Welcome to TheOhioOutdoors
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Login or sign up today!
Login / Join

Ontario moose hunt

Iowa_Buckeye

Junior Member
1,567
70
Linn County Iowa
I absolutely hate long posts, so apologize to myself in advance before writing this one.

Some background - this hunt started about 3 years ago. My buddy Rob was at the local sports show back in 2019 and stopped by the 'Walsten Outposts' booth to see about a moose hunt. They are mainly a fly-in fishing operation out of Kenora, Ontario but do have an allocation for a few moose tags every year (only 4 bull tags this year, along with several cow tags). So he booked a hunt for us for in 2020. Well then covid hit and the Canadian border was closed, so we rescheduled for 2021. Then in 2021 there were record wildfires in that part of Canada and the hunt was cancelled again. The outfitters were not even allowed to fly due to all the smoke, and large southern portions of the lake we were on (Snowshoe Lake - western Ontario, right on the Manitoba border) were burnt. Rob is pretty much a do-it-yourselfer kind of guy, so we booked the hunt as unguided and 10 days in duration.

We left here (Marion, IA) the morning of Friday 9/23. Drove 12 hours to Kenora and spent the night in a hotel for our 10am flight in on the 24th. After getting settled in at the cabin on Saturday we did hunt the tributary river on the very east end of the lake that afternoon with no luck or responses to our calls.

For those who are not familiar with archery moose hunting, the most important thing to have is cool/cold/still conditions with no or very low winds. This allows your calls to be heard for miles as of course moose are not as plentiful as whitetail, but will come from a loooong ways off to a call.

Well Sunday was forecasted to be high winds (35mph+) which is less than worthless for moose calling. But we set the alarm for well before dawn and got up anyway. The forecast was right and we could see whitecaps on the lake in front of the cabin. We decided we didn't want to drown in the dark, so went back to bed. We got up a bit later (still super windy from the north) and decided to head to some spots we had scouted with satellite images and set up our calling spots/cut shooting lanes for the rest of the week. We decided to take a bow (mine) 'just in case'. Well, good thing we did as the first place we stopped (around 9:30 am) as I climbed on top of a rock where we parked the boat, I saw a cow about 100yds north of me and heading east. If I would have got on top the rock 30 seconds later, she would not have still been in the clearing and we would not have known she was even there.

So Rob and I paddled the boat back east a few hundred yards along the back of the rock ridge in hopes we could cut her off. She was heading into sort of a small bay area so couldn't go much farther east anyhow. We climbed back on top of the rock ridge and could hear her sloshing around in the muck to our NW. We continued N and dropped to the bottom of the other side of the rock ridge. We could still hear her sloshing around and it was apparent she wasn't coming further east, so I decided to climb back onto the rock ridge and see if I could stalk her. The wind was perfect for it. Rob stayed back as we knew one person would make less noise. To make a long story longer, I got on top of the rock ridge and went back west about 100 yards. I peeked back to the N where there was a small muck hole/pond and saw BIG ripples. So knowing I had her position, I slipped a bit farther W down the ridge, then N straight at her. It was an absolute perfect setup. She was to my N with a strong N wing and I was about 10 feet above her on the rock ridge. I crouched and crawled toward her and soon saw the hair on her back's hump. Then she picked up her head so I froze. She put her head back down to take another bite and I moved up another couple yards and prepped for a shot. She picked her head up one more time, then when she dropped it I stood/drew and shot her right behind the shoulder at about 10 yards. I couldn't believe it!! She then proceeded to trot out of the muck hole to the east and towards Rob. I kept waiting for her to fall, but she didn't. A whitetail hit there would have dropped within 15 to 20 seconds. She then proceeded to walk north across the clearing and about 35 yards in front of Rob. I was shooting video at this point (see YouTube link) and you can see Rob in the background. Rob was filming at this time also. He of course didn't have his bow and was not even aware I had shot her, but rather assumed I had just spooked her. Guess he didn't have faith in my ninja deer stalking skills!! lol

To try and wrap this part up, I shot her about 10:10 am, We didn't look for her at that time, but rather headed directly back to the cabin to eat lunch and get the butchering equipment. We got back to her around 2 and she was dead about 5 yards where she walked into the bush. It then took about 3 hours to get her skinned, butchered, and back to the boat. I'd say she was a 2-year-old and about 600'ish pound. I thought that was big until we got the bull.

The pic of us drinking the Canadian Molson is when we were heading back to the cabin knowing we had a dead moose somewhere in the bush.
The pic of the rock across the field is where I shot her from. The pic was taken where she entered the bush.
My buddy Rob packed the whole thing out aside from the straps, loins, and trim meat. He really enjoys it, so I let him have at it!!
We did put a trial cam over the carcass. When we came back to get it 5 days later the carcass was completely GONE! No bones, nothing. Assumed a bear, but then saw wolf crap. We were excited about the trail cam, but I had positioned it aimed too high and we just got a few parts of wolves and a bunch of ravens dropping in.

Give me a minute and I'll get the bull story pasted in.


IMG_0060.jpg
IMG_0079.jpg
IMG_0092.jpg
IMG_0097.jpg
IMG_0100.jpg
 

Iowa_Buckeye

Junior Member
1,567
70
Linn County Iowa
Now for the bull hunt.

