Skip to main content

Of Moose and Memories: Hunting Newfoundland with a Mossberg's MVP in .308 Win.

Of Moose and Memories: Hunting Newfoundland with a Mossberg's MVP in .308 Win.
It wasn't caused by the wind. Nor was it from a bird fluttering. The sound was produced by a moose sweeping through fir boughs. Soon another black spot appeared in its wake. A caramel paddle confirmed its sex. It was day one in Newfoundland, and we were already on a bull moose.

My guide, Gord Pelley, and I crept closer, tiptoeing through the foggy meadow. Chlurp, chlurp, chlurp. It was like sneaking across a sod-covered waterbed, every step sinking into the spongy ground.

Gord floated a moose call across the narrow bog, "Ouuahh." When the guttural sound shot back, Gord knelt down and whispered for me to sneak ahead. I could hear the moose descend the slope by sound alone. Then, the first tree shook in the dawn glow, its needles shedding droplets like a wet dog. Soon, another trembled, this one closer. I readied my Mossberg for a shot.

Then, nothing. As Gord kept calling, I probed the green jungle with my Pentax 8x32; time ticked by.

A dark spot silently emerged on the edge of the meadow. The bull. His slow, plodding gait carried him along the edge of the bog with ease. My finger tightened on the trigger as he passed broadside through a small shooting window. Snap.

By then, the rifle was on my lap and both hands on a camera. He was a beautiful bull, nice paddles and eight points, but he wasn't a first-day bull, so I only shot photos. Gord understood my logic. He, too, thought we'd find a larger bull. We had a week of hunting ahead of us.

A Family Affair

Moose hunting was more than just an adventure in my family; it was part of our fabric. My grandfather loved moose, and each year he would take four of us and plunge into the wilds of British Columbia for a week of family bonding.

Above: Mt. Peyton's exquisite lodge is tucked into the heart of moose country.

On my first trip, my grandfather was 88 years old, and I was 13. We hunted together twice more in B.C., and on each occasion we reminisced about the past, pondered the future and glued precious memories into our mental scrapbooks. Everyone loved the trips.

No one enjoyed them more than Grandpa. He called each trip his last, but we all knew it wasn't. Moose hunting was his Mecca, and he lived for the annual pilgrimage. Far from wealthy, and each hunt costing a small fortune, Grandpa would scrimp and save year-round so that the last week of September found him playing cribbage on the shores of Pickett Lake, surrounded by his favorite people on earth. On our last hunt together, I asked why he was still hunting in his mid-90s.

He smiled proudly and said, "Because I can."

Yes, but it was also for the opportunity to treat others to the hunt of a lifetime. He loved the hunting camp, the camaraderie, being away from the worries of everyday life. Like an old bird dog, Grandpa lived for the hunt.

Those were great trips, but, like all good things, they finally came to an end. Macular degeneration eventually depleted his eyesight, so Grandpa hung up his red-and-black Woolrich and a part of him died. He killed his last moose, a beautiful old bull, the year before his eyes failed. He was 94 at the time, but as he knelt in the frozen meadow by the fallen bull, his weathered eyes twinkled like a young man's.

The author's 94-year-old grandfather with his last moose in B.C.

Once he stopped heading north, the rest of the family did, too, and we hung up our yearly hunt like Grandpa did his jacket. Two months after his 100th birthday, he died. It was his time. My family set a date to spread his ashes at his favorite blacktail hunting spot, high in the hills of Washington State. Rather than join them, I did a funny thing: I headed out on what I thought would be my last moose hunt. Grandpa would have approved.

The Sponge

The hunt was booked through Mt. Peyton Outfitters, out of Bishop's Falls, Newfoundland, an area far different than the country I'd hunted in B.C. I fell in love with it immediately. For an island off the east coast of Canada, just 400 miles from Maine, its remoteness is astonishing. The locals call it The Rock, but I'm not sure why. With ample bogs covering the island like amphibious meadows, a more descriptive nickname for Newfoundland might be The Sponge.


At first glance, these bogs look just like another meadow, the type where Laura Ingalls from "Little House On the Prairie" might gallop and twirl. Set foot upon one, however, and you quickly realize they are less inviting. Picture shallow lakes covered with a squishy, grassy surface.

