They are all going to end up in Ridge Tweedie’s bedroom.
Parts of the turkey, the moose, the bear and the deer that make up the 11-year-old’s 2023 hunting grand slam will become mounts that Ridge will display on his own walls.
Ridge Tweedie of Newburgh earned his grand slam patch when he killed his deer on Nov. 4, ending a quest that began with the spring turkey hunt.
The young hunter had wanted to do the whole thing while he was still 10 years old, but he turned 11 on Oct. 31, just days before he got his deer.
Ridge hadn’t decided to try for his grand slam until his father Ryan Tweedie was drawn for a moose permit on which his son was the subpermittee.
With a moose permit in hand and a couple of spring turkeys already registered — including a nice Tom he shot with a 20-gauge shotgun — Ridge decided to go for his patch.
The moose permit was for Zone 11, roughly in the Haynesville area, during the second week of bull season. Ridge is a starting linebacker for a football team that plays on Sundays. The day before the moose hunt began, he had the only night game of the season and didn’t get to camp until midnight. They rose at 4 a.m. on Monday to begin their hunt.
Ridge’s group saw a few small bulls during the first couple of days, then finally saw a huge moose. While the adults were trying to decide if that was the one, Ridge let them know that he wanted a moose that had paddle antlers. The hunters let it go.
Finally on Friday, after seeing a cow and calf and another cow that morning, the hunting party spotted a big bull moose.
With his bullets in hand, Ridge grabbed his shooting stick and gun, and was trying to get out the truck door to get set up. Ryan said he hadn’t fully stopped the vehicle when Ridge got out. The moose moved and Ridge shot him with a 7mm-08, and Ryan shot right after him.
The hunters sprinted toward the moose, where they saw what Ridge described as a big brown blob that was making noises. They shot it a third time to kill it. Ridge’s first shot was perfect at 80 yards, his dad said.
“You have no idea how much stress fell off my shoulders,” Ridge said.
They had to use a pulley system to load the animal. The moose weighed 802 pounds and had 19-point antlers with a 46 ½ spread. It will be a shoulder mount that will be displayed in his bedroom.
Ryan Tweedie had shot a moose on the same road in 2018 that landed in the middle of a beaver pond, he said.
The bear hunt had its own adventure too. They were hunting with dogs and a 150-pound bear came out of the woods about 10 feet away from the group. Between the sun and the dust on the gun’s scope, Ridge couldn’t see the bear to shoot it. The dogs eventually treed the bear but it jumped down and almost belly-flopped on the dogs, running off.
Ridge had one more chance at a bear but he would have to miss youth day deer hunting. The bait spot was a couple hours from camp. The dogs treed a bear with a white patch on its chest and a black muzzle about half an hour into the hunt.
He shot the bear in the neck and it fell out of the tree.
“My heart was beating out of my chest,” Ridge said.
They hauled it out of the woods using a dog tie-out chain. The bear, which weighed 93 pounds, will be a life-sized mount in his bedroom.
Ridge’s deer was the first buck he has shot. He said he thought about his shot too much as he watched the deer across the field and ended up hitting the animal in the gut. The deer ran about 1.5 miles and through a bog, he said.
They called for Susanne Hamilton and her tracking dog Fritzi. They looked until just after midnight and got up early the next day and found it about 200 yards from the field.
Ryan and another man hauled the deer to an UTV using a rope and a stick to pull it. Ridge said he got to drive the UTV with the deer on it.
Ridge had shot his deer with a .243 Winchester from more than 100 yards. The 8-point buck weighed 160 pounds. It will be a shoulder mount in Ridge’s room.
The grand slam was an adventure all the way, Ridge said. He got to spend a lot of time with his father and he learned to play cribbage during moose week.
It takes a lot of practice, not only target shooting but also getting a feel for the process of pulling up your gun, aiming and firing while keeping your nerves under control, Ridge said.
“I never told him what to shoot and what not to. Ridge knew what he wanted. He wanted something with paddles for moose. He wanted antlers, not does, for deer. It was a stressor for dad but patience paid off for Ridge,” Ryan Tweedie said.
Ridge also had a lot of support from his mother Carrie Tweedie and his younger sister Laura, 8.
When asked what advice he would give to others seeking their grand slams, Ridge said, “Don’t think, just do.”