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´╗┐Title: Habits, Haunts and Anecdotes of the Moose and Illustrations from Life
Author: Jones, Burt
Language: English
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_Habits Haunts and Anecdotes
The Moose
Illustrations from Life_

_By Burt Jones_

_Founder of the National Sportsman_


E. A. D.

This volume is respectfully dedicated.

Copyrighted, 1901,

Press of

Edition de Luxe.


No. 812

Signed by Burt Jones


(West Branch Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]


I wish to extend to the following well-known sportsmen my sincere thanks
for their kindness in contributing to the illustrated section of this
volume: Mr. G. E. Harrison, of the New York Press Club; Dr. O. H. Stevens,
Marlboro, Mass.; Messrs. Harry L. and Louis O. Tilton, Newton, Mass.; Mr.
George M. Houghton, Bangor, Maine; and Mr. John E. Barney, Canaan, N. H.,
who secured the photographs facing pages 55, 61, 83, and 127, the one
opposite page 55 deserving special mention, as, in my estimation, it is the
finest photograph of live cow moose and calves in existence.

The entire collection is copyrighted, and any infringement on the same will
be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


"This is the forest primeval." "It is my home." So spoke the moose. Suffice
it is to say, that a prize trophy over one's fireplace is an object to be
admired by one and all. It brings you back to a last hunting trip, and well
do you remember, as you gaze thereon, what a chase it had led you in life,
through bog and alder swamp, until at last an opportunity presented itself
whereby the deadly missile from your rifle sends him to his death. As the
blue rings of smoke from your brier pipe float up and away, you are carried
in thought to the North Woods wherein he roamed. There he lived, a monarch
of all he surveyed. The excitement of the chase, while it is on, knows no
bounds, but at the death it subsides, and you return to civilization to
recall the event only when the time arrives that another pilgrimage to the
happy hunting grounds is in order. On the other hand, you find him as a
subject for your camera. An excellent one, too. Exiled in his domain for a
few weeks and a wealth of enjoyment is yours, as, during the long winter
evenings, you may open your album and see him before you as he was in
life. The smoke from the same pipe will float up and away, and you can for
a moment realize what a happy pastime you have enjoyed while a guest of
Dame Nature in the Haunts of the Moose.


    "Deep in the silent forest, where oft I've chanced to roam,
    The monarch moose inhabits, it is his woodland home;
    By silent lake at morning, by logan, calm at night,
    Majestic stands his lordship, stands motionless in sight.
    The north wind to him is music, the tall pines are his friends,
    The rivers madly rushing, o'er the rocks and round the bends,
    Seems to him a heavenly blessing, seems to him the work above
    Of a kind and thoughtful Father, and His beings He doth love."


(West Branch Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]



Throughout the vast depths of the northern forests, bordered by the virgin
growth of a trackless wilderness, often with an imperial fringe of
timber-crowned hills, lives the moose. He is the largest, as well as the
most highly prized, live game animal extant to-day on the American
continent. Formerly, this species was very abundant throughout the region
of country extending from the wilds of Northern Maine westward through the
wilderness bordering on the Great Lakes and far beyond; but great havoc has
been wrought, especially during the past twenty-five years, in the supply
of this variety of game.

Comparatively few are killed annually in the United States, and those
mostly within the limits of Northern Maine and the States of the far
Northwest, where the pernicious activity of the professional hunters and
self-styled sportsmen, who kill the large beasts during the prevalance of
deep snows, will, if not checked, bring the moose into the list of extinct
species of American game before the close of another decade.

No animal is so persistently hunted, and when killed, none considered so
grand a trophy as his lordship. Owing to the comparatively small section of
this country that he inhabits they are few in number, the Maine and
Canadian wildernesses sheltering by far more moose than any other section.
What few specimens found in far-off Alaska are world beaters in regard to
size of body and spread of antlers, one having been shot in that territory
whose horns measured over eight feet from tip to tip.

The best breeding and feeding grounds are along the Canadian border, while
favorite localities for the sportsmen are in the vicinity of lakes, ponds,
and dead waters throughout the aforementioned sections.

In appearance the moose is large and awkward; its huge head and broad
nose, combined with its short, thick neck, giving it a rather grotesque
appearance. In color, he is brown, while his legs and belly are grayish.
His mane is almost black, and at any approaching danger rises upward,
making him a most formidable foe to look upon.

The moose travels over the ground in a swinging trot, exhibiting remarkable
speed. This style of locomotion is adopted only when the animal is suddenly
started. If the presence of man is detected, while the hunter is yet some
distance away, the moose moves off with considerable caution, often
selecting a course which the follower can pursue only with the greatest


(West Branch Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]

The endurance of the animal is such that only the hardiest of hunters can
hope to overtake him in a stern chase when he has once become alarmed. The
broad, palmate antlers are a distinguishing feature, and happy is the
hunter who can boast the possession of a head as a trophy taken from an
animal killed by himself. While few are successful in this respect the
greater majority must be content with perhaps a view of his lordship at a

Still hunting, or stalking the moose in his native wilds, is a branch of
sport successfully followed by none except the skilled woodsmen and hardy
hunter. The fatigue and countless obstacles to be met with are such that
comparatively few amateur sportsmen attempt it. More frequently the animal
is driven to the water by the guides and woodsmen, or attracted to such
localities by calling.

In Northern Maine and in the Canadian Provinces, the moose is often hunted
during early winter by pursuing him on snow-shoes. Jacking is often
effectively followed in mid-summer, along the lakes and rivers. This method
is considered unsportsmanlike by those who possess the requisite skill and
endurance to adopt the style of still hunting.

In size and weight he exceeds that of the horse, specimens having been shot
that weighed over twelve hundred pounds and stood seven and one-half feet
to the shoulder.


