Ep. 10: Moose Underwear and Other Hunting StoriesEpisode 10 of The Silvercore Podcast is here! In this episode, we find out what happens when a group of hunters, with very different backgrounds and hunting experience, embark on a week-long shared moose hunt. Also in this episode, Paul Ballard regales us with sage hunting advice, Rob Wilson discusses when it’s appropriate to put underwear on a moose, and Mike Welti shares an experience that no hunter wants to find themselves in, but every hunter should be prepared for. This episode is sponsored by Carter Motorsports in Vancouver. As long-time customers of Carter Motorsports, we were very excited when they agreed to be part of this podcast. Also, a huge thanks to International Barrels, who supplied a custom barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and Vortex Optics, who provided the scope for this hunt. All together, it made for one extremely accurate hunting rig.
Travis Bader: [00:00:00] I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits with the people in businesses that comprise of the community. If you’re new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, www.Silvercore.ca, where you can learn more about courses, services, and products that we offer, as well as how you can join The Silvercore Club, which includes 10 million in North America wide liability insurance to ensure that you are properly covered during your outdoor adventures.
[00:00:43] This episode is brought to you by Carter Motor Sports in Vancouver. Silvercore has been dealing with Carter Motor Sports for years as a customer for ATVs, generators, and motor sport equipment based on their exceptional customer service and competitive pricing. And I’m personally very happy that they’re bringing you this episode.
[00:01:04] This was a really fun episode to record as it’s an after action report from a recent moose hunt. While we had hoped to record this in the field, the hunt came first and we all agreed that there’d be more value to the listeners in hearing how we break down the trip into a before, during, and after. Detailing how we prepared, how we hunted and what we learned.
[00:01:26] Our group will candidly discuss dealing with the disappointment from missed opportunities as well as tricks we employed, which ultimately led to our group success.
[00:01:39] For a podcast that claims to be about hunting, fishing, and outdoor adventures. We’ve recorded a number of different episodes and we have yet to talk about any hunting, fishing, or outdoor adventure, so this episode is going to change that. Right now I’m sitting down with ranger Rob, Rob Wilson. He was with BC Parks and search and rescue on the side. With Welti, Mike Welti, who’s a former Snap-on Tool and fix it extraordinaire, can fix basically anything that you put in front of him.
[00:02:09] And then Paul Ballard, who is our designated Sealgair, he is the leader of the hunt. And anyone who’s been listening for a while will remember Paul from episode one. Welcome everybody.
Rob Wilson: [00:02:20] Hey, thanks Trav.
Paul Ballard: [00:02:21] Welcome. Thanks for having us here.
Travis Bader: [00:02:23] So in this episode, we’re going to talk about a recent hunt that we went on. We went on a moose hunt, and what I’d like to do is just break it down into a before, during, and after because we’re going to have different listeners and varying backgrounds. I’d like for them to be able to take something away from this episode, if they’ve never hunted before, if they have hunted, but maybe they might pick something else up.
[00:02:48] So why don’t we just talk a little bit about how we all met. So Paul, I’ve known you for a number of years.
Paul Ballard: [00:02:55] I think some 20 something years or more.
Travis Bader: [00:02:58] For quite some time.
Paul Ballard: [00:02:59] Yeah. And we, you know, through our association, both with Silvercore and other things, we’ve often talked about hunting. And I think we started to discuss, perhaps we should be doing a hunt together. And one of the things, you know, sort of co-occurring with that, was talking with both Mike and Rob and trying to put some guys together.
[00:03:21] Some of the folks that I usually hunt with, one was backing out and wanting to go hunting pretty much this fall because of his training at work. Another fellow wanted to go on a fly in hunting trip with some other people. So we started talking amongst ourselves about doing that, and it became a gradual invite of, or a coming together of guys that I thought would eat very much get along.
[00:03:45] Which it’s not just about the hunting, it’s about the experience of going into the outdoors and spending time with some other people that you’re going to feel comfortable with, that you can depend on. And at the end of things, you’re still gonna like.
Travis Bader: [00:03:59] That’s a big point. Now, and there’s a bit of a gamble there cause you’ve brought a few people together. Now, I’d never met you before Mike, and Rob, you and I met on a course that Silvercore did for Parks, and I think that’s actually where, where you met as well right Paul?
Paul Ballard: [00:04:15] Right. Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:04:15] Yeah, okay.
Paul Ballard: [00:04:16] I had met Rob before and immediately liked the guy, funny enough. You know, you just know when you meet people in the same way, Mike and I are neighbours and you just feel, I’m simpatico with this guy. And you know this friendship, this relationship can get legs and it’s going to be good. You know, you meet people every once in a while that, you’re disappointed with, but these are by no means were any kind of disappointment.
Travis Bader: [00:04:43] No, very hard not to like, that’s for sure. So, we decided we wanted to do a moose hunt, so we all put in for a draw. Paul, you did a reckie on a few different areas and came up with an area in Northern BC that you thought would just be perfect.
Paul Ballard: [00:04:58] Yes. We won’t get too specific on that. It’s an area where we’d had success before. The traditionally, the moose hunt is not what it used to be in many parts of the province. The availability of the animal, the numbers are not what they have traditionally been recognized to be in BC, but this is an area where I feel they were good.
[00:05:20] You’re not looking to get a magnificent crank or bull from that area, but there’s going to be consistent animals and that was an important part of planning the hunt.
Travis Bader: [00:05:30] So we all put in and a few of us got a group draw.
Paul Ballard: [00:05:36] Yeah. So again, I don’t want to monopolize things here, but the bison and moose in the province allow for a group hunt. So if people are not familiar with the British Columbia system, groups of three or four can combine their application for this lottery hunt, if any one of the group is successful, if it’s a group of three or four, they can be awarded two, two permits from that.
[00:06:05] If it’s a group of two, then if either one of those two people in the group are successful, they’ll get awarded a singular permit. Now, we initially had some other people that were included in the group. Your group didn’t get.
Travis Bader: [00:06:20] We got on the bison.
Paul Ballard: [00:06:22] But, and when it comes back, when the results come back, they come listed by name and you know, the first person, Rob who is on that list is the person that actually got drawn, so he was drawn. Mike and I were in that group, so we were able to share two bull tags between our group of three.
[00:06:41] The area for any bull, was reliant on you having the limited entry tag, but you were able to go to hunt there based on the fact there was an open season during that time on immature bull moose.
Travis Bader: [00:06:54] Right and I just couldn’t take mature bull moose.
Paul Ballard: [00:06:57] You couldn’t take a mature bull moose, that’s correct.
Rob Wilson: [00:07:00] Sure was glad that you joined us on the hunt though Travis, I really enjoyed your company and you brought Finn along with you, which was a real treat for our trip to have Finn there, young Finn. And watch him and go through his process of interacting with the old boys and being part of a larger hunting count, that was really rewarding for me.
Travis Bader: [00:07:21] I think there’s a very important thing for him as well, you know, and thank you for that. 10 years old, all he wanted to do was get his Fish and Wildlife ID number. And so he studied for months and months prior to his birthday. On his birthday, he did his CORE, he immediately went into the a Wildlife Federation, got his a graduation certificate and went straight over to the government office. And I mean, we’ve got a picture and he couldn’t be more happy with himself.
Rob Wilson: [00:07:49] That’s awesome.
Travis Bader: [00:07:50] So this was a, this is a huge step for a 10 year old to be able to come in and to be invited, which was great, by everybody else to participate in a moose hunt. And that was his first moose hunt. And, he, you know, he’s still talking about it.
Rob Wilson: [00:08:04] Yeah. That’s great. Well, I sure enjoyed his company.
Travis Bader: [00:08:08] And Mike, you’ve been on moose hunts before have you?
Mike Welti: [00:08:10] I have not.
Travis Bader: [00:08:11] That was your very first moose hunt?
Mike Welti: [00:08:12] Yeah, this was my very first one. I started hunting deer probably about five years ago, six years ago, and I had pretty good success with it and that’s why I was really pretty happy and excited that my good neighbour, Paul Ballard had invited me to come along.
[00:08:27] I thought, well, that must mean that maybe I, maybe there’s a place for me, maybe there’s a fit. And so yep, I was excited. It was, I learned a lot it was really neat.
Travis Bader: [00:08:37] Oh, there’s definitely a fit. So Paul, having been on many of these hunts in the past was the, the Sealgair. Am I pronouncing that properly?
Paul Ballard: [00:08:46] Sealgair? It’s, I mean, it’s Gaelic for, you know, the leader of the hunt. So I, I, you could have used it if somebody was out there with the horn in front of the foxes. I dug that up a few years ago to, to, I think to use as like a, an email handle.
Travis Bader: [00:09:01] Oh okay.
Paul Ballard: [00:09:02] And looking for something unique and I adopted that one. We started it out by, you know, the first thing was to, for everyone to put in for their, their limited entry draw. And once we had basically everybody was behaving like children waiting for Christmas morning. But this isn’t a regular thing, knowing when Christmas morning is going to come, but every day, getting onto the beach or to the BC Ministry of the Environment website, checking to see if the results were in.
[00:09:27] And sure enough, that morning came and, the texts started going around, Hey, how’d you do? How’d you do? How’d you do? And we had some success. We knew even in the shared context of the hunt, like beyond the group hunt, everybody was going to share within whatever bounty we might’ve been fortunate enough to harvest.
[00:09:46] So that part was now in place. We had a purpose. We started to organize equipment. So that’s a very common thing, within a group of, of this many people, people have certain types of equipment you want to bring, vehicles, off road vehicles, saws, you name it, everything from tents, soup to nuts and we started working on that.
Travis Bader: [00:10:08] So we all met up in the pub and got pen and paper. Took a look at the area we’re going to be in and started divvying up different roles and responsibilities and different tools that people would be bringing into the hunt. Of course, Paul being the great chef that he is, was magnanimous enough to offer to do the cooking for the trip, but everybody would have to take one evening meal.
Rob Wilson: [00:10:31] Yep. Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:10:33] And that worked out well.
Rob Wilson: [00:10:34] Yeah, I was going to say, I’ve been very fortunate in my kind of path of, as a hunter in that I’ve picked good hunting mentors and good hunting partners, and I’m very fortunate to have met Paul because he’s a great chef and great camp cook. And I hunt a lot with Dylan Eyers already Eat Wild, who’s also a great camp cook.
