In preparation for the hunt I contacted local Ministry
biologist Evan Armstrong about the area. Evan helped me order the
correct maps that showed detailed access to the area. Evan provided
important information about landscape, moose movement and habits.
Evan explained that moose actually live in pocket areas. Not all
places have moose. A hunter must find good moose habitat. Moose
migrate to different areas depending on food sources.
purchased two moose calls. Primos makes a moose call called “Primos
moose horn”. It really reaches out a long ways and is great
to have under windy conditions. You can also use the call to scoop
water in lakes and pour it simulating a moose urinating.
second call is “Calling Trophy Moose with Wayne Carlton”.
This call works well too and there are some good tips on the cassette
and video about how to hunt moose. It was critical for me to understand
moose habits and know how to call. These two calls helped me cut
to the chase.
Our destination was 15 miles east of Longlac, Ontario.
From the Twin Cities it is approximately 500 miles. About a 9-hour
drive through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen.
Leaves were turning red and yellow from Duluth, Minnesota all the
way to the lodge. My friend Butch Hunter and I left home full of
excitement about the possibilities we were about to encounter. We
listened one more time to the cassettes and talked about what strategies
we might try.
We arrived at Lukinto
Lake Lodge before dark to be greeted by Jody. Jody brought us
to one of the eight cabins he has at his lodge. The accommodations
included two separate bedrooms with a full service kitchen, bath
and shower. We unloaded our gear and stocked the refrigerator and
freezer with enough food for a month even though we were only going
to be there a week. Jody issued us our licenses and then we sat
down to discuss what was going to happen the next morning. We went
over maps and then Jody took us a mile down the road to a tote road.
From there we drove in as far as our truck would take us. A beaver
had done his thing and caused the small road to wash out. Jody stated
that there was some good sign down the road. I was glad I brought
the atv along.
The next morning came early. At dawn we found ourselves
across the wash out walking the old tote road. The woods were starting
to come alive with activity. We noticed right away the obvious fresh
tracks in the sand. Butch and I are not experts by any stretch of
the imagination. We simply used common sense. The sand on the sides
of the deep imprints were still dark. We concluded that these tracks
were indeed fresh. We stopped at this first sign and I cupped my
hands and did my best impression of a lovesick cow. Without an answer
we continued our walk observing more fresh sign that moose were
close by. We opted to get close to the bogs or swamps that followed
the edges of the road we were on. Slipping out into the marsh as
far as I dared, I called again. Still no answer. Well, except that
the cow call seemed to attract every nat and black fly in the area.
We continue this all morning. One time we found a spot off the road
and behind a hillside. It was a perfect spot. I called a couple
different times with the different calls I had. We got a little
complacent eating blueberries while awaiting an answer from a bull.
Suddenly Butch signaled me that he heard a bull grunt not once but
twice. I didn’t hear it because my mouth was too full of blueberries.
I stopped chewing and swallowed with one gulp. I did what I now
call the choking blueberry call. It was the sickest thing you ever
heard. Of course the bull didn’t answer so we moved on. That
was the last blueberry I ate the whole trip!
It was 10:30 am. Butch and I figured it was too
hot for moose to be moving so we decided to go fishing for walleye.
Several hours later we were back in camp with our limit and had
a quick bite to eat. I meet with Jody again and although I hinted
to Jody that I would like to try a different spot, he encouraged
me to “stay the course” and try the same spot we were
at earlier that morning. It happened to be one of the warmest days
of the year so I didn’t expect to see a moose. I told Butch
to go fishing and I was going to walk the road like we had done
earlier. I said, “I don’t expect to see a moose in this
warm weather anyway”. So Butch went his way back to the walleye
and I jumped on my atv and was driving down the tote road we had
earlier walked. I got a couple miles down the road and saw atv’s
parked on the trail. Bear hunters, I said to myself! I decided to
get off the road. The terrain started with clumps of moss surrounded
by water. I jumped from clump to clump to get farther into the timber.