(West Branch Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]

In the summer he is to be seen feeding in and near the streams on the lily
roots, of which he is exceedingly fond. This is the time of year that he is
easily approached from a canoe as he stands, with head submerged, eating
that dainty morsel. The black flies, at this season, are also to a great
extent responsible for his taking to the water, as any of my readers who
have had a few of these insects on them at one time usually feel disposed
to follow his example in their endeavor to rid themselves of this pest.

As winter approaches he leaves the lakes and streams, forming a yard or
runway by passing to and fro, beating a track, and keeping the snow packed
down hard. These runways are always located where there is good feed to be
had from young hardwood trees, such as the moosewood (a species of ash),
also poplar, birch, and mosses near at hand. He does not feed from the
ground, and, owing to the great height of his forelegs, he can reach from
eight to ten feet to secure his food. Nor are all these twigs tender, for
his lordship makes short work of biting off a sapling an inch through if it
is to his liking.

Moose bring forth their young in May. Two calves are born, as a rule,
though sometimes not more than one. The calf stays with the mother at least
a year, and often two. While the cow moose is a timid animal, she is brave
in defending her young. A story told by a trustworthy Indian guide
illustrates this point.

While paddling on Chesuncook Lake, one day, the guide saw a cow moose and
a calf come down the bank and enter the water. He watched them until they
had waded some distance from shore, when his attention was arrested by
another animal coming out of the woods near them. It was a black bear. The
bear was not seen by the cow. He slipped easily into the water and waded
towards the cow and calf. Presently he got beyond his depth, his legs being
much shorter than even a calf moose's, and therefore had to swim. He swam
directly for the calf, and was rapidly nearing it when the cow saw him. The
ungainly beast turned with remarkable quickness towards the bear, whom she
attacked with her fore feet. Three or four sharp jabs with her pointed
hoofs was enough to insure the protection of her offspring, with whom she
soon left the water. The bear appeared to be _hors de combat_, and the
guide paddled up to him, to find that his back had been broken by the
powerful blows of the cow. The Indian dispatched the bear with his knife
and saved the pelt.

In size and strength the bull moose is probably the equal of any antlered
animal that ever lived, one having been shot in Maine with a spread of over
six feet. He sheds these splendid antlers every winter, generally in
January. They are found sometimes by woodsmen, but usually are gnawed and
eaten up by small animals as soon as dropped, as they have a salty flavor
that makes them palatable to squirrels, sable, and the like.

Owing to the color of his coat, it is hard to detect a moose sometimes in
"black growth," that is, spruce or hemlock, for his upper part is brownish
black, and his legs tone off into gray or yellowish white. The shanks are
esteemed by residents of the woods country for making boots or "shoepacks,"
the hair being left on and turned outward. Such foot covering lasts
indefinitely and sheds water perfectly. The hoof is peculiarly flexible,
and divided farther, for example, than in the case of the ox. This enables
him to walk easily on slippery surfaces, and through bogs, by spreading the
hoofs. It is said that he can pass through a swamp where a man would become
foundered, while the speed with which he passes over moss-grown boulders,
or masses of blown-down trees, is remarkable.

It is most discouraging, after tracking your game for hours at a time, to
finally have to give it up on account of darkness setting in. Lighting your
pipe, you retrace your steps to camp and await the coming of the morrow,
when the routine of the previous day is gone over. It is the quiet, careful
man who succeeds in tracking, as the breaking of a twig or the brushing of
one's coat against a tree will jump your game, and in his fright he travels
many miles before stopping.

He is an exceptionally keen-scented animal, and mark you well as to the
general direction of the wind before leaving camp, as to work along with it
is fatal. Miles before you have seen him he smells you and immediately
increases the distance from his would-be foe.


(Taken at the Headwaters of the Liverpool River, Nova Scotia.)

Photographed from Life.]

When the rutting season is at its height, along about the first of October,
and the days warm, another method of moose-hunting is brought into
play,--that of imitating the call of the cow with a birch horn about
eighteen inches in length. There are many expert moose-callers in Maine and
the Canadian Provinces, though they have by no means a monopoly of this
accomplishment. The sound is most peculiar, and can only be acquired by
long practice. The most expert callers are those who have taken lessons
from nature,--that is, have been close to a female moose when she was
calling the male. At least one in three of the Maine guides can call
moose. With his birch horn, and seated beside some lake on a quiet evening,
he sends back into the forest or across some shallow logan the weird
"woo-oo-oo, woo-woo-oo" of the cow moose calling the bull. If there be a
bull within hearing he will respond with a deep grunt. He will then tear
along through the woods in the direction of the call, and perhaps splash
out with a great noise into the shallow water where he expects to find a
mate answering his amorous advances.

Ordinarily the moose is a silent animal, being very careful not to make a
noise. Old guides have said that in spite of his great spread of horns he
will pass quietly through a thick growth. Generally, if seen in summer at
the edge of a lake or stream, he slips noiselessly into the woods, but when
the rutting season begins he casts his discretion to the winds and responds
to the call of the cow with noisy disregard of consequences. He is also
quarrelsome at such times, and should another bull happen to trespass on
what he considers his territory there may be trouble. The rutting season is
generally over by the first week in October, and the bulls will not answer
the calls after that, unless the weather should hold very warm. Most guides
claim that during the rutting season the bulls have a wide range, but that
the cows remain in one neighborhood.

While yarded moose are very methodical in their habits: they have,
however, a single eye to one object, the detection of any intruder,
therefore it is only by a knowledge of their habits that they can be
approached by the hunter. It is their keen sense of hearing and smell that
are to be guarded against, for as a rule, when the animal can see the
hunter, he can also see the moose, and his capture becomes simply a
question of marksmanship. It is certainly a unique sport and has few
successful aspirants.

