Her first hunting trip was a long shot, but the big moose was an easy target

OUTDOORS

October 25, 1992|By PETER BAKER

Amy Cleaver has a photograph to remind her of her first hunting trip. In the picture, her head and torso are framed by the antlers of a moose she had taken at 85 yards -- which, believe it or not, was something of a long shot from the outset.

Cleaver is an 18-year-old from Millersville in Anne Arundel County. The moose is an 850-pounder bagged in northern Maine.

Now, 85 yards is not a long shot with a rifle, even for a novice. But the odds of Cleaver having the opportunity to make the kill were somewhat prohibitive.

Maine permits 1,000 hunters a year to bag a moose, 900 of whom must be residents of the state. The other 100 hunters are chosen by lottery from a pool of thousands of names.

"They don't give out too many permits," Cleaver said Thursday, "so my chances were pretty slim. I guess I got lucky."

Cleaver's name was entered in the lottery by her father, Thomas Cleaver, who has hunted since he was a kid.

Cleaver, a graduate of Severna Park High School, and several family members arrived in Maine Oct. 3, two days before the start of moose season.

The Cleavers scouted by hopping in a truck and driving around.

"The night before we had gone out to have a look," Cleaver recalled. "And it wasn't real hard because you pretty much see moose everywhere there."

On opening day, conditions were cold and clear with superb visibility, and within two hours of driving, the Cleavers found two moose standing in the road.

Cleaver said she got out of the truck, shouldered her grandfather's 30.06, "and I just aimed and shot."

The bullet struck the moose in the lungs, and it wandered only 100 yards before collapsing.

A butcher estimated the weight of the moose at 850 pounds, and it dressed out to about 500 pounds.

For a first-time hunter fresh out of a 10-hour Maryland Hunter Safety Course, the experience was exhilarating.

"I really liked it," said Cleaver, who is working at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet before continuing her education next fall. "Now I want to go deer hunting this season with my dad."

There were moments in Maine that confounded Cleaver,

however.

"After the moose hunt, we went after partridge," she said, "and the switch from a rifle to a shotgun was hard.

"I could shoot this stupid moose at 85 yards with a rifle, but I couldn't come close to these birds at 10 feet away."

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