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New Brunswick Moose Cruise

I’ve heard about going with hunting guides on wildlife watching tours, but never done it. A guy I know who gives bear viewing (and not hunting) tours says the hunters mock the watchers. But the wildlife watching business isn’t nearly as developed as the hunting guide one. So where do you go if you want someone that really knows animals?

Staying in Fundy National Park I saw a brochure for nearby Adair’s Wilderness Lodge and their “wildlife tours.” Another couple in the park said everyone who went there loved it. I called and talked to Ida Adair, who said we might see deer or moose, but nothing’s guaranteed. Wildlife watchers know that’s part of the deal. The only ones who say you’re going to see an animal for sure either are lying or have some place staked out where habituated animals visit regular. The Adairs are neither. Also, they said taking our dog was fine. Larry Adair takes his shepherd with on trips, too.

We cruised around in Larry’s white van, pounding over dusty clay roads, looking in every field. A good part of the fun of the trip with Larry Adair is hearing his stories about his past adventures in the wild, with animals and with people. He may have been holding back any hunting stories that would’ve turned me off, but I think of him more as an enthusiastic outdoorsman. When I took a class for a hunting license for research, the instructor talked about the true sportsmen, who didn’t care whether they actually killed any animals, just about whether they had a good time with friends and helped others enjoy the wilderness. That’s Larry.

When I mentioned how some people in the states now get annoyed at seeing deer (which are still relatively rare in these parts), he responded “There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a wild animal.”

And we did get to see two moose cows. One, off in a field in the perfect sunset glow. The other was there when we looped back. Larry told me I could get in closer, just move when the moose’s head was down. Smart tip.

Larry mentioned that a big hunk of land near him might become part of Fundy National Park. When people asked him whether that would put him out of business, he said, no, he can make money teaching people how to hunt, with a gun or with a camera.

Ida, who made the pumpkin pie we had for dinner, also had neat stories about wildlife, like seeing the migration of nighthawks.

We also really appreciated the more laid back attitude in general in Canada about travelling with dogs. Originally for this fall trip David and I planned on going to Maine and maybe see some moose in the rut. But, we’re travelling with our old dog Jolly. He’s nearly 15 and we don’t know if this will be his last adventure.

But Maine wasn’t so accommodating. Baxter State Park doesn’t allow dogs. A moose tour out of Millinocket doesn’t either. David would’ve been content to stay behind but they didn’t even allow dogs in the cottage. So, we decided to head to New Brunswick, figuring it would be just like Maine, only more so.

We’re definitely tempted to come back to Adair’s in a bit. Larry says right after the 3-day moose hunt this week will be the rut. And then he’ll be able to call in a bull moose.

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