Moose hunting in Nipigon

Gord Ellis and Gene Balec with a Nipigon spike bull.

where 60-inch racks are taken each year



The morning was crisp and bright. There was just enough fresh snow covering the old logging road, north of the town of Nipigon, to reveal any recent moose movements. Piled in my truck were Gord Sr. and my friend Gene Balec. Gene had a bull tag in his pocket and we were all intently scouring the rolling landscape for tracks or animals.

After an uneventful few hours, we came across a stampede of moose tracks right on the road. No other trucks had been over the moose sign, so we knew it was fresh. Then Gene cried, "There they are!"

I looked to my left and saw a big cow and another smaller moose standing on a knoll about 300 yards away. We all jumped out of the truck and put up our rifle scopes. The smaller animal looked like it had something on its head.

"I think the other moose is a spike," I said. "I'm not so sure about that," Gene said, looking through his scope. I looked again, but this time was less sure. Both moose finally walked off.

large bull moose Nipigon region of Northwestern OntarioA large bull moose plows through the deep snow that frequents the Nipigon region of Northwestern Ontario. (Photo credit: Gord Ellis)

"I think those were spikes," Gene said resolutely, so off we went. Dad would stay back to make sure the moose didn't give us the slip. Gene took the high route, I went low. The snow was deep and caused some huffing and puffing. When I came to the knoll the moose had been standing on, I looked down into a ravine and saw one of the moose just 150 yards away. Its body was visible in an open area but its head was obscured by brush. Then it walked out of sight.

I quietly slipped down into the twiggy swamp bottom and could see from the tracks that the moose was walking. It wasn't startled. Then there was a loud crack ahead of me. The moose was running out the other side of the bramble into an opening about 100 yards away. As it headed up a hill, I could clearly see a pair of forked antlers. The animal quartered to my right and stepped into the crosshairs of my scope.

A single shot echoed through the cold morning air. The moose stood for a bit, then disappeared behind some low shrubs. After a seemingly endless 40-minute wait, I went to investigate. At the top of the hill there was a black shape and a small reddish antler. It was a gorgeous yearling bull. I had a quiet moment of thanks and then sat on a stump as Gene and Dad came through the bush.

The snow hunt is a great way to encounter moose, and the Nipigon region is blessed with great late-season opportunities. Old cuts, power lines and frozen swamps are all magnets for the majestic animals. December accumulations allow for great tracking and high visibility. Nipigon also has some of the largest bull moose in the province, with 60-inch racks taken every fall. There is a real opportunity here to harvest not only a memorable animal, but one that could make the record books.

Moose Hunt in Nipigon:
Nipigon River Adventures
Road 17 Hwy 628
Red Rock, Ontario P0T 2P0
Ph: (807) 621-6342
ray@nipigonriveradventures.com
www.nipigonriveradventures.com

 

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