Nahum Takes a Moose

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
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I had a very busy day on Sunday. At the conclusion of the morning message, a single mom approached me and asked, "Pastor, is there any way you could take my Nahum hunting?" I had wanted to spend more time with Nahum and my own grandson, Noah, this fall and winter. However, two torn menisci on my knees has pretty well limited my hunting. However, how can you turn down a plea to help a young lad.

You may remember that I did work with Nahum in preparing his 300 Savage so he could use it. He specified that he wanted to hunt moose and elk, so we built a load using 180 grain bullets (http://forum.nosler.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=27085&hilit=Nahum). I took Nahum to the range one Sunday to teach him how to sight in his rifle. Then, I gave him specific instructions how to practise with the rifle and get it ready for moose. I built him fifty rounds, so he had enough ammunition to work with. Then, my knees blew out, one after the other. So, I haven't done a lot of hunting. My primary care physician warned me not to drag any game out of the bush (a pretty painful proposition at the moment) and definitely not to lift any into my truck.

However, after this plea, I gave some thought Sunday afternoon. I had to take my wife to Fort Saint John to catch a flight to the Lower Mainland on Monday. So, I called this mom and asked if her son could skip school on Monday. I phoned Noah and asked if he wanted to go hunting with me. There was a positive response from both parties. Noah still has a whitetail tag that is burning a hole in his pocket. Nahum is native, but has no one to work with him to teach him anything about hunting. His mom has taken him out a few times, but she admits that she doesn't know what to do.

Now understand, Nahum lives two hours north of me. I am so impressed by his family as they drive two hours each Sunday just to be in church. His mom is leading music for me, but she says she doesn't want to go elsewhere. I'm deeply humbled by such dedication and commitment. All that figures in when I speak of helping her children however I can. They have a pretty demanding life, but you would never meet a more positive crew.

Noah and I were up and ready at five. We dropped grandma off at the airport and drove on into Forth Saint John to grab some breakfast. Heck we're hunting, so it is steak and eggs for me. Noah insisted that he wanted the trucker's breakfast. He discovered that he is like the pelican--his eyes can hold more than his belly can. Nevertheless, we managed to finally get on the road as we had another hour and a half to travel north. It had been daylight for twenty minutes when we arrived to pick up Nahum, but he was still finishing chores. He had lambs, horses and pigs to feed and he was working fast and furious, together with his two younger brothers. As soon as he was done, he went into the house and reappeared amazingly fast with his hunting kit. It was -23 C (-9 F) when we finally pushed off.

Noah (13) and Jeremiah (11) were in the back with our gear. Nahum (15) was riding shotgun and I was driving. I had warned the boys that I cannot walk on broken ground, and therefore I would be driving. If I can't get there in my Tundra, we're not going. On the other hand, if they were willing to work, we would tackle some rough terrain. The snow is about eighteen inches deep in that immediate area, but it is dry and fluffy. Immediately, we cut deer tracks and wolf tracks. We cut some large wolf tracks repeatedly throughout the day as we penetrated into the bush and virgin territories where no vehicles had ventured since the snows began. The Tundra worked pretty much as it was supposed to work.

Soon, we began to cut moose tracks. At several places, I stopped to tell Nahum how I would hunt a given run. We saw indication that game was using a particular trail, so I would build a ground blind, sort of a wickiup and cover it with snow to block the wind and wait for the game. He was like a sponge soaking up whatever I could tell him. Where the wolves were plentiful, we discussed how to pick up wolves and dress them out. I explained that if he wanted to sell the hides, he would have to get a trapper's licence. However, a couple of wolf pelts would pay for the cost of the course. Again, he was eager to learn and listened carefully.

Finally, penetrating into one particular rough spot in a clear cut, Jeremiah whispered urgently, "There's a moose." Sure enough, there was a cow and a calf about 200 to 220 yards away. Nahum asked if I thought he could take the calf. I was pretty certain that he could do it, but he had some doubts. He did climb out and aim, but hesitated. At that, Noah said, "Pa, there's a moose." "I know, I'm watching the calf." "No, Pa, I mean right behind us is a moose!" Sure enough, a large dry cow was watching us about one hundred yards behind us. She turned and went into the trees as Nahum emptied his clip and climbed back into the cab. "Pastor, I didn't want to make you walk that far across all that deadfall, so I didn't shoot." "Did you think you could make the shot?" I asked. "No, I was uncertain and I don't want to wound an animal, Nahum confessed." "Then, you did the right thing," I assured him. "We're going to see more game today."