Of the two, still hunting is usually the more successful and the greater
number of moose are secured in that way. In the late fall, the coming of
the first snow doubles one's chances of success as every step of the animal
is shown. In tracking he usually goes through the worst places possible for
him to find, which adds to one's discomfort and lessens one's chances of a


(St. John Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]

Nature has bestowed upon him methods of passing through underbrush or
blowdowns silently where a man in following makes a noise ten times as
loud. The very silence of the forest is noisy. The wind whistling through
the tree-tops, the bushes grating against one another, both contribute to
make noise.

Those of my readers who have heard the low, weird grunt of the bull moose,
and have listened to the music of the crashing of the underbrush as he
forces his way through in answer to the melancholy and drawn-out bellow of
the cow, will understand full well when I say that it cannot be described,
but must be heard to be appreciated, and is certainly worth all the
hardships it entails to be listened to only once.

I remember well of a time that my guide called from the edge of a lake at
sunset, and received an answer from a large bull on a mountain a mile or
two away, where we could hear him coming nearer and nearer as the moments
wore on. After a half hour had elapsed he had reached the other side of the
lake, and was so close that we did not dare to repeat the call for fear he
would detect the artificial from the natural. He did not venture nearer,
and as it was too dark to see him across the lake, we returned to camp, but
that fifteen minutes will live long in my memory.

To hunt moose successfully one must "rough it," and sleep without a fire,
as the best time to hunt is at sunset and daylight, and with their keen
sight and scent a fire means no moose.

In his visits to the Maine woods half a century ago, Thoreau made copious
notes about the moose, which was then slaughtered indiscriminately, by
Indians and others, for their hides. This slaughter, which could not be
called hunting, shocked the gentle naturalist from Concord, who made the
prediction that "the moose will, perhaps, some day become extinct, and
exist only as a fossil relic." This may be true, but the animal has
judicial friends, and so long as they protect him, it does not appear as if
the moose could become extinct from slaughter. Indeed, it is claimed that
as many if not more moose are to be found now than fifty years ago.


(West Branch Waters.)

Photographed from Life. Time exposure.]



One of the greatest moose regions in the world is that portion of land
drained by the tributaries of the St. John, Miramichi, and Restigouche
rivers. It is true that portions of Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Labrador are
roamed over by herds of these magnificent animals, but the best specimens
of the race are found within the compass of Eastern New Brunswick.

It is a country of hill and dale, cedar swamps, hardwood ridges, and
barrens, where the blueberry, the hackmatack, and here and there stunted
tamaracks break the general sweep of waste country. Along these barrens the
moose loves to roam. Here he finds the moss of which he is so fond, and
here, too, he gets the young shoots of various shrubs on which he feeds. He
can also keep a weather eye on the approach of danger, and as he feeds, he
occasionally throws his massive head in the air, and takes a sudden and
piercing glance around the landscape. If satisfied, he gives a short grunt
of evident pleasure and proceeds with his feeding.

The best horns are secured in the months of late October, November, and
early December. In January the horn begins to get soft, and soon falls off.
It is said by hunters that the largest animals lose their antlers weeks
earlier than the younger bulls. It is also claimed that the natural color
of the moose-horn is white; that this is the color when the velvet comes
off, but that contact with the trees, and rubbing against the
bark--something which the moose apparently delights in--causes the horn to
take that pretty shade of antique oak. There is all the difference in the
world in horns. Some have a multitude of points; some have wider webs; some
have stouter horn stems; some set more gracefully on the skull; some lie
more horizontally than others; so that when the term a "choice head" is
used it means that nature has given the bull all the beauty of antlers in

With far greater agility and cunning than any other animal of its weight,
the moose is a formidable opponent when attacked. Some narrow escapes have
been made by hunters using the old cap gun, but now with the breech-loader
the speed that guarantees security is given.

I have seen a great curiosity in the form of the horns of two moose
inextricably interlocked. The story these horns tell is that a duel to the
death had taken place in a forest glade between a bull moose of eight
hundred pounds weight and a younger one of perhaps four hundred pounds. The
larger had an antler spread of three feet eight inches, the smaller, that
of three feet. In the shock of the conflict, the horns of the younger had
fitted snugly into the many branches of the other set of antlers, and the
heads were as solidly and as perfectly fastened together as if bolted with


(West Branch Waters.)]

That the fight had been long and stubborn the horns showed. Where they had
come together they had been rubbed and worn to the depth of half an inch.

The younger had died first, whether from exhaustion, or a broken neck, or
starvation, is not apparent, but the condition of the flesh when found
showed that he had lost the fight; and the victor did not long survive.
Fastened to his dead competitor he could not feed with this weight of four
hundred pounds attached to him, and must have succumbed to starvation. A
similar case is reported, and is thus described:--

"No mortal eye witnessed what must have been a prolonged and fearful
contest; but when their bodies were found in the lake the story of what had
taken place was easily understood. The ground for some distance from the
lake was torn and trampled where the ferocious animals had charged upon
each other, and when the bodies were examined the antlers were found to be
so firmly interlocked that it was impossible to separate them. In order to
secure one good pair the finder sawed the other pair away, it not occurring
to him at the time that the interlocked antlers would be of considerably
more value than many pairs in the ordinary condition. In this instance it
was evident that the stronger had gone to his death because of his
strength. One of the two was much stronger than the other, and under
ordinary circumstances this would have secured him the victory. As it was,
the advantage was fatal. In rushing at each other, the antlers of the two
locked together, and it was then that the larger moose thought he had the
smaller one at his mercy. So he had, as far as the ability to push him
about and force him back was concerned, but when the larger animal forced
the smaller into the lake, both were indeed in a common peril and shared a
common fate."

Moose are not secured in a day. In fact, the greater majority of sportsmen
require several trips to the woods to assure them success. There are
exceptions to this rule, however.