I realized quickly what Jody was talking about. You just don’t
go into this stuff. Being the stubborn hunter I am I continued my
trek to a spot that overlooked a little opening. The wind wasn’t
perfect for the setup but I decided to try anyway. I cupped my hands
and did my best imitation once again of a lovesick cow. After 10
minutes I called with my Primos call. The wind was blowing so I
wasn’t sure but I thought I had heard a bull grunt. I waited
for 20 minutes calling a couple more times without a response.
I was only 100 yards off the road and I heard the
bear hunters fire up their atv’s so I decided to get farther
back into the timber. To my surprise I actually found a nice piece
of high ground and a major moose trail going through the middle
of the trees. I used my whitetail stalking techniques through the
trees which crested on top of a small hill overlooking yet another
swamp. I slipped into the new swamp and scampered across it to the
next timberline. Three hundred yards from the road I set up around
a corner of a timberline overlooking a recent cutting on one side
and the swamp on the other side of the timber line. I started calling
by cupping my hands making a cow call. After waiting 15 minutes
and without a response I pulled out my Primos call. This call reaches
out quite far and I needed it with how hard the wind was blowing.
Another 15 minutes passed and I pulled out my Carlton moose call.
After calling I waited another 15 minutes. I was about to call again
and looked over my area one more time and noticed something black
moving toward me through the trees. I new it was a moose instantly.
The moose was 80 yards away. I grabbed my rangefinder and used them
as a pair of binoculars. I needed to see if the moose was a bull
or cow. I just couldn’t see any horns through all the trees.
Suddenly the moose turned his head and there they were. Good paddles
on both sides. Using my rangefinder I picked the last tree on the
tree line. I figured the moose would walk down the tree line. I
found the distance to be 40 yards. I knocked an arrow and laid my
bow down on the moss. I was ready and now it was time to make my
move. I cupped my hands and whispered a short barely heard cow call.
I wasn’t sure if the moose would be able to hear it given
the strong winds. To my surprise the moose looked in my direction
immediately and started walking down the tree line as I thought
he would. I readied my bow. The bull approached my 40-yard mark
grunting over and over again. The moose approached my 40 yard mark
and stood broadside as if to say here I am shoot me! Suddenly I
started to ask myself, “Can I make that shot?” By the
time the answer entered my head the moose was on the move.
If you haven’t moose hunted before then you
should know that a moose can pin point the caller to within yards
of where the caller stands. That is why if you can move toward the
moose as he is coming to you, you may get a better shot. I couldn’t
do that because the moose was always in my sight. The moose to my
surprise started walking toward me and closed in on 30 yards, then
20 yards and finally 15 yards walking towards me. I didn’t
have a shot yet but the moose was well within my comfort range.
In my mind I was thinking here we go again. The last moose I harvested
was only 7 yards away. This moose was reaching that distance fast.
Before I could anticipate the moose’s next move he was on
the move again. Veering off to my left the bull approached a broadside
position. All the moose had to do was clear a 4 foot pine tree in
front of me. My luck held and the moose cleared it and then stopped
providing me with a perfect 12-yard broadside shot. With the moose
looking in the other direction for a cow I drew my Buckmasters
G2 back. Steadying my pin behind the front shoulder I released.
With the arrow buried in the bull he whirled around and ran into
the cutting. I instantly started to imitate a bull grunt without
success in stopping him. I went to a cow call and the moose stopped
60 yards out. I kept calling hoping the moose would drop in my sight.
To my surprise the bull responded to my cow call to the point of
turning around and walking back toward me. I reached for another
arrow thinking what is going on? That moose should have dropped
by now. I was second-guessing my shot and wondered where I hit him.
Of course only less than a minute had transpired! My adrenaline
was getting the best of me! I was using Eastman
T1-2 Extreme 3-Blade 100 broadhead which is the same exact broadhead
I had used on a wild boar and bear I harvested earlier in the year
(with new inserts of course). I had forgotten that these animals
are huge and have lots of power. The bull after standing for what
seemed like an eternity started to stagger and cough excessively.