We managed to turn around and only get a little stuck a couple of times as I steered between some ferocious washouts that were filled with snow. I don't know that BCAA will rescue me that far out in the bush. Nevertheless, we managed to make it back to the trail that had brought us in. I opted to follow that trail a little farther to see if we could see something. As we approached a clearing, Jeremiah again cried out, "There's a moose!" Sure enough, a large cow was standing broadside to us. Nahum was trying to negotiate loading his rifle, open the door and get set up as I ranged her. "One hundred twenty yards," I intoned. "A chip shot." Before he could get set up, she turned and trotted off into the bush. There precipitated a discussion of how to prepare himself to shoot. I would negotiate to keep the truck between him and the game so he would have cover. He needed to have cartridges in hand. Again, it came out that he was intimidated at the thought that he might wound an animal. I realised that Nahum had witnessed an animal horribly wounded that escaped from another hunter, and he didn't want to become such a hunter. This precipitated a discussion on hunting ethics and encouragement to practise shooting. I promised that I would make enough ammunition to allow him to practise from field positions, but he did have to practise.

We returned to his house where his mom had a large lunch of biscuits and gravy waiting on us. A hearty lunch and we were ready to go into the bush again. Again, we were cutting a lot of game tracks--deer, elk, moose, wolf and coyote, but we weren't seeing game. It was still early, however. I suggested that we again go down the trail on which we had seen the moose earlier. I had already carved out a trail through the snow, so it would be somewhat easier this time. There were a couple of rough tracks off to the south that we hadn't ventured down earlier. As I turned to the first one, Jeremiah (yeah, he is getting to be my game spotter--I think this kid could easily become a regular for me on these hunts) yelled, "Hey, I saw something!" We slowly backed up to the main trail, and sure enough there was a bull browsing about four hundred fifty yards away. Now, that's a little far for Nahum to shoot his 300 Savage, but I suggested that if the moose didn't become too nervous, I might be able to get closer. We crept down the track until we had closed the distance to 183 yards (ranged). The moose was getting a little nervous, so I stopped and spoke to Nahum. "Your rifle will work at this distance, Nahum," I explained. "Are you ready?" He allowed that he was a little nervous, but if I would back him up to ensure that he didn't wound the moose he was willing to try. I agreed to help him.

We exited the vehicle and got ready to shoot. At the report the moose humped and turned to run. I pressed the trigger and ... nothing happened! Talk about a rookie mistake! I still had the safety on. The moose disappeared into the bush. I had visions of me (bad knees and all) traipsing through the bush to find a wounded moose, but I said nothing except to apologise and tell the boys that we would drive on up to where we saw the moose. We examined the ground carefully, and found no blood. While I was looking in the snow, Jeremiah (my bird dog) called out, "Hey, there he is." I imagined that he meant the moose was standing in the bush getting ready to run. I was trying to shush Jeremiah while waving Nahum over to the bush when Jeremiah said, "No, he's on the ground." Sure enough, twenty yards off the road was Nahum's moose, collapsed in the bush. Now the work would begin. It was only thirty minutes to dark and in the bush, with snow falling, we would have to work fast to be able to get this animal out.

None of the boys had ever gutted and dressed a game animal before, and I have trouble bending, so it would be something new. We managed to pull the young bull into a bit of a clear spot and get him rolled onto his back. The younger boys held legs and Nahum attacked the bull with gusto. I cautioned him as I pulled him back and showed how to split the hide and skin. He thought he would save the hide as a native lady he knows will buy them. Unfortunately, being his first moose, he managed to put a few holes in the hide. I explained how to hold the knife. Candidly, I was very proud of this young man as he did a good job for the first time. We had the moose skinned, gutted and quarted within about an hour. The three boys pulled the quarters (and the head--Nahum wasn't leaving his first game animal's head in the bush) to the truck. They lifted the quarters into the bed and I managed to stagger out of the bush falling only once or twice.

I did take a few pictures. My camera's battery was dead and in that cold it didn't work as well as I could wish. Still we got some shots. The first one was where the moose fell, but I noticed a branch obscuring Nahum's face. The next ones were washed out, likely due to battery failure. Still, here is Nahum's first moose.







I'm quite proud of these three boys, they worked like men; and despite the bitter cold, they didn't complain overly much. Noah was introduced to the north, discovering that the cold can bite. Still, he's eager to get his deer. We saw a buck as we were hurrying home, but I explained about the laws prohibiting and the ethics of discharging a rifle at night. He took it quite well. He slept most of the way home. We got back to our home about 11:30 and I just heard him stirring at 8:30. Yeah, he may miss school this morning; but he got quite an education yesterday.
 
Great story my friend. It's always better taking someone hunting then for one's self. Glad to hear you didn't get hurt either helping Nahum get his first big game animal..... nice work Mike, nice work!
 
