Are You Ready For Moose Season?
©2014 Brent Reece
Summer is moving right along and here we are nearing the end of July. Permits have been drawn and the lucky few that got one should be thinking about the hunt. Especially those that are headed out in September, prep is half the hunt.
Here’s the link to MEDIFW to see if you got your permit:
So once you have your permit what’s next? Did you get the sex you wanted in a district you wanted? Did you know if you act quickly you can swap your permit for another that you would prefer?
Here’s a site that has been set up to expedite the swapping of permits. At no fee to either party.
(Remember this site doesn’t charge a fee to let you list.)
Here’s another site that does charge a fee to let you list your swap:
You can even list your swap in the Uncle Henry’s Swap Buy Sell…….or also on Craigslist.com.
For all the rules and forms to swap your permit contact IFW here:
Once you have your permit all set you need to think about equipment.
The basics are a gun..truck…winch/chainsaw.
Let me explain.
Commonly you will find your moose on some remote back road either in the road or in a cutover area. Finding one and shooting it are the fun parts of the endeavor. The work part is in the retrieval of said moose.
Maine law allows you to quarter the critter in areas where it is impossible to recover it via vehicle or trailer….ie winching it whole onto a conveyance. That is where the chainsaw comes into the equation. Just remember to flush out the bar and chain oil way in advance and refill it with vegetable oil so it doesn’t taint the meat. You can quarter it with knife and axe but that is a lot of work.
The most common way to retrieve said moose is by the judicious use of wheelers to drag it to the best access point for a truck or trailer with a winch for loading. Once pulled from where it dropped, it is gutted and the good innards are rescued and bagged. The heart and liver are fantastic on the table and should never be wasted. The dressed beast is now drug up onto the waiting truck/trailer and secured for the trip to the tagging station.
FOR MOST SPORTS AND TROPHY HUNTERS THE STORY ENDS HERE.
The deed is done and the critter is killed. The butcher can prepare the head and hide for shipment to the taxidermist. The meat is a secondary product and will be swiftly processed and “taken care of”.
IF YOU’RE A REAL HUNTER…THE MEAT IS THE TROPHY AND THE REST IS SECONDARY.
Now most locals will have already booked a butcher or are going to cut it up themselves. In the latter case a good tree is needed at your home or you hang it in your garage. To keep the meat in top condition it is advisable in early season not to hang the moose longer than a day because the heat will ruin it in short order. Sawhorses and plywood make a huge table to butcher on and make the job easier. Quartering the hanging moose is fairly easy once the skin is off. I actually prefer to skin the moose as soon as I get it home so it can cool quickly. Then it can hang overnight if it’s in a barn or garage to keep the critters away.
Unless your going to get it tanned the hide on a moose is just in the way. Although I like to keep some for tying flies, it’s mainly just waste. So we make short order of getting it off the critter with a either an electric winch or a “comealong”, a hand powered winch with ratcheting handle. The careful use of a baseball tucked inside the hide and secured by a wrap of the cable makes pulling a lot easier. Knife work plays a part as well.
Once the hide is off and the beast quartered. The best parts are cutup into steaks and roasts. Lots of cutting and wrapping later there is left this huge pile of trimmings, shanks/ribs and neck meat. All of this odd meat is ground up for Mooseburger and some will be made into jerky and sausage. The latter requiring some tallow to be added from the local butcher to make it more suitable as sausage. Be sure to save a couple racks of short ribs for summer BBQ….they are just awesome with some SWEET BABY RAY’S.
For the meat hunter relives the hunt everyday as he slowly consumes the moose over the upcoming year. At each meal he thanks God for providing it and in so doing he honors the death as a sacrificial rite. Nobody appreciates the hunt more than the meat hunter who is sustained by his kills. How can the pursuit of an “ornament/decoration” compare to the connection a meat hunter has to his quarry?
- Brent Reece
If you are coming to Maine and will be Hunting in Districts 5/6……..
please contact my good friends at http://www.mainemoosehunts.com they have a 100% success rate.