As difficult as bog walking is, it doesn't hold a candle to touring Newfoundland's vast network of "roads" atop four-wheelers. These paths are the most rugged I've traveled. Comprising gravel the size of bowling balls and natural guardrails woven from tenacious, face-slapping alders, these roads are simply brutal.

Over the five days of my hunt, I bounced and shuddered, hurdled and lurched over 100 miles of trail, perched behind my guide on a gyrating quad. It felt like riding two-up on a mechanical bull. We also traipsed over miles upon miles of soggy bogs, occasionally plunging up to our crotches in the deep fissures that lurk like aquatic potholes. However, they were well worth the aching abs, burning legs and sore back, as the uniqueness of Newfoundland's scenic grandeur was worth every expended calorie.

Second Chances

One morning hunted, one bull passed. With five days to go, I was confident that a bigger bull would wind up on the wrong end of my Mossberg MVP .308. I should have known better. Murphy's Law gusted in in the form of a warm front, which filled the next four days with high winds and even higher temperatures. Animal activity, along with my confidence, quickly evaporated like spilled gasoline.


We pressed on - and on and on - walking bogs, calling into wind-protected timber and, of course, bouncing over miles of roads rough enough to strand a bulldozer. Entire days produced fewer and fewer moose sightings. Our guides were stunned.

But that's hunting. In the evenings, our crew would regroup and discuss the day's events at Mt. Peyton's incredible lodge, perched on the banks of an expansive lake. This camp time proved to be a highlight of the trip. We'd swap stories, play cribbage and eat glorious meals prepared by our lovely camp chef, Deb. There was never a dull moment. Nonstop laughter left our full bellies aching.

Despite all this camp fun, we never ignored the fact that our moose tags weren't going to notch themselves. Each morning we'd head out optimistically, praying that the weather would break or a bull would make a mistake.

I thought our luck had changed on day three when Gord and I glassed a cow and calf traversing a distant bog. Next, a small herd of woodland caribou was spotted, their frosted manes glistening in the morning light. Shots soon rang out in the distance. Bang, bang! My friend Richard Mann had just shot a bull, and our group was no longer skunked. What's more, the animals seemed to be moving.

However, this didn't hold true. Despite doubling our efforts, the weather front proved more stubborn than us, and no new opportunities occurred during our final two days of hunting. As Gord and I parked the ATV in camp on the last evening, sadness overcame me. I was not ready to leave moose camp or the splendor of Newfoundland.

Strange things happen in life. That night, after our final dinner together, Gord approached with a stern face and a furrowed brow.

"Your flight leaves tomorrow at noon. We have time for one last morning hunt if you'd like."

Gord's job was done, and the hunt was over. He had given me an opportunity, one I had foolishly passed. But if he wasn't ready to toss in the towel, neither was I, so I graciously accepted his offer for one more chariot ride through Newfoundland's countryside.

The author's largest bull fell at just under 200 paces on day six of a five-day hunt, when the hunt was technically over. The guides went above and beyond to make this possible.

Over the past five days, we'd covered ground like a pack of hounds, ranging farther and farther from camp, trying every trick in the book to find another bull. Nothing seemed to work. Then, we rounded a corner and hit pay dirt not 3 miles from camp.

Gord killed the engine as I dismounted and racked the bolt on my rifle, stripping a round from its detachable AR-10-type magazine. My scope panned the gravel road and revealed two cows. I spotted a third animal alongside the road, broadside and behind a shrub alder. I went on autopilot, and two shots roared, my Winchester E-TIP bullets quickly anchoring the bull. It was a quick death.

I knelt by my first bull moose more than 15 years ago, with my father and grandfather by my side. On this October day, as my family spread the ashes of our patriarch 3,500 miles away, I sat next to my last bull moose in Newfoundland. All the bumpy roads and all the stress that life piles upon us simply melted away. Grandpa would have been proud.

Gord beamed as he counted each of the bull's points. "A For 'een pointer!" he shouted. As I stroked the bull's course brown hair and admired his paddles that stretched just short of 46 inches, I realized then and there that I would scrimp and save for as long as it takes to hunt moose again.

Why? Well, it's in my blood. And like my grandpa, Hub Faubion, once said: Because I can.

