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Freighter canoe moose scouting

Feb 1, 2013
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Geraldton, Ontario
Right now, the bush around me is inundated with several thousand moose hunters from Southern Ontario. It's always that way up here until at least the end of October, when they get afraid of being snowbound on the bush roads. Finding a place to go moose hunting during this time is challenging. Every side road has a trailer park on it, lots of times, 20 or more guys hunting off one tag. My plan this year is to stay close to town, where no-one hunts. With this in mind, I came up with a hare-brained idea. I would put my new big freighter in at the boat launch that is less than 2 minutes from my house, motor for 19 kilometers to where Kenogamisis River comes into the lake, and explore some old bush roads back there for moose sign. I was also thinking of bringing my solo canoe in the freighter, so I could paddle upstream from the camping spot and portage into an area where there would be little human activity.

Also, I wanted to try out my new trailer configuration. I kind of went overkill with 6 x 6's as beams, but the thing is solid.

Loading and unloading is simply a matter of backing in and driving out. Since my house is so close, I just leave it strapped on upright. If I was going a distance, I would have it turned over.

I was on the water by 8:30, and it was -2 C according to the weather network. Refreshing to be in the water at that temp.

I was averaging around 18.5 kph, which I thought was pretty peachy. Here's a little video for all you speed demons.
Took me about an hour and a bit and two litres of gas to reach the river. I crawled up the river, worrying about rocks, but the water was practically at spring time levels.

I walked quite a few trails. There was some fresh moose sign, but not much. Looked like a bull might have walked down to the river a day or two ago, but no well used paths. I ventured further back into the bush. No leaves left now, just the tamaracs for colour.

Brought along my old Cooey model 60 .22. For all of my American friends, Cooey was a Canadian gun manufacturer, and any Canadian who has hunted has had one at some point. They went out of business several years ago, and now there are people collecting them. My model 60 is dead tits accurate, but its a tube loader, so I don't take it out much. However, since I was just walking today, I took him for a little jaunt. Saw two birds, shot two birds, the little Cooey can still shoot.

After walking for a couple of hours, I called it a day. I won't be using this spot for moose hunting, water is too high. Getting back past where I was would be dicey even with my solo. Sat down and had a coffee and warmed up for the boat ride home.

Used just about 3.5 litres of gas for almost 40 k of boat travel, way better mileage than my truck. Might head out again on Sunday to get into another part of the lake, supposed to a balmy 12 degrees C.
Nice pics, cool video. Looks like the 6hp does the job. 20 Southern Ontario guys hunting off of one tag aye, seems you would have a funny nickname for them;).

Good luck.
Yes, the way it works is everyone buys a moose tag, only some receive a bull or a cow. Everyone can shoot a calf in any area for two weeks of the season. As long as you have bought a moose license you can hunt in a party. You just have to be in communication with all party members, usually by two way radios. Think you can be up to five kilometres apart, as long as you can contact everyone to let them know if a moose has been taken. That's why in our party, some of us are pool 1 and some are pool two. Pool one often get a tag, pool two, seldom. So someone in our group (4 guys) usually gets a tag.
Had a Single shot Cooey years ago. The accuracy didn't match my Remington 510, so I sold it.
It appeared to be a nice gun.

Love the video ,and the pounding of the waves against the hull ! That brings back memories !

Good Luck on the Moose Hunt !

PaddlingPitt, do I sense some motor envy, lol? As a long time human powered advocate, I started coming to the darkside about three or four years ago, when I got a skidoo. When I realized it was more fun than a barrel of monkeys, I started thinking about motorized water transport, and built my first freighter, a 17 footer with a 2.5 horse power motor. That was a lot of fun too, but my wife is afraid of big waves. I had built a 20 foot big canoe for her about 9 years ago, and it was a sweet paddling boat, and she got used to the sea-worthiness of it. Once a motor was introduced, she became nervous again, so i really built this big one for her, it's a canoeists form of a romantic gesture. She really likes this one, feels safe in it.

My buddies all have huge fishing boats with 90 horsepower motors, onboard sound systems and gps', plush seats...cadillacs of the inland lakes. However, when I look at their carrying capacities, their maximum loads are only around 800 pounds, whereas mine is around 2200 pounds. Plus, they could never go where I went today. So I've kind of got the best of both worlds. This big hull still paddles pretty good with two people (almost impossible with one, as I found out today), but 18 kph hour is like light speed on the lake. You'd be surprised how relaxing it is the be bombing down the lake with a strong following wind, and not even noticing the size of the waves till you look behind you.