[00:10:57] And it’s inspiring to try to live up to some of the foodie leadership that they both have offered in hunt camp. It’s wonderful to come back from the field and have the ability to take part in an amazing meal around the campfire with a bunch of your community. And certainly, if it was me on my own, I’d probably be eating out of plastic bags and freeze dried food or something like that but, these guys are great.
Paul Ballard: [00:11:27] And that is indeed it. I mean, how many times, you know, I’ve heard the quote, we haven’t suffered enough. I’ve suffered plenty on what I’ve eaten and had some horrible meals, and I realized that, you know what, when there’s not a whole lot occupying your time. It is, if you’re, if you’re fortunate to have made a harvest and you’ve got to do preparations on the meat and so on, but otherwise, why not?
[00:11:51] Why not make it a true holiday in so many actual sense of the word. And even on some of the fly in trips that we’ve been on, we, we’ve strived to have a real treat when it comes down to the evening meal time. Morning, you know, a cup of noodles and, or cereal or whatever like that is what you have. But, but that evening meal can, can make a big difference on the outlook of things.
Mike Welti: [00:12:16] Yeah. I was really surprised at how actually everybody, when we got all together and. And he had a plan to, put this trip together and whose responsibility was going to be bringing different products and things and tools to the table.
[00:12:29] That actually, when we got out there, how we didn’t even have to talk much or delegate much. Everybody took on a responsibility on their own and some people went and got, you know, firewood. Others were cooking, others were cleaning, it flowed really well. I’m, I was actually shocked and surprised how well it went.
Paul Ballard: [00:12:48] Yeah, and that’s very true, Mike. You know, to have that planning in place and then to see the plan come to fruition when you’re there together. I mean, we’re still kind of talking in the before stage here, but there’s nothing can ruin a hunting camp more than somebody who’s sitting on a stump all the time watching for everybody else to get the water or, you know, offering it, yeah, I’ll take care of that, but not taking care of it.
[00:13:11] And that’s been an experience in the past that has sort of eliminated somebody from being invited on future hunts and you know it always is a, I dunno, sort of a macurial thing. You’re being flowing between the people that are there and who you want to invite, how you want to try people out. And you do get disappointed, very infrequently, but nonetheless disappointed they’re not coming back. But huh, this is not the case here.
Travis Bader: [00:13:38] I think we all know that guy. We all have one of those.
Paul Ballard: [00:13:42] Oh, that guy.
Travis Bader: [00:13:43] That guy.
Rob Wilson: [00:13:45] Or those guys.
Travis Bader: [00:13:46] Or those guys or those people.
Paul Ballard: [00:13:48] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:13:49] But I guess it was the.
Rob Wilson: [00:13:51] Those people, that’s better yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:13:52] I think there’s also the sort of the unspoken side. You’re going on a hunt, you’re not necessarily going to be successful. So if you’re not successful on a hunt, what are you doing with that length of time that you’re out in the bush? Are you going to be enjoying yourself regardless?
[00:14:10] And although everyone wants to be successful, if you make just the success of the hunt, the harvesting of an animal, it can make for a very unpleasant camp experience. If the success of the hunt is going to be predicated around the enjoyment of the people that you’re with and making the most of the time you’re there and Hey, you just so happen to be able to harvest an animal that should be the icing on the cake.
Rob Wilson: [00:14:34] Yup.
Paul Ballard: [00:14:35] And that is so critical in all this as a CORE examiner, as a CORE trainer, you know, from kids to adults. You know, people will come in and say, Oh I want to get my hunting license cause it’s going to be a source of cheap meat and I won’t have to go to the grocery store anymore. And that’s so wrong. Hunting is all about the experience.
[00:14:54] I’ve been blessed many times, but I’ve also come home empty handed and to understand that, you know, I’m never empty of memories, you know. Regardless of whatever might’ve been brought home to feed the family and share with friends, if there was nothing brought home, I do have those memories that I can share with people.
[00:15:13] And that’s, that’s a really critical thing in the ethical approach to hunting to learn that first. There are people who believe that it’s motivated by greed, that they’re entitled to something. And as soon as you feel that you’re entitled to it, then you should find something else to do.
Travis Bader: [00:15:33] Agreed.
Rob Wilson: [00:15:33] One thing that I want to do is, I want to take his back to the pub there and you know, Paul, thank you for inviting. Yeah. Thank you for inviting me to participate in the group. And, the hunting gods has provided us with the opportunity to have, we were fortunate enough to be able to have the opportunity to plan this hunt and get together as a group.
[00:15:53] And it’s the first time for us all to get together as a group. And the first time I’ve met Mike and, we’re sitting there around the table and you know, I come from a background of being involved with search and rescue.
[00:16:09] And having gone on lots of, you know, complex adventures, Alpine adventures, big trips in the past and it’s all about planning, right? It’s super important to have a good plan in place and to make sure that you have the right team with you in order to be able to, not only successfully accomplish an objective, but to accomplish that objective with the margin of safety.
[00:16:32] And you know, aside from the visiting the pub and having good conversations, very quickly became clear to me that the folks out were planning this trip together had some, some street creds, some experience under their belt. Like I don’t know, Paul, you’re going through the list of things that we had to contribute, that there were expectations that we would contribute to the group and how we would organize our trip, very methodically, which was great.
[00:17:04] But the thing that came clear to me was, everyone had the ability to contribute to the team and not only to contribute, like I was trying to contribute some of my equipment some of the things I could bring to the team. Oh like, I’ve got a chainsaw, a great chainsaw. Everybody on our team had the capability to bring a chainsaw.
[00:17:29] And it just shows that, you know, if you spend enough time in the wilderness environment, you spend enough time out there as a hunter, you kind of bring together the needed equipment. And it very quickly became evident to me that, the folks around the table had the capability and the experience to be out there, to work independently, but to work also as a team in a team environment. And I felt pretty comfortable with the group that we had put together.
Travis Bader: [00:17:55] We actually had one more person in that group.
Paul Ballard: [00:17:57] Yeah, I was just thinking of that. Sean Martell. We need to, we need to mention Sean and there’s a, you know, a great guy who’s very much a contributor to any group. I’ve hunted with him a number of times, from fly in to drive in hunts and you know, heavy camping with him. Great guy and we miss you, Sean, you should be here with us and I know you’re going to listen to this when you get the opportunity.
Travis Bader: [00:18:18] Absolutely. Well, he was put on course and for work reasons had to take that and that changed the driving arrangements going up. We’re going to have three vehicles going up and then change it down to two vehicles.
[00:18:30] My son, Finn and I, we drove up a day early. We wanted to take our time being 10 years old, figured, okay, we’re going to take a lot of breaks and make this as enjoyable as possible. And the three of you drove up the next day.
Rob Wilson: [00:18:43] Yup.
Travis Bader: [00:18:43] And that was a nice long drive or packed into a vehicle together with a whole bunch of kit. And I know you guys all took turns driving from what I understand.
Rob Wilson: [00:18:52] Oh, absolutely. It was shared equally across the board. We drew straws actually for who would go first and Hey, Paul got to go first. I think it was cause it’s his truck.
Mike Welti: [00:19:00] I think we had somebody that loved his truck so much that he just couldn’t get out of the driver’s seat.
Travis Bader: [00:19:06] That’s not too bad. I sure wish I was in the back having a nap.
Paul Ballard: [00:19:11] Oh and that was all part of the planning was, you know, you can take these trips and when you are traveling, you know, 10, 12 hours, some people choose to leave very early in the morning and get there as the sun is setting and the place where you on a spike camp, err, strike camp.
[00:19:26] And boy it’s tough. It’s come to be a sort of a regular practice now, is to leave the day before, try and grab a motel or hotel the night before. And then enter into a shorter drive to the final, you know, final push so that you’re fresh and you can do everything during the day. All the unexpected things can be dealt with when you do it that way.
[00:19:49] We chose to do that. We drove up, grabbed a motel the night before the three of us did. You of course, had your mobile home on wheels behind you there. And we went but now I guess we’ve left behind the planning part and now we’re in the, this is the good part now.
Travis Bader: [00:20:05] We’re starting to get into the hunt. The location that we’re going to, I had a general idea. Now, Paul, you and I talked about it, and when I was driving up closer, you were giving me directions on the phone as I’m cutting out of cell range and so I, like I say, I had a general idea where we’d be. I knew that if I brought the trailer up and parked it, I would be more or less in the area I was really hoping to be spot on.
[00:20:32] But I got in, long trailer and what is it, a 20 foot converted utility trailer that had the side by side in the back and so, get this thing out. I’ve got my, son driving the side-by-side ahead of me so he can kind of scope the area in case there’s.
Paul Ballard: [00:20:48] Was it dark then or was it still daylight?
Travis Bader: [00:20:50] Oh, it’s still daylight at that point, but I was starting to get, starting to get dark. So anyways, we found a spot. Paul says you’ll find an area, it’s going to be an open area, there’ll be a game pole already set up there. And I found an open area in the general vicinity, and there was a game pole, so I set up.
[00:21:07] Sun was going down and we’ve got the side by side now parked about, I dunno, 15 yards away from the, converted utility trailer that we’ll be staying in. And I’m in there in the trailer, my son’s babbling away about video games and all the other things that occupy a 10 year olds mind and we are eating some vegetables. Gonna cook up some hot dogs, water’s boiling and I hear, click, click, click, click on the window on the trailer.
[00:21:38] And then it’s about six feet up off the ground, this window, and in a fraction of a second I’m thinking about this like, what the hell? Click, click, click. What is that? And first thing went through my head was, it’s a bear. Then I thought, wait a minute, what if it’s, what if it’s Paul and he’s got his, he’s clicking there with his keys. I’m going, no, no, that’s stupid, it’s a bear right?
[00:21:57] So as I’m thinking this, I’m already up and loading up the shotgun, and my son’s still talking away until he looks over and says, dad, what are you doing?
Rob Wilson: [00:22:09] This isn’t a normal action of my father.
Paul Ballard: [00:22:11] Is every hunt going to be like this?
Travis Bader: [00:22:15] And I said, I think we’ve got a bear outside. As I’m saying this, and as I’m loading up the shotgun, I hear a big pop pop, snap, pop, and I can tell that whatever it is, is going at the side by side at the moment. So I have the shotgun loaded up, tell my son, go in the corner of the trailer over there, just keep down, I’m going to head out.
[00:22:40] I got the headlamp on, turned it on, and of course the batteries are dying on it and it’s not throwing enough light and I can’t even see the side by side is pitch dark at this point. And all I can see is two giant glowing eyes reflecting, staring back at me. And at this point it looks like the, whatever the creature was, the bear is what I’m assuming at this point.
