Well…. it’s that time of year again. The online application process for the 2017 Maine Moose Hunt is now available. You can apply for the 2017 Maine Moose Lottery here.
Each year we get asked what zones should you apply for? Thats a question that you are bound to hear many different answers, depending on who you ask. So much so, that at times the process can seam confusing. The thing to keep in mind is its a true lottery. Yes you can up your odds some by having bonus points built up from years of not drawing or buying more chances, but realistically, its still a lottery. We have known numerous folks who have drawn their very first year ever applying, including non-residents. Tom from Denver got lucky and drew his first year applying in 2016 and then he got even luckier when he harvested this 57.5″ stud with us last October! Read more about that hunt and all of our 2016 hunts here.
Then we also know some folks, residents and non, that have been waiting to be drawn for thirty years. I tell everybody just start applying and don’t ever skip a year! If you’re wives, husbands, or friends are willing… have them apply too! You gotta get in it to win it!
Our zone preferences stay pretty much the same each year. Sometimes I may prefer one zone over the other based on the number of permits issued that particular year, but pretty much they stay the same. We have guided hunts in many of the moose zones and that is one of the real advantages of hunting out of remote tent camps versus a fixed location lodge each Fall. We can set up one camp or multiple camps and hunt different zones for different seasons. For the most part, unless we have some non-typical weather pattern, our September season is the best season for calling. Bulls typically respond well to calls. The rut is in full swing. Many of the bulls will have cows, which we love, and the ones that don’t are on the move looking for one. September is also your best option if you wanted to attempt an archery hunt on a trophy bull. Really you can’t go wrong with any of the Northern September zones (1-6). They are all good! Our preference in order would be – zone 1,5,6,4,2,3 with my own personal preference of 1 and 5 in any order. Where we typically guide 1 and 5 is remote and it gives what I feel is an excellent overall experience for a Maine moose hunt and a superb chance at harvesting a trophy bull. Zones 1,2,4,5 are all located inside the gated North Maine Woods and this is a true woods hunt in the working timber land. You won’t see any paved roads or have cell phone reception during the hunt. Our zone 6 hunt takes place outside of the gated North Maine Woods. Instead of a tent camp, one of our guides has a beautiful cabin complete with satellite TV, that we host these hunts out of. During the zone 6 hunt you will have cell phone coverage, be on paved roads occasionally, and only a short ten minute ride to town if needed. This is a really good October zone as well. The woods have been cut differently in our part of zone 6 versus inside the North Maine Woods. That makes for a great October hunt, but be prepared to walk. Last October, Guide Joel, put his zone 6 hunter in front of roughly thirty bulls throughout the week with three bulls spotted measuring over 50″!! They also logged over 40 foot miles during the 6 days, but the hard work was well worth it.
The October season is generally a much harder hunt than September. Although it seems lately even the September hunts have been hard earned hunts, but usually during the October season you can expect to do even more walking than September. Bulls are not responding as well to calls in this later season. Instead of them coming to us, we often have to go to them using a different calling approach than just two weeks prior. Walking 4-7 or more miles a day is not uncommon during October. In the Northern zones the moose have just been hunted and called two weeks prior, so they tend to head deeper in the bush after the hunting pressure. There are bird hunters riding the logging roads in all zones during October and that puts extra pressure that push moose further into areas. That being said, October can still be a great hunt. In 2016 we ran 100% success on our October hunts. We have also harvested a couple of real studs the last two Octobers!!
In September we love the Northern Zones, but in October our order of preference starts with the Western Zones. Zones 8, 7, and 9 are stellar October zones. These zones do not have a September season and the bulls have not been hunted yet that year. Overall I would say the numbers of moose is not as high as the Northern Zones, but they tend to respond to calls better in these Western zones than they do in the Northern zones in October. That is the main reason why we prefer to go West in October if we can. Zone 7 and 9 are real sleeper Zones with excellent trophy quality that you don’t hear about as much. Zone 8 is where we got our start guiding and we have been there almost every moose season for the last twelve years. The terrain in these Western Zones is more elevated than the Northern Zones. Some areas are steeper. All of it is logging land, but occasionally you can pick up cell coverage during the hunts and if you need a trip into town its usually never further than twenty miles, versus fifty to ninety miles on our North Maine Woods hunts.
-Select as many chances as you want, but we only ever do one.
