Editors Note: Roger Raglin is the Host of “Roger Raglin Outdoors” shown on the Outdoor channel. Roger and his son Josh head out every fall in search of “ Creating memories that money just can’t buy”. Today Roger tells us about a Moose he took down in Maine with his CVA Accura.
I could hear him coming. There was no doubt about it. It sounded like a locomotive boiling through the timber. Limbs snapping and cracking – trees smashing to the ground. I’d never heard anything quite like it and it was headed straight my direction. There wasn’t anything I could do about it either accept get ready for the inevitable. It was the sound that only North America’s largest land animal could make. A huge mature moose was making his way through the dense forest to where I was standing. He was coming in a hurry and with a purpose in mind. The really funny thing about was – it’s exactly what I’d been waiting for and wanting to happen for about 20 years.
This was my second trip to Maine for moose and my third try for a big bull. I’d hunted Alaska nearly 20 years ago and 13 years ago had drawn one of these coveted Maine moose permits. On both of those trips I’d missed the opportunity to have one of these 1000 pound behemoths respond to and come charging into a call. It was looking like this trip was going to end up the same way.
I was hunting in Pete Brown’s camp, owner of Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls. Pete’s Phantom Calls are without question the standard by which other electronic calls are judged, especially his moose calls. If you’re a moose hunter in the Northeast, you’ve either tried or are currently using one of Pete’s Phantom moose calls. They are simply the best. But regardless of the call or animal mother nature and the timing of the rut really need to be working in your favor in order for you to have the kind of success you’re looking for. This fall the weather had been fairly warm and when the first moose season opened bulls simply were not responding to calls. To put it in a nutshell, the hunting had been really slow.
I was elated in July when I found out that I had once again drawn a Maine moose permit. This year’s moose hunt was really quite different from my last hunt. Since my first visit to Maine in 1997 new laws had been passed that basically had stopped most of the clear cutting (which created great browsing habitat for moose). Back in the late 90’s with large blocks of clear cuts everywhere, there were moose everywhere as well. Now with selective cutting taking place, the moose seem to be much more dispersed. They seemed to be living in deeper timber as well. You now have to work a lot harder than before. We had been working hard I can tell you that. It was the fourth day of my six day hunt. But in reality it was probably the final day since we had a major front moving in calling for heaving rain. You can hunt in rain. You can’t run a camera in rain. You can but the end results is total disaster. No tapes. No footage. No camera – that will ever work again.
It was mid-morning and I’d about given up. No, I had given up on that AM’s hunt. Pete’s dad, Mell, was running the call. I was set up in front of him about 15 yards. As the ‘estrus cow’ call was echoing through the air my mind began to wander and I was thinking about a hot breakfast and the drive back to Oklahoma. I knew it was going to be a long one. Suddenly Mell called my name and pointed to his right looking down a long but narrow opening in the woods. I didn’t see anything but Mell held his hands up spreading them wide apart shaking his head up and down.
“Get ready a big one just crossed,” he whispered.
I knew from the look in Mell’s eyes it was a shooter. I thought to myself get ready. I am ready. But I wasn’t. I really don’t know what I was thinking. I really don’t know what I was expecting. I could only see about 20 yards in front of me and it was still really thick brush at that. I’ve been in some pretty hairy situations over the years including shooting a 50″ cape buffalo in Africa at 10 yards with my muzzleloader. But I’m not sure that buffalo ever knew we were even there. This moose probably didn’t either. But I could see that buffalo walk in from 150 yards out. I couldn’t see this moose. I could only hear him. And buddy he was worked up and he seemed to get more worked up the closer he got. And the closer he got the more worked up I was getting.
I just told myself relax and pick a spot to shoot when he appears. As the big bull grunted and move closer you could tell he was slowing down. Things finally got quiet. The only thing you could hear was my heart pounding. It got quiet because he was standing in a thicket right in front of me at 25 yards. I had my CVA muzzleloader resting on a pair of Vanguard shooting sticks. I suddenly heard my cameraman say, “I can’t see him. I can’t find him.”
I looked over my gun and he was there starring right at us. He looked as big as a house.
“He’s right there,” I whispered pointing slightly to my right.
“I can’t see him,” the cameraman relied.
I knew we were in trouble and this party was about to end with something terrible floating in the punch bowl. I knew I couldn’t fire my cameraman. It was my 21 year old son, Josh.
“Son. He’s standing right there in front of us,” I tried to say as calmly as possible.
“Got him,” Josh whispered.
My head fell back onto my CVA and I quickly snapped off my one and only shot – Capow!!!!! That muzzleloader roared and that big bull lunged out of that thicket to within about 15 yards of us turned and crashed back into the timber and vanished through that cloud of smoke.
I was shaking all over more than anywhere else. My son finally lowered the camera and was shaking his head. It scared me at first.
“No, I got it dad don’t worry.”
He got it all right. And I got my wish of 20 years. I got to experience a real true blue – ‘I’m a big bull moose and I’m going to come charging into a call’ sequence. It was worth the wait. The trail job was short. The 1000 pound bruiser had only gone about 70 yards into the timber before pilling up. That CVA Accura muzzleloader did it’s job to perfection. He wasn’t a monster racked bull but he was still a very good representative for a Northeastern American moose. I couldn’t have been happier. Now several months later all I can say is – I can still hear him coming.