[00:23:04] Is on its back legs standing up on the back of the, side by side with his front paws on the back of the side by side. And my son’s getting quite concerned over what could be going on. And I give a shout to the bear and it doesn’t do anything.
[00:23:20] And so I tell my son, give him some bear spray, walk him through the process of how to use it. And have him there beside me, I kind of explain, try and get him to calm down a bit. Here’s what’s going to happen and you know, it’s a, it looks like it’s going to be a proble. Bear. I don’t need this thing coming back throughout the night, going to try and scare the thing off.
[00:23:41] And if I can’t scare it off, it might get a little bit loud. And anyways, he goes back into the corner. I go out headlamp on and shotgun up, really close course looking left to right like, you know, rule of one plus one, not necessarily sure applies to bears, but rule of one plus one, if there’s one that’s probably too right.
[00:24:02] And looking left and right and the, anyways, I was able to scare the bear off. It didn’t take off quickly, just kind of sauntered away. I don’t think he came back throughout the night, but in the morning we took a look and it went to town on that side by side.
Rob Wilson: [00:24:16] Boy did it ever.
Travis Bader: [00:24:17] Oh man, I was fortunate enough to have a one of Dylan’s patented butt pads to be able to keep my rear end somewhat dry and warm. But yeah, no, it ate all the seats out, it went in the back, there is no food in there and got pictures and went all around the outside of the trailer as well.
Paul Ballard: [00:24:36] That was pretty impressive when we got there and saw the marks on the outside of your trailer.
Mike Welti: [00:24:41] Paw prints and claw prints all over the side.
Travis Bader: [00:24:43] So yeah, we were definitely in bear country, black bear, big black bear, not grizzly, but we were in grizzly country as well.
Rob Wilson: [00:24:51] I don’t envy you that, that’s an exciting situation that is, the wrong kind of excitement for us.
Paul Ballard: [00:24:58] Yeah. Well, when you saw what he had done to the side by side, or she probably, he, you, you knew there’s, you know, as much as you feel safe and secure in your RV, he could’ve just peeled that door open and come in if you wanted to do that.
Travis Bader: [00:25:11] Oh easily It ripped the seats right off.
Paul Ballard: [00:25:14] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:25:14] I had no idea there’s a compartment underneath my seats as well, which I do know now. You know, I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Carter Honda in Vancouver was kind enough to be able to take care of new seats and free install. So I would highly recommend, they’re the place that I purchased the side by side from, and gave them my sob story about the bear and showed him the pictures and.
Paul Ballard: [00:25:38] Not too many people have that story.
Rob Wilson: [00:25:40] The second thing I wanted to mention about that particular situation was, after the fact, I contacted one of my friends in the conservation officer’s service just to kind of explore whether or not similar circumstances had happened. Where bears had eaten the seats out of machines before, quads or ATVs, and apparently is not an uncommon occurrence that there’s, it’s believed to be that there’s some sort of like the petroleum product or some sort of attractant in the seats and bears are definitely attracted to those, the seats on those machines so.
Paul Ballard: [00:26:17] That’s why all those guys that actually live off the grid up there. Every one of their snow machines or their side-by-sides or ATVs, have duct tape covering the seat.
Mike Welti: [00:26:29] Could probably really have got chew toy.
Rob Wilson: [00:26:32] Yeah.
Mike Welti: [00:26:33] That’s, I think what they’ve probably feel, it’s something they like to chew on.
Rob Wilson: [00:26:36] Yeah. Yeah. Could be one, another way you could address that is by putting a perimeter fence, an electrified perimeter dence around your machine if you are, knew you we’re going to be in bear country and that was a problem.
Paul Ballard: [00:26:49] Yeah. Well we were in that area that we went to, of course we didn’t have cell phone communication or anything like that. So the plan was for us as we are arriving, after you had had your bear encounter, was to get on the short wave radio and we were communicating that way.
[00:27:04] So it was a interesting, we drove in now. To your credit, you were within about 500 metres of the actual spot where we intended on camping. I would later look at my GPS and said, Oh, I could have given him the exact coordinates from the year and the year before that.
Travis Bader: [00:27:20] I was wondering why you didn’t.
Rob Wilson: [00:27:22] Just because, just out for adventure factor.
Travis Bader: [00:27:25] I was already accused of being a techno geek when I said, why don’t you just drop a pin with Google Earth.
Paul Ballard: [00:27:30] To which I replied, what? Whattt? But anyways, you weren’t bad. And then we got up there. So we moved over to what was there, what we refer to as our usual camp in the, in the spot a little bit more often. the trapper that lives in the area goes, Oh yeah, you’re in the, in the clay pit, he called that, but it was okay.
[00:27:48] We weren’t, it wasn’t too wet, so it wasn’t all that bad. And somebody has certainly put a whole bunch of duck boards down there that we could move around and set up a pretty comfortable camp bounded by your trailer. We put up our wall tent which is, I don’t know, kind of a wilderness mansion to me, I think.
Rob Wilson: [00:28:05] Oh it’s tough to beat the wall tent.
Mike Welti: [00:28:07] Works great, works great.
Paul Ballard: [00:28:09] So we got established and that was it. I think we were able to get out for our first hunt that afternoon. Check out the area a little bit. It was a lot of hunters and probably more than what we had encountered in past years in the same area. But it still wasn’t too bad, as Mike would say later, I don’t know why we’d rather bring in ATVs or anything up here, you just drive the roads in your pickup truck, that’s what everybody does.
Travis Bader: [00:28:35] Yeah, that was what everyone was doing.
Mike Welti: [00:28:37] So true.
Paul Ballard: [00:28:38] Yeah. And what did you think though, Mike, for your first moose hunt?
Mike Welti: [00:28:43] Well, you know that, we went out hunting that afternoon, like you said, and I didn’t see anything. I basically spent some time out a clearing, I think it was on 12 kilometre mark. And then the next morning I decided to go with the same area and go a little further down the road and went a little further, went to a clearing and I decided, well, I better have a good look around here.
[00:29:03] And I got up on the highest little log pile I could find and decided to get my binoculars out and look around. And I spent probably two or three minutes just looking around and didn’t see anything. So I thought, well it’s time to carry on, and I went to pick up my rifle and I looked back up and lo and behold, there was a moose walking across the back.
[00:29:25] And I was so surprised and now I was all excited, my heart’s gone and I’m not sure what I should do. Like do I go after it? I wasn’t sure if it was a cow or a bull and I thought, well if I go and walk rapidly through this clearing, I’ll make a lot of noise and scare it, but if I go too slow, it’ll take off on me.
[00:29:46] So I guess I kind of opted for somewhere in between and I did go after it and of course it had disappeared into the woods and I decided to sort of follow it into the woods where I thought it had gone in and there was so much windfall and dead wood that I had to just virtually hike over top of each log to make any progress in there.
[00:30:07] So I decided it was time to take a little break, and I just sat down and took my backpack off and started to regroup my thoughts and thought, what should I do next? And I thought, well I’m going to have to give up on this. And I’d still had no idea whether it was a cow or a bull, but lo and behold, I heard her call.
[00:30:24] And it was the first time in my life I’ve ever experienced a cow calling. It happened twice, but it was just too far distance in the woods were just too hard to traverse, so I decided to give up on it and I went back to the ATV and carried on the hunt. I, I guess, you know, I will remember that. I really will, because it’s a, it’s something new experience. And once you experience something new, it’s kind of neat, it stays with you, and it was enjoyable. Carried on from there.
Travis Bader: [00:30:55] That’s really cool.
Rob Wilson: [00:30:58] You know, one of the things that came became apparent to me is you know, I’ve hunted all over British Columbia, I’ve hunted in Northern BC. I’m primarily a mule deer hunter and alpine hunter, it’s kind of where I enjoy spending most of my time. And I love the mountains and the grasslands and where are we we’re, they promote Creek. It was, it’s a boat
Paul Ballard: [00:31:27] Creek. You got that.
Rob Wilson: [00:31:29] It was absolutely impenetrable country. Right? So it’s very rare on a hunting trip where I am not enthusiastic about going into the forest and trying to put together a bit of a still hunt. And the one time that I decided that I was going to like wander off out of a clearcut and wander through a patch of forest to try and hunt up a moose, I hated myself for two hours straight while I was wandering through the forest. It’s just impenetrable country up there. And you have to modify your hunting technique as a result.
Paul Ballard: [00:32:08] Yeah. That black spruce forest, you know, that we see in the, you know, central interior part of the province is just so unlike any other of the ecosystems that we can hunt. And you’ve hunted up North, in the Northern Rockies and you get up, and sure it’s black spruce, but there’s natural occurring Meadows and open areas that you could move through. It might be a little muddy underfoot, but you still see for good distances you can gain elevation to look down and glass an area.
[00:32:39] But that interior plateau is a really unique circumstance. And you know, when people do try and chastise others for truck hunting, for road hunting, you can see there’s merit to it. You know, in the hopes that those big animals will be standing on the road edge when you get it, so you don’t have to move it too far, that’s one huge advantage.
[00:33:00] But also just the covering of ground and looking over all those cut blocks. I mean, it is an area that that’s been highly, highly logged for many years and as a result, you know, what has grown up has grown up over that shin tangle and kinda, you know, from past practices in the forestry industry to leave all that stuff on the ground. It’s, it’s tough moving and it’s amazing those big animals can get through it too.
Rob Wilson: [00:33:23] Yeah, absolutely, for sure.
Paul Ballard: [00:33:24] It’s shocking, but no, and it is,, it’s one of those things adapting to the type of environment that you’re going to hunt in and not being able to say that, well, what I’ve used is you know, there’s certain things that always apply, but wind and South facing slopes and those, you know those practices always, you know, stand the test of time. But the physical, you know, still hunting very difficult.
Rob Wilson: [00:33:48] It was humbling country.
Paul Ballard: [00:33:50] Yeah. Yeah, that’s right so.
Rob Wilson: [00:33:51] Yeah. So one thing was, I think it’s worth talking about was, is dimension that our plan was, we had a certain number of machines for a certain number of people, and I think it’s worth talking about how that kind of transpired and how that worked.
