PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L.
Like many outdoorsmen, Lloyd Bogle travels to Newfoundland each year to hunt moose, and has always enjoyed a successful hunting trip.
The 90-year-old has bagged a moose each year for the past 34 years.
Speaking from his home in Stewiacke, N.S., assisted by his caregiver Shanda Cameron, Lloyd said he’s coming back again next year, too.
For Lloyd, it’s all about moose meat and the thrill of the hunt.
“Years ago, I shot 16 big caribou,” he said.
That was during his first trips to the island, back when hunting caribou was still permitted. Lloyd is keen hunter who, in his earlier years, also successfully hunted moose and deer in Nova Scotia. He can’t do that anymore though because of the lottery system for licences, so he gave it up and focused on coming to Newfoundland instead.
“The outdoors is the playground over in Newfoundland,” said his son, Dale, who confirmed that Lloyd has already made a deposit on next year’s hunt.
Dale is a former RCMP constable whose first posting was at the Port aux Basques detachment, from 1979 to 1982. Eventually he was stationed elsewhere throughout the province, returning each year to the Codroy Valley area to hunt and usually accompanied by Lloyd, who already enjoyed hunting deer and moose in Nova Scotia.
That all changed when Dale was eventually transferred to Nova Scotia.
“I could tell he was kind of miffed at me,” recalled Dale. “It was like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’”
It turns out that Lloyd was upset his son could no longer apply for a residential moose licence.
“I said I thought you’d be happy that I got moved less than an hour away from home! So that’s when he started going with Grandy’s River (Outfitters) at age 57.”
While the pair hunted together very often throughout the years, Dale didn’t always travel to Newfoundland during Lloyd’s trips. That changed eight years ago when Lloyd suffered a stroke, and now Dale always accompanies his father.
Despite the long, rough ride into the camp, Dale said Lloyd is the boss and there was no question of missing the season. Even during a recent health setback in July, Dale said his father remained insistent.
“He was in the hospital. He’d fallen and had a small compression fracture in his lower back, so he was in the hospital in July and he’s telling the nursing staff, the hospital staff that, ‘You’ve got to get this fixed because I’m going moose hunting in September.’”
Dale said people are always amazed that his father makes the trip, but that the outfitters have a pretty good system in place.
“It’s always the worry to make sure that he has all of his meds, that I’ve got the proper rainwear and you know it can turn cold.”
Unexpected injuries can befall any hunter and outfitters are prepared for emergencies, but Dale admitted that getting anyone out of the woods to medical care is a huge undertaking.
On the first day of the trip Lloyd actually fell, but Dale said the only thing that really got hurt were his feelings more than anything. But despite the planning and protection, Dale’s sister still confessed that she worried about her father making the trip again.
“He really doesn’t care,” said Dale. “I was like if he’s going to die (during the trip) it’s where he wants to be.”
When they’re not out looking for moose the hunters like to play crib, and this year Lloyd beat everyone to claim the Camp Crib Champion title.
“He got lucky at cards,” laughed Dale. “Walked right through us all.”
Lloyd laughed heartily at the memory. The moose he shot this season weighed 550 pounds.
Dale is aware that wild game meat has health benefits, but he has wondered about the amount of red meat his father enjoys.
“I think it’s got to be the health of organic meat basically because he’s 90 years old and he’s not slowing down at all,” said Dale. “It’s probably more beneficial than we really realize.”
Dale is just glad that his father made it back on his feet in time for hunting season again this year. To go without him would have been tough on everyone, especially Lloyd.
“It’s without question the highlight of his year,” says Dale. “I’d love to keep him going as long as he can.”