WEST FREEMAN — After days and miles of struggling through thick brush and woods, trying to stay dry and warm during a drizzling rain, one young moose hunter has, no doubt, a reward worth the effort.

David Kidd IV, 12, comes from a long line of avid hunters in Western Maine. He entered his name in the Maine moose lottery in the spring and received a permit for a bull in the area near his home in West Freeman.

Kidd completed his required hunter safety course with Rick Rogers, a state forest ranger from Phillips. He had practiced his shooting skills and knew how to read a compass and handle his firearm.

His father, David Kidd III, told him he would be expected to put in long days that would start well before sunrise. They packed their gear and headed for Mt. Abram, a favorite area for many local hunters. They arrived late on a Friday evening, and at 10 p.m. they decided to forgo setting up the tent.

“We decided we’d sleep under the stars in the road next to the truck,” he said.

Snug in their sleeping bags, he said, they were awakened a few hours later by the clatter of hooves nearby.

“There was a moose right next to us, and all we could see where the legs,” he said. “It was pretty exciting.”

On Saturday and Sunday, they scouted their territory, looking for any signs of the giant creatures. The weather had been extremely warm and, since moose prefer cooler temperatures, sightings were scarce.

Their hard work began on Monday, when the weather got cooler, and steady rain showers passed over the region. The younger Kidd tramped through the woods in the mountainous areas without seeing a bull within shooting distance. Since the fall is mating season, they were happy to welcome some help.

Matt Bailey, co-owner of Maine Guide Service, had decided to visit their campsite and was happy to demonstrate his unique ability to mimic the sounds of a lonely female looking for a mate.

“It was pretty cool to see that moose come into the clearing and look right at us,” he said.

Bailey lured a nice bull into a clear-cut, Kidd said, but with only 45 minutes left on Monday afternoon before the close of legal hunting day, they were able to get close but not close enough.

Young David said he was so tired after hiking eight or nine miles through the forest that day, he fell asleep sitting in his chair after dinner in the tent.

On Tuesday, the father and son hiked several miles to another mountain, where they had seen a bull through their binoculars. On Wednesday, they decided to drive to Sandy River Plantation, where a family friend owned gated land. With the landowner’s permission, they had several miles of territory to themselves along an old logging road.

After several days of hard hiking, he couldn’t believe his luck when his father spotted a large bull only five minutes into their drive. He got out of the truck, loaded his gun, and dropped the 770-pound bull.

The animal had been in several fights, he said. It was missing an eye, had several dents in his rack and a torn ear.

“He was loaded with ticks, though, which was pretty disgusting,” he said.

After tagging the moose and having it weighed and logged at Beal’s General Store in Strong, Kidd and his father decided to take the moose to Farmington to visit his grandfather at Orchard Park Nursing Home.

Dave Kidd Jr. had suffered a stroke several years ago and had limited ability to communicate, but he was able to come outside in a wheelchair to admire his grandson’s first moose.

“He was pretty happy to see us, and everyone was looking out the windows and giving us thumbs up,” he said.


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