-Select September and October seasons only
-Select Bull permit only, that you will NOT accept an antlerless permit
-Select that you will accept any zone if your preferences are already filled
-Select zones 1,5,6,8,4,2,7,9,14,3 in that order
-If you would like to have a subpermittee listed on your hunt, you must enter all their information at this time. It can not be entered later. The subpermittee can harvest the moose and carry a weapon during the hunt, but the permit holder MUST be present at all times during the hunt. So if the wife or husband is not planning on being the actual hunter, but instead the subpermittee for an extra chance of having a tag drawn, the non-hunting wife or husband must be present during the hunt and in woods at all times even if they are not going to shoot the moose. You can also list an alternate subpermittee if you’d like, but in the end only up to two people (permittee and subpermittee can carry a weapon on the hunt and harvest 1 moose total) That being said, listing a subpermittee is not required and we actually encourage not listing one, but if you want one listed it must be done at the time of the application. Also to note, if you are applying for a permit in a non-hunting family members or friends name to increase your odds of being drawn with you listed as a subpermitte, the person who drew the permit must be able to obtain a hunting license and have completed a hunter safety course within about a month after the June drawing to purchase the permit.
The drawing will be held on June 17. Applications must be completed online by 11:59pm on May 15. Don’t wait though!! Do it before it slips your mind and it never fails…. if you wait until the last night the website will be so bogged down you may not get your application in. Also of note is no matter what zone you are drawn for, we can always try to get you swapped to a different zone of higher preference once drawn.We have lots of experience with this. The hard part is getting drawn and you should consider yourself extremely lucky if you are! The odds of being drawn are about 2-3%.
Every year we say it, but we are beyond lucky to be able to go hunt moose the way we do. It was another epic year with great memories, great hunters, great guides and great bulls! We were fortunate enough to share our passion for moose hunting with six hunters this year on our guided Maine remote moose hunts and I am proud to say that five of those hunters took home bulls. We hunted zones 1,2,6 and 8 this year. It was definitely one of the harder years we’ve had for moose hunting. It seems we say that every year lately, but without a doubt… it is getting harder and harder every year to get into trophy moose. Not because of lack of moose by any means, WE HAVE A TON OF MOOSE, but mainly because they are becoming more educated every year. The deciding factor these days, seems to be how hard you are willing to push yourself and how many miles you are willing to go on foot. During the October season our Guides Joel and Mark, both estimated that they had covered about forty-five miles on foot each, with their hunters throughout the week. Their hunters both harvested their bulls on the last day of the six day hunt.
As usual we hunted away from the logging roads and got back into some excellent trophy moose habitat. We can’t stress how important it is nowadays to hunt away from the roads and away from high pressured areas. Far too many guides in Maine spend the better part of the week driving the logging roads looking for a moose to shoot. For years that was all that was necessary to harvest a moose, but times have changed. There are many guides in Maine who have never packed a moose out of the woods. Instead they rely on hunting close to loggings roads hoping they will be able to winch or pull moose out whole after harvesting. I’m proud to say that all of the guides at Epic Adventures have experience packing moose out and hunt with the intention of having to pack their moose out of the woods each season. Three of the five bulls we harvested this year came out of the woods on pack frames.
Mark had a great September hunt with David and Gail from South Carolina. David and Gail were a pleasure to have in camp. I credited Gail with the quote of the week on the first night in camp. We were discussing the next mornings plans and what time we needed to be leaving camp. Gail explained she can be a little mean that time of morning but simply said to mark… “Just don’t say anything stupid” in the morning and he would be just fine! On the third day of the hunt, Mark came across where two bulls just fought minutes before. There was fresh tracks and scuff marks in the road with the typical piles of moose hair that result from a fight. Mark started racking the brush and grunting and got an instant response from a bull not 50 yards away. The bull turned out to be a nice 49″ bull that came swaying and grunting into under 30 yards. Gail put two quick shots into him and dropped him right in his tracks!! When I arrived back to camp that night with my hunter John, Mark was just finishing hanging Gail’s bull in a tree for the night to start cooling the meat down. We were all standing around celebrating and hearing the story from Gail when Mark said Gail smoked him! I quickly reminded Mark that the moose is hanging in a tree…. obviously Gail smoked him, now don’t say anything stupid!!
My hunter John and I struggled the first few days only seeing one shooter bull we estimated at 50″ or a little bigger and not being able to get a shot at him. We did get that bull responding and coming in after our sighting, but lost daylight that first night. Aside from the first night and another morning where we heard a cow bellowing, we hardly heard any rut activity in our area the first few days of the hunt. This was not typical for a September hunt and was frustrating to say the least. We had a real close encounter with a smasher of a bull on friday night but ran out of daylight. Unfortunately John was not able to hunt the last day and for the first time in my moose hunting career, my hunter did not harvest a moose. Its always tough to go home empty handed, but John was great to have in camp for the week and I enjoyed our time together, the stories exchanged, and the experiences gained. Maybe he will be fortunate enough to draw a tag again someday and we can give it another shot.
