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Butchering Moose | by Watson Lake
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Butchering Moose

Getting ready to split the other half of the moose into two pieces.

 

In Sept. 2013 we returned to one of our favorite hunting places on the Nahanni Range Road. We were accompanied by our son Jason and his girlfriend Shannon. The Nahanni Range Rd or the Cantung Road starts north of Watson Lake at 108 km of the Robert Campbell Highway. The Road heads east into the Northwest Territories and ends at the Cantung (tungsten) mine. Scenery is varied on this road starting with close mountains, thick-growing willows, poplars and spruce, the Hyland River, swamps and small lakes. Fires from various years scar the valley including the territorial campground at km 82. Farther east, the road enters a wide open valley filled with beaver ponds, Arctic Birch or buckbrush with the slow meandering Little Hyland River flowing through. Caribou, moose and bears inhabit this wild land.

 

After spending the first night at the campground, we drove to km 176 to our second campsite, the gravel pit. My husband, Barry, did his moose calls that evening and during the night, a moose did visit us - grunting and rubbing his antlers on the brush. Our son used the air horn to keep it away from our campsite.

 

The next morning, Barry spotted two bull moose in the valley before the rain and snow moved in. By the afternoon there was fresh snow on the mountains, and with the rain stopping in the valley, we drove out on two atvs to see if we could spot the bull moose seen closer to our campsite. At one high point on the atv trail, Barry called for 15 minutes before we heard distant grunts. A kilometer away, a bull moose with wide antlers walked into an opening between two spruce trees. The bull kept walking to us, stopped once to rake his horns in the brush, and at 200 feet, Barry had a clear shot.

 

Harvesting moose and caribou are important to us for that is the major meat that we eat. The entire carcass is cut into quarters and taken home to hang for 10 days before being cut, wrapped and frozen.

 

This year's hunt was memorable with having our son and his girlfriend with us, seeing a Northern Hawk Owl chasing a raven, watching hundreds of sandhill cranes fly over low, admiring the beauty of fresh snow on the mountains, feeding a pair of gray jays and a pair of chipmunks at the campsite, and experiencing the thrill of a bull moose walking towards us with his 50 inch wide horns showing just above the tall brush.

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Taken on September 17, 2013