My next project is going to be to build a smaller 15 foot square stern that is light enough to portage long distances. That will open up a whole new era for me, ha ha!
Jim, I've owned a lot of Cooeys, some were keepers, some were duds. The single shots usually ended up with extractor problems. I had one I regret selling, two or three I couldn't sell fast enough. I've got a Cooey 16 gauge and a cooey .410 as well, they are both keepers. The little .410 has killed more than 30 grouse this year, with 2.5 inch shells. Guns and canoes go together so well, unfortunately many people think the two things shouldn't be mentioned in the same paragraph.
In my youth, I spent a lot of time in the squirrel woods with a .22 ! Kept me out of the pool hall, and gave me a love for the outdoors !

My first canoe was built to duck hunt ! Yeah, guns and canoes go together !

Fun times...I would be sorely tempted to just set up a grouse camp and spend a few days tented up. And yes canoes and guns seem to go together like peas and carrots.
Iskweo has the right idea, I can picture taking a freighter canoe loaded down with a really comfortable grouse camp. In a nice little bay out of the wind is a light green wall tent, birch wood smoke puffing out the the stove pipe on a frosty morning. Inside the warm tent is a pot of coffee brewing on the wood stove.
Moose hunting is great way to get a big hunk of protein in one fell swoop. Shooting a moose is hard work after the shooting stops, kinda like skinning and cutting up a quarter horse. Then you have to physically carry it to where you can load it onto some conveyance to bring it home. I had a friend, that when he was new in Alaska shot a moose nine miles from his rented cabin. It took him nine days to pack it home. Each morning after breakfast he would pack a part of the moose as far as he could (about a mile) then string up a meat pole. Then spend the rest of the day hauling meat, resting on the return trip.
How much more civilized to take a little stroll out of the grouse camp, pot a few grouse, roast them over the coals, basted with highbush cranberry ketchup. Other days fresh caught fish.
Ok you guys, you're right. Maybe I will return there with the canvas tent and wood stove. I have shot a lot of partridge this year already, but a partridge camp sounds good. But I'll take my moose gun anyway, I have a calf license, good for the next two weeks. Gonna check the weather forecast.
Jim, I've owned a lot of Cooeys, some were keepers, some were duds. I had one I regret selling

Of all the guns that have come and gone I still miss the little 20g Mossberg of my teen years. No shotgun has ever fit my frame as well, and I was more accurate with that Mossberg than any other shotgun I have owned.

I guess I could look for one at a gun show, just as a reminder of my youth. It was a 185K model with an adjustable choke, but have no idea which vintage (1950 – 1964) or variant.


I’m not a “collector” and rarely shoot any of my guns anymore except for occasional target practice at a friend’s sprawling swamp property. I do still travel with one. Or two.
Those old bolt action mossys can be had pretty cheap north of your border. Last one I saw was 120 bucks Canadian. I was always a 20 gauge guy, but latel the old single shot 410 is my go to.
For grouse and rabbits in the BWCA I bought a single shot youth 410. Short barrel and plastic stock but it weighs less than 3 lbs vs my full size wood stock 410 at 10 lbs.
My first gun was a Mossberg 195k 410 bolt action with that same screw choke. I shot a lot of rabbits with it. I have recently upgraded to a maverick youth model 20guage which I like quite a bit.
Ya, I've got the Maverick 88 12 gauge with an 18 inch barrel. A cheap and functional gun, it's the one I forgot when we went to Marshall Lake, lol.
Ok you guys, you're right. Maybe I will return there with the canvas tent and wood stove. I have shot a lot of partridge this year already, but a partridge camp sounds good. But I'll take my moose gun anyway, I have a calf license, good for the next two weeks. Gonna check the weather forecast.

This is the best way to get a moose, go out grouse hunting, cary a moose gun(don't leave it in camp...) and just walk in the bush!! I would love to have a combination rifle/shotgun for that purpose, 30-06/12 gauge or similar, one gun does it all!! But they are pretty rare this side of the pound and pretty pricey when you find one!! I use to cary a 22 single action colt... It was great for grouse, and then you can easily carry your moose gun with you, just in case!! But those days are over for me(carrying a hand gun that is)
The freighter is very impressive. The full transom changes everything. The West Coast is known for the drift boat or McKenzie River boat used to run rivers for salmon and steelhead. There are now a few builders adding width to the transom like the old Rapid Robert built in the early days. Outboards are commonly used on the big rivers for going upstream.

I took my wall tent and stove to Yosemite last fall. It was a curiosity. The young people had never seen one. Very comfortable and the way to travel in cold fall weather.