I recall the case of a sportsman who went into the wilderness for a
two-weeks stay with his wife, and brought down a moose the first day out.
He had no thought of getting one when he started, but it being his wife's
birthday, he indulged in a dream and told her that she would be presented
with a pair of moose antlers by him for a birthday present. This naturally
pleased her ladyship, and her liege lord took his gun, his guide and canoe,
and started out to try to fulfil his promise.


(West Branch Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]

When the canoe emerged from the stream into the pond the hunter and guide
were surprised enough to see, at the edge, in shallow water, a large bull
moose. The animal was up to his back feeding on the lily roots, splashing
his great head about, and having no fear, in his lonely retreat, of being
interrupted by hunters. The wind, being in the right direction, gave the
men an advantage, as the moose could not scent them. The guide approached
cautiously, never taking his paddle from the water as he propelled the
light craft along.

Suddenly the moose heard something, perhaps the gentle splash of water
against the canoe, that made him look around. For a second he gazed
silently at the two men sitting in the little craft, now scarcely a hundred
yards away. Then he swung his great body slowly around (as there was soft
mud on the pond bottom, and he could not make way swiftly in it) and
started for the bank. The hunter held his fire, fingering his gun-lock
nervously, until the moose had reached firm ground. It would not have done
to shoot him in the mire, for, the water being shallow, half a dozen men
could not have extracted the body; but with the first step the great beast
(with mud and water dripping from his body) took upon the shore, a bullet
pierced him in the neck. Then there was a succession of shots, and little
jets of blood spurted out on the dark brown coat of the forest giant, who
by this time was making rapid way along the rocky shore of the pond. A
dense cedar swamp lay inland from the shore, and into it the wounded moose
did not dare to plunge. He must retreat under fire, like a general with the
enemy on one side and a river on the other.

At last he disappeared in a thicket. The hunters had gone ashore and were
after him, coming up just as he sank to earth. A bullet behind the ear
discharged his debt to nature.

That night a noble head adorned the camp of the hunter, who had
unexpectedly made good a promise his wife never expected him to fulfil.

Contrast this experience with another I have in mind, and the two sides of
moose hunting will be illustrated. For three seasons a good hunter from a
Massachusetts town had gone into Maine to get a moose, and three times he
had returned home empty handed. He scorned to shoot deer. He hardly would
have brought down a bear had one presented himself to be shot. He wanted
moose. It was a hard country for hunting, a place of boulders and blowdowns
and stumps,--a desolate waste. He saw moose tracks, and he was there to
follow them, which he did long and wearily, for a day, and at night he
slept in an abandoned camp. Again on the next day he followed them, seeing
them sometimes on the soft, green moss, again at the side of a stream, or
in some boggy place. At times they were lost on a rocky slope, or in a
region of hard ground. There was no snow to aid the hunter, and the
tracking of moose in such a country without it called for the best traits
of the seasoned sportsman,--patience and endurance.


Taken during January, near Eagle Lake.

Photographed from Life.]

The trail led uphill at last, and after following it up the base of a
mountain, amid scrub growth and blowdowns, the hunter was rewarded by
seeing at long range a large bull. The moose scented the hunter almost as
soon as sighted, and stood not upon the order of his going but sought a
lower level. It was at this juncture that the resource of the experienced
hunter came in. He did not stand and watch the animal disappear. Not he!
Sending along a lead missile to announce his intentions, he set out in hot
pursuit. There began such a chase as hunters seldom engage in. The moose
had an advantage over the man, for he could take long leaps over
depressions in the ground, and over fallen trees and big rocks. The hunter
had to jump, run, slide, and bound along as best he could. He saw nothing
but the moose, and he saw him only as one sees an express train
disappearing in a fog. Whenever, by some change in the course of the
animal, or a favorable turn in the ground, a shot was offered, the hunter
fired; then he would pump another cartridge into the chamber of his rifle,
and resume the pace.

Thus tearing at break-neck speed down a rough mountain side, the sportsman,
followed by his puffing guide, gradually came up to the moose. The bullets
had taken effect, though not in a vital part, and the animal was weakening.
But moose and hunter plunged on, through woods and under brush that grew
at the bottom of the mountain, and at last, after what seemed a chase of a
dozen miles, but which in reality might have been three, the hunter came
into full sight of his anticipated prize in a clearing. This time the
animal was in a position for a telling shot, which was sped with good aim,
and brought the great beast to his knees. Another ended his career, and the
hunter, out of breath, sat down to wipe his brow. He had lost his hat and
mittens in the chase, his clothing was torn, and he was battered and
bruised. This counted for nothing. He had brought down his moose after four
seasons' work. It was necessary to "swamp" a road, that is, cut one through
the woods, for a mile to get the carcass to a logging road over which it
could be hauled to the river. As the first snow of the season fell that
night the moose was brought out and it was comparatively easy work to get
him to the railroad station on the next day.

One more moose story may not be amiss. It has to do with a party of
sportsmen, consisting of a judge and a banker, who went into a famous moose
country to try their luck. They fired but one round during their stay in
the woods, and with a guide brought down in that one volley three large
bull moose. The story is fully vouched for and the heads of two of the
bulls may now be seen in an Aroostook town.

[Illustration: BULL MOOSE ON BLACK POND. (West Branch Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]

These two hunters, like the first one mentioned, did not expect to find
moose. They thought luck might take a turn in their favor, but were ready
to sustain themselves in hope deferred if it did not.

The judge and the banker went into the woods from a little settlement on
the Aroostook River. They travelled a good sixty miles by horse-sled in the
snow before reaching the place where they were to engage guides. It was
another twenty-five miles to the camp where they put up on their first
night out, a "depot" camp, where lumber crews going in and out stopped to
rest and sleep.

