When we moved to Maine nearly 4 years ago, I was pretty excited about seeing moose. We have deer all over the place in Georgia – but they are tiny, skittish creatures in comparison to what I imagined to be a majestic creature such as the moose.
My husband was even more excited about the prospect of being able to hunt for one… Thus began his hobby of entering the moose lottery. So he did. And we waited.
In the meantime, I learned a few things about moose in Maine:
- The eyes of a moose don’t glow like a deer when your headlights shine on them at night. Therefore people in Maine don’t like to drive after dark, which is at about 3 in the afternoon in the colder months.
- Moose aren’t skittish about vehicles and have very erratic running patterns. That is a nice way of saying moose are crazy.
- No matter how many moose I have seen they still amaze me with their size. I still can’t figure out how that navigate through forests that grow so thick with trees and brush that even my kids can’t walk through them.
This year, my lucky husband won the lottery! The moose lottery, that is. He was drawn for the first week of the season for a bull permit. He put his hunting team together and counted down the days until he went on the big hunt. There was much discussion among our family about where the antlers would be placed and what the moose would be like. Our daughter was particularly enthralled with the idea of having a moose rack above the mantle. And decorating it for Christmas. With pretty bows.
I was more concerned about freezer space.
So the day came when my husband and his friends set out on the big hunt. I received a phone call around mid-morning and through the terrible reception on his end I was able to make out that they had a moose down! I was so excited for my husband!
And then it hit me. I don’t know how to cook moose. There aren’t any moose recipes in my Southern Living© cookbooks. I decided I would just wing it and be adventurous. And prayed that our kids (and me) liked moose meat. Because we would be eating it for awhile.
My husband’s moose wasn’t huge. He almost hesitated to shoot it because it was the first morning of a week-long hunt. But good sense overcame him when he looked back at his 3 hunting buddies (one with camera duty), the truck nearby, and the guy with the skidder down the road that had already offered to load it up for them. He took aim and the rest is history. And in our freezer now.
My husband is a big guy. And this moose made him look small. We kept our fingers crossed that it would fit in our freezer. And it did, barely.
Mr. Moose (as our kids have named him) has been our meat staple and oh my goodness is it good. Every time we have a meal with moose meat, both of our kids bless Mr. Moose and thank God for “letting daddy shoot this moose”. It is pretty cute, and I pray that they are still thankful for Mr. Moose when we are still dining on moose meat this time next year.
We have had moose burgers, moose spaghetti, moose sausage, meatloaf, and a few bites of jerky. And we’ve just had the meat for a little over a week now. I love the taste and the knowledge that the meat is lean and clean and not full of yucky hormones.
But I think I may have already overdone it on moose meat because I had a dream about Mr. Moose. In my dream, I watched a moose wander around our house at night in the dark. It was like he was looking for something or someone. In this dream I went back to bed with the hopes that he would just let himself back outside. I awoke in a panic when he stuck his face in mine and breathed on me as I was laying in bed. I bolted upright in bed to realize it was a dream and then I heard footsteps on the stairs. For a millisecond I thought it was the moose. Then reality set in and I recognized my husbands footsteps as he was getting in from work. I told him about my silly dream and he chuckled and said, “well, maybe you’ve been eating too much moose…”
I’ve backed off on the moose menu a bit this week. More because of time constraints. But I do think we need to pace ourselves. 600 pounds of moose meat should go a long way… and in these tough times I am so thankful that we have what we do.
Do you have a favorite moose recipe? Send me a link or share it with me in the comments. For a Georgia girl, I’ve done pretty good with it so far, but I could use a little help from my Maine friends.