A very hard September season left me hungry for a good bull the second season and my hunters Tom and Jesse headed back to Denver, Colorado with a great 57.5″ bull! We hunted hard all week and still were not seeing much rut activity. The first week with John the weather seamed so perfect, but the second week it was just the opposite. The first morning the wind seemed to be blowing a good twenty miles per hour and I knew it would make for tough calling. I elected to hunt about a mile into a hardwood ridge I had seen a lot of fresh feed sign in and not a single boot print from the first hunting season. As luck would have it, we worked right into a cow and calf the first hour of the hunt. The only downside was they were by themselves with no bull around. We ended up going to a different area mid morning and spotted our first bull of the hunt. He was a spike horn that came in silent to my calling, an easy bull to pass up early in the hunt. For the first three mornings we hunted the area where Gail had harvested her bull the first season. We found an incredible amount of moose sign, but battled 20-30mph winds most of the time and aside from a grunt or two the first night, we never got a vocal response from my calling.
On Wednesday afternoon we spotted a small bull out feeding in a new cut about 1100 yards away. We decided to get a closer look at him and were able to stalk into under 200 yards. I was curious to see how that bull would react to my calling since I hadn’t heard much all week. The wind was blowing fairly steady in my direction and the bull never heard me calling until we were about 200 yards away from him, but once he did he started trotting right into a cow call! A great sign!! On friday morning we passed on a bull in the 35-40″ range still wanting to find a good mature bull. Up to then we had seen five bulls and six cows so far in the week. It wasn’t long after we passed on that bull when we decided to head to a different spot and got lucky and ran into a shooter bull. Tom was able to put two great shots into the bull at 245 yards. He turned out to be a beauty at 57.5″!! He had what we estimated to be 2-2.5″ of tine broken off on one side and might have just touched 60″ if he still had that!! We couldn’t of been happier after hunting hard all week!
Chris guided Gary and Gladys from Pennsylvania to a beautiful bull the third day of their October hunt in Zone 8. Luck would have it, after Gary booked the hunt with us they were also drawn for a Vermont tag this year, so they headed out of camp early after getting their moose to go hunt Vermont. This year some of our usual hunting areas in zone 8 were being timber harvested and it made it tough to hunt anywhere near the area because of the noise pollution from the equipment. It just made it incredibly hard to hear while we were calling. So Chris went and checked on some other areas and found good moose sign and called in this beautiful bull that Gary couldn’t pass up. We can’t blame him! Gary and Gladys turned 70 this year, and it was great to see them still out hunting and enjoying the woods together. A few days later they went to Vermont and Gladys ended up shooting a nice six point bull there…. Fantastic!!!!
Joel hit the woods with Frank from Massachusetts. They truly had an epic week of hunting, but they definitely worked hard for it covering about forty-five miles on foot throughout the week. They saw a record thirty bulls and forty-six moose!!! They hunted hard for a 60″ bull that Joel spotted the morning before the hunt, passing up bull after bull each day. They had two close calls with great 50″+ bulls, but were not quite able to get a shot off at either one. The last morning Frank decided to harvest this great bull when it presented a broad side shot at 275 yards. Some celebration and a short 300 yard pack job and that week was truly a week to remember for the guys and we look forward to hunting that area again next Fall!!
For Mark the October season brought just the opposite and his hunters harvested the only bull he saw all week on the last morning. He was very fortunate to spend a second October season in a row guiding brothers Tim and Rich from Maine and Pennsylvania. Tim and Rich are no strangers to hunting out of tent camps and no strangers to hunting Moose in Maine. I believe this was their fourth moose hunt they have participated in over the years and probably one of the most rewarding. Just like Frank, Tim did not harvest his bull until the last morning and I think both Tim and Frank would agree that harvesting a bull on the last morning truly gives you a hunt to remember and the whole experience from a moose hunt. You’ll experience highs and lows hunting moose the whole week and not filling the tag until the end. It takes dedication and a mental toughness to stick that out on what could be a tag you may never draw again. Luckily Tim and Rich were great sports and enjoyed putting forth the full effort logging miles each day on foot. On Saturday the area that Mark had intended to hunt was now void of noisy logging equipment and he went right into a classic moose valley where his hunter two years prior killed a beautiful bull. Luck would have it, there was a frost on the ground and not a breath of wind. Mark started calling and it wasn’t long when he got a response. A welcome response after not hearing or seeing a bull all week! That bull came in grunting and raking to Mark’s call and wound up being a dandy… Almost on script!!
