Media Archive

Hunting buddies come with trophy, great story

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 46, November 12, 2003

By Ben Bragdon
Staff Writer

Observer Photo / Ben Bragdon
TROPHY RACK - A British .303 remade from childhood memories by Billl Graves, sits atop a the 21-point. 60+-inch rack of a moose shot by Graves and Lou Dell'Olio during the second week of moose hunting season, The pair got the moose in WMD 4, which covers a huge span in northwestern Maine that has parts of northern Piscataquis and Somerset counties.

The sun was setting on the first day of moose hunting's second week. and Bill Graves and Lou Dell'Olio were ready to call it quits.Dell'Olio had waited 20 years to win a permit to hunt the beast of the great North Woods, and he would have to wait another day to get his trophy.

But hunting stories are full of wonderful accidents and this one is no different, so it was around 5:30 p m . with the light coming low over the trees, when the bull emerged from the woods near Caucomgomoc Lake. grabbing the immediate attention of the two sportsmen.

"We had just stopped," Graves said. "We were going to go slowly back to camp. but then this guy showed up in a logyard."

The moose cut a formidable silhouette against the forest background. the huge, webbed hands of his rack reaching high off his long, muscle-bound body.

Dell'Olio leveled his gun and fired a perfect shot, but the bull did not drop. Three more shots, coming from both Dell'Olio and Graves, and still the animal stood. Wounded and ornery, it took off away from the logyard and up a hill "like a freight train," says Graves over a field and through choppings before finally going down around a third of a mile from where it was first shot.

When the reached the moose, the best pans of their initial reactions were confirmed. Ten to 12 feet long, officials would later guess the animal's live weight at over 1160 Ibs. The rack's 21 points were spread over a span of 60 5/8 inches.

The pair, quickly losing light, knew they had to work fast to get the sedan-sized animal and its trophy rack out of the woods and back to the road

"We thought we were sunk," said Graves.

There own attempts with winches, saws and other tools proved unfruitful, and it seemed the two were again out of luck until a crew of Canadian woodsmen emerged, just as the bull had. to salvage the day.

Negotiations for the crews help, and that of their grapple skiddcr began in earnest, only to hit a snag common in international relations "They spoke no English." Graves said. "And I speak almost no French."

After drawing a plan in the sand. and flashing cash the true international language Graves struck a deal and the moose and the hunters were soon headed for the tagging station in Kokadjo where the bull weighed in dressed at 968 Ibs. The pair then changed their plans and headed home to Brownville where warm showers and familiar beds greeted them at 3 a.m.

The magnificent moose will now be mounted and put on display for all to see. The trophy will spend half of the year at Dell'Olio's house and the rest of the time at Graves', assuring that both men will have plenty of opportunities to tell and retell the story surrounding the hunt. Both men are now remodelling their houses to accomodate the moose's wide rack and their work hauling the moose is far from over.

"It's going to be at least a two-person job every time you move it," Graves said.

By now, it is a sure thing that the families and friends of these two men have heard the story of the Great Moose Hunt. and with the holidays approaching it is sure to get told a few more times.

But Graves did not wait until he was home to begin the boasting. Before heading home. Graves had made a call amending a poem he had written before he left in order to set the record straight.

He had left a message on his answering machine when he departed a short verse that started, "Roses are red. Violets are blue" before finishing with "I went on a hunting trip with my buddy Lou".

The big event called for a new line now, and Graves gleefully added to it over the phone, finishing the poem this time with the shouted line, " I just shot a great big moose with my buddy, Lou ! "

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.