For the past 15 years or so, a group of friends and I have been heading north in Sunset Country for the last week of the moose hunting season that closes annually on Dec. 15.
Typically it's cold and the hunting is tough but we always have a good time and find a way to tag a moose or two. It's a week that I look forward to every year.
This year there were eight of us that made the trek north for the last five or six days of the season.
Over the years there have probably been around 20 guys come and go through our group with a few of us going all these years.
For some of our friends, families, jobs and other obligations in life have prevented them from going year after year but everybody who can go is always welcome.
After a couple weeks of mild weather, of course it got super cold when we decided to head north last week.
While it made snowmobile travel uncomfortable and took more effort to stay warm, the cold weather helps with getting the moose more active.
They have to eat more and keep moving to stay warm as well.
As a group, we typically get two or three tags to harvest moose.
The goal is to get a moose or two because the meat is fantastic to eat but the experience is what is the most appealing to me.
I love getting away in the big country we have up north, where my cell phone doesn't work and there aren't many people around.
Getting to run around on some of the old logging roads over fresh, white snow is almost therapeutic.
Since we've been going for so many years we have a few hunting spots that we like, that have been productive for us in the past.
We usually spend a few days hunting those spots and then a couple of days exploring some new country.
This year we had success one of the days we visited some new country while one of the other days was a bust, without any fresh moose sign found at all.
The exploring is part of the fun of it for me.
Our strategy is to get into some of these areas and hopefully find sign that there are moose around.
If we do that we'll usually formulate some sort of push to try to get the moose to move.
They have a great nose and are tough to fool.
Over the years we've had so many close calls with moose running out in the open in front of hunters in our group, only to bail at the last minute and stay in the thicker cover or run right back past the pushers.
Moose are amazing animals with their size and their ability to survive through the harsh conditions they are faced with here in Northwest Ontario.
Just another reason why I'm proud to live in Sunset Country, to have the opportunity to cross paths with these critters in their vast natural habitat.
I already can't wait for next year!