I’d like to say thank you to all the hunters we had in camp this year. We couldn’t have asked for better hunters this year! I’d also like to say a thank you to Mark, Joel, and Chris for the hard work you all put in guiding! If you are interested in our fully guided remote Maine trophy moose hunts, don’t hesitate to contact us and please do check out our website for hunt details at WWW.EAGUIDES.COM
The deadline for Maine Moose Lottery is tomorrow May 16, 2016 at 11:59 PM. If you would like to hunt Trophy Maine Moose with us this Fall in one of our remote tent camps, this is your last chance to submit your application for the lottery!!! During the September season we will be focusing our efforts on zones 1,5,4,2 and for the October season zones 8,7. When you apply, apply for September and October seasons only. Select that you will NOT accept an antlerless tag. Select zones 1,5,8,7,4,2,6,3,14,12
We had a stellar season in 2015 and are really looking forward to see what 2016 brings. We will again be setting up our remote tent camps as far away from the crowds as we can get and into some of the best trophy moose habitat that Maine offers. Getting into remote areas and away from other hunters is often the key to finding success on trophy bulls year after year like we have. In 2015 we harvested six great bulls with our method of hunting and it really reiterated to us the importance of hiring a quality outfitter. An outfitter that is not afraid to hunt off the beaten path and pack your trophy moose out if need be. We harvested THREE bulls last year over 11.5 years of age and the average age of the moose we harvested was 9.33 years of age. It really shows how getting into remote areas can get you into older more mature bulls. Danny from CT took the oldest bull at 12.5 years old. Mark called this bull in an area that probably hasn’t seen a hunter for at least three seasons due to a road wash out. It was an exciting hunt in some thick timber, required packing Danny’s bull out, and really made for a memorable hunt! This bull was well past his prime, without a doubt had a much larger rack years back, has seen many hunting seasons, and a real trophy in our book! We’ve nicknamed him “Dugga Bull!!”
17 year old Savannah harvested an exceptional bull that aged right in his prime at 7.5 years old. I called this bull in opening morning of the September season in the middle of a bog between two road systems. He came in raking and there was no question in our minds when he appeared, that he was a shooter!! We ended up having to pack this bull out about a 1/2 mile to the nearest logging road. What a hunt!!
The drawing will be held at Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine on June 12, 2016. If you have never been to Kittery Trading Post, it is worth the trip! Its a exceptionally stocked sporting goods store with all your hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking needs. You can see the festivities of the moose lottery weekend and get some shopping done at the same time! Lastly if you have any questions at all about our fully guided Trophy Maine Moose hunts, feel free to give us a call, send us an email, and check out our website at http://www.eaguides.com
Don’t forget to apply for the 2016 Maine Moose Lottery if you want a chance to hunt Trophy Maine Moose with Epic Adventures this Fall!!! We guide Remote Trophy Maine Moose Hunts each Fall in the heart of Maine’s trophy moose habitat. As far off the beaten path as you can get in Maine, we locate and call trophy bulls for our clients year after year in a number of different Maine hunting zones and seasons.
When applying select zones 5,1,4,7,8,2,6,3,14,12 in that order. Select “Bull Only” tags and that you will not accept an antlerless permit. Select September and October season only! Do not select November seasons.
If you have any questions about the lottery or our Trophy Maine Moose Hunts, please don’t hesitate to contact us!!!
During the Fall our fully guided Maine trophy moose hunts take up most of our time, but come Winter Ice fishing in Maine is a yearly winter tradition for us. Recently we headed up to a favorite lake to hit the hard water in search of cusk (freshwater burbot) and hopefully a few togue (lake trout). Mark took along his wife and stepsons for some of the action and it turned out to be a busy day with lots of fish caught!! As luck would have it, we went home with plenty of cusk to fillet up and fill the freezers. We even made a big batch of fish stock from some of the carcasses to freeze up for future chowders!! Here is our method for skinning, filleting, and making one of the best chowders you’ll ever have!!!
We have found the best method of filleting cusk is to first skin them. Skinning them is very easy and it really helps cut down on the slime that will be all over your table or cutting board once you fillet them, plus it make filleting much easier. Take a sharp knife and cut around the back of the head just through the skin and around the whole fish. Then with a pair of pliers, grab the skin and pull down towards the tail. Work the pliers around both sides of the fish if you need to, but they skin very easily if done fresh.
We cleaned and saved about ten carcasses for our fish stock that would be used as the base to our chowder. All the guts, skin, and heads were removed. We washed them up good and got all the blood/slime off them. Then we put them in a pot, covered them with water, brought to a boil, and let simmer for a couple hours while we finished filleting and packing all the fish. After the fish cooled off we strained all the bones/carcasses out of it, then placed it in tubeware containers for freezing.
