Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I am back, 2016 season

Sorry I have been away for so long. A Lot has been going on in my personal life. I won't bore you with all of the details. But one is worth mentioning. I was awarded the Rocky Freida Award by the Bethel Chamber and the Maine State Senate for my work with young hunters and especially with my volunteer guiding for Hunt of a Lifetime.
The 2015 moose season was successful state wide, however, our zone the success rate was only 51%. 18 out of 35 bull tags filled. This is evidence that the winter ticks are doing a job on our moose population. The number of tags has been cut dramatically and cow tags are only being issued in zones 1-4. Last year 14 year old Cole Dubois harvested a beautiful bull, see pictures on my website. He is now hanging in their man cave. This year, as luck would have it, Cole's Grandpa Bob pulled a cow tag in zone 3, the Eagle Lake area way up north. We are planning our trip now, and fellow guide Moe Hart and myself will venture up the week before to get the lay of the land. We hope to get in some great grouse hunting as well.

Bears bears everywhere. We have been visited twice this year by a 400 lb class bear. And our neighbors have seen a two year old tearing down their bird feeders. I suspect the dry weather has effected their food supply and has been driving them toward food sources close to homes. Their have been over 500 nuisance bear reports, one of which broke into two trucks in the same family and destroyed the interiors. I predict an excellent bear season here in the western mountains.
Fishing is slow, in fact, Howard Pond is still two feet down from lack of rain this season. The warm weather has the fish down deep.
I am becoming a Proguide for Engle Coolers. If your not familar with them, they are the longest lasting ice holding coolers on the market. Visit them at
Well, that pretty much catches you up for now. Stay tuned for more hunting adventures this season.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hunting Season and New Eatery in Rangeley

Well hunting season is in full swing and the moose season was a success. Joe Kruse owner of Lake Parlin Lodge and Cabins, (your snowmobile destination in the North Woods) guided a sport during the second season in October to a 50 inch bull weighing 716 lbs dressed and fellow guide Erik Frigon's sport brought down a 55 inch bull weighing 822 lbs. If you are hunting the North Woods are in need of a guide, look up Joe and Erik. Lake Parlin Lodge and Cabins are first class.
Deer season has started off well although we are not seeing many large deer taken. Bethel Bait and Tackle has checked in 36 deer to date the largest being 204 LBS dressed. Five others in the 180-196 LB area and the rest smaller. Considering the tough winters we have had it appears the herd is coming back.
Those of you going up to Rangeley will be excited to hear there is a new Chef in town. Randy Belanger is renovating a new restaurant called the 45th Parallel.....American BBQ. He is opening on December 9th, so stop in and welcome him to Rangeley. I can assure you, you'll have a great meal. Randy is from Northern Maine, however he has been a Chef all over the world, his coming home is a score for all of us. Good Luck Randy, Lynn and I will be sure to stop in.

Monday, September 30, 2013

 Hunt of a Lifetime
                                        L-R     Me, Joe Kruse, Jamie and Tony