On the morning after their arrival the two hunters set out in the snow with
their guide to look for moose signs. They walked half a dozen miles without
finding any, and, getting tired, went back to camp, leaving the guide to
pursue the quest, and let them know when he came up to a moose. This was
not thoroughly sportsmanlike, they knew, but they were a pair of worthy
men, past the meridian of life, and they did not stand on the ethics of the

That night the guide returned and told them he knew where there was a yard
of moose. Next morning, in the sharp air of a snappy-cold dawn, they set
out to find the moose, and had walked but a few miles when tracks were
found in the snow. Then, with the guide leading them, stopping as he went
to avoid low branches laden with snow that hung across their way, or
bending aside some twig to avoid noise, they half walked, half crawled for
upwards of a mile.

They saw moose signs that seemed to them good. At last the guide held up a
warning hand, and proceeded more slowly than formerly.

After many cranings of his neck and changes of position, he drew aside a
branch and told his followers by signs to look in the direction he
indicated with his snow-covered mitten. They looked, but could see nothing
special at first. The guide patiently pointed out to them a clump of bushes
against which he could see the heads of two moose. The animals were lying
down, with their heads to the wind, as is always their custom. The hunters
were for firing precipitately, but their ardor, so quickly aroused, was
dampened by the guide, who motioned them to wait. There was a good wind
blowing, and it came from the moose to the men. Moreover, it made a noise
in the trees, and whispering was therefore safe among the hunters crouched
in the snow. The guide informed them that there were three moose in the
bunch. The judge and the banker could see but two, and these presented as
fair a mark as ever man found for rifle.

When the word was given the two men fired, also the guide. There was a
movement among the moose, and the hunters rushed forward to see the
execution they had wrought. It was startling. There in the snow, still
kicking and quivering, lay three large moose. To the worthy judge and
banker they looked as big as oxen. All three were in the throes of death.

[Illustration: COW AND CALF MOOSE LEAVING THE WATER. (Lobster Lake.)

Photographed from Life.]

There was great rejoicing in the depot camp that night. The two friends
thought themselves favored by the gods of the chase beyond their deserts.
The story of the great hunt was soon current in the community in which the
hunters lived. The version of it given here, with slight variations, is
that of one of the principals in the episode.


(West Branch Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]



Picture a hungry group at supper around the camp-fire as night shuts down,
when the noisy jest and laughter are suddenly interrupted by your guide.
Listen! There it is again from over the lake,--the fierce challenge of the
bull and the horn-like note of the cow! I'll not try to record the many
exciting incidents of those glorious morning and evening watches; how this
one saw his lordship in broad daylight swagger across the open, just out of
rifle range; how that one, in the darkness of the homeward trail, called a
jealous bull so near that he could hear him breathe ere the tell-tale human
scent turned his course; or how another stalked a cow moose by mistake, and
watched her some time, vainly hoping her lord would call; for every hunter
knows of these slips, making success more pleasant when it is yours.

I must tell you, however, of that still October morning, of the faint mist
rising from the lake, of the bright hills so fairly mirrored by the clear
waters, and of the rising sun so dazzling on the mist and the water.
Suddenly the guide and I drop the half-prepared breakfast and take to the
canoe in haste. We had heard that note of notes--the angry challenge of a
bull moose. The remembrance of that morning brings back the sound as I
heard it a few miles away over the hills. Watch how the guide is carefully
following the course of the sound. We soon reach the other side. There he
is, head on! Wait! he may give a better shot. No! he sees the canoe. Shoot
now or he will be gone! Bang! A miss, for he did not flinch! The smoke
hides him! Bang! Bang! The guide has fired, too, but the smoke hampers
both. There he goes, crashing through the thicket! Let's give him another
for luck! He certainly was hard hit, and in that event it was best to let
him go, for after a short period of time he would lie down, become stiff,
and die. We paddled back to camp, finished breakfast, and in about three
hours returned to the place from whence he had entered the woods, and there
we found him, cold in death. He was a monster! A wealth of black, glossy
hair, a splendid bell, and massive antlers, fit to adorn any mantel.

[Illustration: _Under full head of steam_

    _A Summer
    Episode in the
    Life of a young
    Bull Moose_

_Nearing terra firma_

Photographed from Life.]

Three days later another fine bull fell to my party. Just at sunset he was
called out from across a pond, and strolled with that majestic woodland
swagger through the shallow water. The first shot so confused him that he
turned and came directly towards us, but soon veered off. At a closer range
this might have been interpreted as a fierce charge of the dying bull,
though it was merely an aimless start of surprise. He fell, with the ball
behind his shoulder, and we found him quite dead. It was a fatal one,
though it failed to stop him until he had gone fifty yards.

There was one section I had not visited, and this was to the east, in the
direction of the brook which had proven too small for floating logs. So it
was that after pulling the cabin door to, I made tracks toward the stream,
which I knew must be asleep under four or five inches of ice and two feet
of snow.

[Illustration: Off for t'other side

Safe ashore

What's that?

Bound inland

Photographed from Life.]