Paul Ballard: [00:34:08] Yeah. So we were, you know, that the intent was, there’s lots of good roads that you can drive by vehicle almost everywhere the, and as a told you guys, until I felt that a Honda civic would have got you into a lot of the cut blocks. But to get beyond some of the cut blocks where the deactivations were, we found that the fact that a Mike’s ATV is you know, regular style ride-on ATV was much more at adapt at getting through some of the deactivations.
[00:34:41] Whereas my side-by-side, Travis’ side-by-side, a little bit larger, got lots of places, there’s no question about that. But some of those deactivations were clearly only surmountable with a smaller machine. And boy, that paid off in spades later, that was very helpful. But you know, using the machines to get around, not so much to hunt from. I think we spent more time moving out, dropping off into areas and, you know, having the machine as a backup for, you know, transport purposes afterwards. And that’s the way I’ve experienced hunting in that area before.
Mike Welti: [00:35:16] Yeah. And just to add to that, I found it interesting that the ATV type machine is actually very noisy. And there was a couple of times I was just still hunting near a cut block quite close to the road, and a pickup truck would be driving by very slowly. And, and it seemed just so much more quiet.
[00:35:38] Like it is, it was just quieter. And I often wondered at that time, are our machines scaring the animals prematurely, early and maybe truck hunting has more value based on the noise factor.
Paul Ballard: [00:35:54] And particularly in that environment too. You, you know, you can’t argue with the fact that there was a lot of people up there doing that. And a lot of, you know, apparently having some success of doing it. However, in the end, our success did not come more, and I want to, I don’t want to steal anybody’s thunder, but our success was from stand hunting actually up there. You know, using the machine to get to an area, but to an area that was inaccessible to anybody with pickup trucks, completely and to take a stand and just waiting, watching, careful of the wind and the like.
Travis Bader: [00:36:30] So we’ve been hunting for a few days now and we had seen moose, but we hadn’t had a chance to take a shot at a moose. Grouse lot of grouse, which was good. Definitely keeps a 10 year old happy and able to go out and do some grouse hunting. Saw some linx. That was pretty cool.
Paul Ballard: [00:36:49] Yeah, we saw a couple of linx’s between us I think.
Rob Wilson: [00:36:51] Yup. Yup.
Travis Bader: [00:36:52] Yeah. What else did we see up there? We had a wolf.
Paul Ballard: [00:36:55] Black bear.
Travis Bader: [00:36:56] Yeah, black bear.
Mike Welti: [00:36:57] I seen two black bear.
Paul Ballard: [00:36:58] Yeah.
Rob Wilson: [00:36:59] Saw a few moose hanging in other can hunters camps.
Paul Ballard: [00:37:01] Yeah, and.
Travis Bader: [00:37:03] So when did our morning hunt a few days in and Finn and I decide, well let’s go and do a grouse hunt. Lets, we’ll drive the road a little bit in the side-by-side because it’s warming up, sun’s out, the grouse will be getting themselves warmed up on the road and driving down and we see a couple of guys in the pickup truck standing outside.
Paul Ballard: [00:37:24] Funny enough in a pickup truck.
Travis Bader: [00:37:26] In a pickup truck and one of them gestures me over. And so I go on over and he said, Hey, you got your big bull tag? I said, well I don’t, but in our group, we’ve got others who do, right? He said, okay, well that’s good enough for us. We saw a bull moose go into that section of woods right there, so let’s see if I can get it out, you take a shot.
[00:37:48] And I said, well hold on a second. I don’t have my bull moose tag, but others in the group do. Oh, no, no, no that’s good, that’s good enough for us, you go ahead. And I said, look it, and they kept pushing, they kept pushing, say, no, no, no, you can do it, that’s good enough.
[00:38:01] I said, finally I had to explain to him, I said I’ve got a 10 year old here with me, what example would I be setting for him if I showed poor ethics right? Oh, okay, well, I get it if you put it like that. Fair enough. So I said, tell you what, I’m going to boogie back, if you guys are going to stay here, great. We’ll, I’ll boogie back.
[00:38:21] I’ll get someone who does have the tag so we can properly, legally take the shot. So we do that. Come on back to the camp. Of course, Finn’s very excited and I’m trying to contain my excitement and hoping that, hoping that this thing’s still going to be there when we come on back and.
Paul Ballard: [00:38:37] Wasn’t that far actually.
Travis Bader: [00:38:39] It really wasn’t far from it.
Paul Ballard: [00:38:40] A kilometre and a half or something down down the road.
Travis Bader: [00:38:42] About that. Yeah.
Rob Wilson: [00:38:43] At the speed that Travis was traveling to get back to us, I think it was like 30 seconds.
Travis Bader: [00:38:50] So I come in and say, Hey, anyone want to take a shot at a bull moose. And everyone just looks at me and I said, well we got one just down the road here, if you guys want to give it a shot. And he goes, Oh, I guess.
Rob Wilson: [00:39:02] No I’m like, no, there was no I guess.
Travis Bader: [00:39:04] What do we doing? What are we doing here right? I think it took a second. I think it took a second for what I was saying to actually register and I got the sense there’s probably a little bit of incredulousness thinking, it won’t be there when we go back. I mean, sure, you saw it there, right? But anyways Paul, you got up, you’re in you’re side by side and all of a sudden, everyone’s in their vehicles driving down the road and it starts going faster and faster to get there. I’m like, okay, they got it, they get it. Yeah so.
Mike Welti: [00:39:34] Yeah, sorry. The interesting part of it for me was, I was the furthest one away from you when you were explaining this, so I was, I know I’m not the best of hearing, but I was doing the dishes for the lunch that we just had and I kept thinking that the moose was down. Somebody had shot it and I said to Paul, while I’m doing the dishes, I says, well, don’t move the moose. I’ll come down a little later and I’ll bring my camera and I want to take a picture of it. And he’s like, Oh well, you know, you can whatever, you can just come now.
[00:40:02] And I thought, yeah, I might as well come right now. So and then of course, you know, with my experience in the past, with any hunting, I thought to myself, you know, I didn’t have my rifle on my ATV and I didn’t have my magazine and I thought, well I should take it because sometimes another animal’s right there, and if you’re hunting, you’re always hunting. So I took it with me as we had to down there.
Travis Bader: [00:40:24] Yeah. I figured I wasn’t properly relaying, maybe trying to suppress my excitement a little bit too much there.
Mike Welti: [00:40:31] I had no idea until I got to the corner there that it was in the bush, and I still thought it was maybe laying in the bush, but I guess it was actually alive.
Travis Bader: [00:40:40] So we pull up there and the first thing Paul does when we get out, we give a quick lay of the land and Paul, you let rip with a fantastic moose call. What did that sound like, can you do that? Can you do a moose call for us?
Paul Ballard: [00:40:56] I’m going to move away from the microphone. *moose call*
Travis Bader: [00:41:10] Fantastic. So give us one of those.
Rob Wilson: [00:41:14] That’s what you.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:14] Well we did a little.
Rob Wilson: [00:41:15] Call the sexy cow call.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:16] We did a little bit first. Those other guys were there with that Dodge truck. And they were kind of saying it’s somewhere between there and there. Point does like a dog leg in the road so.
Mike Welti: [00:41:28] Yeah, full 90 degree.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:29] Yeah.
Mike Welti: [00:41:29] Corner.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:30] So we’re thinking, okay, well we got to contain it in there, and if he’s still in there, he’s going to come out on the road likely. So Rob went one way, Mike went the other, and then I called.
Rob Wilson: [00:41:40] Yeah, so there was some planning happening there, before we actually start.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:43] It wasn’t a, you know.
Travis Bader: [00:41:45] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:46] A complete cluster as some would say. No, we had a plan and so we stuck to it.
Travis Bader: [00:41:51] And that plan expanded and expanded Finn and I took back down the road to flush it out.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:57] Yeah. To make some noise down there for the, because there was this triangle of, of woods that it, you know, the animal had been seen in, there was a Creek down below where you could kind of look across there. So if it hadn’t been seen, and we’re all on radios by this time now as well. And so the group is now hunting.
Travis Bader: [00:42:15] So Finn and I go down, we pull into the woods, started hiking our way in, making some noise, figured, we’ll flush out the moose back onto the road, back in your direction. And we’re in there for not too long actually, and we hear a shot. Fantastic, it worked, we flushed it out. So come on back.
Mike Welti: [00:42:37] So what happened here was that what Paul’s calling. The bull came out on the road, on my side of the road, and it was, I, I’d say somewhere around 150 to 200 yards away and it just started walking down the road away from us. Paul called again, it decided to stop and turn itself and look back. And that’s when I decided to take a shot.
[00:43:03] And the real mistake I made was, I didn’t take my time. I wasn’t in a better position and I didn’t zoom in on my scope and the shot obviously didn’t work. And, but we did a, I guess a, we got a little hair from him.
Travis Bader: [00:43:21] A little bit of hair yeah. And then we tracked for hours.
Paul Ballard: [00:43:26] Hours, and hours. To Mike’s credit, it’s always hard to, you know, be the guy that has to relive that moment. And I’m sure you’ve, you know, spent the odd sleepless nights since then, you know, thinking, shoulda, coulda, woulda? But it, it all chalks up and every single person that hunted either, has or will have, that same moment occur to them. It’s just, it is just that, that way.
Travis Bader: [00:43:50] It’s a part of hunting.
Paul Ballard: [00:43:51] It’s a part of hunting.
Travis Bader: [00:43:52] And it’s something you have to square yourself with before you go out.
Paul Ballard: [00:43:55] Right and you have to accept that. We got down, we could clearly see the track from the animal. He was moving soundly, he was, you know, often what you see is an animal that’s hit is, starts to stagger a bit. There’ll be some fallen into the bush, there’ll be scuffs out with their hook. This guy, you could see just, he was, he was boogieing, he was, he was going away.
Rob Wilson: [00:44:17] And he was boogieing along the forest service road.
Paul Ballard: [00:44:19] Right. He didn’t go into the, he didn’t go into the trees. So he was totally taken the path of least resistance where he could move the fastest and he was, he moved good. So tracked him down into a cut block. Mike did a tremendous job of staying on the track, staying out there, went back. I personally went back to look for a blood trail. I wanted, cause we hadn’t seen any blood on that track yet.
Rob Wilson: [00:44:45] Yeah. Correct.
Paul Ballard: [00:44:45] I went right to the spot where I seen where I, I seen, that’s not good English. I went back to the spot where I had seen that the animal had been hit. He did kind of a kind of a little hop skip when the shot went.
