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River Valley Hunting
MOOSE IN THE MARSH-- This cow moose was caught eating lunch in a marsh on Route 120 between Roxbury and Andover recently. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)
Moose with a Bow and Arrow
Dixfield bowhunter Mike Hebert slowly drew his Mathews bow to full draw, taking aim at the huge bull moose 70 yards away.
At the same time Geremy Wilson, a nephew and sub-permittee from Pennsylvania, raised a four-foot stick over his head and rocked it back and forth to imitate a rutting bull.
The hunting duo hoped to pull the targeted bull in closer for a clean shot while hunting in a swampy section of big woods, just west of Ashland during Maine’s 2009 moose season.
Hebert hunts turkeys in the spring to sharpen his archery skills, and practices target shooting with his bow all summer in preparation for big game bowhunting in the fall. The moose-hunting archer said he practices at ranges of up to seventy yards, but his personal limit on big game ends at fifty yards.
The technique Hebert’s nephew used lured the massive bull 20 feet closer, giving the Dixfield archer his golden opportunity. As Hebert released the Easton Axis Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) arrow, both hunters watched in amazement as the speedy shaft went completely through the shoulder and chest of the moose.
In recounting the hunting episode Hebert said, “I was shooting the new Mathews Reezen 7.0 with an arrow speed of 335 feet-per-second (fps). I knew the bow and arrow combination was very accurate, but was totally amazed to watch the heavy arrow pass completely through the huge moose. The arrow was an Easton Axis, Full Metal Jacket, with a carbon core and a metal sheath, and a Rage two-blade broadhead. I’ve never seen anything like it – when the arrow went through the chest of the moose, steam puffed out from both sides of the animal and it only ran 50 yards and dropped.”
Hebert’s moose field dressed at a whopping 895 pounds. I happened to be at the Ashland tagging station when the Hebert family brought their moose in for registration and weighing. I just had to ask how they did it – tagging a trophy moose can be tough, even for a Maine resident.
Hebert says there’s more to this story than the perfect bow and arrow combination.
“We got some great help from Ed Bozenburger, a local woodcutter in Ashland,” said Hebert. “He didn’t have to, but he stopped in to camp on the Sunday before the opener and out of the goodness of his heart he showed us a few spots to look over and offered some tips. He also volunteered to call the moose for us – he uses his own voice and does a good job. He gave us some good tips that were helpful – the poor guy’s been putting in for a moose permit for years and has never been drawn. He just loved helping us. We really owe him.”
That has to be the best tip anyone could get for hunting moose in Maine. Most locals, especially those working in the woods, have become familiar with the moose in their area; where they feed, how their travel patterns change for each season, where they bed, and where they drink. Most importantly, they’ve patterned moose hunters over the years and know their routes and hunting habits – and how to steer clear of the majority of their activity.
While reliving this hunting story over the phone with Hebert, I congratulated him once again on his hard-earned success. In his humble fashion, he tried to deflect my enthusiasm for his success.
“It was a team effort,” said Hebert, “I couldn’t have done it alone. There were quite a few folks involved in this hunt; my brother Lauren, nephews Geremy Wilson and Aaron Perreault, cousin Jon Hebert, and we’ll never forget the help from our woodcutter friend Ed Bozenburger.”
A bull moose taken with a bow and arrow ranks as a trophy no matter what sized rack it sports. Good equipment counts, but it won’t work unless it is meshed with lots of practice, good technique, and a camp full of good-hearted family and friends.