.

After having a good lunch and a short nap. My brother in law Bill and I decided to paddle up the river with the Radisson canoe, this was about 3pm. I was looking for fresh moose tracks. We had paddled for about 30 minutes when I saw tracks on the sandy beach. Yes they were fresh ones and maybe a couple of hours old. I told Bill no noise and I’ll call from here. I didn’t have the experience that I have today, but was sure going to give it a heck try.

We waited about 30 minutes and I was ready to give the moose call. I remembered that is was a long call, drawn out call like a cow. Or the sound of a mosquito. So I tied it. I did this three times, a few seconds in between each, I listened. After my third one, I asked Bill how was it? He said it sure sounded like a cow (not a moose cow a real cow) that was constipated. Anyways thanks. I did this two more times and not an answer to be heard. We waited until I could not see the other side of the river. Also it was getting pretty chilly. Back to the camp we went.

At the camp Dad and uncle George had supper cooked and it sure smelt good. It was moose stew, a moose that uncle George had killed two weeks ago. They also seemed pretty cheered up as they had a few drinks of Crown Royal whiskey. So that supper with another bottle of red wine was excellent. George asked if we heard or saw anything. Yes fresh moose tracks, Dad said well that’s not to good in the pot with potatoes. I replied maybe tomorrow. It was close to 10pm and time to hit the sack.

The next morning I was up at 5pm. Everyone was still sleeping. I pushed Bill and said are you coming? Replied no, you can go. I didn’t push him the second time because I always liked hunting alone.

Instead of taking the canoe I walked up the river. As I was walking very slowly and always anxious to see what was around the next point. Yes they were about 600 yards from me. Both of them, the bull and the cow. All I could see was their heads and they were feeding on the willows just beside shore. They didnot notice me as they kept on feeding. All that I had was a .32 special Winchester and no scope. They were a good 300 yards to far. On my belly I went and crawled every time they looked the opposite way or eating. I could still see both of them. I crawled about 200 yards and I still had to crawl 50 to 100 yards more. I did about another 25 yards and the bull turned and headed into the bush slowly. The cow was there but all that I could see was half of her head. She was getting nervous, I had no choice I had to shoot now. My heart was beating at 150 miles an hour. I could see her whole head. I got up aimed and pulled the trigger. She took off for the bush. I decided to try and cut them off by running straight into the bush and towards them. I stopped after couple of 100 yards and listened. They were heading back towards the river. I ran for the river as fast as I could(if it would have been the 100 yard dash, I would have made a new record that day) and yes they had crossed and I saw their rear butts going into the bush. I waited on the side, called a few times and nothing. I was disappointed, I missed my chance. I stayed there for three hours and nothing to be seen or heard. I walked back into the bush and found their tracks, followed them to the river, not a spot of blood to be seen.I said to myself thanks I didn't touch them. Then headed back to the camp. They were waiting for me and mainly to hear my story. I replied that they will be bigger next year.

We spent another night at the camp and nothing. That afternoon we headed back to Pagwa. The next day back to Kapuskasing.

It was a great trip and more an excellent experience. The error I made and just that one time only. You have to be patient, keep quiet, don’t move, don’t breath and wait.

It was another great trip.