Chowder is easy to make and takes about a half hour. Slice up some salt pork and fry it until you cook the fat off it. Take the pork out and brown a diced up onion in the pork fat. Transfer the browned onions and fat drippings over to a clean stew pot. Add diced up potatoes (about half as many or equal to as many pounds of fish). Then take your stock and fill up the pot until it doesn’t quite cover the potatoes. Place all the cusk fillets on top of the potatoes and partially submerged in the stock. Add desired seasoning. I use a liberal amount of old bay, salt, and pepper all over the fish. Cover it and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook until potatoes are tender. By laying the cusk on top of the potatoes and not down in the water fully submerged, the cusk basically gets lightly boiled depending on water level, but mostly steamed that way the cusk is not all mush once done. Take a fork and break apart all the fish into small chunks and stir it through the chowder. Add a couple of cups of heavy cream. Thicken it with corn starch/water if you desire, and season some more if needed. Thats it!! A classic Maine freshwater cusk chowder that goes down real well on a cold Winter day.
We also caught a number of tasty lake whitefish this day that we took home for the smoker. Stay tuned for another blog post about our smoking method that we have fine tuned during our time working in Alaska and smoking lots of fresh caught Alaska salmon!! For information about a guided ice fishing adventure check out www.eaguides.com
Call us to discuss bidding strategy and details for the 2016 Maine Moose Hunt Auction Tag. Winning bids for 2015 ranged from $11,611.00 to $13,000.00 This tag offers a guaranteed tag for someone seeking a trophy Canadian Moose and is a great alternative to hunting Eastern Canada. Maine has a superior trophy quality than Eastern Canada. Apply for the lottery too and get your money back if you win a lottery tag!
This is a guaranteed tag and a great value compared to Alaska and Canada hunts. We have MANY trophy bulls. You can plan your trip months in advance, pick season and zone of choice based on our recommendations, drive your own vehicle, and bring home all the meat!
All inclusive rate of: $16,995 -including tag, guide, recovery, meals and lodging; additional observer at $700pp Call today: 207-692-6610
The 2015 Moose season came with high anticipation at the Epic Adventures remote camp. This Fall we would be doing all of our September and October trophy moose hunts in multiple hunting zones inside the North Maine Woods and our scouting revealed the areas held some great bulls!! With numerous hunters booked this past year, we put in countless hours scouting our hunting areas prior to our hunters arrival. Scouting prior to the hunt, can make a huge difference in having a successful hunt or going home empty handed. It is pictures like this one though, at the end of a long week of hunting, that make all those hours and miles of scouting well worth it.
We typically use a large number of trail cameras to pattern trophy bulls inside of our hunting areas and we captured lots of bulls this year on them! Every year we are amazed to see what an area truly holds via the trailcams because you seldom lay eyes on these bulls just traveling the logging roads everyday, leaving many folks in Maine to believe that there aren’t as many moose in Maine as there really are! We like to have our trail cameras out for the month prior to the hunt and usually when the bulls start dropping their velvet around the 9th or 10th of September is when you will start seeing an increase in the activity on the trail cameras, with the peak of the activity occurring just prior to the moose rut around September 15-23.
After the many trips into remote camp scouting for the hunt, countless gallons of gas over many miles hauling gear in, and some late nights preparing for the 2015 Maine moose hunt, it was finally time to get settled into our remote camp and go after some trophy bulls!
Opening Day we awoke to very windy conditions and hotter than ideal conditions, but we were blessed with a great sunrise!!
Just before legal hunting hours began I arrived with my hunters, 17 year old Savannah and her father Fox, at the area we were going to start focusing on. Scouting revealed a couple of really nice bulls in the area, all we could hope for was we would find one of them that morning. Savannah was a very experienced hunter for her age and had already harvested a number of whitetail deer in her hunting career, so I was excited to have the opportunity to call in a trophy Maine moose for her. While we were gathering our gear and packing it into our day packs at the truck, I believed I had heard a cow bellow down behind us, but it was so windy that it was really hard to tell if I was just hearing things or not. Especially with the elevated anticipation that an opening day September Maine moose hunt brings to a seasoned moose guide. So I asked Fox if he thought he had heard the cow bellow and he confirmed that he also thought he heard one, maybe I wasn’t imagining things… We both agreed that it came from a direction behind us. This was the opposite direction I had planned on hunting that morning and I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to go in investigating or not, but we still had about fifteen minutes for me to mull it over while we let it get light out and finished a cup of percolator coffee. About ten minutes later while we were throwing our back packs on, getting ready to head out convinced to stick to my original plan of going to check the areas my trail cams had revealed a couple of nice bulls for at least a couple of hours, the cow bellowed again behind us. I knew after hearing her a second time that odds were good she had a bull with her this time of year and I had better change my plans and go in after her. I took a glance at my GPS and noticed a bog system down in where she bellowed from and knew with the warm temperatures predicted for the day that it would be a great