In a moment the bull went down. I did my silent “hurray”
with my hands raised up not wanting to take any chance of spooking
the bull and possibly pushing the bull farther away. I walked toward
the moose and got within 20 yards. The leg on the bull started to
move so I knocked an arrow again. I walked closer and found that
the bull had indeed expired. After further examination I found that
I had made a double lung shot that hit the tip of the heart. The
reason there wasn’t much blood is because the arrow entered
behind the leg as it was in a forward position. The arrow didn’t
exit because it hit the leg on the other side. My carbon
express arrow after downing 3 animals finally had met its match
and was broken. I collected the arrow the best I could and said
my goodbyes. I still had my broadhead so I removed it for use later
on. After all 3 big game animals with the same broadhead and arrow
is quite an achievement.
Now finally I measured what I had accomplished.
I went on a self-guided hunt and called in my own moose. That is
quite an achievement. I don’t believe I could have done it
without Outfitter Jody Bengtson and Lukinto
Lake Lodge. They put me in a great position to succeed.
The sun was setting and I had to make a decision.
Should I gut out the moose or leave it for later or perhaps tomorrow
morning. I didn’t have a clue how we were going to get the
moose out. I made the decision to leave the moose whole thinking
if I didn’t get back that night the bears and wolves would
be less likely to smell the bull and perhaps come in and eat it.
I hastily made my way toward the road putting up orange tape as
I went. I didn’t take the straightest route mostly because
I didn’t know exactly where I was and probably because I just
shot a moose!!!
I jumped on my atv and road it back to camp. Butch
was there cleaning his walleye. I walked in and asked him how his
fishing went. He said they were really biting. Butch could tell
I was ready to burst. I pulled a Ted Nugent on him and said, “It
is moose back-strap time baby!” I went into the whole story
of what happened during the hunt. Jody came in and I told the story
all over again. Then the discussion started. Should we go after
the moose now or wait until morning. With the weather so warm Outfitter
Jody Bengtson said we should at least go out and gut it. I agreed
but I brought up my concerns about bears and wolves finding the
moose. Jody had an answer for that.
Off we went Jody, Butch, Jim Edens (life time friend
of Jody's) and myself. We drove in with two atv’s. I had flagged
the road with orange tape so we knew where to begin. We found out
shortly that orange tape may be bright during the day but at night
it was hard to follow and actually find. I had insisted that I put
them 10 yards apart. So I am bad at judging distances! After a great
effort by the group we found our way back to the bull. Along the
way I heard grumblings that this was no quarter mile like I had
said. Some were saying it was three quarters of a mile and not a
foot less. We found out later it was actually 290 yards by gps.
I wish I had a camera video taping those guys making their way across
those swamps jumping from moss clump to moss clump. The ground actually
moves as you walk!
We got to the moose, and with all lights and eyes
on the bull congratulations began all over again. Everyone agreed
it was a good bull. The work now had to begin. I talked while I
went for my backpack saying it would probably take me an hour to
gut this bull out. I think it was the gloves that I was about to
put on that sent Butch into action. I didn’t have time to
react and I didn’t complain that Butch took the bull by the
horns sort of speak. In less than 15 minutes he was done and I heard
about it! Then again I wasn’t the one with blood up to my
Now it was Jody’s turn to do his thing. While
walking a circle around the moose Jody poured diesel fuel. Then
walking around the moose again Jody applied after shave to the surrounding
bushes. Lastly white bags and can you believe it, dirty underwear
were hung on trees around the moose. I had packed in a frozen gallon
jug of ice and stuffed it into the belly of the bull for good measure.
The point of all this is to put so much human scent out there that
it would deter any wolves or bears from approaching the moose. We
walked back into the dark each with a light bobbing like lanterns
swaying in the wind.
