THE HUGE MOOSE REFUSED TO DIE
Shepherd, left, of 37 N. 13th St., and Robert Frush, 2125 Dogleg Rd.,
are co-admirers of the large-sized racks taken from a pair
moose they shot while on a week's hunting trip in the Saganaga Lake
region near Ontario, Canada. Each moose weighed between 1200 and 1300
pounds. The rack spread on the moose killed by Shepherd measured 53
inches, and the one shot by Frush, 49 inches. Serving as a guide for
the Newarkites was 63-year-old Art Madsen, who knows the Saganaga Lake
hunting region like the back of his hand. Madsen said the moose the
Newark men shot were the biggest taken out of this area as long as
anyone can remember. Roger Pierce, also of Newark, accompanied Shepherd
and Frush on the trip, but did not participate in the moose hunt.
(Newark Ohio Advocate
More photos below.
ur moose season in Ontario
opened on the 30th of September in 1967,
and our four hunters from Newark, Ohio came in that
afternoon. I said, “If you
fellows get squared away in your cabin and get your
licenses, we may make a short try to call out a moose this
At this time of year the moose-rutting
season is in full swing, and it
is possible to call out a bull if he hasn’t already found a
cow. But, that evening, no moose answered or came to my pleading calls
on the birch-bark horn. During supper that evening, which my wife
Dinna had prepared, we had a chance to get acquainted.
Burt Class of Newark, had been up at
our camp several times fishing and
brought his friends along, who were about to start on their first moose
hunt. First, there was Bob Frush of Newark, who, when he
isn’t hunting, is a building contractor, and had shot an
eleven-point elk in Montana the year before. Paul Shepherd is in the
heating equipment business. Ted Holmquist, an electrician, and Roger
Pierce, a salesman, came along, too, and took out a deer license. But
he really came along because he figured he could sneak in some
fishing—the guy is nuts about fishing, but I told him the
hunting would come first.
My wife, Dinna, and I operate a small
fishing and hunting camp on
Saganaga Lake, Ontario, just across the Minnesota/Ontario border. At
63, they call me a veteran guide and I should be thinking of retiring,
but like an old hound dog I hate to think I’ve made my last
hunt. What I now lack in brawn, I make up for in past experience and my
vast knowledge of the woods and their animals and habits.
In our area, all travel is over
waterways by boats or canoes. So, the
next morning we headed out northeast to where there is a long point of
land. There I would place the hunters on strategic stands or passes and
attempt to drive out moose or deer. There were fresh moose and deer
tracks, but nothing came past the hunters. As the bushes and trees were
still covered quite heavily with foliage and leaves it was impossible
to see very far. So, we all got together and boiled coffee for lunch,
and laid plans for later afternoon.
I sent Paul and Roger down to watch a
grassy bay—as it was
quite warm, there was a chance moose would come out to the water. Bob
Frush, Ted Holmquist, and I, with my birch-bark horn, went up and
around a grassy-muddy creek. We soon noticed there were moose tracks in
the mud that were quite fresh. So, I left Ted to watch the lower end,
and Bob and I proceeded farther up creek to where it opened into a
little grassy meadow.
I gave out a call with the birch-bark
horn—“AAHHHHOOH,” then I turned and just
started a call the other way when Bob touched my arm and pointed to a
thick stand of willows across the other side of the
creek—from which was coming sounds of breaking brush and
shaking willows. Then,
all we could see for some 30 yards was this
great set of horns swaying above the willows. And, soon the huge bull
appeared about 100 yards from us and stopped to look us over—
no doubt wondering what kind of “red cows” we were.
As the bull was facing us head on, I whispered to
Bob to shoot just
under his head and he’d make a chest shot or heart shot. At
the crack of Bob’s .300 Savage, the big bull hunkered back,
then swung broadside. Bob fired two more shots—still the
moose didn’t go down. I said, “Keep
shooting!” And at his fourth shot, the bull dropped.
walked over to the creek across from the moose. The grass was tall so
we could only see one huge horn sticking up, but apparently no sign of
life. So, we called for Ted to come up, while I congratulated Bob on
his first moose which proved, later, to be a little premature. So, as
not to wade through the mud and water, we started up creek to find a
place to cross.
yards up, I happened to look back, and low and behold, our
moose had come alive and gotten up on his feet. I said, “Bob,
looks like you’ll have to clobber him again.”
So, Bob fired another shot, and down went the moose for another count.
