Friday, November 8, 2013

Ostomate Carries Moose 6X

Moose hunting has been a long tradition for me -  before-ostomy  -AND-   after-ostomy.  
It's an annual opportunity to reconnect with the natural world and with primal instincts. 

Being solo enhances the experience.

Each morning for 8 consecutive days, I wake at 4:00am and eat a hearty breakfast.  Then travel by boat for 5 miles (8kms) in the dark. 

On clear nights the moon, stars, and northern lights (aurora borealis) are spectacular as there is absolutely NO light-pollution for at least 30 miles.  

I leave my boat on a shore, and paddle my canoe far up a creek.

Before first-light I arrive at my special hunting spot, and begin the long plaintiff call of a cow moose, hoping to draw in a bull-moose.  Each morning at daybreak, 4 ravens fly a long straight path to where I sit, circle overhead to check me out, then fly back to where they came from. Beavers have a house nearby and busily drag poplar/aspen branches for their winter food storage.  Large flocks of Canada Geese fly over in 'V' formation, with the lead bird breaking the wind for those behind it.

It is often foggy as the mist rises from the water and slowly follows downstream from the creek into the lake. At first light, my surroundings start to take shape - first the large trees, then the lowbush. At sunrise the silhouettes gain depth and that 'golden hour' rich colour loved by photographers.

Between cow-calls, I wait silently.  Patiently hoping for a bull-moose to respond.  After 8 days hunting and living solo, I really want to hear a bull-moose.  So many sounds can be imagined to be a bull-moose.  A beaver snapping a branch could be a moose.  A dozen ducks skuttling the water could be a moose crossing the creek. An owl hooting could be a moose.  The crashing sound of blinking frozen eyelashes could be a moose breaking branches far away.

On day 8, I did hear a bull-moose grunt from 2 lakes away.  I knew my backyard, and could hear the echoes from lake to hills to another lake.  He approached with aggressive grunting and breaking of branches - sure to impress the hot cow he was hearing.  I sat silently and moved only my eyeballs.  Eventually he showed at 80 yards and with a single shot he was down. We shared a moment of respect and giving thanks.

Then the work began. 

No quad, no truck, no mechanical gear, 
nobody to help.  

Just me, 
age 63, 
with an ostomy. 

Turning him on  
his back is a big effort.

Then I carried this moose (in pieces), myself, 6 times.
     [1] from where he fell to my canoe on the creek
     [2] from the canoe to my 14foot open aluminum boat on the lake
     [3] from the 14ft boat to my dock
     [4] from the dock to my hanging rack
     [5] from the rack to my big boat (which I loaded on a trailer, with moose on the floor)
     [6] from the big boat to the butcher shop

Really, I carried that moose 6 times!

That was a long hard day.  But I felt thankful and fulfilled as I watched the sunset at the end of that day.

I know that not everyone has the same appreciation for hunting, and I respect their opinions.
But for me, it's a way of life and 7 families will enjoy moose-meat this winter.

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