Loose moose not part of hunting plan

Several weeks ago, I asked you to share your moose-hunting horror stories.

As I’ve often heard (and as so many of my relatives and friends have related), once you find yourself a moose, and shoot that moose, it’s entirely possible for your moose hunt to go south in a hurry.

Sometimes the burly critters splash into a lake. Sometimes equipment fails. Sometimes you learn that you didn’t actually have all of the gear that you needed … and you’re 50 miles from pavement and the nearest town.

The plan was to compile some of the stories for our latest issue of BDN Maine Outdoors. On that front, we succeeded: The story is in our latest publication, which you should be able to find at your local newsstand soon. Our crews will be starting that time-consuming stocking process on Monday, and within two weeks, BDN Maine Outdoors ought to be found in stores that carry the daily paper.

Or course, sometimes folks don’t get their stories to us before our print deadlines arrive. And sometimes, those stories are so interesting, we’ve got to find other ways to share them with readers.

That’s the case today, as you’ll soon find out.

One reader checked in this week to tell me about her family’s moose-hunt-gone-bad. Luckily, she kept her sense of humor about the series of events. Here’s what she had to say:

“My name is Michelle Gillo from Skowhegan Maine. My mother is 100 percent Native American with the Passamaquoddy Tribe, so that makes me and my sisters 50 percent,” she wrote. “The privilege of this is that we can get a sustenance permit every year which allows us to have a chance to shoot a moose every year, on tribal land only. [The moose] has to be a bull.

Oops. Moose on the loose. This was not part of the plan. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Gillo)

“In 2008 my older sister Kathy LeBrun shot her first moose! After all the excitement, the work begins of field dressing the massive beast. Kathy’s husband David had the fun job of doing that!” Gillo wrote.”Now it’s time to get the moose loaded onto the trailer to take him back to camp, then to the tagging station. After we all heaved and hoed, with the trailer backed up to a knoll and the trailer tipped up for easier placement, we finally got him on.”

Seems like a simple hunt so far. Right? Well, read on.

“The guys figured their jobs were done so they went back to camp to grab some lunch. I mean after all, us girls just had to transport it back to camp, right?” Gillo wrote. “That would have been an easy task if ‘someone’ would have remembered to put the pin back in the trailer!

“As Kathy & I were headed back to camp we had to go up a slight incline, and the next thing we know the trailer is tipped up and the moose slid halfway off! At first we were shocked, then we laughed about it!” she wrote. “We don’t have any cell phone service up to camp so we had to figure out a way to get a hold of the guys. Kathy had to stay with the moose so we had to figure something out.

“After a few minutes I decided to unhook the trailer from her Jeep and drive back to camp to get the guys! After they saw me drive into camp without the trailer & moose they had this [questioning] look on their faces. After explaining what had happened, David had this look on his face that said ‘did I do that?’ So the guys piled into the Jeep with me and off we went to rescue the moose & Kathy.”

That’s a scenario that I bet has been repeated all over the Maine woods over the year.

The best thing: The hunters were deep enough in the woods that the moose didn’t make his “escape” on a heavily traveled highway.

Thanks to Michelle for sharing her story.

If you’ve got a tale of your own to share, I’m ready to listen.


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John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.