Well, the moose hunt came up quickly. I ran into complications on my original hip surgery and had to have a revision. I was to be partial weight bearing on crutches until I saw my surgeon in September and couldn't drive. Basically home confinement! However I found a way to make it to the moose hunt last week with Jamie Lapole and her father Tony from Baltimore, MD.
But before I get into our hunting story, first let me give you some background. I have been a volunteer for Hunt of a Lifetime, ( for 12 years, this was my first hunt with the organization. The organization was started by Tina Pattison who lost her son to cancer after he went on a moose hunt. Hunt of a Lifetime relies on donations to provide guided hunting and fishing trips to individuals under the age of 21 with life threatening diseases. Jamie has Cystic Fibrosis and had a double lung transplant 11 months ago. When she was 10 years old, she watched a Jim Shockey show on moose hunting with her dad and at the end told him she wanted to go on a moose hunt. She had to wait 10 years until she got her new lungs to fulfill her dream.
Jamie and Tony arrived late on Saturday night two days before the start of the hunt. We spent Sunday sighting in the rifle and practicing with a shooting stick. We then went for a ride hoping to see a moose, although not in the zone we were hunting. We got an early start, 4:30AM on Monday and drove into the southern section of Zone 4 in the North Maine Woods. Al Cowperwaite from North Maine Woods gave our hunting party free passage into the zone through the Kelly Dam gate. The first day we didn't see any bulls, but day two Joe and I called in a nice bull at about 40 yds. Unfortunately he didn't wait around for her to get a site picture through the scope and he slipped away. On day three, we called in a very nice bull to within 15 yds of where we were standing but she couldn't see it through the tall regrowth. We stopped the bull at 50 and 80 yds and she finally got off a shot but didn't connect. On day four we found two big bulls sparing, they were fighting like no tomorrow, unfortunately when we stopped the truck the bigger of the two ran off. The other one was about 110 yds off and once again it didn't happen for Jamie. On Day 5 a small bull presented itself however he didn't wait around long enough.
Day six presented 4 very tired hunters. We had been hunting 16 hrs a day, including the two hour drive time to the hunting area each way, and not once did Jamie complain. By the time we had something to eat we were lucky to get 4-5 hours sleep. As if the hunting experiences to date hadn't already given all of us exciting moose stories to tell, the morning of day 6 only added to them. A cow crossed the road in front of the truck and we hopped out knowing the bull we be close behind. He began grunting and raking his rack on trees giving us a chorus to listen to. He was located at about 2 on the clock dial. Then he got quiet. So I started cow calling with my home made birch bark moose call. He answered my call, and so did two more bulls at 11 and 8 on the clock dial. This went on for an hour before we finally gave up and moved on. Now Joe and I were concerned because the weather report said the temperature was going to climb to 73 degrees and it had already gone up 10 degrees while we were playing with the bulls. Moose winter hair is 1000 hairs per square inch and when it gets that warm they don't move too much. We drove about 2-3 three miles down the road when all of a sudden Joe yells out bull moose, all of us jumped out of the truck and the bull was standing 15 yds off the road looking at us, frozen in time. Jamie reacted quickly and didn't even use the shooting stick, firring her rifle free hand and hitting him in the heart, a deadly kill. However, the state gives the guides permission to back these hunts up so Joe and I fired and the moose dropped about 50 yds off the road. Jamie's moose weighed 870 pounds field dressed and it's rack had a spred of 44 1/2 inches and 15 points. We used Joe's truck winch and a chain saw to get him out of the woods. I began the field dressing and when Erik noticed I was getting tired and hot he chipped in and finished the job. Thank you Erik. We used a chainsaw winch to get the moose in the back of the pickup and off to the tagging station. We packed the moose with ice to chill down the meat in the heat of the day and drove to Herring Brothers butchering, they donated the butchering, wrapping and freezing. They too lost a daughter to cancer. The head and cape was taken to Jim Gieb for doing a shoulder mount.
This hunt wouldn't be possible without donations to the organization. They provided $400 for clothing and Cabela's gave them employee pricing. Savage arms provided a .308 rifle with a Bushnell scope that she gets to keep, Nosler provided the Ammo. Hunt of a lifetime provided the rental vehicle, gas and money for food etc. Joe and Liz Kruse provided the lodging for the party and he and I picked up the rest of the expenses. We ate moose meet most of the week with Randy providing the gourmet chef meals including moose steak, moose with macaroni, and moose stew. Jonah got up very early every morning to make us a breakfast to go. I would like to thank both of you for your efforts.
As I mentioned, Hunt of a Lifetime provides guided hunting and fishing trips for free and depend on donations to make it happen. Last year they provided 108 trips for those with life threatening diseases. So if you have a little extra money, please consider donating to this organization. I know know why they call it Hunt of a Lifetime, it was the most rewarding experience I have ever had, and I am sure that speaks for everyone in the party.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Here it is July and so much has transpired since my last posting. This winter dumped a great deal of snow in the western mountains, making skiing the best it has been in years. My deer hunting was put on hold due to a deteriorating hip that I recently had replaced. So here I am in the middle of summer recuperating from a total hip replacement so I can be back in the woods in the fall.

