Wednesday Evening, March 31, 1937
Interesting Experiences In Nova Scotia Woodlands
To the Editor of The Register:
A few weeks ago I attended the Sportsmens Show here. The crowds exceeded those of a year ago and the show was generally considered to equal or be better than that of last year. It was excellent. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick each had large, splendid exhibits. It is good advertising for the Maritime Provinces and calls the attention of great numbers of people to the attractions of those provinces.
The show acted as a reminder that I promised to write some more woods experiences for The Register hence this letter.
Very early one morning years ago John Truesdell (my guide) and I were standing among the trees and bushes on the edge of a bog where John had been calling moose on this morning without any result. Quite unexpectedly a tiny animal was seen running around among the bushes not more than ten to fifteen feet from where we were. John placed the back of his hand to his lips and made a succession of sounds in imitation of a field mouse, which quickly attracted the attention of the small animal a weasel and it ran around in considerable excitement. We both kept very quiet and made no motions while John continued to play the part of the field mouse. Back and forth the weasel scampered and each time it came a bit closer to John. After two or three more minutes it came right to where he was standing, looked up at him, then ran off, and was not seen again.
On another occasion in a different section of the woods John conducted similar performance with a red squirrel. He called it from away up in a tree down very close to where we were sitting: at last it too concluded there was no lunch of field mouse to be had in that quarter and it scampered off.
Talking with the owls during the evenings was always a favorite pastime of Johns and many is the owl I have heard him call from a distance to trees in close proximity to the camp. It is rather a weird experience too, on a very still night to hear an owl promptly answer from a spot nearer, then still nearer and finally quite close to one.
Using similar tactics at certain seasons of the year, John has persuaded muskrats to come out of their holes so that he might have a look at them.
On one occasion very early on a bright frosty morning, John and I sat concealed in the bushes on the edge of the Medway River near Big Falls waiting for an answer to a moose call. A short distance above us there came the "quack-quack-quack" of several wild ducks feeding along the rivers edge. Gradually they came down the river and passed us only a few yards from where we sat. We had kept very quiet meantime so they were quite unaware of our presence. They had gone past us some twenty-five yards or more when John, with a merry twinkle in his eye, said, "Now watch them." He then began a conversation with them with a "quack-quack-quack." They were all attention at once and quickly answered back. Then up the river they swam to investigate. The conversation between the ducks and John was kept up for a few minutes, then not being able to locate the source of the sounds, they turned and slowly swam off down the river.
One morning at about the spot where the weasel went through the antics I have described, John was calling moose. It was a dull, chilly morning and there was a very heavy mist or fog covering the bog in front of us. We were close to each other, only a few feet separating us, when we were made aware that something was approaching us a hundred yards or so away. There was very little sound and it was intermittent but whatever it was that caused the sounds gradually came nearer. It was a pretty tense time for five minutes or so for there was nothing done to help us determine what it was that was coming so slowly, so steadily, and so quietly toward us. There was not a sound save that of something pushing through the brush and past the trees. At last through the misty atmosphere there loomed up the form of a moose, not more than twenty yards away. We were well hidden by the bushes in which we were concealed and there was no wind so the moose had got no scent or us, nor could it see us. At first one could not tell whether it was a bull or a cow, but in a minute or two there was no longer any doubt for it stepped right out clear of the
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Interesting Experiences In Nova Scotia Woodlands
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bushes on to the edge of the open bog it was a large old cow moose. With much deliberation and without the least concern (being entirely unaware of our presence), she walked out in front of us on to the open bog, slowly disappeared in the fog and went across to the other side of the bog several hundred yards away. When she got well across, John talked to her a bit by means of a birch bark call and she was interested enough to answer back, but she did not return across the bog to pay us another visit. It is not often that one is as close to a moose as that but it happens sometimes.
On other occasions I have known a cow moose not only to answer a call but to come to a call as this cow had done. She, however, had not answered until after we had seen her and had gone across to the other side of the bog. Curiosity had prompted her to have a look at the strange cow which John was impersonating and to see what was going on down there at the edge of the bog. Fortunately no harm came to her, but that morning she did not get her curiosity satisfied.
A. LeROY CHIPMAN
New York City, N. Y.
March 24th, 1937.