[00:44:59] So I looked, I could see the scuff from his hoofs there. I could see where he’d turned and where the track we’d been following had begun. So I just carefully got down, looked and about one dime sized drop of blood was it. There was hair there, long hair back, hair shaved off, and it was laying on the ground just beyond where the track had turned up.
[00:45:19] So pretty satisfied. You know, based on my experience, your honor, that the animal hadn’t been too badly hit. In fact, probably nothing more than a, you know, as he said on Monte Python, just a flesh wound. And so anyways, unfortunate, we looked and looked, we spent a lot of time.
Rob Wilson: [00:45:36] Oh we sure did.
Paul Ballard: [00:45:37] And didn’t, weren’t able to, to find him again, but. But a big experience and.
Mike Welti: [00:45:43] Absolutely, you know, and for me it was a big learning lesson for me because in the years of hunting deer, like I said, I’d been doing it about six years. I’ve, I harvest deer every year, and most of them have been one-shot kills and so I guess I kept having a lot of confidence that it shouldn’t be me.
[00:46:03] But I guess it’s got to happen to me, and that’s why it’s a humbling and it teaches you something. But I go back to the drawing board and I’ll be reminding myself for the fundamentals again of being prepared for the shot.
Paul Ballard: [00:46:17] He’s still got a trophy though. I picked up some of that hair. I wrapped a little red string around it, left it on his pillow that night so.
Rob Wilson: [00:46:25] You sure did, that was pretty funny. So I think that kind of brings out the need to have a conversation about the methodology that you can employ and probably should employee after making the shot. And one of my recommendations is that when you shoot at an animal, first off, is it a very exciting experience.
[00:46:48] And from the time when you shoot the animal to the time when you recover the animal, you’ve got a lot of work to do potentially. It’s important to take a moment to, plan out your next steps. And for me it looks like this. So I shoot an animal, first off, I watched the animal and I’m watching for the reaction, after the shot or at the shot.
[00:47:10] And in this case, Paul, you did that. I believe, I remember you said something about what the reaction to the animal.
Paul Ballard: [00:47:17] It didn’t look like it was a hard hit to me.
Rob Wilson: [00:47:19] Yeah.
Paul Ballard: [00:47:19] He just kind of skipped his legs out a bit. He’d been nicked. And that was the feeling I had, you know, based again on seeing a few animal shot over the years. And that was, that was the sense that I had.
Rob Wilson: [00:47:30] Yeah. Okay. So from the time when I pull the trigger, I watch the animal, I want to see how it reacts. And the animal will, will either drop right in front of you or were to wander off and you watch how it, how it moves off. I know what the spot at which I hit the animal and I actually take a piece of flagging tape and I tie a piece of flight and tape to a branch the spot where I shot from.
[00:47:55] And I’ll take my compass and I actually shoot a bearing towards the animal. In this case, that wasn’t required because the animal was out in front of us on a logging road and it was booking down the logging road and you saw it run until you couldn’t see it anymore.
Paul Ballard: [00:48:10] Well, we saw it about three or four more times going down that road in front of us at distances of upwards of 300 maybe 400 yards sometimes again, you know, turning a corner, seeing it again at a, at a couple of hundred yards as, as it went that way, you know? But it was, it was a matter of, you know, everybody trying to get up to see. I mean, the other hunters that were there, the one guy was saying, Oh, he’s heading towards water and, which is a legitimate experience, that these animals hard-hit often will, will go to water.
[00:48:42] They often, to me, seemed to go downhill. I’ve seen very few animals when they’d been hard hit to go up a hill. But this guy was, his stride was pretty big.
Rob Wilson: [00:48:53] Yep.
Paul Ballard: [00:48:54] We got down, but getting back to what you were saying Rob, to go to the exact spot that you believe the animal was hit is critical. And a lot of, you know, inexperienced, new hunters, not in this circumstance of course, but will maybe take a circle route around or they’ll walk away and then come back and lose track of where the animal was and it’s critical to get there, have a look right on the ground.
[00:49:16] Find those scuff marks, find the, you know, the blood trail or some hair or some indication of the animal was hit. And then to start doing just 180 degree, then a 240 degree sweep ahead to see where the animal went and it’s shocking how a great big 100lbs animal, when hit, can go like 10 steps flop down from where you actually got to, and you can’t see it.
Rob Wilson: [00:49:40] They’re amazingly well camouflaged. Yep.
Paul Ballard: [00:49:43] Right. And if they do expire there, so there’s no sound from it, there’s no nothing. And you’re just thinking, Oh man, any take 10 steps and you go, right there.
Rob Wilson: [00:49:53] Yup. Yeah. Absolutely.
Paul Ballard: [00:49:54] And that happens a lot. And I think a lot of people give up far too soon, you know, and that’s a sin. That’s, there’s no other word for it. You have that huge obligation, if you pull the trigger on an animal like that, you must do absolutely everything. And I felt clearly, Mike, he was going above and beyond to try and track that animal down so.
Rob Wilson: [00:50:19] Yeah.
Paul Ballard: [00:50:19] In this instance.
Rob Wilson: [00:50:21] Yeah. And it was an interesting process. I mean, I felt like we did it right, after the shot. We planned it, we certainly were able to identify the spot where we feel the animal went into a clear cut and started heading towards the forest. And we took some time to carefully break down track by track where that animal had taken each, each step.
[00:50:48] And we used flagging tape and even bits of toilet paper to mark out the trail and try and get a direction of travel. And we gave it our darnedest and just didn’t work out in that case. And that’s because that moose was still walking.
Paul Ballard: [00:51:03] Yeah.
Rob Wilson: [00:51:03] Yeah.
Paul Ballard: [00:51:04] And he’s going to be there for next year.
Rob Wilson: [00:51:06] Yup. Absolutely.
Paul Ballard: [00:51:07] A little bigger.
Travis Bader: [00:51:08] So evening came, had dinner and it was quite somber, quite quiet. Obviously, lots of emotion, lots of thoughts going through everyone’s heads. But that’s hunting. That’s something that people have to prepare themselves for. And you know, stepping into a hunting group where we don’t all know each other, we don’t know each other’s backgrounds. I thought that everyone did a very good job supporting one another. It was, it was very good.
Rob Wilson: [00:51:40] Minus the move of like putting the little bull on.
Travis Bader: [00:51:44] Well, you kinda, you gotta kind of have to do that.
Paul Ballard: [00:51:47] That would, that was the worst we did on that one. There was no, you know, accusations, or and, I’ve been in hunting camps where people would’ve had a bird on the.
Travis Bader: [00:51:56] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [00:51:56] You know, and nobody did that. So it was all okay. But though it was somber, that was just steeled our resolve to try and get out there. And certainly now we should mention that this whole time to this point. Somebody resolved with steel on getting the bear that had made intrusions to the side-by-side too but.
Travis Bader: [00:52:21] I was hoping for that one, that’s for sure.
Paul Ballard: [00:52:22] And an interesting area for the amount of track and, and animal sign that was there. And we saw everything from those big black bear pad prints to wolf prints that were, you know, pretty much luncheon plate size. They were, they were some good wolf prints there too.
Rob Wilson: [00:52:40] And griz tracks.
Paul Ballard: [00:52:41] Yeah. And yes, absolutely. So there was, you know, a whole variety. What I had seen there before in that area, which we didn’t see this time were, were any deer track. And there’s not a lot of deer in the area, but typically down, you know, towards the Lake shore, often we would have seen, you know, smaller white tail deer track.
[00:52:59] We didn’t see that anywhere, in any of the track traps that we were, we were checking out in any of those spots, but amazingly big wolf, there was probably some really nice wolf. We did meet the, or I had, I had the opportunity to meet the trapper from up there.
[00:53:14] Very informative guy, lived in, off the grid for over 30 years up in that area, like off the grid, and had, had his trapping license and had the trapping concession in there for some 20 something years, knew every inch of the land up there. Very, very, very friendly guy to. What a smoker, in a half an hour he must’ve smoked five cigarettes, I don’t know how he could do it. Guy older than me, but he could move, he was alright.
Travis Bader: [00:53:42] You know, and that’s super important part as well. Getting that local Intel.
Paul Ballard: [00:53:45] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:53:46] Being open enough, talking with the others in the area, respectful enough, and they’ll share with you.
Paul Ballard: [00:53:51] And he was very, very open and, you know, without offering, but confirming, let’s put it that way. He was, you know, he was saying, yeah, that you, you know where you are and you know what, you’re in the right spot. So we kind of let off for, from there. Got some grouse in between and then.
Travis Bader: [00:54:09] We’ll, fast forward a couple of days.
Paul Ballard: [00:54:11] Fast forward a couple of days. What was happening with you over those couple of days before the fateful evening, Mike?
Mike Welti: [00:54:20] Well, I was, you know, I’d been going back to the same areas and decided I had to explore the area a bit being the first time up there and I thought it was time to get around and have a look and see what other opportunities, see look for more sign.
[00:54:34] I went to one area and decided to try my calling again. And I was actually also very surprised that in this one time I called and I think it was within probably three minutes, a cow comes running out into the clearing and came right up along the side and probably came within 60 yards of me. Me being new to the, to the moose hunting, I had no idea.
[00:54:58] I thought that this should be a bull, it’s like, why would a cow come. But of course, talking to Paul, he’s a, he informs me that sometimes they’re attracted to the fact that maybe there is a, maybe there is a bull over there. And so that’s, that was also a great experience for me because it was the first time that I were able to actually call and have actually a reaction in something and actually work out for me.
Paul Ballard: [00:55:23] We don’t want to be too misogynistic, you know, women, women have urges.
Mike Welti: [00:55:27] Exactly. And then after that I decided to just do more discovering and other areas and that’s when I came upon a couple of what they call deactivations where the loggers and the industry doesn’t want anybody to go past so they basically pull out a bridge.
[00:55:45] And fortunately with that trapper that Paul had met, has his trap lines there that he had built a couple of ATV bridges across these little creeks and rivers. So I was able to pass them with my ATV being smaller and narrower, and I went into another clearing and found more sign a lot more tracks from moose there.
[00:56:06] And as I went further, I found there was even another deactivation and so I crossed that. And actually in that area there was up to three different deactivations. Large, wonderful areas for moose, seen a couple moose in there and got me excited and, and unfortunately, no opportunities for myself, but that led us to decide to maybe we need to get a few more guys in there.
Travis Bader: [00:56:30] You are taking some good pictures. You’re seeing lots of sign, you’re seeing moose out there.
