( 20x14 in.), $1000.00
I was grouse hunting on an old logging road, now no more than an overgrown trail, for the ninth season. It was mid October in northeast Minnesota. My hunt headed northwest to Hudson Lake after crossing Ahmoo Creek twice. Nearing the second Ahmoo bridge crossing, I could plainly see his immense tracks again as I had each previous year, hoof prints nearly the size of a Clydesdale draft horse. He had torn up the old road -- small trees were uprooted and others snapped off. This was his territory and he was in rut. As I approached the bridge, the dense, coniferous forest canopy gave way to tall grass along the banks of Ahmoo Creek. There he stood, a gigantic bull moose that looked me in the eye for seconds before spinning away and crashing along the creek into the towering jackpine and spruce. I had finally seen The Boss, all 1200-1500 pounds of him, after eight years of anticipation. Well aware of the poor eyesight of moose, I was grateful that he chose to run off instead of mistaking me for an amorous cow or a competing bull. I never saw The Boss or his tracks after that season -- maybe wolves got him or he died quietly of old age.