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Home » » Outdoors » John Harrigan

October 25. 2014 7:44PM

Is this really what makes guys crazy?


All right, here's one for the books - the Vermont bow-hunting books. And the New Hampshire connection? This happened right across the Connecticut River, in my 35-mile view from Colebrook, in the town of Bloomfield, Vt.

So these two guys, fire Chief Kevin Rice of Pomfret (the actual name of a town) and his co-licensee Steve Schaefer, scouted their hunting area and saw numerous moose, including a harem jealously guarded by a young bull. They also spotted another bull. A humongous one with lip curled, hackles raised, rubbing his legs, ready to head-butt and more.

So they go across the river to Colebrook and get a refrigerator carton and take it to the area where they'd been seeing this huge bull. They carve it into something sort of, somewhat, resembling an alluring (ostensibly) sloe-eyed, come-hither cow moose, and spray paint it black, the approximate color of a moose. They prop it up and then grunt ("moose calling" is not a trilling, siren-call sort of thing), and this behemoth bull hauls itself into range.

Actually, too well within range. The Colebrook News and Sentinel's front-page story said that the moose's "head was down, its massive antlers swaying from side to side, and drool dripping from its mouth." Rice, on reflection, opined that the moose had "gotta turn eventually, or step on us," but it trotted along, eyes focused laser-like on the cutout, so close "that he almost trampled me."

Rice made a clean shot and the moose dropped within 60 yards. Amazing to me for an archery shot on such a huge animal. Then the real work began - gutting and cleaning the animal and winching it to the nearest road. Weighing 919 pounds field dressed, it is Vermont's largest ever shot with a bow.

Judging from personal experience, these guys will wind up with a lot of friends at the table, and their meat might be gone by next hunting season.

(Camp-going friend and Vermont outdoor columnist Gary Moore contributed the story for the News and Sentinel. For the story and pics, go to

On our regular Friday 8:13 a.m. WGIR radio gig, Jack Heath's cohort Jennifer Wells asked a question about bird feeders and bears. A friend in Bedford had found her birdfeeder in ruins, and to the question "Do you think it was a bear?" I answered "Unless she has an extremely high-jumping dog."

But the larger question, if there can be such a thing on radio ("You have 15 seconds to respond to this question," this joke from the debates) is whether people, good do-bees that they're supposed to be, as ordered by societal dictates, should march out in lock-step at some appointed Autumnal hour and take their birdfeeders down.

Now, Fish and Game does a great job at spreading the word about doing just that in the spring, when bears, just out of deep sleep and ravenous before the advent of green grass, will trash birdfeeders and everything else, including, not long ago, my entire main barn and shop and grain-storage area, demonstrating their notoriety as "cochons de bois" by the French and Indians, ("pigs of the woods").

And the department's commendable approach is that bears do not need even more reasons to get into trouble with a human population that is ever more encroaching on wildlife habitat. All too often, a bear becomes a repeat opportunist, and the bottom line becomes that a fed bear is a dead bear.

But chickadees and other birds that stick out the winter flit and flock into my feeders, and I like to think that I help them through, and I've never lost a feeder during those long, late fall and deep-winter months, but rather only twice in lo these many years, to ravenous bears in the spring.

Write to John Harrigan at or to Box 39, Colebrook 03576.

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