Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 177: Moose Hunting is a Sport, Right?

Ahhhh... fall. My favorite time of year. But not a favorite time for Bullwinkle. For it is late September when the moose hunt starts and the large, spindly-legged moose gets just a tad jumpy. With the arrival of crisp air comes a surge of hunter orange and pick-up trucks to the Maine woods. So break out your .308, site that baby in, and make sure your freezer is empty.

Maine's moose hunting season runs for three weeks each fall—one in September, October and November, and permits are issued through a lottery system. The moose population is currently estimated to be about 76,000, according to state wildlife biologists. In 2012, the overall success rate for the three weeks came in at 79% with 2,937 moose killed out of a possible 3,725 permits issued.

This year, 4,110 permits were issued—and one of them went to my household. Not me though. I've been picked in the lottery once before, and despite the nearly 80% success rate for permit holders, we came home empty handed. Alas... I've been deemed moose hunting bad luck. I'm okay with that. Driving around in the woods for 10 hours a day, desperate to spot the tall, dark and delicious, really can screw with your mind. Every single thing in the woods looks like dinner. No joke.

According to Quigley's Outdoor in Fort Kent, Maine, as of 2pm Tuesday afternoon, they had tagged 63 moose. One bull tagged had an antler spread of about 60 inches and weighed in at just over 1,000 pounds—one of several plus-1000 pound animals already harvested. Not sure you want that one coming over the hood of your car. The majority of a moose's weight is carried in their body and they're long, skinny legs don't hold a chance in a vehicle collision, most likely sending that giant body through your windshield.

Personally, I'm not much for killing the furry animals... I leave that to men-folk. But I pity the ill-fated, unsuspecting partridge that wanders out into the road. I'll shoot the feathers right off that poor bastard.

Hopefully a moose lasagna is in my future. And moose chili. And moose stew... you get the idea.

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