Mike Welti: [00:56:36] Virtually every day I would see a cow, at least one, if not a cow and calf. And so, yeah, I was, you know, it was, it felt close. It felt close.
Travis Bader: [00:56:47] It was a good area.
Paul Ballard: [00:56:48] Yeah. And like Mike said, the deactivations were stopping it, you know, general access was low in there, so they weren’t being disturbed by other hunters and all. There was a lot of people that, there was the odd person walking into that area that we encountered, they’d parked their truck. But nowhere. near the kind of pressure that the roads were, were sustaining at that time.
[00:57:07] And so again, this takes us back and forth. Pickup truck, quiet, covers lots of ground, you know, picks up your odds, but I think you favour your odds when you can get into someplace that’s a little quieter, you know?
Rob Wilson: [00:57:20] Yeah, that’s true, I agree with you, Paul. And I think it’s important to recognize that Mike actually was probably the most successful hunter when it comes to, when it came to actually seeing wildlife, when it came to seeing moose and a bunch of moose. Mike, you covered a bunch of territory on your ATV, you saw a lot of country, and as a result, it seems like you saw a significant amount more moose than any of the other hunters in our group.
[00:57:54] And I think that’s because he covered so much ground in the course of your day, which is like the exact opposite of the way that I was hunting. I was relying on other people to put me in a spot, and then I was basically hanging out in the wilderness and I was on my feet and it didn’t work out so well for me for the most part.
Travis Bader: [00:58:16] So I was due to take off the next day. And Mike says, Rob, why don’t you jump on the back of my ATV? I’ve been having some good luck in this one area, come with me. So you guys said, why don’t you tell us, about how that worked out.
Mike Welti: [00:58:35] Well yeah, I guess I was excited because to me, I seen the most sign in that area. More so, like Paul was saying, because it wasn’t pressured by other people being able to access it. You had to go through these two deep deactivations and most people didn’t want to walk it. And side-by-sides were probably a little bit big to get across, so they weren’t even going in there. So I asked Rob, I said, well, if you want to come to a new area, I’ll bring you in.
[00:59:00] And yeah, he was willing. We decided to bring you in there that one evening and, I brought you to a spot that was, had great vegetation. It was a large clearing, probably a kilometre by a kilometre in size, you know, and I dropped you off at one spot and, explained to you where I had seen them. And I said, if you had that way, you know, good luck.
[00:59:23] And I decided to go another way. And I guess you can let us know maybe what, what did you think?
Rob Wilson: [00:59:29] Yeah. I mean, to be honest, at that point in the hunt, I felt kind of discouraged. It’s a different, it’s a hunt that I’m not used to, and I’m not used to relying on other people for transportation. I’m used to being able to kind of find my own way.
[00:59:49] And certainly throughout the course of the hunt, as much as I had a great time and camp and I had my own experiences being on foot. I felt somewhat discouraged having to rely on other people to kind of shepherd me around the wilderness and drop me off in these locations, and I get picked up at the end of the day.
[01:00:07] But yeah, Mike had seen many moose and it was obvious that he was kinda focusing on his own that had had a higher likelihood of success so.
Mike Welti: [01:00:18] Yeah, I just thought it was an area that because of it being so vast and large that I can only see so much in one spot. And I thought with the hunters we had, I thought, well, why not have one person being in one area and I can still be down in another clearing that needed to be covered also. So I really thought it would be better to have two people in there then, then one and maybe even three would have been better.
Rob Wilson: [01:00:42] Yeah. So Mike drops me off, he drops me off in the middle of this desolate moonscape essentially. There’s this like significant, clear cut. Like we drove into this, this clear cut, and as Mike had so eloquently said, it was deactivated and we’d drive through the deactivation and a couple of kilometres and all of a sudden this clearcut opens up and it goes for ever, right.
[01:01:10] On both sides of the road, they’re pretty significant clear cuts in that country and there’s a spur road. Mike drops me off at and says gee, there’s a big clear cut, there’s lots of good vegetation in there and explains to me how he’d hunted it in the past. Like, eh, in my mind, I’m like, Holy crap, this is like, this is big, big, clear cut, and there’s no way there’s going to be a moose standing in the middle of this clear cut right?
[01:01:38] But I walked through it and there’s giant wind rows of trees that are basically low value trees that are wet, left on the side of the road. And one of the tacts is to climb up on top of a tree pile so you can see into the vegetation in the clear cut. Anyways, I walked around this clear cut for a couple of hours cause that’s how long it took me to actually walk these forest service roads.
[01:02:00] Find the best spot that I thought I would like to hunt from, with the best vantage point. And I sat down just off the road in between a couple of these, these large wind roads. And I crack off my sexy cow call, but Paul taught me and my sexy cow call, it does not sound anything like this.
[01:02:29] So my sexy Cal call, it sounds like that, but with emphysema. So yeah, I tried calling for a little bit, so I called for a little bit and then I guess I should mention I’m half deaf. I worked as an automotive machinist for many, many years before it was cool to have your plugs and, and I teach my coworkers how to use firearms at work, I shoot.
[01:02:57] And yeah. As a result, I am not blessed in the hearing front, but I think I hear just off the edge of the clear cut in the forest, directly across from me, like the shortest distance across from me. I think I hear some noise in the brush, like it could actually be a bull moose raking the brush.
[01:03:20] So I got excited for a minute there and I let out another call and it’s the high and low, right? And you’re excited, you think you hear something and you blast out that other call and you wait and nothing happens. So I resigned myself to my ears playing tricks on me. Of course, this is a process of waiting and I knew I had until last night when Mike was gonna pick me up.
[01:03:47] And I call again, 10 minutes, 15 minutes later I call again. And I see movement on the corner of my eye about 600 yards away and bring my binoculars up. And lo and behold, there’s a big old dark moose walking towards me. That was pretty exciting.
[01:04:11] The bull moose was headed right in my direction, coming right for me, and then it’d stop and I would play with it a little bit. And call again and the moose would from this point where it would be stopped and quarter away from me. It turned around and it’d start heading in my direction to the point where it got to within 500 yards and I actually picked my rifle up and looked at it through my scope thinking, should I take that shot?
[01:04:37] Because the wind was not really in my favour, I was concerned. But I didn’t take the shot. I called and it kept coming and I called and it kept coming. It would stall up every 50, hundred yards. And eventually I had to watch this moose walk behind one of those big wind roads and not know that I was going to come out the other side.
[01:04:58] And that was one of the most nerve racking moments of my life to try and think about whether I take that shot, the lower rod shot at a long distance or I try to call it in to nice and close. I chose to be conservative, called it or tried to call it in nice and close and fortunately it cooperated.
[01:05:19] I got a good shot, or I found a good sight picture in between some vegetation, held my rifle there. And unfortunately, the wind was blowing right towards that window of opportunity. And I knew that as soon as the moose stepped into that shooting lane, it would wind me. So I would have to be efficient in my shooting.
[01:05:42] So I waited, the moose walked right into my shooting lane, I was like, one more step, it took the step, I pulled the trigger, and the moose went down. It was great, very fortunate. And it was that last light.
Travis Bader: [01:05:56] It was at last light. We had started, Paul had started making some dinner, some food up, and.
Paul Ballard: [01:06:01] Yeah, we’re back at camp. You and I and Finn are back at camp and we heard the, we heard the shot. I’m making a face. I need that to show up on the podcast. We looked and did we hear another shot? Nope.
Travis Bader: [01:06:19] I think we just heard one shot.
Paul Ballard: [01:06:20] Just the one, yeah. And then, we’re thinking. We waited and we waited, and then we, darn radios.
Travis Bader: [01:06:27] Yeah.
Paul Ballard: [01:06:28] We are trying to communicate, but we’re getting back and forth on the radios, but pretty much got confirmed that that Rob had harvested a moose.
Travis Bader: [01:06:36] Well there was a period of time there where it’s a little uncertain, probably about 20 minutes or so. And there was definitely a lot of excitement back at camp cause we knew, you know in your gut. You know, this is different, people should be coming back now. We should be in radio distance, but we weren’t. And so that’s going to be what. We’ve got a moose or there’s a problem, somebodies stuck or injured.
Paul Ballard: [01:07:00] And both of which causes that bit of a gut check you know, you’re just thinking, what do we need to do?
Travis Bader: [01:07:05] Sure.
Mike Welti: [01:07:05] Yeah. And I had, after dropping off Rob in that location, I had probably gone about another six kilometres down the road to another clearing, maybe even a little further. I heard the shot too, but I thought, well, there are other hunters in the area so I wasn’t really keeping my hopes up too much that it was possibly Rob.
Paul Ballard: [01:07:23] Cause our hopes had been dashed.
Mike Welti: [01:07:26] We had a little somber moments there for a while, but either way you know, you’re always hopeful. And I said to Rob, well, I’m gonna come right at when it gets quite dark. So I left my area when it was getting dark. And so it took me still a while, to travel with the ATV to the meeting point where Rob had agreed to come to the Y of the road and that’s where he was going to be. And it was right in the middle of the large cut block that he was hunting.
[01:07:54] And as I pull up there, there’s no Rob and I’m looking around and I look far down the cut block and I see a ATV headlight and I’m going, Oh, there’s another ATV down there. Well, maybe there, maybe he’s talking to somebody talking to Rob, but as I looked a little more and a little more, and I kept looking and I thought, it’s not moving. It’s not moving.
[01:08:16] And Oh, lo and behold, I realize it’s actually a fire. I thought, Oh, that must mean the moose is down and it’s, good on Rob for thinking that way. I probably wouldn’t have thought that, to build a fire. And so I went down there to, to meet Rob and pretty exciting time.
Rob Wilson: [01:08:35] Yeah, it was. And I sure appreciated your help there, Mike. one of the things that I’ve learned over the year, and I’ve had my hunting mentors teach me is how to build fire. And I’ve been encouraged to build a fire. And when that moose went down, of course, my thing is I have my process that I follow and when I shoot an animal, and I kind of explained a bit of it today, earlier today.
[01:09:01] I waited 10, 15 minutes before I even thought about approaching the moose, because that’s what I do. I don’t want to have a moose that’s dying, as peaceful as a death as it can, get bumped out by my presence in the area. So we want it to die, on its own in peace, hopefully, unless it’s obviously wounded and then we follow up and, and take care of that animal.
