Father and Son Fly-in Moose Hunt

Scott and his son hunted with Wilderness North in Northwestern Ontario

The moment my son, Timothy, and I landed on Church Lake in Northern Ontario we knew it would be a magical trip. We had planned our fly-in moose hunt for a full year. Timothy had made a meticulous checklist of supplies to ensure we’d be completely self-sufficient. Wilderness North is a fantastic host, but if you forget the peanut butter, they're not going to fly it in. Our supplies included a new marinade that Tim had concocted from olive oil, apple vinegar, brown sugar and spices. Our hope was that we’d be dolloping it on some fresh moose meat.

On day one we covered as much of the lake as we possibly could. Church Lake is shaped like a cross, with the cabin at the centre. So it was convenient to boat each arm of the cross and return to the cabin for a pit stop in between. We found some incredibly "moosey-looking" territory.

The real beauty of a fly-in trip to a remote lake is the honour of being totally alone. We were the only people on this beautiful wilderness lake. No need to wake up at 4 a.m. to beat other hunters to a good-looking spot.

Forging a Bond

In the next few days, Tim watched and listened with amusement as I moaned out my best renditions of “moose-on-the-make,” while wafts of pungent smoke from our “cow-moose-in-heat” scent sticks twisted into the swamp. The time spent sitting in expectation seemed endless. But those hours were spent together. Whether we were talking seriously, joking around, or simply sitting quietly, we were enjoying our time together.

My son is a likeable young man. Even if I am biased. He got into big game hunting for the adventure and to spend time with me. He had weighed the consequences of pulling the trigger on a big game animal and felt he was ready. He’d missed a couple of chances at white-tailed deer the season before, primarily due to buck fever. We both hoped he’d have a chance to redeem himself.

54-inch racked moose harvested in Northwestern Ontario
Tim and Scott Smith with the 54-inch racked moose they harvested on a Northwestern Ontario fly-in hunt. (Photo credit: Scott Earl Smith)

Bull Moose Spotted

On day five his chance came. At about 3:30 in the afternoon, we spotted an unusual shape about a kilometre across the lake. Tim grabbed the binoculars and exclaimed, “It’s a bull moose. And it’s huge!” We boated across the lake and worked our way into a shooting position along the edge of a black spruce stand. The bull was climbing up a mossy bank when Tim stood and fired three quick shots. The big bull came to rest on the edge of the lake. His massive rack measured 54 inches, truly a trophy Canadian moose.

That night Tim’s special marinade got called into service. If there is a better way to celebrate the relationship between parent and child than a father-son moose trip, I don’t know what that would be.

About Scott Earl Smith

Scott Earl Smith is an outdoor writer and photographer living in Thunder Bay Ontario. Scott was first published in 1991 in Fly Fisher magazine, and since then his work has appeared in most fly fishing publications in North America and many general outdoor magazines. These credits include popular periodicals like American Angler, Fly Rod and Reel, Eastern Fly Fishing, The New Fly Fisher, Fly Fusion, Canoe and Kayak, OnTarget, Fly Fish America, Ontario Out-of-Doors, and The Outdoors Guide.

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