In half an hour's time I had reached the bank and crossed over, keeping
close to it all the time. I had not gone far beyond the ravine-like
formation with the brook hugging its lowest point, when there were
unmistakable evidences of large game. Moose it was. Tracks as large as a
cow, great rents in the snow crust, through which the brown earth showed in
spots; these were some of the traces. I went back across the ravine and
proceeded up-stream, following the east bank; saw several fresh tracks, but
they were cows, and along in the afternoon, while travelling up an old
brook, I saw the imprints of a large bull, and they were big ones, together
with a cow and calf. It did not take me long to decide what to do, and as
they followed the brook I knew that they had not heard me. The wind was
favorable and they were working up into it. Finally they left the brook
and that necessitated more caution on my part. I had covered about half a
mile and I heard the cow calling. Suddenly she came into view. I worked up
to within forty yards of her in hopes to find the bull, but ran into the
calf, a two-year-old; luckily he did not see me. Things were getting
interesting, with a moose on my left and another in front of me. Working my
way cautiously along I heard the bull in the thick growth. He was so
covered that I could hardly see him. By careful inspection, one antler and
part of his shoulder showed. Raising my rifle I fired, at which he stepped
into the clearing and stood defiant. What a noble looking fellow he was,
and a monster in size as he stood there shaking his head, blood running
from his mouth and nostrils. Once again I fired. As the last one struck he
went down, the shot breaking his shoulder blade--another victim of the

The experience of a young New Yorker will serve to exemplify both the
uncertainty of moose calling and the manner in which it is prosecuted. He
was hunting in the Bear River woods, accompanied by one of the most expert
guides of that section. Two nights of calling proved fruitless. The
sportsman frankly told his guide he had no faith in it, and that he did not
believe a moose would come to the call of a man. This considerably ruffled
the guide's conceit, and he resolved, if possible, to make a lasting
impression to the contrary on the mind of his employer. That afternoon an
ideal place for calling was chosen. The tent was pitched beside a giant
boulder, on one side of which a narrow, open bog stretched away between
wooded banks, and on the other a sort of natural park extended to the foot
of a ridge covered with hard wood. The guide exacted the promise that his
companion would not shoot until he gave the word. All arrangements being
complete, as the sun was nearing the western horizon, the guide climbed to
the top of the boulder and sounded the call.


Photographed from Life.]

Almost immediately, from the ridge, about two miles away, came the
deep-voiced answer of an old bull. A few minutes sufficed to show that he
was coming at a rapid pace. The guide continued to call at regular
intervals, and in a few minutes another answer was heard far down the bog,
though this time from a smaller moose. A few seconds later brought a reply
from a third, in another direction. The sport was getting exciting. The
guide came down from his perch on the rock and stationed his employer and
himself behind a smaller boulder, over which it was possible to look while
lying on the ground. The guide thought the young moose would not come up
for fear of the larger ones, and of course the one he wanted was the
monster that had first answered. In that, however, he was disappointed. The
distance was considerable, and while the big bull was still a long way off
he was interrupted and turned from his course by another party of
hunters. The little one on the bog ceased to answer, but the large one that
had started last was, when the sun went down, already quite near, and
coming steadily along. When the moose was about breaking cover the guide
climbed partly up the big rock and noted the direction from which he was
coming, satisfying himself the game would appear on the side of the boulder
on which they were stationed. Another call, and the bull's hoofs were heard
beating the firm ground as he trotted up the slope toward the men. In full
view of the hunters, and about ten yards from them, grew a bunch of sapling
birches. There the moose paused and began a furious onslaught with his
antlers. Having tired of that, he turned toward the hunters, and going
down on his knees plowed his horns along the ground some distance, tossing
them, well loaded with vines, moss, and earth. With a snort, he shook these
from his head, the dirt falling on and around the two men lying behind the
rock. The city man about that time was enjoying his first acute attack of
moose fever. His teeth fairly chattered, and the guide had to grip his
rifle barrel to prevent it from rattling against the rock. Again the moose
came on and stood with his broadside toward them, not more than twelve feet
from the muzzle of the rifle. That was about as close quarters as the guide
cared for on his own account, so he gave the word to fire. The moose went
down with the shot, but immediately rose to his feet again. Again the
rifle spoke, and down he went, only to rise again. The third shot, however,
dropped him for the last time. Any of them would have proved fatal, but the
moose was too close for the men to take any chances.

The sportsman was convinced a moose would come at a man's call, and was so
excited over the fact that he slept none on that night.

I recall an experience of mine with an old bull on Pockwockamus Dead Water
(from my note book), Oct. 21, 1899.

I had gone only a few steps when I heard the splashing of a moose around
the bend of the stream ahead. There was a stretch of sand that led to an
island for which I made. There I concealed myself in the brush. I could
hear the big fellow wading along and ploughing through the reeds. I first
saw his antlers above the brush, and then his majestic head appeared. That
was all he would show, as he suspected a hidden foe and was on the lookout
for any apparent danger. For distance, he was about one hundred yards from
me and close inshore. Finally an opportunity presented itself, and I raised
my rifle and let go through the leaves where his neck should be. At the
report he made a quick turn and disappeared in the thick growth. I dashed
through the water, which was only about three feet deep, up the opposite
bank, and pushed my way through the bushes to where I had last seen him.
There he lay. My shot was fatal. As I appeared he snorted at me and tried
to regain his feet, but his efforts were ineffectual. I then put him out of
his misery with a shot through the heart.


Photographed from Life.]

Still another is worthy of mention.

At one time the guide and myself were coming back to camp, just about dusk,
after a long tramp, and were within sight of the tents, when we heard a
moose off to the right and close to the trail. The guide tried to coax him
out of the thicket by gently sounding the birch horn, which he had with
him. The moose turned with a crash and ran towards us, grunting all the
time. We were crouched behind a pile of birch brush. The big fellow kept
coming, until it seemed as if he might at any moment jump over the brush
pile and appear before us. It was too dark to shoot, so I slightly changed
my position, thinking I might see the moose outlined against the sky. Just
as I moved, the moose turned, ran some distance back into the woods and
stopped, grunting again as if he was not certain about it all; but he was
soon off, this time silently.

The next morning I was out early examining the tracks, and found it only
sixteen paces from where we were behind the brush pile to where his
lordship had been standing. I could see where he had barked the trees with
his antlers when he was first frightened.