There is a new outdoor shop in Bethel called Bethel Bait, Tackle and More. It is a wonderful shop that also features fresh seafood, one stop shopping.

I was contacted by Hunt of a lifetime organization, ( on Monday evening. I have been a member of the organization for over ten years. They have a young girl that recently underwent a double lung transplant that wants to go on a hunt with her dad. The state of Maine gives our organization two moose tags a year to accommodate these young adults. I have teamed up with my friend Joe Kruse of Parlin Lake Lodge and Cabins to provide a complete moose hunt for her and her dad. What a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved. So now the planning begins. North Maine Woods will donate free access to our hunting party. Our butcher will donate his services and our organization has a taxidermist to provide the final trophy for the family. We are hoping the hunt will be filmed for future broadcast on TV.

The water levels remain high as does the water temperature. Fishing has been off but should be picking up next month.

Stay tuned for future updates on our moose hunt in the North Maine Woods.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Matt's September Bull Moose Hunt

Matt's September Bull Moose Hunt

My son Matthew flew out from Montana to participate in hunting a bull moose in northern Maine. In preparation, I had to beef up my landscape trailer with a manual winch to allow us to pull the bull into the trailer. I was grateful for my experience running a metal fabrication shop as it taught me many skills.
In addition to the trailer, we would need a moose call. In the past I had purchased a commercial moose call, however despite my best efforts, it sounded like a dying moose in my hands. So I elected to make an old fashion Maine Moose Call from the bark of a birch tree.
After selecting the tree and carving out the bark I fashioned it into the call, which in effect is a megaphone to broadcast the moose call deeper into the woods. I elected to use camo duct tape in place of using leather traps to sew it together.
The day came and after 12 hours of travel, Matthew arrived in Portland. Sunday morning we got an early start and drove the 5 1/2 hours to Oxbow Lodge, Oxbow, Maine. I can't say enough about Chad and Jodi and their staff, the accommodations and food were outstanding.
When we arrived, our hunting buddies, Jim and Bob, were already there and anxious to get into the woods to do some scouting. We chose scout south of the lodge as this doesn't take you into the North Maine Woods. The North Maine Woods is a organization of private land owners and they don't allow any ATV's or Tractors to extract the moose, so one must call one close to a traveled logging road or pack it out. Our journey south didn't look promising so the next morning at 4 am we headed through gate 6 onto the Pinkham road. We pulled up just before legal shooting, which is one half hour before daylight. I began calling and Matt was slowing walking up the road. He didn't get 50 yds from the truck when I noticed him waving me on. When I got to him he said he had jumped at least two moose out of their beds. I continued calling. At 6am, five minutes into legal hunting, two cows crossed the logging road silhouetted by the sky. Then the bull started across, I tried calling to get him to stop, but he didn't until he hit the tree line. Matt thought he had turned and was facing him head on but in fact, he was still broadside with his head turned. Matt dropped the cross hairs of the scope on his Knight 50 caliber black powder and fired, the bullet went right under the moose's head, a clean miss. We waited until daylight to check for blood and fanned out in the area. I heard some crunching while I was calling and thought it might be Matt circling back, I was surprised to see yet another bull moose coming to my call, he stopped 30 feet from me!! Then I looked to my right and saw but another bull 40 yards away!! Where was Matt? I finally added MOOOOOOSE to my call and that got Matt's attention, however by the time he arrived on the scene, the bulls had departed. Within the first 45 minutes of legal hunting I had called in 5 moose, wow, what a morning. We traveled and called all day but didn't see another moose until the evening. Our hunting buddies had one walk by their truck as they were playing blue grass music and playing cribbage!!!
The next morning all of us were feeling ill, the Norovirus had been going through camp and we later found out we had a full blown case of it. We traveled back to our first encounter the day before and our plan was to walk that road and call for moose. As Matt and I approached the end of the logging road, both of us were deathly ill, Matt dropped off into the brush, I continued on to the landing at the end still calling but very ill. Matt came out of the brush, just as I was vomiting, oh what a morning!!! He motioned to me to look into the far corner of the landing, I continued my calling and over a ridge came a bull moose. Matt chose to harvest him and lowered his 50 Cal and fired. The moose turned as if to go back into the woods and Matt gave me the go ahead to back him up so I fired my 30.06 with a shot to the neck. The moose still stood there so I fired again at his spine and he dropped. I had a tree between me and his vitals so I had to choose my shot locations accordingly. I had called the moose to within 90 feet of where we could drive the truck, an easy extraction.
 After getting back to the lodge, the four of us spent the next 16 hours in bed suffering with all the symptoms of the Norovirus. All in all, what a great hunt with many memories that will be embellished through the years.
Since we ended our hunt early in the week, it left us time to fly fish on of the most difficult ponds in the area. It was a great week, one that Matt and I will cherish for a life time.
If you have a moose tag, give me a call, I would love the opportunity to call one in for you. If you didn't get one, apply for one next year!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Loss of my best friend