It was the morning of Thursday, Sept 30 and was the 5th full day of our hunt. After getting the cow on Sunday, we had not seen a bull or even heard a bull grunt and I was beginning to feel they may not even exist. We were set up in a new spot and had been calling for about an hour and 15 minutes. When we had got there in the dark, I had just found a comfy log to sit on and hadn’t even bothered to look for lanes or even put my release on as I was set up as the caller and Rob as the shooter. Rob was out in front of me at about 25 yards and I had the lake about 25 yards behind me. It was real heavy cover we were in, but Rob was in a spot where he did have some shooting lanes.

So right about 8am I hear what sounded like a grunt. Rob periodically does a vocal grunt, so I assumed it was just him. Then it did it again and again and I knew it was definitely not Rob! It was a bit breezy and we did not hear the bull until he was about 100 to 120 yards out as he came over a small knob. He was coming FAST and grunting at a very fast rate. I was freaking out trying to get my release on as I could tell he was coming right at me. He sounded like a freight train coming through the bush. If you have not been in the Canadian bush, it is hard to explain. It is so thick with undergrowth and ankle twisters it is absolutely exhausting to walk through with every step. But yet these massive animals just plow right through it. He was grunting LOUD and it didn’t even seem real to me. He finally stopped at what I assumed was about 50 yards and I was able to get my release on. I hit the call one more time and he continued his march in. The approach route he chose did not offer Rob a shot. He passed within 35 yards of Rob, but Rob couldn’t even see him. I did have one real small lane towards the direction he was approaching from and saw him pass through it at about 15 yards and got drawn. He stopped a bit past the lane but I could not seem him. Seemed he was trying to get downwind of us and was pretty much in Rob’s wind at this time. Rob had lit a ‘Tinks moose cow in heat’ incense stick, and I actually think it may have done the trick. As a few seconds later I saw him come back and step into the lane with his head extended and sniffing the air. I then shot him in his right side at about 12 to 15 yards. He then proceeded to immediately exit the bush and ran out into the lake. I also ran to the edge of the lake and just had my bow in hand. I knew he was well out of range but wanted to get another arrow into him. I shot 3 more times, all falling short of the mark. I assume he was about 100 to 110 yards out from me. This is when I started to record with my phone. Rob of course heard him head out into the lake so moved from his position to the edge of the lake a bit further down from me. Rob did have his range finder in hand and is one of the best bow shooters I know. He ranged him at 77 yards and sent a perfect arrow 'right through the boiler room'!! Complete pass-through. This is at about the 2:42 mark of the video. The rest of the video is some excited commentary (sorry for the F-bombs....) and shows the process of how we got him to shore and onto dry ground for butchering. Took 2 hours and 45 minutes just to get him onto dry ground. Shot him at 8am and we were wrapped up and heading back to camp in the boats at sunset (~7pm). Long day, but an awesome hunt!!

Couple comments as folks may have some questions.

The Ontario moose tags are ‘party hunt’ tags, so anyone in the party can shoot the moose. Moose hunting is really a team sport to tell you the truth.
Archery moose hunting is a game of patience.
Total cost of the hunt was ~$5k. This includes the outfitter fee, float plane flights, moose tag, moose license, fishing license, etc. I know most folks want to hunt Yukon moose, but don’t overlook Canadian moose. They can get almost as big, and the cost is much more economical. Yukon is $20k+. There is a 62” bull from the lake on the wall in our cabin, and several pics on the wall of other equivalent bulls from the lake.
If we would have got a single guide for the both of us, it would have been a $2k adder.
This type of moose hunt is very physically demanding. My body is still letting me know about it…. Just walking a few hundred yards though the bush WEARS YOU OUT!! Once again, can’t really explain it unless you have experienced it. Not an Ohio woodlot for sure. In the end, if you just look at the pain and suffering you endue as part of the overall adventure, it is 110% worth it!!
In the pic with him laying on his side, the upper right shot is my entry hole. Lower left is Rob's exit. Amazed it took him so long to go down.
Our outfitter said we were the fist successful unguided archery moose hunters he has had in his 30 years of business.


IMG_0234.jpg
IMG_0248.jpg
IMG_0256.jpg
IMG_0272.jpg
IMG_0281.jpg
IMG_0313.jpg
IMG_0315.jpg
IMG_0316.jpg
IMG_0332.jpg
IMG_0345.jpg


Hope you enjoyed the story.
 
Last edited:

giles

Village idiot and local whore
Supporting Member
39,577
197
In a bar
That tundra Walking isn't for everyone...it is serious. And what looks flat and short, BAHAHAHahaHA! You fellas really found out about the work involved. Nice job and congratulations.

I like the meat over any other game meat I've ever had. Very tasty stuff!
 
  • Like
Reactions: GoetsTalon and Mike

Iowa_Buckeye

Junior Member
1,567
70
Linn County Iowa
That tundra Walking isn't for everyone...it is serious. And what looks flat and short, BAHAHAHahaHA! You fellas really found out about the work involved. Nice job and congratulations.

I like the meat over any other game meat I've ever had. Very tasty stuff!
Just put part of an inner loin on the grill. If u can be here in 20 minutes I’ll give you a bite!! Small one anyhow.
4CAEDCE6-8614-4288-A946-FBC6068DA4B1.jpeg
 

finelyshedded

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
29,733
222
SW Ohio
Wow Larry!!! Great write up and photos man! Congratulations to you both!

Dumb Question here: Was the $5k split between you two or you each paid that?