It is fortunate for some of the sportsmen who journey to the north woods
after big game in the fall that their guides live so far away, otherwise
their reputation might suffer. This concerns both their personal traits and
their ability as hunters. Camp life brings out a man's true qualities. The
experience of a sportsman during his first attempt to lure a moose from his
home in the forest is related as follows:--

One of the party tried his luck at calling. He left the guide at the camp.
Quietly hiding among some shrubs, he gave a gentle but long-drawn-out call
and waited results. Hardly had the notes died away than there was a
tremendous crash, the alders parted, and the head of a large bull moose
appeared in the leafy frame within ten feet of the hunter. This abrupt
entrance dumfounded the sportsman whose confusion and consternation were
pretty evenly balanced at a moment when he needed his wits. Who was the
more frightened it was hard to tell. At any rate the caller returned to
camp posthaste minus his gun, horn, and hat, and with an expression that
was indeed pitiable.

A guide, who had a well-known preacher in the woods for a short time one
season, refused to take him the following year. On being asked the reason
he said:--

"That man cares only for himself and thinks his guide can be wound up with
a key to work like a machine. He may be good enough to preach the Gospel,
but he ain't good enough for me to guide."


(Lobster Lake.)

Photographed from Life.]

Many are the stories told by the guides about the unsuccessful sportsmen
who lack the moral courage to go home empty-handed. So accustomed have the
guides become to this sort of thing that they take it for granted, unless
instructed to the contrary, that they are to kill the game their employer
is to take home with him, provided he does not meet with success in the
early part of the hunt.

Another guide has to say of visiting sportsmen: "Some of them shoot all
right, of course, but others are regular Spaniards. I had a fellow up this
way last fall that thought he was death on anything walking on four legs,
and that his gun was the best shooting tool ever turned out of a gun
factory. I paddled him right up to a bull moose standing in the water one
day, and he fired every shot in his magazine at it without rumpling a hair.

"He didn't know enough to stop pumping the lever when all his shells were
gone, and just about then I chipped in with my rifle and put a ball through
the moose's shoulder that dropped him handy to the bank. The sportsman was
in the act of pulling the trigger of his empty gun, when he saw the moose
fall, and he didn't for a moment doubt but what he had killed him. He felt
so good that he rose right up in the canoe and yelled, and the next thing I
knew the canoe kind of slid out from under us and over we went into four
feet of mud and water."


Photographed from Life.]

A New York sportsman had his guide call a moose into the East Branch
thoroughfare one evening just before dark, and the guide tells of his
difficulty in pointing him out to the sportsman, who happened to be
nearsighted. The moose walked right out into the water away from the
concealment of the bushes and stopped. The guide nudged the sportsman and
whispered to shoot.

"Shoot what?" said the sportsman in a louder tone than was prudent under
the circumstances. "I don't see anything to shoot."

"Shoot the moose," he whispered again, "there he stands under that
broken-topped spruce."

The lawyer craned his neck and peered into every shadow but the right one.
Two or three rods below the moose was a clump of bushes growing out beyond
the general shore line. The lawyer finally singled this out as the moose
and opened fire. He was perfectly cool, and every one of his shots went
straight to the centre of the object at which he was firing.

Moose are notoriously slow to start when alarmed, provided they have not
scented the hunter, and the one in question stood motionless until the
sportsman had fired five shots at his inanimate target and had but one
cartridge left in the magazine. Then the moose turned to escape, and, as
luck would have it, dashed directly into the line of fire. The lawyer saw
it, and with his sixth and last shot dropped the moose stone dead.


(St. John Waters.)

Photographed from Life.]

On another occasion, a sportsman, to show his contempt for Maine's
prohibition law, got gloriously full every day before ten o'clock.

The guide left him in the canoe one afternoon while he went ashore to look
for some game signs on a bog near at hand. As he was returning he saw a
nice moose step out of cover within ridiculously easy rifle shot of the
sportsman. The sportsman at once opened fire on the moose, but after many
shots the animal trotted off, untouched.

"'T was this haway," said the bibulous hunter, in explaining his misses,
"when that moose came out there was only one, all right enough, but when I
cut loose with the old gun, blame if the moose didn't double up into two. I
couldn't shoot both at once, and while I was pumping it into one the other
got away. Mus' ha' been I shot at the wrong moose."

[Illustration: BULL AND COW MOOSE.

Photographed from Life.]

"You want to hear how my sports shoot?" said another native guide. "Well,
I'll tell you a little story and then you can judge for yourself. I started
out on the river one afternoon with a man from Boston, to look for moose.
It was a nice, quiet afternoon, and a good one to get game. We dropped down
stream with the current, and the first thing we knew there was a big bull
moose right out in the centre of the stream, sousing his head under
water, and feeding on the lily roots. Mr. A. was paralyzed at the sight,
for he never attempted to shoot. I held the canoe by putting my paddle down
to the bottom, to give him a chance to recover his nerve, and after a while
he realized what was expected of him, raised his rifle and fired. The shot
did not go any where near the moose, and the animal just raised his head
and stood there, looking back over its shoulder. I whispered to Mr. A.:
'You missed. Shoot again.' As it happened, my paddle slipped off into deep
water, and we were floating down on the moose and getting a good deal
closer than necessary. Mr. A. raised his gun and shot again, and then, as
the moose started to walk towards the bank, he got the action limbered up
and fired four more shots as quick as he could work the lever. None of them
touched the moose, and it moved off into the bushes, without seeming to
mind the racket very much. The moose wasn't nearly as rattled as Mr. A.
That man was completely prostrated with excitement. Nothing would do but we
must go straight back to camp. He said his nerves were too badly broken up
to stand anything more of the kind that day.

"Well, sir, we hadn't gone more than three hundred yards on our return
trip, when I saw another bull on the bog adjacent to the stream. I paddled
Mr. A. within good, easy range, and he tried his luck again, but the bullet
struck the water twenty feet to the right. With that he began to swear, and
he threw his rifle down on the bottom of the canoe, cussing it and
everything else in sight. The moose gave a sudden jump and disappeared in
the alders. I reckon the swearing scared it more than the shooting.