We watched for quite a while, and no further sign of life. So, we
momentarily went behind some willows to cross the creek, and when we
got to where the moose last dropped down—he wasn’t
there! The blood trail showed he’d headed back through that
thick mass of willows that were still thick with leaves.
In those willows you couldn’t see 20 feet. And
one thing I don’t relish doing is rubbing noses with a huge,
wounded, Roman-nosed moose.
For the first time I asked Bob what weight bullets
he was using. I had
misgivings when he said 150 grain, hand loaded by a friend of his with
a powder he didn’t remember. A 150-grain bullet in a .300
Savage, is usually made with a thin jacket and opens too fast on large
animals, like moose. On moose, it is wise to use the heaviest bullets
your caliber of rifle will shoot, so they will drive in deep. (Bob
should have been using 180 grain bullets, such as Remington Core-Lokt
or Winchester power points.)
Now, to follow our wounded moose, I shifted around
the heavy willow thicket, and we soon picked up the blood trail behind where he was
climbing on higher ground through poplar and jack pine. After
a quarter of a mile of tracking the blood stopped, except for a few
drops here and there, and with the leaves on the ground
turning red, it took some close watching to stay on his track.
In all this time, he had not lain down again, nor had he broken into a
run, which led me to believe that he was not hurt too badly, but
somewhat geed up. We continued to follow. Then he tried every dodge he
could to throw us off his trail. He would even double back, then turn
sharply off his trail. Then, it would be some time before we could
straighten out his trail again. At last, he ducked through a little
grassy spot where I was looking closely for some more blood spots. I
happened to look up on a mossy-covered rock rise, and here was our big bull, standing broadside partly screened by spruce
boughs—waiting for us not more than 25 yards away. Up on that
rise he looked as big as an elephant.
Bob to hit him
this time in the shoulder. At the shot, he lunged over the other side
of the rock rise and piled up. This time Bob’s bullet had
gone in through ribs just back of the shoulder and pulverized the
lungs. So, the third time, he was down to stay. But by this time, after
the long tracking session, Bob needed a cigarette—but bad.
(By this time, I could have used something a little stronger than a
cigarette, myself.) All Ted had was his little camera, so we took a few
shots in the now-fading light. The
bull had a 49-inch spread with deep
palms. We had work on our hands now, as the weather was warm
— about 65 degrees. We had to skin him out and cut off the
quarters and lay them up on logs so the meat would cool quicker.
|Veteran Guide Art Madsen with
successful hunter, Bob Frush
We discovered one bullet had broken the lower
the first one. The second bullet had lodged in the hump just above the
backbone—no doubt the shock had dropped him. The other bullet
was in his neck about four inches above the neck bone (vertebra). Both
of these bullets had opened too fast and hadn’t gone very
deep. (Bob’s favorite shot was a neck shot, as he had downed
his elk with a neck shot the year before. But I always discourage a
neck shot, as over the years, I’ve found such a shot too
unreliable—as proven again on Bob’s big bull. You
don’t necessarily need a Magnum rifle on moose—far
more important is placing that first bullet in the right place.)
It was then getting dusk, so we hurried as we had
about a mile to go to
get back to where we had left our boat, and there we met Paul and Roger
waiting for us—wondering what had happened to us.
Back home at supper, they gave Burt Class the
works. He'd told them
there was nothing to moose hunting—“just
to your moose and shoot, then load him into an airplane.”
boys said Bob had trouble getting to sleep that night, and no wonder,
he had thrills enough for any man on his first moose hunt. Outwardly,
he appeared calm, but I had a hunch his motor was racing inside.
The next day was spent packing out all that moose
meat, and they know
now a big bull adds up to a lot of weight. Bob trucked it out to Grand
Marais that evening to put the meat in a cooler as the weather was
still warm. The next two days we were unable to find any moose close to
home. Although,our neighbors had managed to get a moose and a bear with
So, the fourth day, I decided to move up to Mowe
Lake and camp there. I
had seen a big bull up there a few days before the season opened while
guiding trout fishermen. We started with two boats trailing two canoes,
which we would use to get up Mowe Lake Creek, as it was shallow. We
left the small canoes on the creek, as I had two large freight (canvas)
canoes across the portage on Mowe Lake. We went over and set up tent
where George Plummer has a real log trap shack, and then we had lunch.
