Discovering Manitoba

Hunting Big Boy

Black Bear, caught at Goldsand Lake Lodge. (Photo: Tyler Hunt)

It was a sunny September day in 2004, as my hunting partner Bill and I arrived in Thompson in search of that elusive Canadian bull moose and black bear. We met up with Loretta from All Terrain Bear Hunts and flew to a remote area of deep woods, lakes and streams. Some time later, we landed without trouble and met our guides, Cory and Quinton. A good omen awaited us, too – Cory was standing by a proud hunter waiting to load his own 51-inch bull moose rack onto the plane for the return flight.

It was still two hours before sundown that first evening, so we decided to go hunting. Bill and Quinton went south in one boat to hunt along a stream, while Cory and I decided to cruise north along the lake’s brim.

We putted along the glassy shoreline, calling for moose every so often. With dusk setting in, our time was limited, so we elected to turn back. As we pulled up onshore, Bill and Quinton came speeding by, asking us to join them. They had seen a huge bull. Nearing the spot, we could make out the palms of this bull, and so stopped about 100 yards from the shore. He was very big. We tried to call him out, but to no avail. Our big moose was preoccupied trying to herd off a female.

The next day, Bill and Quinton went further down the stream, in hot pursuit of Big Boy. They bypassed beaver dams and had just come upon an adjacent lake when they spied another bull lying in the marsh grass. Bill’s aim was true. All told, the bull’s rack measured 42-inches – not bad for one full day.

That day and the following yielded calling for moose every so often. With dusk setting in, our time was limited, so we elected to turn back. As we pulled up onshore, Bill and Quinton came speeding by, asking us to join them. They had seen a huge bull. Nearing the spot, we could make out the palms of this bull, and so stopped about 100 yards from the shore. He was very big. We tried to call him out, but to no avail. Our big moose was preoccupied trying to herd off a female.

The next day, Bill and Quinton went further down the stream, in hot pursuit of Big Boy. They bypassed beaver dams and had just come upon an adjacent lake when they spied another bull lying in the marsh grass. Bill’s aim was true. All told, the bull’s rack measured 42-inches – not bad for one full day.

That day and the following yielded nothing for me, and upon return Cory and I boated over to Meat Island. As we pulled up, Bill was smiling from ear to ear and standing over six-foot-11-inch inch black bear sporting an 18 and 7/8- inch skull. He was a thin bear, might not have lasted the winter, so we unanimously agreed it was a good take. Bill told me he and Quinton had returned to Meat Island to quarter their moose and set off in search of a bear. Bill had been set on perching himself on top of a beaver dam, only to find a bear waiting for him! One shot later, one bear. I decided after congratulating Bill that I had better start catching up. Otherwise I knew I’d never hear the end of it. Cory and I left Meat Island to go back to where we’d originally spotted Big Boy.

We had almost completed our sweep of the first bay when Cory pointed out a cow. At the same time, I noticed our elusive friend some 20 yards back. I didn’t have a good shot through the brush, so we decided to move in closer, to within 100 to 150 yards – still no good due to brush and trees between us and Big Boy. Heart pounding, I just couldn’t get a clear line to the bull’s vitals. I pulled up several times taking aim but did not want to take a poor shot. After an eternity, a small window of about seven to eight inches opened up where I could see just behind his front shoulder. I squeezed the trigger on my Winchester 7mm. Big Boy spun back, and I squeezed the trigger again. This time I heard the distinct “slap” as the bullet hit.

We went in and found the bull within a few minutes; he had taken two hits, and we had taken a very nice moose. As it happened, the others had heard my shots, and were on their way. We gathered around and discovered that Big Boy was a 62 1/8-inch bull! That evening, we enjoyed nice fresh tenderloin from Bill’s moose, while celebrating a great hunt. Many toasts were made.

- By Matt Rohl

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