Unfortunately, I couldn’t return to Newfoundland in 2014, but Tony and I stayed in touch throughout the year with weekly updates on our successes during moose and caribou seasons, his and Debbie’s snow mobile escapades in the winter months, and days spent salmon fishing over the summer. He told me that I was welcome back at any time in the future and that he wanted to get me a bull moose. I wanted that moose as well but didn’t know when I would be able to return.
Fast-forward to late summer 2015, Tony sent me an email that he had a woodland caribou hunt cancellation and asked if I was interested. I jumped on the opportunity. So Brian McCombie, Field Editor with the NRA’s American Hunter magazine, and I packed our bags and headed off to Newfoundland last week with our Patriot rifles in tow. Brian would have the caribou tag in his pocket as well as a moose tag. My mission was solely focused on moose.
Tony and I eagerly headed out on the first morning, optimistic that the third time would be the charm. We did hear a cow calling but otherwise it was a quiet day, as was each day that followed. Warm weather and high winds didn’t help; the moose were silent. Both Tony and I began to worry as we weren’t seeing or hearing any moose, and evidently, my curse was impacting the entire camp as by day four, no one had tagged a cow or bull. Just before lunch, we heard a bull grunt in response to our calls. Tony and I exchanged a hopeful glance, but swirling winds took out scent in his direction. What followed was silence. After a break back at camp, we headed to that same bog and spent the afternoon calling with no response. So we decided to head to an area that had been productive for Tony over the years, where several trails intersected. Once again, silence. With the last 30 minutes of shooting light remaining, we jumped on the quad and decided to ride back to camp, possibly catching a moose along the trail. In fact, Tony said, “Let’s just shoot one on the way back to camp.” The ride was particularly quiet as both Tony and I realized that we only had one day left and we had not seen a single moose the entire week.
Suddenly, off to my left, I noticed movement in the trees. Though I didn’t see a moose, I sensed that the movement was a large animal moving through the brush and trees. I told Tony to stop. We eased off of the quad, both scanning the tree line. Seeing nothing, we began to slowly walk into the brush and then I saw him about 50 yards ahead, looking straight at me – a bull moose! Settling in on my rifle and waiting for his shoulder to clear some brush, I squeezed the trigger. The bull disappeared into the dense brush and we quickly followed. Within seconds, we heard his last breaths and we found my moose; my beautiful six-point TROPHY bull! Tears filled my eyes as I realized that Tony and I had finally ended my curse.
Some hunters may look at these photos and think that’s not a trophy, but in my eyes and in the eyes of my guide, Tony; it’s the best trophy ever! I look forward to sharing my moose misadventures with family and friends over the years to come as well as enjoying the spoils of the hunt around the dinner table.
As a side note, evidently ending my curse had a positive impact on the entire camp – three other moose were brought in by hunters the next morning. And you can look forward to reading about Brian’s caribou adventure in an upcoming issue of American Hunter.
By Linda Powell (Director of Media Relations)