place to catch her with a bull. I checked the wind and decided to work up the logging road a ways first to get downwind before working in towards her. She was in an area about a mile across in between two secondary logging roads. It was old cut over forest with a marsh system in between, surrounded by tall dark timber, a great place to find big moose! We got up the road a ways and headed in with the wind in our favor. I worked down through some old grown up skid trails where I could, bull grunting and dragging a shoulder blade as I went. Finally after making it about a quarter mile down in without hearing the cow again, I cow called to try and locate her. She still didn’t make a peep. I was a little worried that we might have been busted because it was so windy and swirling at times, but I kept heading in further grunting and dragging the blade as I went until we had reached the edge of the bog. It had been about an hour since we started in off the road and I stopped to make a series of calls and did some heavy raking, when we suddenly heard some raking coming from the other side of the bog. It was a welcome sound!! We hurried down about 30 yards to step out into the edge of the bog and set up where we could see. Savannah got her 6.5 Creedmoore comfortably set on her bog pod shooting sticks and her Father, Fox, got set up right next to her to back her up with his .375 Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan. I found a nice set of alders I could rake with my shoulder blade and began raking back to the bull followed by a couple of bull grunts. The bull responded by raking some trees and we knew he was committed! It wasn’t long, probably only a couple of minutes when Fox caught a glimpse of palms coming out in to the bog. I put my binos up and confirmed he was indeed a shooter. He raked some more alders and began moving to the downwind side out into the middle of the bog. I let Savannah know that as soon as she could get a shot into him she had better take it because he was going to get our wind any minute. He made his way across in front of us to our left and stepped out from behind some Alders when Savannah touched one off! He hunched from a good behind the shoulder hit and started off. Fox immediately followed up with a shot that went through the shoulders and anchored the bull right in his tracks. Even though Savannah’s shot was a fatal shot and another was not needed, we were happy to see her fathers shot had anchored the bull in one of the few dry patches in the bog!! I’m not sure if I was shaking more than Savannah, but I’m pretty sure I was. Just like that, it was over in an hour and Savannah had harvested a great Maine trophy bull!!It almost didn’t seem real. I joked with Savannah and Fox that it had been four years since one of my hunters had shot a great bull within the first hour. We had to pinch ourselves to see if it really just happened!? We managed to get across some of the water in the bog and laid eyes on the beast as he laid there. He was a great Maine bull for sure!!!
You couldn’t ask for a better remote Maine moose hunt! Now the hard work was about to begin. After looking at the GPS and realizing that there was another road to our West in the direction that the bull had come from and it would be about the same distance to pack out no matter what way we went, we opted to head West that way we wouldn’t have to cross the bog with heavy packs full of moose quarters. We took some photos and got to work on skinning and quartering the moose. For the last couple years I have gone to packing moose out of the woods instead of using winches because it truly allows you to get away from the roads and into trophy moose habitat. Once you skin and quarter a couple of moose you realize its really not that big of a project and in many cases its easier than fighting a whole moose out of the woods with winches. Usually we have a moose skinned, quartered, and in game bags in just about an hour and a half time frame. It aids in cooling the meat off quicker and is really the best way to go unless your moose is within about fifty yards of a road. I recommend using TAGS game bags to put your quarters in and they can be washed and reused after every use.
With one bull down we were excited to see how the rest of the week would go. Looking at the forecast we knew the best hunting would be the last three days of the week and that would be timed perfect with the peak of the rut starting, so camp life was a happy one that first night! It seemed everyone had an encounter of some sort with bulls that first day, but Savannah was the only one to pull the trigger. On the second day guide Jeremiah Jewel saw success with his hunter Phil. Jeremiah had worked a bull earlier in the morning, but was not able to get a look at him. They had logged some miles and decided to call it quits and head back to camp with still some legal shooting time left, when they spotted a nice bull on their travel back and Phil decided he would like to try and harvest him. Phil put a great shot on the bull and went back to camp a happy hunter that night!! Guide Mark Donaghy’s hunters were awful excited also about a bull Mark had bumped into in a new spot we hadn’t hunted before, but they couldn’t seal the deal on him that day. Mark’s hunter Danny was bow hunting and knew that would present some extra challenges but wanted to stick it out at least halfway through the week before swapping to the rifle. The bull came out on a winter road to Mark’s calling at about 180 yards and Mark noticed he was a giant right off, estimating he was a fair amount larger than Savannah’s bull and not one you see very often or get too many chances at. The bull presented a rifle shot, but had a long ways to go before he would be in bow range. He was headed towards them and appeared to be coming into the call when he dipped back into the timber and out of the winter road towards a bellowing cow. Mark tried working him for a couple hours, but with the wind swirling and blowing hard he was pretty certain they had been busted.
