This section is from the book "Moose-Hunting Salmon-Fishing And Other Sketches Of Sport Being The Record Of Personal Experiences Of Hunting Wild Game In Canada", by T. R. Pattillo. Also available from Amazon: Moose-Hunting, Salmon-Fishing and Other Sketches of Sport: Being the Record of Personal Experiences of Hunting Wild Game in Canada.
On the re-start for home all (dogs and hunters) showed they were tired by the way they trudged along, but encouraged by the hope that each step carried them nearer rest, as also near a moose, which Ready had made me promise to fire at if if what ? if we got another chance. When that part of the track was reached where we saw the dogs had turned back in the morning, it was evident we were following one a day or two old, for there was no scent in it, and the prospect of coming up with the maker, unless yarded near Louis Lake, a short distance ahead, was slim.
Up to within 400 yards of the lake there was no change in its appearance, and the dogs were entirely indifferent to it, following on behind; but at this point Ready, followed quickly by the others, jumped out ahead, and rushed at top speed to the south-west, which movement naturally quickened ours and brought us on to fresh tracks, which confirmed the hope that she had yarded in some of the swales. All the tired feeling fled as " Bow-wow-wow! bow-wow-wow!" continuously greeted us from a short distance ahead our course having been changed to follow them. To this spot I was rushing as speedily as prudence dictated ; another headlong flight through over-eagerness I was not anxious for. To prevent her attention being drawn from the dogs, my movements were cautiously made, until within 75 yards, where the first view of her was had standing at bay, with all the dogs heading her and fiercely barking. The distance was rather far, on account of intervening small trees, so I crept up till she stood 60 yards away, looking fiercely at her annoyers.
" Now, Pattillo, your reputation is at stake. Let neither tender-heartedness nor over-eagerness cheat you of this, probably your last, chance to redeem it." My Enfield is resting on a spruce bough, cooked ready for the pressure. I want to place that bullet at the butt of her ear, to do which she was ranged three inches below. Inexperienced hunters would say, "Oh! he'll undershoot her." Wait a little and see! Practice had taught me my Enfield cartridges were loaded with sufficient powder to kill sure, at blank range, 100 yards, so that when firing short of that, the nozzle must be lowered accordingly. The resulting shot will prove the truthfulness of this reasoning. Further, when firing at a large body, to be reasonably positive of your target, a special prominent point needs to be selected as a bull's-eye, otherwise the sights are not ranged and the bullets fly wild.
Many a splendid sportsman at ordinary game, men who could at 40 or 50 yards take the head off a partridge, miss their first moose, simply because the target is so large that they look at space and shoot at it. So is it the case in wing shooting the best shots being made with large flocks by covering that single bird in proximity to the many others.
Pardon the digression made for the benefit of the inexperienced, and we will put our eyes on that barrel again, to see it is pointing right. Poor moose I your browsing days are over. The trigger is pressed, the woods ring with the report, and on the ground she lies, with scarcely a muscle moving. The bullet went straight to the bull's-eye the butt of her ear. As I ran up to her prostrate form, a salute of " Well done ! well done! " was borne to me from those hitherto upbraiding hps, " You can do it when you want to."
" Do what ? Shoot dogs! "
" Oh ! tut! that's unkind."
" Well, that is only squaring up old scores before getting out of the woods."
While the conversation was proceeding he was approaching me to find at my feet the carcase of a three-year-old farrow-cow moose. As soon as he had looked at her my attention was called to the unusually dark colour of her hair, which he informed me was a sure indication of her being a fat one, which she proved. After bleeding her, he looked around as to the chances of getting the carcase home, to find a team that could be brought alongside her. So while E. remained to dress the body, I went to the house for an ox-team, reporting at the same time our success. The young man already referred to in the early part of this cruise pressed into service two of his companions, and off we started for the game. Inside of two hours it was in the yard and under cover, closing up a wonderful day's experience for me. Three moose had actually been within my grasp, for both the others could have been mine as easily as the one we captured, but the "if" let two of them escape.
I cannot say at the close of this adventure a most remarkable one that the result made me over-joyous, as many a previous cruise had done. When a bird or animal has the chance of keeping clear of the range of my gun and is attracted within it, falling thereby, there are no compunctions; but a moose held by dogs, so that he has no freedom, seems to me unjustified slaughter. It was my first experience, as it was the last, in this style of hunting. The unpleasant task of reconciling the owner of poor Rover to his loss was preformed by the promise of a nice pup, which was sent him the following week. After two days longer amongst the geese, my journey homeward was taken, the waggon being loaded with moose meat, five large geese, eighteen blue-wings, twenty-seven trout taken through the ice, and clams galore, with a small chap like myself to balance it.