Bonnyville’s Adelard Bilodeau proves that being a good hunter is more about smarts and experience than athletic prowess, when he recently killed a moose at the age of 84 in what he describes as one of the best hunting trips of his life.
“To make a good hunter you’ve got to read the bush,” he says from listening, to spotting animal tracks and their eating spots.
Bilodeau went hunting to Pinehurst with his son-in-law Omer Robert and grandson-in-law Jay Karba. While they were heading to the cabin, he saw a flash of moose and ran ahead with his rifle. The moose was gone, so he called out with his moose horn. More than one moose answered his call, so he ran over to behind a spruce patch where the calls came from, and sure enough, there were two moose.
“He stood there and just looked at me and I shot him right here in the brisket and he went down,” says Bilodeau, pointing at his throat.
Since Bilodeau says it was the last moose he’ll ever get, he knelt down on the animal with his rifle and said, “Thank you Lord, this is the last one.”
Before this moose, he hadn’t caught one the past two years. But this one wasn’t really a tough catch.
“Imagine, we left here at 7 o’clock and at 8:30 we already had our game,” he laughs. “So this was the greatest of hunting trips I’ve ever had in my life.”
In the 25 or more moose he’s killed, Bilodeau says he has never got such a fat moose. “That is the nicest moose I’ve ever seen, he was fat like a pig.”
Bilodeau has been hunting since he was 15 years old and recalls catching wild chicken and rabbits to eat, as his family didn’t have enough cattle to butcher.
“It was tough luck when I was a boy.”
He also recalls trapping squirrels and weasels to fund his other passion, the violin. When he was 15 years old, he borrowed $10 from a credit union to buy himself a violin and paid it back within six months, earning 15˘-25˘ per squirrel and 75˘ a weasel.
His neighbour taught him how to play and within a month he could tune it by ear since tuners did not exist then. He has been playing fiddle ever since, performing and also making his own violins. He started making them 15 years ago when he retired and has made 26 in total.
Bilodeau also makes his own moose call horns out of birch. He says he’ll simulate the sound of a female moose calling out for a bull, “And boy, they come.”