The learning curve of four great enthusiasts
Comments collected and contextualized by our hunter Émile David.
First of all, I have to tell you that I’m not a moose hunting expert. I do go hunting when the opportunity presents itself and I’ve been filming my adventures intensively on the ground for two years with the Chasse Québec team, but I wouldn't dare tell you what to do to improve your success rate.
When Sépaq approached me to write an article on common moose hunting mistakes, I quickly realized that I’d need advice from better hunters than me. So the Sépaq team offered to give the podium to women. I started working on this article by telling myself “it’s easy; I just need to find an expert woman who’ll reveal her secrets.” But to be perfectly honest, I didn't know who to turn to. It has to be said that when it comes to hunting, most of the time, women take a back seat. They guide, they accompany, they initiate other women, they hunt with their spouse or family, but in general, they're less likely to share their exploits than male hunters. However, modesty aside, many female hunters have really well honed skills. And some of them are so passionate that they often tell stories with fire in their voices and express thoughts about the hunt that deserve to be shared.
So I present to you, through the stories of four great hunting enthusiasts, common mistakes to be avoided when moose hunting.
1. Véronique’s tip: stay on the lookout
The first woman I spoke with was Véronique Gagnon, a hunter from Stoneham in the Quebec City region, with more than 10 years of experience. She hunts most of the time with her spouse, the hunting guide David Falardeau. Her story is particularly relevant for those who avail themselves of the services of a guide or who accompany someone more experienced in the forest.
2. Corinne's tip: the importance of context
The second woman I spoke with was Corinne Gariépy. Having grown up in a family of hunters, she took over her parents' hunting and fishing store, located in Prévost in the Laurentides, in 2009. A chronicler on the QVO television program since 2015, she hunts moose with her husband every year. Here's what she had to tell me.
3. Sophie’s tip: stay in the role
The third woman with whom I conversed was Sophie Boisvert. She grew up in a family of hunters and harvested her first moose in her twenties, after a number of years spent accompanying her grandmother on hunting expeditions. She has been a moose guide with an outfitter for four years now. Sophie has never been one for half measures. As she says, “when I hunt moose, I don’t imitate the moose, I turn into a moose.” And this becomes perfectly clear when listening to her story.
4. Mélanie’s tip: setting off with a plan
The last woman I spoke with, but not the least, is my friend Mélanie Dion. I had a chance to shoot with Mélanie in recent seasons as part of the Chasse Québec web series. I saw her make incredible progress in her independence as a hunter and in her general skills in the forest. She has been interested in hunting and gravitating around moose for nearly 20 years now. Last year, she came very close to harvesting a first moose for which she had done the calling herself.
5. In summary
Here are common mistakes to avoid during your fall hunt:
- If you're being guided, stay proactive, watch for signs, try to stay oriented and focused on your goal. Keep in mind that your guide can't see everything. In short, keep on the lookout, and avoid going on autopilot.
- Also, stay aware of your surroundings. This includes wind, light, the topography of the terrain, the vegetation, and the time of day. These are data which can completely change how you think about a location.
- Stay in the role. Act like a moose, think like a moose; slow down. Your hunter’s instinct only stands to be honed this way.
- Make plans and discuss them with your partners. Hunting is unpredictable, and you always have to be adaptable, but by discussing different scenarios beforehand, you'll have the right reflexes and a toolkit of strategies that will enable you to react quickly when confronted with a particular context.
To conclude, try stuff, take risks, and make mistakes. Regardless of your level of expertise, there are still things to check out, experience, and learn in the forest. That’s what makes hunting beautiful and what gives it all its flavour. Then, remember that what makes us become good hunters is our ability to analyze what we've done right and what we’ve messed up, both in success and in failure.
Good hunting to one and all!