Dr. Mike
Enjoyed reading your story of how you helped that young man get his moose and all you taught him and your sons. Bet that is a hunt that young man will never forget. Thanks for sharing the story. Hope the knee will get better.
John
 
It's great taking a young hunter out. Liked the story. Hoping that your knees get better.
 
Congratulations to Nahum and the rest of the hunting party that is a job well done. DrMike you have something about 2 year old bulls :mrgreen:.
Thank you so much for the story and photos!!!

Blessings,
Dan
 
Dr. Mike, what a wonderful story! Congratulations to you for helping out these boys. Congratulations to Nahum for his ethical concerns and his great shot. Congratulations to Jeremiah for his keen eyes. Congratulations to Noah for passing on the buck.

This is a terrific write up in so many ways. Thank you for sharing with us.

PS - that little "safety" mistake of yours meant that Nahum gets full credit for the kill. He knows that his shot, and his shot alone did the job. What a confidence builder. Talk about a serendipitous "mistake".......

Dan
 
NYDAN":3dstv0md said:
Dr. Mike, what a wonderful story! Congratulations to you for helping out these boys. Congratulations to Nahum for his ethical concerns and his great shot. Congratulations to Jeremiah for his keen eyes. Congratulations to Noah for passing on the buck.

This is a terrific write up in so many ways. Thank you for sharing with us.

PS - that little "safety" mistake of yours meant that Nahum gets full credit for the kill. He knows that his shot, and his shot alone did the job. What a confidence builder. Talk about a serendipitous "mistake".......

Dan

You nailed it, Dan. Nahum is confident that his rifle will work for moose and that he is able to do what needs to be done. And you are correct, he knows that he did it himself. He was certainly a changed man after the kill. His mom, his two sisters and his other brother were all very proud of their big brother when he came home. He was walking a little taller.
 
Man, that's just great Mike :grin: ..I'm very happy for the young lad (y)


Lou
 
...Congrats Dr. Mike, you have become a legend. You have created a chain of lore these young men will share & build upon for a lifetime, a story of adversity, hardships, faith, ethics, confidence, & ultimately, accomplishment. We rarely get to see what effects our actions have down the line, but you have definitely set these boys on the right path...
 
One of the things that is great when working with these young men is to hear them talk about the future. Yes, hunting figures large for both Nahum and Noah, and Jeremiah can't wait until he is thirteen so he can shoot a moose. However, these lads are talking about serving their country. Noah is torn about whether to join the USMC or the Canadian Forces (he holds dual citizenship), but he likes the idea of serving in the Canadian military. Nahum was also talking about such a venture. I found it pretty exciting to listen to them. When Noah and Jeremiah began to complain about the cold as we were dressing the moose, I reminded Noah that the military had to serve under all conditions, and if it was cold for him, it would be cold for the enemy. The one that is able to persevere is the one who wins. It was a sobering thought for him. Yeah, I enjoy working with these fellows. Wonder if I'll get my own elk this coming month? :grin:
 
Dr. Mike that is a great ending to an awesome hunt. I really enjoyed reading about it. I even got a shiver when you said it was -9.....Congratulations to all of you especially Nahum. Lee
 
Fantastic DrMike, congrats to the young man on his first successful hunt. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your student fulfill his dream with his first kill. I will always remember my deceased son's first deer.
 
Thanks, Lee. These boys deserve a lot of credit putting up with an old codger like me. It was fun, however, each time we cut tracks making the boys examine the tracks to determine what made the track and how long ago it was. They are eager to learn, and it really made me proud of them.
 
Way to go buddy! That was an excellent story and from now on, your the official story writer of this group! Your write up was excellent!

Congrats to Nahum and all the boys for doing a fantastic job on that moose. Skinning and quartering a big bull like that is no small feat and to do your first one, well, that is just awesome!

I am sure the fire is burning bright in those lads now! What an exciting story Mike. Great work..

As for Noah joining the Corps, well, I just happen to know a couple of them that could tell him all about the day to day life.... When the time comes of course!

Great mentorship and way to teach them. Proud of this place, I see tons of people getting new hunters in on the action. That is more special than any animal we could ever take ourselves!
 
A great story!

Sometimes the cold is a character of its own, and I really dislike field dressing in the bitter cold. It takes perseverance to complete, a tough day for a young man. Good that you let him skip school!
 
Great tale DrMike. The two boys had their first big game hunting and harvest experience with an experienced guide to nurture and lead them to success. Both of them will be better hunters and conservationists for this experience. Plus, helping two young men starting on the path to maturity learning how to properly hunt and process game will be a lesson that they never will forget. I still remember going deer hunting with my dad 55 yards ago when I was 16 years old.
 
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