Posted October 09, 2015 in MH Whitehorse YT:
Apostolic Moose Hunting

by Jean-Claude Morin, as told to Beth Ryan.

An annual moose-hunt is part of life for some of the residents of the Yukon, and much depends on its success. One moose gives a family enough meat for a year.

It was autumn, moose-hunting season, the time when we hunt to get meat for our families. One of my fellow hunters asked me to take Jake (not his real name) with us because, "I think he’s lost his faith. Let him come hunting with us so we might have the chance to speak with him." So we took him along.

We went by truck and then by Argo (an amphibious vehicle), to the hunting ground. On the first day of the hunt, I said to the first hunter, "Today we are getting your moose. In fact, Mother Mary will give us your moose." So we went, just the two of us, leaving the second hunter at the tent with Jake.

After driving in the buck brush (land where buck brush grows plentifully—a shrub that deer and moose eat and behind which they and grizzly bears can hide) for a while, we spotted a moose some distance away. I said to the man with me, "I will call him closer so you can have a better shot."

And so it was. I did a moose call, and the moose started coming our way, Then he stopped walking, so I called him again, and he came our way again. And so it was that the moose came closer and closer until he was close enough for a killing shot.

The young hunter was very excited and happy, for this was his first moose. Thank God and Mother Mary for this wonderful gift.

That night, after a big day of butchering the first moose, I said to the second hunter, "Tomorrow is your turn. Mother Mary will give us your moose tomorrow."

Here is how it happened. After a pretty long ride into the buck brush, I said, "This looks like a good spot." We waited there a while, did some calls, and, lo and behold, there came a moose. After calling the moose to come in at a close range for a better shot, hunter #2 successfully shot his moose.

Again! Wow! Thank God and Mother Mary! The second hunter said, "This is awesome. You said we would get my moose, and here it is! Just the way you said."

"It’s not me doing it," I said, "but Mother Mary acting through us."

Now it was Jake’s turn. He and I drove out the next day, leaving the others behind as we drove once again to the hunting grounds.

When we arrived, I started calling the moose. Jake thought maybe we were going to be shooting right away, but I told him, "No, we have to set up camp and sleep here. Then tomorrow, Mother Mary will give you your moose for meat for your family."

By this point, after we had gotten two moose, my faith was at its peak; I was just bursting at the seams. All had gone exactly as we had prayed for. I felt like I was pretty much like St Peter—walking on water.

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, off we went—to get Jake’s moose. It wasn’t too long before we came across one standing there with his female. Jake aimed and successfully brought the moose down. He was bursting with joy at his luck. We skinned the moose and quartered it, and loaded it up for the long ride back to our camp.

That’s when we discovered that one of the Argo’s eight wheels, the front right one, was not working properly. I checked it out, discovered that it had a broken bearing, and switched it with another wheel. But now the load was too heavy.

So we had to leave the moose behind—in grizzly bear country! To keep predators away, we gathered brush and built a huge fire beside the pile of moose meat.

In order to repair the Argo, we had to drive all the way back home, which we did. I meant to replace the alternator belt at the same time, while I had a full set of tools easily at hand, but I forgot.

Two days went by before Jake and I were able to return in the Argo, in the rain, and drive about 25 km from the truck.

"A bear will have found it," Jake said as we drove.

"Mother Mary is watching over it for us," I assured him. "What kind of Father gives a gift to his son and takes it away by a bear? Quit worrying, the bear will not have touched it. The meat is there and it’s safe."

Then Jake was worried about meeting the bear. "God doesn’t give us a moose so the bear can kill us," I told him.

Then Jake asked about the Argo: "Is everything all right?" I looked at the charging gauge and realized the battery wasn’t charging. So I had to shut the engine off to fix it. I keep a couple of alternator belts on hand and had sufficient tools to change it.

Then I tried to start it again. "Tunk." "Tunk, tunk, tunk."

There wasn’t enough power to turn over the motor. "We will wait about twenty minutes," I said, "because sometimes a battery will get a little more charge by resting, enough to turn it over."

Earlier, I had told Jake that I planned to pray a rosary in thanksgiving for a successful hunt. Now he ventured, "Why don’t we say the rosary now and pray that the Argo will go?" So said, so done, and the time flew by.

After the rosary, with all the eagerness of a new convert, Jake blurted out, "Now! Let’s try it." Again I turned the key. "Tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk, tunk…"

Now I was the doubting Thomas. I hoisted a few belongings and told him, "We’re walking back to the truck." I wanted to get a quad to boost the Argo.

I was already moving away when Jake cried out, "No! We prayed. You’re a pious man. Try again."

"It’s not gonna happen," I told him. "Every time you try, it gets weaker."

"I don’t care; try anyway."

With a prayer in my heart for his faith’s confirmation, I turned the key. "Nyon, nyon, nyon, nyon…. hurrrrrmmmmmm."

Jake began to cry. Then he dropped to his knees and said, "I thought Jesus didn’t love me."

"What do you think now?" I asked.

"He loves me."

We went for the moose, which was all there, touched only lightly on the shoulder by a small bird. We were all very thankful to Mother Mary and to Jesus for such blessings, and we now looked forward to a much needed rest.

Jean-Claude and Irene Morin are pastoral administrators of a parish in a small isolated village in the northern Yukon.


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