A Dead Shot.

Hank had a nephew who was a good deer hunter but had never shot a moose. He lived some distance away and came to Dryden to get some advise and instructions on how to shoot a moose. Hank was happy to help and gave him some good shooting and hunting tips and made a suggestion just where to hunt.

On the last day of the hunting season the nephew showed up at Hanks cabin and admitted defeat. He had been out hunting all week long and never got a shot at a moose, even though he saw a couple. Hank agreed to go hunting with him and would try to find him a moose.

After many hours of driving up and down logging trails they finally spotted a large cow moose as she came out of the woods and stood near the edge of the road. Hank immediately stopped the truck and told the young man to open the door slowly and quietly and take the shot using the open window of the door as a gun rest.

As the young man got out of the truck he tried to load a shell into the rifle and dropped the whole box on the gravel road. As he fussed about trying to pick up the shells Hank calmly and quietly told him, “Leave the shells alone and just put one in the rifle.” As he spoke Hank opened his truck door, loaded his rifle and stood, pointing it at the moose that still remained at the side of the road. In a very quiet whisper he said, “I’ll give you the first shot and if you miss, then I will shoot.”

There was a loud bang as the nephew took his shot. Instantly the moose raced across the road and Hank fired. The moose ran up a bare hill of rock and then disappeared into the thick woods. It was all over in a few seconds.

The nephew started shouting and jumping up an down, “I shot him, I shot him,” then started running down the road to where the moose crossed. Hank got back in the truck and drove after him. The shouting and jumping was still going on when Hank checked the road and rock for signs of blood. Finally he turned and said, “If you don’t shut up and stop jumping up and down I am going to shoot YOU!”

“The moose is wounded so we have to track him and finish him off. Don’t make a sound as she could turn on us.” Ten feet into the woods Hank pointed to the body of the moose and after a quick check said, “She is dead.”

Hank sat down on a rock to have a smoke and sent the bug eyed nephew back down the road to pick up the box of spilled shells. By the time he got back Hank was busily skinning the moose. They managed to roll it over and as they were removing the last of the hide Hanks knife hit something hard. He soon dug out both rifle bullets stuck together! As they butchered the moose and hauled the pieces to the truck they came across the heart. On checking it closely they found both bullets had hit the moose in the heart!

Once they had the moose hauled home they had time to consider what happened. Hank believed the young man got off a perfect shot and hit the moose in the heart. As it bolted across the road hank shot the running moose and also shot it in the heart. The momentum of the running moose carried it ten feet into the woods where it dropped dead.

The first bullet went through the body of the moose and heart and came to a stop just under the thick hide. Hanks bullet did the same thing but hit the first bullet and caused them to stick together. It was an impressive example of excellent shooting with unusual results.

Hank kept the frozen heart in his freezer for years while the young hunter got to keep the two bullets. I had a chance to see the heart with the two holes. The nephew went home a happy hunter with a story he never tired of telling.

Moose Talk

I was in a coffee shop in Dryden, Ontario, Canada in the mid 1960’s during moose hunting season. It was about the third day of the hunt and the room was filled with many moose hunters, both local and out of towners. Many conversations were going on, the loudest from the macho men who had already shot a moose.

I had come to town to handle a couple of insurance claims for my old friend Hank, who owned and ran an Insurance Agency. Also sitting at our table were two old friends of Hank’s who were veteran moose hunters. The place was crowded so it was hard to ignore the conversations at the table next to use. Two moose hunters were loudly bragging how they had each got a moose on the second day of the hunt, and for one man it was the third moose he had shot in his life.

I could see that one of the men sitting with us was getting disgusted by the great out of town moose hunters that were bragging so loudly about their hunting prowess. He was staring at Hank who sat there silently drinking his coffee and ignoring the loud mouth.

The friend at our table spoke to Hank when there was a lull in the conversation. “Hank, did you get out hunting yet?” Hank answered in a rather bored manner and said “Yes”.

“What did you get Hank?” “I shot a large bull moose at sunrise on opening day”

It was at this point conversation stopped at the tables around us and the great hunters were staring at Hank and no doubt thinking, he doesn’t look much like a moose hunter. Hank was in his late 50″s, tall and of slight build and had been raised in Northwester Ontario. He had been hunting since his father first took him out when he was about ten years old.

With perfect timing, Hank’s friend asked another question, rather loudly. “Hank, how many moose have you shot since you started hunting?” There was a long pause, then, Hank said in a matter of fact voice, 54.

All conversation stopped and the loudest of the customers gulped down the remains of their coffee and slunk out the door with their tails between their legs.

I learned later that Hank helped his wife and children fill out their hunting licenses when they were down on their luck. He also helped needy old friends fill out their licenses because they depended on moose meat to get through the winters. The fact that Hank was an excellent shot helped.

Bush Pilots & Depth Perception

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I lived in Kenora, Ontario, Canada for ten years and made many trips around the area with Bush Pilots and float planes. Landings and take-offs can be exciting. Lifting off from a small lake and clearing the trees at the other end of the lake can get the blood flowing.

One year, back in the 1960’s, a young pilot transported a Moose Hunting party into a northern lake. After a successful hunt he returned to pick up the party and their moose. The first two plane loads deposited the hunters at their main dock cabin. Then he went back for the butchered moose.

The entire hunting party watched the float plane circle the lake and come in for another landing.  It was a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky and without the slightest breeze.  Not a leaf was blowing and the water was a smooth as a mirror.

As the plane descended to the surface of the water it failed to pull out and flew right into the lake and crashed. The pilot was killed and the plane was destroyed.

The accident was caused by the lack of depth perception, caused by the smooth glass surface. The pilot had no reference as to how high he was off the surface of the water.  From what he saw he believe he was much higher up from the  surface of the lake and failed to level off and allow the floats to touch first.

The answer to the problem was simple.  An expericed pilot appreciates the danger and simply flies over the spot on the lake where he plans to touch down and drops a life jacket onto that spot.

When he circles back he is able to judge his height off the water surface by watching the life jacket floating in the water.  Being familure with the size of the jacket gives him a proper gauge as to how high he is off the surface of  the lake.

It does take more time to make the landing, by having to circle and extra time, but it is a small price to pay when lives are concerned.