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket carry, as a method of concealed carry for a defensive firearm, can be a practical option when done right. This is especially true during the colder months when heavy outer garments can obstruct access to a traditional waistline holster. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, joins G&A contributor Kimberly Heath-Chudwin to discuss guns, training and gear, including Blackhawk's TecGrip holster that can make pocket carry more successful.

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

At the heart of the rifle is the Model 2020 action which wish designed and built with very tight tolerances thanks to Springfield's technology-driven manufacturing capabilities The stainless steel action features an integral recoil lug, and pairs with a fluted bolt employing dual cocking cams and an enhanced extractor for high pressure loads. The blueprinted and precisely machined action allows Springfield to offer the Model 2020 with .75" MOA accuracy guarantee. Despite being a production rifle, the Model 2020 should rival more expensive custom builds.

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout cartridge was developed to provide greater effectiveness than a 9mm at short and medium ranges when fired from a short-barreled suppressed firearm. Just because the cartridge wasn't designed to go long doesn't mean Rifles & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand won't take it there, using a large-format pistol, no less. Armed with SIG Sauer's 9-inch-barreled MCX Virtus Pistol loaded with Black Hills' 125-grain TMK ammunition, Beckstrand attempts to ring steel at 600 yards with help from Hornady's 4DOF ballistic calculator in this segment of “Long Range Tech.”

Surefire XSC Micro-Compact Pistol Light: First Look

Surefire XSC Micro-Compact Pistol Light: First Look

Small, lightweight and purpose-built for sub-compact carry guns, Surefire's XSC pistol light takes on EDC illumination segment.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

9 Commonly Misused Gun Terms How-To

9 Commonly Misused Gun Terms

Kyle Wintersteen

"Assault weapon." Sixteen-round "clip." A box of "bullets." When it comes to guns and gun...

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new RMRcc, they plan on dominating the concealed carry market as well.Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry Optics

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry

Jeremy Stafford - October 01, 2020

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new...

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun matches. Here's why.Savage MSR 15 Competition Review Reviews

Savage MSR 15 Competition Review

James Tarr - May 21, 2019

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun...

A guide on how to pair .223 and 5.56 NATO rifle barrel twist rates with bullet weights. Conventional wisdom says slower twist rates wouldn't properly-stabilize a heavy bullet. On the other hand, faster rates could over-stabilize lighter bullets. This is correct in theory, however, modern ballisticians have all but debunked the over-stabilization theory. All things being equal, it is better to have too much twist than not enough.Pairing Barrel Twist Rates with Bullets for .223 and 5.56 NATO How-To

Pairing Barrel Twist Rates with Bullets for .223 and 5.56 NATO

Keith Wood - November 17, 2018

A guide on how to pair .223 and 5.56 NATO rifle barrel twist rates with bullet weights....

See More Trending Articles

More Rifles

In this segment of Air Gun Reviews: Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Rifles

Air Gun Reviews: Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle

Guns & Ammo Staff - September 02, 2020

In this segment of "Guns & Ammo TV," Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr...

Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr head to the range with both .177-caliber airguns to test their aim and demonstrate why the full-auto selector is often called the Air Gun Reviews: Full-Auto Fun Rifles

Air Gun Reviews: Full-Auto Fun

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 26, 2020

Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr head to the range with both...

The sub-­7-­pound Winchester Model 1894 Deluxe Short Rifle has an overall length of 38-­inches and a length of pull that measures 13½ inches, making it suitable for self-defense or hunting purposes.Winchester Model 1894 Deluxe Short Rifle Review Reviews

Winchester Model 1894 Deluxe Short Rifle Review

Proofhouse - October 22, 2020

The sub-­7-­pound Winchester Model 1894 Deluxe Short Rifle has an overall length of 38-­inches...

There's a lot to like about the Kel-Tec SU-16E. With a gas-piston operation, the SU-16E is a departure from the traditional 5.56 NATO-chambered AR-15 design. Retired USMC Col. Craig Boddington takes a close look at the unique sport-utility carbine and finds that it's handy with many desirable features.Guns & Ammo TV: Kel-Tec SU-16E Rifles

Guns & Ammo TV: Kel-Tec SU-16E

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 28, 2020

There's a lot to like about the Kel-Tec SU-16E. With a gas-piston operation, the SU-16E is a...

See More Rifles

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now