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Trying for a Fly-in Moose

Bruce Ranta calling along a back bay of Northwestern Ontario’s Achim Lake.

Weather and luck play a role but when the stars align a remote camp is a good place to be



A remote wilderness base camp is pretty good step towards harvesting a moose. It was a warm and clear late September morning when we left the River Air Seaplane Dock at Pistol Lake in a Cessna 208 Caravan, en route to our moose hunting base camp at Achim Lake. I was joined by friends Brian Hutchinson and Bob Monahan for a one-week hunt in WMU 1C in the remote reaches of Northwestern Ontario. The flight north was scheduled to be an hour and a half, taking us many, many miles from the nearest road.

A Home in Moose Country

Situated on a slab of granite, surrounded by spruce and pine, the outpost cabin wasn’t exactly the Hilton, but would certainly suffice. We were most impressed by two monstrous moose racks hanging in a tree out front. “That’s the big bad boy I want,” Bob said, pointing at one. Our plan was to hunt shorelines and shallow back bays of Achim and adjoining lakes mornings and evenings -- spots we could boat to without having to portage. We’d scout for fresh sign during the afternoons and maybe do a little fishing.

antlers on a treeTwo monstrous moose racks at Halley Camp’s Achim Lake Outpost in Northwestern Ontario. (Photo credit: Bruce Ranta)

Early the first morning we were set up. Brian and I had dropped Bob off in a four-year-old burn and then continued on to hunt what our map identified as a moose crossing spot. I called regularly for close to three hours without success, although we were entertained by some ducks and geese, and small pike splashing in the shallows. Bob didn't shoot or see any moose, either, but he had heard one.“I had one answer from not too far away,” he told us. “It sounded like a cow.”

In the Company of Moose

The days that followed were all similar. One morning Brian heard a moose thrashing around for more than an hour, but he never saw it; another time I had a bull sneak in and answer my call from a short distance away, but I couldn’t see it through the foliage. It was a great hunt, but by week’s end, no moose had been hurt.

We had some great afternoons catching walleye. Bob said it was the best walleye fishing he’d ever had. The fish were perfect eaters, plump with dark backs and deep yellow sides and bellies.

man fishing in a boatBob Monahan hoist one of the many plump and colorful walleye plucked from the waters of Northwestern Ontario’s Achim Lake. (Photo credit: Bruce Ranta)

Moose hunting is seldom easy, and when the weather turns hot and windy like it did for us, it’s a real crap shoot. But that’s hunting. There are no guarantees, and that is part of its allure. If you’ve received a moose tag in WMUs 1C or 2 through the resident draw, Halley’s Camps can provide wilderness rifle and archery moose hunts from outpost camps and fly-in tent camps. Weather and luck all play a role but when the stars align, a remote moose hunting base camp is a pretty good place to be.

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