Bob and Pierce wanted to fish, so I took Paul Shepherd and Holmquist,
and with a three horse-powered motor headed for the north end of the
lake—some three miles farther up. This time I checked with
Paul to see what bullets he was going to use in his .270. He said he
had 150 grain, Winchester power points. I said, “You
have the right bullets for moose.”
was quite a little wind blowing, and as there were no moose in
sight, I tried a few calls on the birch bark.
After a while we
couldn’t hear anything, so I paddled about one quarter of a
mile farther down shore, and was going to try to call again, when Paul
happened to look back. He
nearly flipped when he saw another huge, bull
moose and a cow with him come out where I had called the first time.
Because he had a cow with him, he had come out very slowly.
Paul was about to shoot from there, but I said,
That’s even too far for your .270.” So, I started
to paddle—scull back—by feathering my paddle so as
not to make any noise. But when we got within 200 yards, the cow got
scared and slipped into the woods, and the bull looked uneasy. I told
Paul to rest his arm on the canoe gunwale and shoot for the shoulders.
At the crack of the .270, the bull didn’t
even flinch, but
soon wheeled for the woods. Paul fired again just as he entered the
woods, and I saw the big moose slump. When we landed, I found a little
blood right away. I was skirting a thick clump of moose willow, when
Ted said, “There he is!” And there he was, not 15
yards in a thick bunch of moose willows—stone dead, and his
big head wedged between two trees. Paul’s first
bullet had hit him square behind the shoulder and drove clean on
through the hide to the other side—even at 200 yards. A
elated to find his horns measured 53 inches—four
more than Bob’s. It appears, Paul was always unlucky on hunts
before, having made five deer hunts without success—but he
sure broke the jinx this time. It was dark when we got back to camp,
and Bob and Roger could hardly believe we’d been so
lucky—so quickly. They had caught northern pike and bass and
had them all ready for the frying pan.
The next morning, the boys offered to haul the
moose out to the
portage. So, I made a last try with Ted Holmquist for a moose. He
wanted one with horns or nothing. But our luck had run out.
We had to tear a big hole in the beaver dam to let
the creek fill with
water to be able to canoe the moose down the creek to our boats. We
were soon back at camp. The
next day the hunters were on their way home
to Newark, and with hunting memories they would soon not forget.
Frush with fresh moose and .300 Savage
Rifle off to the side.
Dave Madsen, Ted Holmquist, Art Madsen, Bob Frush
Roger Pierce and Paul Shepherd
Roger Pierce with moose rack, Bob Frush carrying backpack.
|Excerpt from the behind the scenes interview with Paul Shepherd
by Marco Manzo III
April 25, 2006
my grandfather, Art Madsen, had purposely left out some of his
trade-hunting secrets when he wrote his story, but from this interview
with Paul Shepherd, a few are revealed.
Marco: "Are there any behind the scenes additions you would like to add to the story?"
Paul Shepherd: "If I were to tell all the behind the scenes stories, it would take a week to tell you everything."
"There were three of us in the one canoe. I was in the
middle and Ted Holmquist was in the front. Art gave his moose
call and a bull came right out of the woods in front of us. Ted
got a quick shot with his 30-30, but his aim hit the moose through the
rack. The old moose shook his head; it must have stung a little bit."
"About an hour later, the three of us decided to motor
down the lake with the 3hp motor. Art had plans of using the motor, but
he didn't start it up as we spotted the same moose coming out of the woods about a quarter of a mile down the lake!
It surprised all three of us when he came back out of the
woods. The water was like glass, perfectly still, and the big
bull was edgy—feeding in the shallows. His mate was feeding in the woods and didn't come out. Art
went to the silent paddle. It seemed like a magnet was pulling us down
the lake. There was no noise. It seemed like we were gliding down the
"Ted had only his 30-30 rifle and it couldn't shoot long enough to make a kill, so Art told Ted to, 'Lay down and hold your arms up, so we will look like another moose coming down the lake'."
"The moose had been shot through the rack, and he was pretty edgy,
and Art knew he wasn't going to stay in the water very long. We
got closer, about 200 yards away, and Art told me that the moose was
getting 'itchy' and was going to leave, and I should shoot."
"I had to shoot through Ted's arms. That bullet went straight."
Mr. Shepherd, I have enjoyed talking with you. Thank you for your time and interesting side-highlights.
Moose rack forensics:
The box in red shows the spot where
Ted Holmquist shot through the rack of Paul Shepherd's moose.
Note: Art chopped the racks free from the moose skulls with an axe.