Abercrombie picked me up in Edmonton and drove 7½ hours north into the boreal forest. Our base of operations was a simple trapper's cabin - a 16 x 10-foot house heated by a wood stove. Electricity was provided by a generator. There was no shower or bathroom, just an outhouse. And the place is literally in the middle of nowhere. Abercrombie maintains a 1,000-square-mile trapline here, and every morning we set out on snowmobile and sleds to set and check fur traps while looking for moose sign.
The moose in the Birch Mountains-Leige River Wilderness are reportedly quite large for Canadian moose - 50 inches plus - because the hunting pressure here is so low. The key to taking one, however, is very cold weather, specifically -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when the moose slow down and hole up in the thick brush here, allowing you to find them within 300 yards of a fresh track. Unfortunately, it was too warm while I was there. We tried following some tracks on foot in the snow for a couple of miles. But Abercrombie said that a moose can just keep moving ahead of us when the temperatures are a balmy 0 degrees.
I saw lots of moose tracks, and some were gigantic. The moose are definitely there, but the brush is so thick that you really must hunt them when the weather keeps them in one place. Otherwise, you will never catch up to one and get close enough for a clean shot.
When we realized the moose hunting wasn't going to pan out, we concentrated strictly on the trapping. I must admit, I........(continued)