Wednesday we awoke to a very cold rain. Temperatures hovered above freezing all morning and showers turned into downpours. I decided to go with Guide Joel Carvell that morning and tag along with his hunters, which by luck happened to be Savannah’s younger sister Isabelle and her Uncle Blue. We headed to the same area I had intended to hunt opening day before hearing the cow bellow, knowing there were still a couple of nice bulls around. We set off walking in towards where we wanted to do our first calling sequence and got down in to where we intended to start, when we heard a cow bellowing in the back of a grown up chopping. We could hear at least two different bulls grunting with her. We made our way to one side of the chopping to get downwind and started working down in towards where we could here the cow bellowing. Joel called and raked with his cedar paddle as we worked down into them. That morning we ended up working right into five bulls. Four of the bulls were smaller bulls and one bull had some nice palms and fronts. We ended up being surrounded by the five bulls and had them all within twenty yards!!! Isabelle asked me how big I thought the biggest bull was, it was a pretty bull with palms and nice brows, but she had her mind set on getting one bigger than her sisters and elected to pass on him. That is a pretty dedicated fourteen year old! Not to mention how cold and wet it was that morning and we never heard her complain once. You can see a neat one minute video I filmed of the five bulls and Joel calling by downloading this link Maine_Moose_hunting_with_Epic_Adventures. After that close encounter we decided to head back to camp to get dried out, warmed up, and have some grilled sandwiches and warm soup for lunch.
As luck would have it, Thursday morning we awoke to the cool, calm, and frosty morning that was predicted earlier in the week and we knew it was shaping up to be a great morning of moose hunting. Each year it always seems we get one of these epic weather days to call moose and you have to make sure you have all your ducks in order to capitalize on them. Given the weather it was no surprise that the rest of the three tags were filled this morning! Mark went back into the same area he had seen the monster bull on Tuesday and ended up working into a bull that was with a cow in some big timber. Danny swapped to his rifle that morning and put a great shot on this bull when Mark called him to 30 yards. Mark located this bull in an area that most moose hunters in Maine drive right past and never think to hunt, but Mark was into bulls every day in that area and this bull was a great bull with a lot of age to him. When I went in to help Mark quarter and pack the moose out the quarter mile back to the road, we estimated this bull to be at least 8.5 years older and figured he may even go over ten years of age. He was no doubt past his prime and a great Maine trophy moose to take!
Joel went back into the same area he had called the five bulls in the day before looking for a big bull and luck would have it that he called in the same bull from the day before with the nice palms and brows. Today with her father by her side, Isabelle decided to take that bull. After a great shot she had her Maine moose!!! At fourteen years old she did awesome all week after doing a lot of walking and seeing moose every day! A short 200 yard pack out and her hunt was in the books!
The last tag was also filled that morning by John who was being guided by Stephen Schanz. After passing up numerous bulls all week in an area that saw very little hunting pressure, Stephen called this bull right in close and John decided it wasn’t a moose he could pass up. John has hunted moose in Alaska, Yukon, and Idaho and was truly impressed with Stephen’s calling and guiding skills and had an enjoyable week of hunting Maine moose!
October brought probably the toughest hunt conditions we have ever experienced at Epic Adventures and for the first time we had tags go unfilled, but by the end of the week all the hunters had passed on opportunities at moose, so it was a successful week of hunting. The wind blew most days, we saw an increase in hunting pressure from other hunters, heard too many electronic calls in the distance from inexperienced hunters, and in all… had to work harder than we have ever worked to put moose in front of the hunters. The rut had started tailing off and the bulls were not responding to calls like they were two weeks earlier, but they were still responding just not as vocally. We did get some bulls to respond and come in which was nice to see. On Monday I took my hunter, Jerry, into an area that I hadn’t hunted the first season, but knew from scouting and talking to a fellow guide that there was an impressive bull in the area. The trouble with the area is that it is thick and grown up with limited visibility past thirty yards at most, and to get into where the bulls typically are, it is a two and half mile walk to start the day. So you need to be mentally determined to hunt that spot. We got down into where I knew there would be some moose and sure enough a bull responded right off and it sounded like a good one. Right about then the wind picked up and we worked the area for two hours never to hear him again. They get big for a reason I guess. Looking at the weather we knew we wouldn’t lose the wind until the end of the week and it would be best to hunt other areas until we had the right conditions to come back into this spot until later in the week. In the afternoon I went and checked out a new area that we couldn’t get into during September because of some work they were doing on a logging road and sure enough it was full of fresh sign. Not all the rut sign that you see everywhere that is now two weeks old, but fresh feed sign and pull downs. It was obvious the moose were starting to transition into the hardwoods. We started working a hardwood ridge that had been cut some in the last couple of years and made it to the back side of it, when I heard a branch break after my calling. I told Jerry to get ready. A few minutes later a nice low 40’s bull worked right into 30 yards. He had come in silent like they often do during the October season. We had some fun with him, but decided that he wasn’t going to be a shooter until the end of the hunt. On Tuesday I went back into the same area after seeing all the fresh moose sign the day before. We had made it about a mile down a grown up, but passable, winter road where we had a good vantage point over a valley and decided to spend some time calling. It was cool and the wind was steady, but not swirling. After about a half hour a bull started raking 100 yards out. A few minutes later he raked about 50 yards out and we knew he was coming in. With the anticipation of laying eyes on him and listening to a deep grunt we were excited to get a look at him. It was then when you realize how frustrating it is at times to hunt moose in Maine, and I remembered why I try my hardest to get away from other hunters every year, but its not always possible. An electronic call rang out behind us a couple hundred yards, and I swear they must have hit that call twenty times in row!!!!!! Needless to say our bull shut up and we never saw him. It was obvious that these hunters were very inexperienced and didn’t realize that their method of hunting would most likely guarantee they go home that week with tag soup. A few minutes later a pick up truck came driving down the winter road towards us, with six hunters in the back of the truck bed using their E-call from the truck. I was parked on a dead end road, not blocking the road as that is illegal, but it was obvious we were in there hunting so it was frustrating to experience this.
