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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Legends of the Hunt

I was recently contacted by The Bernard & Associates Team and asked if I could help post a few articles from their up coming issue of Sporting Classics. Me being the helpful guy I am and loving stories about the outdoors I gladly accepted the offer. For a good story keep on reading.

By John Seerey-Lester

As the old prospector and his friend would quickly discover, a wounded bull moose can be a swift and
deadly killer.

Throughout the western United States in the 1850s, mining camps were springing up everywhere as thousands of men from as far away as China and England came in search of fortunes.

Many of the tented mining camps were in wilderness areas where the men had to hunt wild game to survive. The huge influx of people had to be fed and though few were familiar with guns, they learned to hunt out of necessity.

It was important to get a good supply of venison for the camps to supplement their provisions and sustain them over the harsh winter months. Moose, blacktail and mule deer were the favorite choice, but in desperation the hunters would bag whatever they could find.

In the Coeur d’Alene Mountains of Idaho, a prospector by the name of Pingree joined up with an old hunter called Purvis to get some meat for the table. Both men were originally from New Hampshire, where they had learned how to ski.

A heavy snow blanketed the mountains on that late-November day when the men headed out on skis to hunt blacktails. Following tracks not far from camp, they soon found themselves on the banks of a lake. Pingree saw a dark shape moving in a nearby thicket and through the snow-encrusted brush, he could just make out the form of a bull moose.

During the rut, moose can be quite aggressive and unpredictable, which the men were well aware of. Cautiously they positioned themselves for a shot. Purvis couldn’t get a clear line of sight so he motioned to Pingree to take the shot. Without shifting his position, Pingree raised his rifle and fired.

The shot only wounded the moose, which immediately lowered its head and charged Pingree. The prospector desperately tried to maneuver around on his skis, but it was too late and the animal was upon him. Pingree was knocked backwards into the snow and as he struggled to get up, the moose pounded him with his powerful front legs.

The prospector’s desperate cries echoed across the silent snowscape. Purvis skied as fast as he could around the thicket and shot the monster as it continued to stomp on his friend. The only effect of the bullet was to redirect the bull’s attention on Purvis. The animal charged the prospector, moving effortlessly through the snow. Purvis managed to grab a tree branch, hoping to swing out of harm’s way.

As the beast hurtled past, it raised its huge antlers in an effort to gore Purvis, but missed. The moose continued high-stepping through the snow and was never seen again.

The old hunter went to the prospector’s aid, but found him badly wounded, his chest crushed under the relentless onslaught of the animal’s heavy hooves.

Purvis did what he could to save Pingree, but the poor man died within a few hours. The entire incident, which had lasted only a few seconds, showed just how dangerous a bull moose could be.


This tale is among some 80 true-life stories in John Seerey-Lester’s book, Legends of the Hunt. In more than 100 paintings and a fascinating text, the artist relives the adventures of the greatest early explorers and hunters.
The big, 11x12 ½-inch, 200-page book is available in three editions:
• Trade – Hardbound, $60.
• Elephant Edition – 950 leather-bound, signed & numbered copies, each with a special print, $95.
• Lion Edition – 520 leather-bound, signed and numbered books, each with a hand-colored giclee print, $250.
To order, call (800) 849-1004 or visit


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