(Mud Pond Region.)

Photographed from Life.]

"We hadn't more than a mile to go to reach camp, when Providence, just to
tantalize that man, gave him another opportunity. As we came around the
last bend, there stood a bull and a cow on the bank, not a great way off.
Mr. A. shot twice at the bull, as he stood there, and never touched a hair.
''T ain't no use trying,' he said, 'I can shoot at a paper target all
right, but when it comes to game it's a different matter.' If all the
hunters who go into Maine could shoot as well in the woods as they can at
a mark there wouldn't be a decent head left in the State.

"Now, there is a sample of your city sportsmen. That man fired nine shots
at those moose and he never drew blood, and I could have hit the larger
majority of them with a brick. Yes, sir; if I'd had a good brick I could
have swatted any one of those animals in the short ribs."


Photographed from Life.]

One of the most amusing incidents to others than the participants, and a
most painful one to them, was the experience of two young moose hunters
from far off Oregon, who tried their luck in the lower Dead River region of
Maine with a jack. The night selected was one of exceptional darkness, the
scene, a large bog about five miles from camp, and all conditions pointed
to a most successful first attempt at this most unsportsmanlike branch of
hunting. Supper over, with both eager for the fray, an early start was in
order, and soon the silent craft with its over-anxious freight left the
bank and started down stream. The intense stillness of an early summer
night was not broken save by an occasional muskrat hurrying to its home in
the bank or the ripples playing round the bow of their canoe. Mile after
mile was reeled off, when suddenly a loud splashing was heard dead ahead in
the stream. It was a simple matter for the man with the jack to light it,
but his experience with the instrument in question was limited, and he had
not discovered the slide arrangement by which the light is quickly covered
without extinguishing it. The splashing continued, and both were undecided
whether to back out of their present position or light up and see what the
real cause of the disturbance was. The man in the stern suggested that the
lamp had better remain in the bottom of the canoe, while his friend in the
bow considered it far better to have a little light on the subject and
therefore be able to get their bearings. By scratching a match and
connecting it with the wick, the jack threw a strong light far ahead on the
silent waters. It required but a second to see a large dark object ten rods
ahead, waist deep in the water, and standing head on. Moose fever had
attacked both of the men, and they sat motionless as the large black
object cautiously moved nearer, wondering at each step who was challenging
him in his woodland retreat. By a superhuman effort the stern man, in a
voice scarcely above a whisper, told his friend to extinguish the light, as
the animal would be upon them in a short space of time. The animal, which
proved to be a large bull moose, decided that a closer inspection of these
trespassers was in order. He was now scarce a rod away, and the light from
the jack being exceedingly bright made him somewhat bewildered, with the
result that he charged the canoe. The water, being shallow at this point,
favored the men and prevented a possible catastrophe. His lordship jumped
in and the men jumped out of the canoe. They crawled to the bank and
secreted themselves as best they could under a neighboring tree, while the
animal made short work of the frail craft he had suddenly taken possession
of. A reasonable time having expired, the guides at the camp became
somewhat anxious as to the safety of their charges, and started in search.
At the approach of another craft the moose trotted off into the woods,
leaving the thoroughly frightened sportsmen in their undesirable position,
where they were found and taken back to camp, two sadder, and I might add,
wiser Oregonians.


The one on the left formerly held the Maine Record.]


(Northern Aroostook.)

Photographed from Life.]


The waters of Black Pond, which but a scarce hour before had been lashed
into foam by a southwardly breeze, were silent. In the west the myriad
tints of a golden sunset were disappearing and the tiny stars were
beginning to peep through their blanket of blue. Against this majestic
picture, in the foreground, stood tall pines, rising like sentinels from
the bog in which for years they had found their growth. Far out on the lake
could be heard the solitary cry of a loon calling to his mate. What can be
more sublime, more entertaining, to the true sportsman than to be left
alone with nature in this paradise? A suggestion from the guide that we
skirt the shore and see if there be any game in the pond brought hearty
approval from his employer, and seating myself in the bow, we were soon
under way. Such music the tiny ripples make as they frolic and dance at the
bow, as the craft glides noiselessly along, the whirr of many wings, and a
large flock of wild ducks are up and away at our approach. The moon is on
the rise, and lights this woodland paradise with its shining rays. Suddenly
a loud splashing was heard down the shore not many rods distant, and the
guide sheers off so as to approach the forest denizen from the side. Again
the splashing, and twenty rods distant can be seen a large moose, throwing
the water from off his sides, unconscious of any human intruders. Such a
picture as he made, standing side on, fearless and brave. The guide had
stopped paddling, and the momentum gained was carrying us nearer every
second. Suddenly, coming into his line of vision, he turned his head in our
direction and showed us a most magnificent pair of velvet-covered antlers.
In his eye was the look of defiance, and, with his great head lifted high
in the air, the water still dripping from his brown coat, he seemed to say,
"Well, it's June, what are you going to do about it?" And so it was. We
left him, and slowly paddled back to camp, wishing that the seasons for a
scarce minute had changed,--that October had been June, that June had been
October,--and most of all that we could have used a rifle.


Photographed from Life.]


The man who tells it says he was hunting in the mountains of Nova Scotia,
when he saw a huge bull moose grazing on a patch of moss, a hundred yards
away. He up and fired but when the smoke had cleared away, there stood the
moose grazing as before.

Again he fired, and again he was chagrined to see that the moose didn't
seem to mind it. A third shot, and the moose disappeared. Much excited, the
hunter ran to the moss patch, and there, on the further slope, lay three
dead moose. Pretty risky story to tell in Maine.


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