On Wednesday the wind blew thirty miles an hour all day and we knew it would be a tough day of moose calling. I didn’t want to go back into the areas I was in on Monday or Tuesday because I didn’t want to risk spooking nice bulls and figured once the weather turned better the next morning we would go back. Just like the first season the forecast showed the best weather would be the end of the week. With it so windy I decided I needed to see a good distance and hunted some big clear cut areas that I normally don’t hunt. I showed up to my intended evening calling spot overlooking a large ridge that had been cut off and realized the wind was all wrong for our sit. It would be blowing right down into where I expected moose to come from. The wind was blowing thirty but it was only blowing from one direction for the most part, so I looked over my gps and realized the only place nearby where it would be in my favor was a small cut off area I had called the night before. I discussed it over with Jerry and we agreed we should go give that a try the last hour. We could check a nearby trail camera at the same time and see what was on it. We checked the camera and were excited to see a bull that we had nicknamed the “Dagger” bull, because of tines he had coming off the back of each palm, had been by just an hour after we called it the night before. We had pictures of this bull every week for the last month in a five square mile area, but hadn’t laid eyes on him yet.
So after a very lousy weather day of hunting our hopes were elevated knowing he was here the night before after we left. I spent the last hour calling and tried my best to get some sound in the air in between wind gusts. The wind was steady but it was in our favor which was a pleasant surprise. I had been standing about ten yards from Jerry for about a half hour and could see we both were starting to get pretty chilly. The temperature was dropping and the wind chilly, so I figured I’d go over and make some small talk the last half hour. I got to Jerry and started a conversation when I glanced to the right and saw a set of palms headed our way down an old cut trail. I threw my binos up and realized it was a good bull. We were kind of silhouetted and I had Jerry kneel down on a tree stump. The bull hung up about 40 yards behind some firs for what seemed like ten minutes. I grabbed my blade and just touched some twigs next to me doing some light raking. He started raking back, but I was having a hard time seeing him behind the firs. I was waiting for him to step out from behind them and wasn’t sure where he was. I knew he hadn’t bolted because I could see clearly behind the firs. After a few minutes of not seeing him I started scanning side to side. When I scanned to my left there was a palm right there at twenty yards!!! He had sneaked behind a long strip of firs and we never saw him coming the final distance. I told Jerry he would measure right about 50″, his palms were not real wide, but he had nice points. He stepped out and before I knew it, Jerry touched one off. The bull spun and I told Jerry to hit him again. He did! The bull went out of sight, but looked to be hit good. We hurried right over to look, not finding any blood we started down his tracks and came to a pretty sight about twenty yards later!!! Jerry had just harvested a beautiful 52″ Maine trophy moose on his Maine moose hunt after many years of applying for a tag!! He looked to be a good mature bull and a great moose to take during the October season. He wasn’t the “Dagger” bull, but we surely couldn’t pass him up!
In all it turned out to be a great moose season!! We made many memories, harvested some really nice bulls, had great camp camaraderie, ate some fantastic food cooked up by camp chef’s Candace and Rick, and in all it was a season to remember and be thankful for. If you would like to come to Maine and take part in the best moose hunt in the lower 48 and all of Eastern Canada please check out our website at www.eaguides.com for more information.
Registered Maine Guide.
Four exceptional Maine moose guides, with four great bulls.