I apologize for being remiss in my ramblings, however August 8th brought sadness to our family as we lost Cody, our oldest lab. Mountain Kait and I both remember bringing him home from the airport in Rhode Island in March of 2000. You see, Cody was born at Tiger Mountain Kennels in Ellensburg, Washington. Tiger Mountain kennels specializes in pointing Labrador retrievers. I have had several hunting companions over the years, but Cody was by far the best I have ever had the pleasure of hunting with. Cody was all heart, for example, when we found Daisy our youngest lab, Cody wouldn't eat his dinner until Daisy was served, he was a gentleman in many ways. He had a nose like no other dog I have ever seen and that got him in trouble more times than I can count. He would put his nose in the air and off he went, he could be gone for hours at a time, and in fact, the day he died he went on his last romp, just before expiring.

I remember one rainy night when he was quite young, I found him under a bush trying to stay dry at 2 AM. When I got him in the house I could smell skunk, "Cody", I said, "be quiet and lay on your bed in the bedroom and maybe mom won't wake up." Well, he didn't get pass the doorway and Lynn suggested I get in the shower with him and the skunk recipe and give him a shampoo.
Or the day I was taking him out for his morning walk and he went on point at a bush next to the front door. He wouldn't break so I gave him the command to flush, with that a big cock pheasant flew out from under the bush and directly into the side of the house next door, breaking his neck. Well, later that morning when my neighbor Don was up and moving around, I brought the bird over to him and said good hunting Don, here is your supper, you and Cody had a good morning. Did he laugh when he heard the story and they both enjoyed pheasant that evening.
We have too many fond memories with Cody to express here, we got him the year we were married so he was our son and he went everywhere with us. He will be terribly missed, however we have Daisy to fill the void, and now she has become the Queen of Moose Look Lodge.
On a brighter note, I have been preparing for our moose hunt at the end of the month. We are hunting out of Oxbow Lodge, They are on face book as well with recent bear harvest pictures. Chad has assured me their are some monster bulls in the area and we should have a great hunt. Mountain Matt, my son is traveling from Montana to participate in the hunt, so his absence leaves me with all the preparation logistics. The equipment list is endless, chainsaw with gas and oil, block and tackle, rope, lots and lots of rope, waders, trailer with winch and the list goes on and on. We are hunting on our own, but I have been pre-scouting and agree with Chad. I have two friends that want to come along for the ride and we welcome their help in getting our moose out of the woods.
The area we are hunting is in the Maine North Woods that is a group of private land owners. They do not allow any form of retrieval equipment to be used to get the moose out of the woods, so if you can't get your truck in near the moose, you have to quarter the animal and pack it out. The only other alternative is if they are logging in the area and there is a skidder operator willing to take the time to help you out.
All reports on bear hunting have been positive, bears are large and plentiful throughout the state. Reports of sows with two and three cubs on trail cams are common.
I hope to blog again soon to give you an update on our moose preparations.

Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 Moose Lottery and Uncle Rene

Saturday was a very special day. You see, I was in Rhode Island for my wife's family gathering and took some time to go see my Uncle Rene. Uncle Rene and I have a long deep history of hunting and fly fishing together. He used to have a camp in Vermont where it was a ritual to be there on the opening day of deer season with the likes of Fred and Zeke. We have many fond memories together, like the time we had an early snow storm that dumped two feet of snow in the mountains. We were stranded in the cabin for two days before the snowmobiles came through and created a path to walk on. I was in my twenties then and cabin fever took over, I suited up grabbed my rifle and took off into the mountains. After an hour or so, I spotted three deer and as I trudged up the mountain in the deep snow chasing them when I ran across the hunter that jumped them from their beds. He was wore out from the deep snow and told me to give it a try. Well, three hours later, totally spent physically and with darkness setting in I began my long hike back. At times I would stumble over dead trees and tumble end over end in the snow. It was like I was watching a movie about a mountain man becoming stranded in the mountains in a major storm. Well, except for the mountain man part, it was early in my career, I was in a dangerous place. By the time I hit the snowmobile trail, I could hardly stand up. We didn't have Gortex in those days, only rubber rain gear, so I had sweat through all of my clothes. I persevered by putting one foot in front of the other until I could see the flood lights on our cabin. By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs, I collapsed, banging the butt of my rifle on the wooden stairs to alert Rene. He came out joking saying, "where's the deer?" He quickly realized I wasn't joking around and need help getting in the camp. He quickly undressed me and gave me some dry clothes, hydrated me with plenty of water and then poured a glass of bourbon, listening intently as I told him the whole story.

Then there was the time we went camping with a group of friends fly fishing in the Allagash Wilderness in Northern Maine, 50 miles north of Ripogenus Gorge. It rained for 5 days and the zipper on our tent broke preventing us from closing the fly. It rained so hard we joked the river was flowing through out sleeping bags. We never dried out the whole time there but we caught fish and enjoyed the camaraderie around the camp fire.

Rene's wife of 62 years is in a nursing home and she isn't doing very well. Rene faithfully drives there twice a day to visit her which consumes most of his day. When he isn't at the nursing home, he sits on top of an old tube 19 inch TV and watches TV until he falls asleep. So Saturday was going to be a special day, I took Uncle Rene out and bought him a new 32 inch flat screen TV only he thought I was buying it for myself. Not until I carried it in his house did he understand that it was a gift for him. He was so happy he cried, and so did I.

Now, you are probably asking yourself, what does all this have to do with the 2012 Maine Moose Lottery? Well the lottery was held on that same special day with Uncle Rene, Saturday in Oquossoc, a small town in Rangeley that is between Mooselookmuguntic lake and Rangely lake. 54,338 people applied for the permit opportunity in the lottery. 14,657 of them were from "away", in other words, from all over the world, and 39,681 were from Maine. I have been applying since they started the lottery in 1980 and have had the good fortune of being selected in 2004. I harvested a large bull that year with a 59 1/2 inch spread tip to tip on his antlers. He is hanging over our wood stove and Lynn fondly named him Henry.

Maine Fish and Game didn't post the results of the lottery until 8PM that evening, I was on the computer at my father-in law's at 8:01. I checked all my friends names first as I went through the alphabet, no one I know got lucky. Then came the W's....I couldn't believe my eyes, I was picked again and it was for a bull moose, zone 5, September hunt. What a perfect ending on a special day spent with my 85 year old hunting and fishing partner of so many years. I hope Uncle Rene can be there with us when I harvest another bull moose to make yet another special day.