In the first week of December, which is the penultimate (in northern Ontario) week of the season, together with Mirek R. we went elk hunting in the vicinity of Thunderbay, to Kakabeka Falls to be precise. Our Canadian friends, with whom Mirek has been hunting for 18 years, and I have been living there since 1990, and we take advantage of their hospitality and knowledge of the area. Both Mirek and I had shots with 2 staves, and our friends with 2 bulls and one moose. Hunting for elk in the last 2 weeks of the season has also advantages, due to the layer of snow it is easier to poison, although sometimes the snow is too high and makes hunting very difficult. For example, in one year it was possible to move around the area only with the help of a "ski-doo" (motor sled), which was not a pleasure at -30 ° C. This year the weather was good, there was not much snow (about 15 cm), and the temperature throughout the hunting period was between -5 ° and -8 ° C.
We could use off-road vehicles, but on one, just in case, we were carrying a "ski-doo" with a view to possibly using them to take a slaughtered art from the depths of the bush, or a frozen swamp to the road From Toronto to Kakabeka Falls, we were going for a non-stop change in two 15 h It is about 1500 km away. We were there on Friday at 8.oo in the morning, and already at At 10 o'clock we went hunting. The areas where we hunt are 4-5-year-old foals overgrown with young alder and other low (2 -2.5 m) shrubs, whose shoots in winter constitute the basic food base for elk. These areas are crossed by networks of old roads - the remnants of clearings and wood haulage. They are not marked on ordinary maps and when going there in those days, you had to know the terrain well and have maps and a compass (GPS is a great help now).
Finding a moose is an activity that consumes time and fuel (during the entire hunting period we drove approx. 1500 km, including approx. 220 km daily between the base and the fishery). On Saturday we saw fresh leads, but we saw nothing. On Sunday morning departure at 7: oo and at 9: o we are here, where in teams of 2 we go to different sides and where then we have to meet at 17: oo. Ok. at 14: o we meet a friend who was looking for us. He and his partner shot 2 staves. We're going to help them. It turns out that in this area our radio stations (borrowed from firefighters for this trip) work very poorly (apparently they have an impact on some metal ores lying underground) and our colleagues tried to call us by radio without any effect, finally deciding to search for automotive. One must also be careful with the compass in this area, because the deposit of magnetites falsifies its indications.
Both blocks were together and they fell about 300 meters from the road, in the bush. But our colleagues are equipped with equipment: a motor saw (trees are already flying), a car winch, and they ride in the bush like stuntmen. Cars do not completely fail. Broken mirrors are "normal", and cut tires are also not uncommon. Once, we even "managed" \ to impose a broken branch that passed the rector, miraculously bypassing the coolers and stopped on the wall separating the engine compartment from the cabin. We had a big problem with "disassembling" it without damaging the cables. We can't find any fresh clue on Monday, but a colleague from another team spotted the young bull, and there's a third one. On Wednesday we found the entrance to a large bull, there was no exit, so we decided to make a "rush". We covered a piece of the bush in five, one of our colleagues found the entrance trail, but the bull was not stupid, he bounced back and escaped unnoticed by any of us. In the evening, a friend we stayed with receives a message from a lumberjack friend (also a hunter) that in the area where we have one more bull to be shot, he saw two slippers and a nice bull.
Thursday morning - we pick up the woodcutter on the way (he has a blind shot) and go to the place indicated by him. The moose are on the hill surrounded by a loop of road. We bet on the most predictable routes of their escape.
I have the first position - he jumps out of the car on a road about 3 meters wide, on both sides covered with 2.5 meters of spruce trees. In front of me I have the slope of the hill overgrown with dragoons, and on the right side of the hillside overgrown with thin (about 2 cm) alder. On the back, there are gestures of the bush, without the possibility of taking a shot. Along the way, the shot is possible at a distance of about 250 m in each direction. On my right, after a bend, about 450 meters from it, another friend is standing. There is no one on the left. After about 15 min. from the moment I took my position, I heard a branch snap on the far right and then a shot. Second and third after a while. I hear a louder noise in the bushes, the roar of the fourth shot and suddenly, on the ridge of the slope at a distance of about 300 meters, I see the silhouette of a bull, which is planting sharply upwards, which then gradually begins to slow down. I started to run towards it (the wind was good). After running about 80 meters, I wanted to shoot, but the whole silhouette of the bull was obscured by alder, you could only see wonderful yellowish-brown shovels. Suddenly I noticed that this one was starting to go down the slope to the road, with a limp jerk. I stopped. He came out onto the road about 170 meters from where I was staying. I shot "on the chamber". After the bull was shot, he staggered, but he is standing. I shot a second time - he turned his head towards me and nothing, he is still standing. Third shot. He swayed, bowed his head, and is still standing. What the hell - armored or what?
Finally, after the fourth shot, he fell over the ditch where I shot him. It was a 3.5 year old bull weighing approximately 800 pounds. When eviscerating, it turned out that three bullets stuck "on the chamber", in focus that could be covered by the hands, while the fourth one landed on the right front stalk just below the shoulder blade. I fired the caliber 30-06 bullets from the Federal company, 180 grains, the Nosler Partition Bullet.
After the rush was over, it turned out that my neighbor was shooting at the same bull, but from a distance of about 300 m, through alder twigs, which was probably the cause of his "boxes". He was using the caliber 300 Win. Magnum ". He didn't even graze him, and I thanked him for the good push. In the same rush, Mirek shot at the stave running along the road, but it was far away and he missed. After shooting this bull, we had a firing plan made (the lumberjack did not want to chase us at the point of shooting). So we spent one afternoon catching fish from under the ice ("ice shing") but to no avail.
I have fond memories, the power of impressions and the "fun" with a trophy of great blades with a width of 43.5 inches (or if you prefer 1.1 m), with ten "stripes" on the left shovel and ten on the right.