I Really Need a Moose Permit

I wanted a moose permit this year. “You’ll get it this year,” they said. “Your odds are better this year.” As much as I wanted the moose permit, I didn’t expect to be drawn, and I wasn’t. Moose is one of my favorite meats. I’d like to have an ample supply in the freezer.

Around 9:45 this morning, while picking the last of the corn in the garden, I heard excited voices from what sounded like a nearby dirt road. I couldn’t understand them but the excitement was unmistakable. I grabbed my camera, pen and paper and jumped in the truck. I drove half or three-quarters of a mile out West Lake Road but didn’t see or hear anyone.

I’ve done a little calling here at home. There’s nobody around to hear or see me so it doesn’t matter if I make a complete fool of myself. I’m learning. I’m not great at grunting but apparently, I’m not terrible at it either.

What the heck. There wasn’t anyone around to see me. I parked the truck just past a small four way intersection. I stood in the middle of the West Lake Road with a gravel side road in front of me and an overgrown grassy road behind, and I grunted. Nothing. I grunted again, this time a little deeper and louder. Still nothing. I looked up and down the road to be sure I didn’t have an audience. One more time, then I needed to get back to the garden. “Wuh. Wuh. Wuh.”

I heard the sharp snap of a branch giving way under pressure from beyond the gravel road. “Wuh Wuh.” I thought I saw a little movement. “Wuh wuh wuh.” More movement.

Oh my gawd. Now what? I don’t have a permit. I can’t do anything with this moose. I debated with myself for a few seconds. Keep doing this or quit? I wasn’t sure of the right thing to do.The only way I can shoot a moose is with my Canon. Keep grunting or get back in the truck? I grunted again.

I waited but he didn’t step into sight. He had to have seen me standing there in the middle of the road. I was kind of goofing off. I didn’t expect to be close enough to a moose to be heard, and I especially didn’t think it was going to answer me. I walked back to the safety of the truck and grunted again. I didn’t see him for the next five or six minutes. I grunted, and got my camera out and ready to go. While I waited, I called my uncle. His brother-in-law and nephew are here to hunt. I left voice mail telling him exactly where I was, and that I was watching a small bull.

I couldn’t see or hear the moose so I took a few steps toward the intersection to see if he’d gone back into the trees. He was there, almost to the main dirt road. I grunted and this time he grunted back. Ohh…I wasn’t expecting that. I took a few steps backward to the open truck door. He came close enough to the road to see him through saplings growing on the corner.

And there he was, through the saplings on the corner…

The camera was on manual settings so the photos are poor quality. I was more concerned with my safety and keeping my eyes on the moose than with taking pictures.

A five point yearling bull moose.

He walked into the road, turned his head and looked at me. I forgot about the camera for a minute. He started to walk away so I said “Hey…” He stopped, barely glanced my way, and started to walk away again. “Hey moose…” I spoke quietly. He was already bored with me.

I was never as close as the photos make it seem, and I was always between the open door of the truck and the driver’s seat. I had a 70-300mm lens on the camera.

The moose wasn’t as excited about me as I was him. He strolled off the road, into the tall grass and disappeared into the trees.

The entire adventure took about 10 minutes from when I heard the first crack until he walked away. I spent very little time actually watching him but it was still very exciting! I need more practice grunting. I can’t do a cow call yet, but I’ll learn. I hope I need it when I get my permit next year.

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.