A cow moose stands in a road in this September 2018 file photo. Credit: Pete Warner / BDN

FORT KENT, Maine — It took less than an hour for two longtime friends to bag their cow in Maine’s North Woods the final week of moose hunting season, but their journey to accomplish the goal was far from easy.

Joe Walsh, 78, of Boston and Jonesboro and Bruce McKim, 72, of New Hampshire first attempted to hunt a moose in Zone 1 — which includes the Allagash area — in 2013. The friends saw that trip cut short three days into the hunt when family tragedy struck by way of a death in McKim’s family.

Friends Joe Walsh and Bruce McKim found they were not the only successful moose hunters on Oct. 25 as they waited in line at the S.W. Collins weigh station in Fort Kent. Credit: Courtesy of Bruce McKim

But they would get another chance. When Walsh picked up a draw in the Maine Moose Lottery this year, it was only natural that he would bring his old pal McKim on the hunt. After all, Walsh had already listed McKim as his subpermittee, and the pair had unfinished business in the North Maine Woods.

People come from all over to participate in Maine’s annual moose hunt, which is three one-week periods in the fall. The  moose hunt finished for this year at the end of last week.

Since Walsh had already shot a moose in 2005, he determined that McKim would have the honor of taking down the cow this year, should they come across one.

Just after daylight on Monday, Oct. 25, McKim fired a .308 Winchester rifle from 85 yards to fell a 692-pound cow on the outskirts of Allagash.

“It dropped right in the dirt road,” Walsh said. “This is the first moose Bruce shot. He was ecstatic, shaking. I was thinking to myself, ‘here’s where the work begins. How are we gonna get her on the truck.’”

The men exercised their physical might to no avail.

“We were using brute force but both of us being over 70, we couldn’t get it into the truck,” Walsh said.

Lucky for Walsh and McKim, a registered Maine guide happened to come along and loaded the moose up for them using a winch.

Bruce McKim shot this 692 pound cow in Zone 1 on Oct. 25. Credit: Courtesy of Bruce McKim

The pair transported their moose to the Fort Kent weigh station at S.W. Collins and Co. and found themselves in a long traffic line of moose hunters.

“We spent more time waiting to have it checked in than we did out there in the North Maine Woods, actually. I think a lot of hunters were lucky that day,” Walsh said.

As it turned out, that Monday was indeed a successful day of hunting in northern Maine, with 79 hunters bringing moose to the Fort Kent weigh station.

Walsh and McKim plan to share the moose meat with friends and family, and of course, enjoy plenty of good meals themselves.

McKim has also offered to share the meat with volunteer firefighters with the New Boston Fire Department in New Hampshire.

Although their first moose hunting trip to northern Maine was cut short by tragedy, their second also came to a close sooner than they expected it would.

“We wanted to stay around awhile because the area is so beautiful,” Walsh said. “I think that everybody wishes to get their moose the first day so they don’t have to worry about the second day. We were kind of grateful that it happened the first day and kind of discouraged it had to end so soon.”