Back at camp we celebrated the harvest and talked
about how in the world we were going to get the moose out of the
timber. The next morning the same group got together along with
Mike Gauthier. Mike has been employee at Lukinto Lake Lodge for
three years now. He does everything from fixing boat motors to retrieving
moose and his help was much appreciated. Jody, Jim, Mike, Butch,
Rex Kates (another long time friend of Jody's) and I took two atv’s
back to the orange flag once again. The six of us stood looking
down the hill to the swamp and water wondering how in the world
we were going to get back there with an atv. No one really had experience
with this terrain. The rule of thumb is to try and call the moose
close to roads so you don’t have problems like this. Dummy
me actually went into the timber! Mike jumped on the atv and said
there is only one way to find out. Down the hill Mike went and hit
the mossy waterbed with great determination. Mike found out that
as long as you didn’t stop you could keep the machine going.
Once you stopped the atv would start to sink. That is not a good
thing. Zigzagging through the swamp following my orange tape Mike
weaved his way all the way to the moose. We got on the two-way radio
and gave the go ahead to bring the other atv in. Arriving at the
scene we found the bull to be fully intact. We all agreed that it
was the right move to come out last night.
Three of us picked the head of the moose up as far
as we could. The atv was backed up to the moose and tied down. In
addition we ran the winch from the front of the atv underneath across
the skid plate and around the neck of the moose. We attempted to
drag the moose with the Big Boy atv. The front end would pop straight
up without success. We put three guys on front of the atv to keep
it down. The problem was the ground was so soft the atv couldn’t
get any traction to pull the moose. Mike came up with an idea where
we would put the second atv in front of the atv pulling the moose.
Then we could run the winch from that atv under it’s skid
plate and hook it to the atv with the moose. The theory is that
one atv can help pull the atv with the moose. It sounded like it
would work so we decided to give it a try. We all applauded Mike
because it actually worked. The only problem was we couldn’t
take any turns, not very easily anyway. No problem, we just cranked
up the chain saw and cut a path through the trees when needed. We
got hung up a couple of times on stumps but with a little bit of
man power we were able to make it work. It was a definite team effort.
It was overwhelming to me the efforts these guys put forth on my
behalf. I can’t say enough about the character of these gentlemen.
We got the bull out to the tote road after more than an hour. From
dry land one atv pulled the bull back across the wash out to the
truck. Now we all stood there scratching our heads on how we were
going to get the bull into the back of a pickup. I made the suggestion
that I back my atv up backwards into the bed of my truck with the
winch facing out the backend. I then hooked my trailer up and we
used the winch to pull the moose up on the trailer. It really worked
Back at camp we quartered the bull with help from
everyone. We hung all pieces in the walk-in cooler. From start to
finish we worked 4 hours straight and finally got the bull in the
cooler to start the aging process. Two days later we took the bull
quartered to the butcher who packaged the whole moose overnight.
We actually spent more time taking care of the moose than the hunt
I fulfilled my dream of calling in a moose myself.
All you have to do is have faith in yourself. Do your homework,
by talking to your outfitter if you have one, contact local biologists
and use the Internet too. All these tools helped me be successful
on a hunt of a lifetime!!
I can’t say enough good about Lukinto
Lake Lodge and Jody Bengtson. He provided me a good opportunity
to harvest a moose on a self-guided hunt. I spent 5 hours hunting
moose and the rest of the week fishing. You can’t ask for
a better self-guided hunt. Jody's suggestions on how to locate moose
and walleye were right on. I was extremely fortunate to harvest
this bull. The weather was really warm and the moose weren’t
What can I say about Jody, Jim, Rex, Mike and Butch. Each person
worked their tail off on my behalf. I not only have incredible respect
for each of them but now we have a connection for life. A new friendship
has been forged between us and now our lives are intertwined. I
expect it was like this two hundred years ago when people gathered
together for hunts and shared stories over campfiles. I will always
remember this hunt and the great people I met on this wild adventure.
Lukinto Lake Lodge is a triple crown for the sportsman.
Lukinto Lake Lodge offers great walleye, northern and splake fishing.
You have to keep an eye on your fishing line the minute you put
it into the water from June through October. Starting in mid-August
bear season is in full swing. Black bears are plentiful and active
baits await the bowhunter. Lukinto Lake Lodge bear hunts also include
a boat, motor and bait for your stay. Packages for either a bear
or moose hunt include everything you need to hook those walleye.