[01:09:24] But I waited my 10 minutes, 15 minutes by the clock and walked up to the animal, made sure it was dead, and that I caught my tag. And the very next thing I thought about was, Oh boy, this is a big animal and I’ve got to get the guts out because out of respect to the animal, the animals life, and to ensure that the meat is the highest quality meat that you have the ability to eat, you’ve got to take care of that animal.
[01:09:50] So thinking about getting the guts out. But it’s a big job and you basically need to have a helper to hold the leg up so that you can get at the gut cavity and get the guts out. Knew that was coming after dark, and I knew that we had seen lots of sign of predators in the area, so I wanted to try and help Mike find me, as well as deter any predators that might be interested in the moose, so I started a fire.
[01:10:21] I started a fire on the road right away actually before I went into the moose, to make sure that Mike could find me after I walked into the kill site. And I made that fire nice and big cause I knew I wasn’t going to be anywhere near it for a while. So I dumped a whole bunch of logs on it.
[01:10:36] And then at the kill site itself, I built a fire thinking, well, that might help Mike walk into me after he found my first fire. And then it’s time to get down to business and get those cuts out and take care of the animal as best we can. And, yeah so Mike and I started working on this problem and, very quickly it came evident that, it became evident that we both had different tacts or tactics that we wanted to employ to, to get this animal out.
[01:11:06] And, I learned something from you, Mike, and I, you, you approach me in a different way than I do. And I certainly, learn from the way that you approach cutting an animal. And, and I really appreciate that and so thanks for sharing with me. And, yeah, we got the guts out, but then we had to make a decision or, you know, what were we going to do next?
Mike Welti: [01:11:30] It’s dark, very dark and getting late.
Rob Wilson: [01:11:32] Yep, we’re tired, we’re hungry or getting cold. So we pulled back a little bit of the hide trying to help the moose get cooled down. And one of the things that my hunting mentor Dylan had taught me over the years was, it’s important to try and get the animal up off of the ground because the ground is a great insulator. So we worked some logs underneath the animal and rolled the animal up onto the logs to allow for air to circulate underneath it.
[01:12:01] And, we left and went back to make sure that those that were at camp that might’ve been worried about our wellbeing, we’re aware that we’d shot a moose. We knew they would have already likely figured that out. There was one of two conclusions. We had a mechanical issue, or we shot a moose. So we headed back towards camp to let our hunting party know that we’d had success, and I’ll let you take it from there. We’re driving down in the, you’re very good capable two up ATV.
Mike Welti: [01:12:32] Yeah, well, exactly what we had to go through. This was the area that we were talking about earlier, that it was through two different activations. So the, and several kilometre in on between, even both activations is probably at like a kilometre and a half or so between each activation. Plus there’s still a few more kilometres in. So here we are going out on with headlights and going through these deactivations and coming back and we meet Paul and.
Travis Bader: [01:13:00] Travis.
Mike Welti: [01:13:00] Travis, sorry. I’m so excited now. Yeah. So we meet them and they’re so happy. I mean, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever gotten a big hug from Paul. He’s so excited.
[01:13:15] But anyways, we got back and we, I know they wanted to go in and get the moose and, I guess we sort of all together made a decision that it probably will have to leave it for the night. And one thing that, again, with the fire that Rob had built before we left, we really stoked it up because we thought.
Paul Ballard: [01:13:33] And.
Travis Bader: [01:13:35] There’s a little something else that Rob.
Mike Welti: [01:13:38] Rob. Yeah, that’s right, you know, he has this. You know, he talked about me having different technique of gutting the moose out, but I’ve never really heard about somebody taking their underwear off and putting it on the moose. This was supposed to be the deterrent.
Rob Wilson: [01:13:50] I thought that’s what everybody did.
Mike Welti: [01:13:52] But either way, you know what, anything that’s could possibly, could help the predators from staying away it was, would be successful, that’s, that’s great.
Rob Wilson: [01:14:01] Yeah. I actually rode behind Mike on his ATV commando.
Mike Welti: [01:14:06] Oh no.
Rob Wilson: [01:14:07] It was an exciting ride.
Paul Ballard: [01:14:11] Well, but then of course, we returned to camp. Everybody has, you know, gets rejuvenated, washes up where, you know, the excitement is now palpable between everybody. Get up early the next morning and it’s time to go in and get that bounty back and treat that meat very well.
[01:14:31] Which we, all thanks to Mike’s ATV, we were able to get in there. He ferried everybody up to the actual carcass, in, I don’t know, it took about an hour and a half, I guess, to get everybody in there. It was very, meaningful to me to bring Finn close and put a knife in his hand and let him do a little bit of skinning of the carcass.
Travis Bader: [01:14:54] Oh he loved it.
Paul Ballard: [01:14:54] You know. Yeah. But that was, you know, I felt, a deeply important experience for him to have to have on that first hunt like that.
Travis Bader: [01:15:02] Oh and he still talks about it.
Paul Ballard: [01:15:03] Oh that’s, you know, and we did that. My memory of the moment was, bending over and in the first 10 seconds as I’m just about to touch the animal, feeling something in my eye and getting bit by something right on my eyelid. So I ended up doing, you know, the rest of the day with one eye
Travis Bader: [01:15:22] You looked like you got popped in the eye there.
Paul Ballard: [01:15:24] That was really strange. I don’t know what that was, but we got ’em all quartered up, it worked very well. We one of our techniques that we will share is to take a rechargeable battery reciprocating saw in there with us, which made the quartering fantastic.
[01:15:41] In the end, when we got to the butcher a couple of days later, those four quarters were all within just like a couple of pounds of each other, so. Perfect quartering up, it worked well. We were able to load those quarters onto the machine to get it back to camp and then ferry them onto Travis’s machine back, and then eventually up onto the game pole for them to, to age a couple of days before we went home. So it was good.
Rob Wilson: [01:16:04] Yeah, I just wanted to speak to a couple things and, and I don’t know if it’s podcast worthy, Travis, you can cut this out later if you don’t want it in there, but.
Paul Ballard: [01:16:13] We’ll cut that out.
Travis Bader: [01:16:14] Done. Yeah, forget that. I don’t edit, what are you talking about I don’t edit these things.
Rob Wilson: [01:16:19] But that’s the character. And, two things that kind of came to mind as we’re telling this story, is how I felt. Mike, you spoke to it when we got back through the deactivations and we saw both Travis and Paul at the last deactivation before camp, the furthest point that we, they could have got in relation to the down animal.
[01:16:49] Both Paul and Travis were there and they were concerned, right. There was some concern because you didn’t know for sure, but Paul had put on it as Bubba coveralls. He anticipated that there was a good chance that we’d shot an animal. But we got off the ATV and Paul asked what had happened and Mike said something along the lines like, Rob shot a moose.
[01:17:14] And Paul’s reaction was so genuine and so joyous. Like, I’ll take that with me for the rest of my life, it was pretty special. It was just, it was something else to behold. So, there was like no holding back that joy that you experienced, through other people being successful in the hunt. And I really appreciate that and.
Paul Ballard: [01:17:37] No animosity, no nothing. That’s, you know, the part of that, it’s the group, you know?
Rob Wilson: [01:17:43] Yeah. No. And that was, that was there, I mean, there was pure, pure joy, pure emotion, and there was no hiding that.
Travis Bader: [01:17:51] I actually tried to get a picture of that joy and emotion, the anticipation of it in the cam. It didn’t turn out well on camera but, and Paul’s like, why are you taking my picture? I’m like, you’ve got to see yourself, Paul, I mean you can’t contain it.
Paul Ballard: [01:18:03] Yeah. Yeah, no, it was good.
Rob Wilson: [01:18:05] Yeah. When, when you heard it was arms up in the air, face turned up to the sky and yeah, it was, it was really special. Yeah and then just character. So character for you Travis was like, I know that you, and you had things that you needed to do and we were talking the last day of your hunt and the next day you had planned to leave.
[01:18:28] And there’s a couple of times where Travis showed character on this trip, in that stand out in my mind. And, and one was joining us on the hunt after we weren’t successful on the group draw and you knew that you had the opportunity to shoot like a spike fork moose maybe, but low odds.
[01:18:47] And you still came out on the hunt with us because you’d committed to the hunt. And I certainly appreciate that and I really appreciated the fact that you were willing to kind of stay around for as long as you could, even though you’d planned to leave, earlier than that. And to help us with processing the animal and getting the animal out of the field.
[01:19:07] And when given those opportunities to test a person’s character and someone is willing to go the extra mile and stick around camp to join the hunt when they have a little odds of success to pitch in and pull the animal out of the field, even though you’re really supposed to be back at home or you’ve got other commitments.
[01:19:32] To me, like these two guys, and Mike as well, there are guys that I would, I would hunt with in the future. Just by their actions, they, they’ve proven to be good hunting companions and folks with, with character that I just wanted to recognize.
Paul Ballard: [01:19:49] Oh.
Travis Bader: [01:19:50] Well, it’s something that the woods will bring out in people, right? It’s a good mirror of a person’s character and ability, and it’s a good time to, for self reflection. You know, there’s not much hiding when you spend a week or more together with a group of people in hunting camp. You, our
Paul Ballard: [01:20:10] Speaking of.
Travis Bader: [01:20:11] Flaws will become evident.
Paul Ballard: [01:20:12] Speaking of not hiding, one of the pieces of equipment that Mike brought. Was a shower, a portable shower, what make is that? We would give them a shameless plug here. Zody. So Zody makes a whole series of showers from a little small one right up. And Mike shows up with the, looks like a big chrome fire extinguisher in which you heat up on a burner and the thing actually has a thermometer on the side. And then, like I say, not hiding anything, watching Mike have his shower there.
Mike Welti: [01:20:47] It was awesome though.
Paul Ballard: [01:20:48] With his Zodiac and using it to actually do the dishes and everything else to get, you know, pretty much. Almost immediate hot water on demand with that. That was a, an excellent piece of kit and you know, your prayers, but you know, watching him sitting out there.
Mike Welti: [01:21:03] Picked a perfect day for it.
Rob Wilson: [01:21:06] It’s not that kind of podcast.
Mike Welti: [01:21:07] That afternoon, it was warm.
Paul Ballard: [01:21:08] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [01:21:10] So what do we talk about after the hunt. So the hunt’s over everyone’s packing up. I think I had now gone home.
Paul Ballard: [01:21:17] Yes.
Travis Bader: [01:21:18] And you guys were going to hunt for a couple more days. Save for the fact that the weather had turned.
