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Success comes quickly during area moose hunt

David Berg of Epping, 63, drew his North Dakota moose license this year for area M10 in the northwest corner of the state, one of the 70 lucky hunters for that area who started their season on Friday. David’s season ended Friday, too, with a 40-inch bull moose loaded on his trailer, despite all his best intentions.

10/06/10 (Wed)

 

David Berg of Epping, 63, drew his North Dakota moose license this year for area M10 in the northwest corner of the state, one of the 70 lucky hunters for that area who started their season on Friday.

 

David’s season ended Friday, too, with a 40-inch bull moose loaded on his trailer, despite all his best intentions.

 

“He said, ‘I’m not going to shoot one the first day, no matter how big he is,’” said Berg’s wife Judy (Mortensen), a 1959 graduate of Kenmare High School.

 

David, a welding supervisor for Black Hills Trucking in Williston with 35 years experience, fully intended to use the entire season for his hunt. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime tag,” he said. “I’d saved up some vacation and I told them at work that at my age, if need be, I’m going to be gone for 24 days.”

 

After receiving notice about the tag early last summer, David started planning his trip. “Through some friends, I heard of Martin Irgens at Tolley,” he said, “so I called him.”

 

Judy laughed as she described her husband’s enthusiasm. “It’s been three months of preparation and talking about it!” she said.

 

David’s neighbor Steve Gutknecht and Steve’s son Colton, age 14, joined him for the opening weekend. “We brought Steve’s camper and parked it in Martin’s yard,” David said.

 

The trio of hunters arrived Thursday and scouted with Martin, meeting several landowners in the area. On opening day, David and his companions were out in the field by sunrise. They stopped and talked to Jerry Overton and saw a cow moose accompanied by a calf and a young bull.

 

“I passed on those,” David said. “Later, we saw a cow and a bull north of Tolley, that crossed right in front of the pickup. It was about a 33-inch bull, and I debated.”

 

David was only a couple hours into his hunt, though. The group returned to camp for sandwiches and to make plans for the afternoon, but their break was cut short when Jerry Overton called with news of a large moose.

 

“They were combining and kicked out this big bull,” said David, adding that his group immediately headed back north of Tolley. “We spotted him out in a stubble field, by himself at the time.”

 

David didn’t debate with himself too long as he decided to take the bull sporting broad, double-shoveled antlers. He shot the animal with a reliable Remington 7mm rifle he has owned since 1972. “I’ve used it for a lot of deer, coyotes and elk,” he said. “This is the first time ever for a moose.”

 

In fact, he likes the gun so much that he brought his wife’s model along for a backup, which proved to be unnecessary. David filled his once-in-a-lifetime moose tag at 12:02 pm on opening day.

 

He spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning his game and hauling the carcass to Kenmare for processing by Arlen Gartner. “We’ll have sausage, jerky, steaks, roasts and burgers,” David said. “There will be a lot of friends getting samples.”

 

“We’ve promised a lot of people a backyard barbecue of moose steaks,” Judy added.

 

At Judy’s insistence, David will also be visiting a taxidermist buddy in Williston. “When I got this tag, my wife told me it was going to be a head mount,” David said, adding that Garry Huber has provided his taxidermy services for years. “He’s done four deer for me already. He knows me and my hunting.”

 

David admitted his walls already held several of his and his wife’s hunting trophies, with no spot currently open for the bull moose. “I’ll make one,” he said, laughing.

 

He appreciated the assistance and generosity he experienced from so many residents in the area. “When I was with Martin, meeting different people, the hospitality was just outstanding,” he said. “We ran into some classmates of Judy’s and had a number of phone calls [about moose sightings] we went and checked out. We’ve been overwhelmed with hospitality!”

 

And even though his moose hunting season was cut short by a successful kill, David still planned to stay home a while longer from his job. “I think I’ll take at least a week of vacation,” he said, “although now I’ll probably have to do some ‘honey-dos’!”