A SEPTEMBER MOOSE FIGHT
When a moose, enraged by a wound on the muzzle - (the only place where they seem to feel anything) - attacks a man or fights back on being attacked by a buck, it is a matter of rearing high in the air and stabbing down with the sharp-edged and pointed hooves of the front legs.
But when the bull-moose engage each other in the rutting season, it is a head to head affair - rarely, if ever, fatal. They grunt, they roar, they don't draw much blood for their antlers are blunt, but a lot of hair is lost, in the literal sense of the phrase. I was at my cabin on the Meno Keosawin (happy hunting grounds) Club territory, east of Pearl Lake on the Quebec-Chicoutimi railway when two friends joined me for the week-end. We had bad luck in the matter of guides. They may have been good saw-mill hands but they were out of place in the woods. So I set them to build a land- ing stage and repair the roof. Having killed my moose the night before, I had no further urge to kill and so accompanied my friends as guide to a lake about 3 miles off where there was some open ground.
Arrived there, our movements became circumspect and silent. They settled themselves on a bank behind some bushes overlooking the lake, the swamp and the inlet of a brook, and sallied forth to pros- pect. The air was clear, cool and still. So I lifted up my voice and made a moderate moose call, it was answered at once from three directions and three moose came splashing and grunting at me. One got my scent and bolted, crying like a frightened donkey. The others, both big fellows, engaged at once and presently were in the stream, where footing was better than in the swamp. It was a pretty noisy affair - panting and grunting and the rattling of antlers and an occasional short roar.
What little breeze there was came off the lake so we got up and followed the fight as it moved to the mouth of the brook and it was clear that one moose was a good deal heavier and that he was getting shoved about. There was an old canoe lying bottom up at the outlet, so we all three packed into it and followed the fight to the shore of the lake. Now there was lots of roaring and grunting; lots of hair floating about and a good deal of blood too. The sun had set, there was no moon and still the fight went on with no intervals between rounds. At length the bigger moose began to fail, presently he was in deep water, and breaking off the fight found his way round to the swamp on the far side of the creek and melted into the landscape. The victor thereupon got out on a rocky point and called over and over again, swinging his head with his mouth to the sky. In a few minutes the wakes in the water of seven cow-moose became visible reflecting the last gleams of sunset. As they landed the bull gave a final gladsome roar and led the way into the forest where they walked sedately in single file.
Meantime the old canoe had taken a lot of water and suddenly settled, leaving the tarée of us seated on the thwarts up to our waists in the brook. we then became acutely aware of the facts that: it was cold, it was dark, it was now S p.m., there would be no moon for a couple of hours, it would be a very little wee, curly moon at that, our one torch was dead, and nearly all our matches were wet. But we mustered 4 dry ones, so thankful for small mercies, including an axe; we made a fire and got back to the cabin for supper at 2 a.m. next morning.
There were at first three bull-moose in that party and we could have shot the lot at very short range, but ring-side seats at a long moose fight are worth a lot more than carcasses and trophy heads.
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