Paul Ballard: [01:21:23] The weather was starting to look like it was going to get nasty, and it was actually getting warmer, which is probably more than anything, you know, of a concern. And this beautiful animal that had given up his life for us is just not worth wasting, you know, cooling it down, you know, getting it to the butcher, all this sorta took a priority at that point.
[01:21:45] So we packed ‘er up. I guess it took us a, you know, a half a day to get the tent and everything down. We went to the beautiful, let’s not name that motel partway back, and then, had a nice meal, ate some fresh vegetables and stuff like that, which was good. Got up the next day and went to, and, did we give a shout out to him or does he want to keep it a secret?
Rob Wilson: [01:22:11] Oh, I think he’s a, well, we’ll keep it secret.
Paul Ballard: [01:22:14] We’ll keep it a secret. An excellent butcher in the Fraser Valley that did a fantastic job cutting the meat. Made some fantastic sausage for us. Everybody got a good portion of meat. He was, I think it was just shy of 400 pounds exactly on the hook when we got to the butcher. So you know, that’s pretty good.
[01:22:35] That you know, he was, he was a mature bull. He wasn’t an old bull but there was certainly a, an adequate amount to share amongst four guys and beautiful quality meat. It’s just been a treat. Every bite that we’ve had, I know at our house, that’s the way we feel.
Travis Bader: [01:22:51] Oh it’s been fantastic.
Rob Wilson: [01:22:52] Yeah.
Mike Welti: [01:22:53] Totally agree.
Paul Ballard: [01:22:54] Yeah.
Mike Welti: [01:22:54] Very nice.
Paul Ballard: [01:22:54] And we were, we didn’t loose an ounce of meat, due to spoilage or anything else like that. The timing was good.
Rob Wilson: [01:23:01] Yeah, it was interesting. So when we went to this, unnamed butcher, who works by word of mouth and isn’t the busiest butcher in the lower mainland, as a result. We saw some other moose hanging and one moose in particular had a bit of a tinge to it, bit of a green tinge to it, and it came down to it.
[01:23:25] He had to actually cut a bunch of meat off of the moose quarters, unfortunately, because, those hunters weren’t able to get the moose out of the field in time to ensure that it didn’t spoil. And we’re all about trying to do the best we can to take care of that meat after you pull the trigger. And as a result, the meat tastes that much better on the plate.
[01:23:47] And I don’t know the circumstance of that particular moose and how it came to be that way. Sometimes it’s almost inevitable. But, in our case, I sure was grateful that we’d taken the decision to get out of the field as quickly as we could to get that moose out to the butcher.
Paul Ballard: [01:24:05] I think you can plan a 10 or 12 or 14 day hunt, but if you do harvest early, you have to have that contingency plan. Either somebody leaving early to go to the butcher or you’re gonna collapse the camp, because if you, you know, you’re not doing anything respectful or ethical to waste meat by staying there longer. You know that’s the gift. That’s the, you know, that’s the gold or brass ring, you know, when you do get something like that, but to try and be greedy, to get more, it’s very wasteful.
Mike Welti: [01:24:38] Yeah, well freezers the only option really. You’d have to bring in a decent sized freezer through and start to cooling the meat.
Paul Ballard: [01:24:45] Yup. Yeah, and I mean, you know, we could almost do another podcast on just the logistics of the, some of the equipment that we take. And you do see in some hunting camps where people have a large chest freezer and they’re running that off of their, you know, they’re running that off of their generator or whatever the case may be.
Rob Wilson: [01:25:03] And we in fact, had a chest freezer.
Paul Ballard: [01:25:05] Yeah, which was actually more just though to keep our food in, you know, or what we were going to consume. We were able to freeze the heart, we put some other parts in there, the grouse and you know, that was able to go in there for the return trip. And I have, we have used that freezer in the past for things like freezing bear hides. You know, getting a bear early in a trip, it’s easier than to try and salt the hide and everything else, just to roll it up and freeze it. That works good too.
Rob Wilson: [01:25:35] But that was part of our plan, if we had to, we knew that we could stick a quarter into the freezer.
Paul Ballard: [01:25:40] Cool it down.
Rob Wilson: [01:25:40] Get that quarter cooled down. We’d pull it out, hang it, put the next quarter in, and there’s a bit of a theme coming out in our conversation today, and that’s planning. And I think it’s important to have a good plan. And we were fortunate in our trip that, kind of our Sealgair, led us down a path of good planning from the get go and that plan included having a plan to take, some tactics, employ some tactics, take care of the meat.
Travis Bader: [01:26:09] Well, what do we leave that to the listeners if they want to leave a comment, if they’d like to hear about how we planned for this, from start to finish, what we would bring and all the logistics about that. And we can do another podcast on that. But you would have to have listened through this whole podcast up unto this point in order to reach that but if they, I do like that comment, let us know and we will do that podcast. I guess as it’s going on a little bit here, maybe we should look at after the hunt, is there anything that you guys would do differently?
Rob Wilson: [01:26:42] Hmm.
Paul Ballard: [01:26:44] I think we should have brought one more vehicle.
Travis Bader: [01:26:48] I was pushing for that. I figured that from a contingency standpoint.
Paul Ballard: [01:26:53] I would say, you know, now and we, you know, for that, had something happened, that I think I would have liked to have done different. You got a flat tire, by the way, going up there.
Travis Bader: [01:27:03] I did.
Paul Ballard: [01:27:03] We can’t forget that so.
Travis Bader: [01:27:04] Actually I did forget about that. That was on the trailer and just ripped it.
Paul Ballard: [01:27:08] Yeah, going in. So again, on another thought too is just having that ability to get all of your gear out if there is that kind of an emergency. So between the vehicle that we traveled up on, which had Mike’s machine in Mike’s trailer, my machine on the back of my truck.
[01:27:25] We had the eight foot box of my truck to transport plus Mike’s trailer leaving with the meat at the end. We were pretty darn close to our maximum GVW, you know? And that’s, and then with the amount of distance we had to travel on, other than paved roads, that becomes an issue. So yeah, I would have said one more vehicle.
Mike Welti: [01:27:46] Or a larger trailer really. If you had quite a bit of a longer trailer, bigger trailer, you would have had a bit more suitability.
Paul Ballard: [01:27:52] Susan, are you listening?
Rob Wilson: [01:27:54] You know what comes to mind for me, was communications. So as much as we planned our hunt, we plan to have communications tools with us. It’s important when you’re on these group draws to you, you need to be in, to have the ability to immediately communicate with your co-hunters, the people that have drawn the tag and share the hunt with you.
Paul Ballard: [01:28:18] Ethically, legally.
Rob Wilson: [01:28:20] Yeah.
Paul Ballard: [01:28:20] Safety. You must.
Rob Wilson: [01:28:22] So, in our circumstance, we had a combination of amateur radios. So Travis has his amateur radio license, I have my amateur radio license. So we had a combination of amateur radios and FRS radios. So the, the little family radios and, inReach devices. And from my experience, there’s two things, that those amateur radios, by far, are a much better tool at communicating over long distances than those little FRS radios.
[01:28:55] The radio that I have has 20 times more power than a little FRS radio. So you are able to reach out and talk to someone and thus extend the distance you can effectively hunt in a group with those radios.
[01:29:09] The little inReach devices, yeah, you got to pay a monthly fee for them, but you can text each other with them and they are the bees knees. In fact, I think every hunters should have one of those things. There are something else. Satellite communication is the tool that everyone should have when they’re out on these hunts. The two way communication option over though some of these devices is groundbreaking technology and I encourage everyone to think about getting them.
Travis Bader: [01:29:41] How bout you Mike? Anything different?
Mike Welti: [01:29:42] Well, no, I would say I would like to add exactly I, when I went back, I started looking at these radios a little bit and I did investigate the one that you had there, Rob, and I did find out exactly what you’re saying is really everybody should have at least that level or better, you know, so that, that would be something. Other than just a slight modification in supply list, I can’t think of anything. You kind of kind of surprised us with this question to think about it, but nothing really comes to mind other than a few small things, supplies and maybe the radios and.
Travis Bader: [01:30:15] Yeah, the only thing I can think of would be a 10 ply tires instead of 8 ply for me on the trailer, and I think that would have saved me from having to swap out the one that blew. Thankfully, I had dual axles on the back and no damage. That’s the only thing I can think of was a really good group. It was a fantastic hunt. They got some great memories, not all of which we can share on the podcast, but it was, I mean, we got the, the shower memory, which I wasn’t there for. That’s, that was kind of interesting.
Paul Ballard: [01:30:42] It was worth every bit.
Rob Wilson: [01:30:43] You missed out. Oh yeah, big time.
Travis Bader: [01:30:44] And I think, you know, it was funny, when we’re talking about putting the underwear on the moose. I just get visions of, he hung the underwear on the antlers. So he didn’t put the underwear on the.
Paul Ballard: [01:30:55] Parts, ya no.
Travis Bader: [01:30:57] Anyways.
Rob Wilson: [01:30:57] It wouldn’t fit. I can’t figure out why they underwear wouldn’t fit on the moose.
Paul Ballard: [01:31:03] And of course we got there, you weren’t there. Your underwear’s on the moose, we had to.
Rob Wilson: [01:31:07] Who get’s to touch it.
Paul Ballard: [01:31:08] Touch your underwear to take it off the moose to start skinning it before you.
Rob Wilson: [01:31:13] You gotta employee the chopstick technique.
Travis Bader: [01:31:15] Oh that’s good. Well, why don’t we call it there? And if people want to hear about anything else on this or there’s areas that they’d want to expand it on, they’ll let us know.
Rob Wilson: [01:31:26] Yup. Sounds great.
Paul Ballard: [01:31:26] Thank you. Thank you, Travis, for putting this together.
Mike Welti: [01:31:29] Thank you very much Travis.
Paul Ballard: [01:31:29] And geez, it was nice meeting with you guys again, under this kind of a circumstance. We were hoping to do this out in the bush, but I think it was a lot more comfortable to do it.
Travis Bader: [01:31:38] Definitely comfortable. Well, so that’s a wrap up there. Can you give me one more moose call, but we’ll do this one closer and I’ll put that like that. So you can be.
Paul Ballard: [01:31:47] On this one, or?
Travis Bader: [01:31:48] On this one be, we’ll have it two pickups, but you can get close to it. So we’ll see what happens.
Paul Ballard: [01:31:53] *Moose call* You want a bull call?
Travis Bader: [01:32:14] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [01:32:16] *Bull Call*
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