Our Neighbors ... Fred Anderson

Cloquet resident Fred Anderson has been hunting on and off since he was a teenager. His earliest hunting memory is a trip he took with his older brother to Floodwood when Anderson was 15.

Cloquet resident Fred Anderson has been hunting on and off since he was a teenager. His earliest hunting memory is a trip he took with his older brother to Floodwood when Anderson was 15.

"[My brother] forgot his rifle though and since he was older, he took mine," Anderson said. "He didn't get anything though," Anderson laughed.

Anderson didn't go hunting again until after he married Bonnie Beaupre several years later and then he often went with his in-laws. In the past 40-plus years, he's hunted everything from deer to grouse to partridge in the area and up on his land northwest of Ely, Minn.

He had thrown his hat in the ring for a coveted moose hunting permit for the last 20 years as well, with no luck until last year.

"It was just like winning the lottery for me to get one," Anderson said.


He decided to hunt on his land up north and built a moose stand not too far from his cabin. When it came time, he was ready.

And although he had seen four moose near his cabin just weeks beforehand, there were none to be found in his two-week hunting window.

"The closest we came was hearing one and it ran away because it heard us," Anderson said. "I was talking too much."

After that experience, Anderson decided to give himself better odds.

"I'm 69 years old," Anderson said. "I figured I wouldn't have too many more chances."

So Anderson decided to give a special Christmas present to his son Tom, an avid hunter who uses only bow and arrow.

"It was a certificate saying we were going on a big hunting trip - a trip of a lifetime," he said.

Unsure of exactly what trip to take, the two immediately began researching and attended a hunting/fishing expo in the Twin Cities. They gathered all kinds of information and eventually settled on a lodge at the southern fringe of Canada's tundra in Manitoba.


Called the Munroe Lake Lodge, services include caribou and moose hunts with personal guides, along with trophy fishing.

"This trip appealed to us for opportunities to hunt caribou and moose together," Anderson explained.

Then last February, Anderson saw another moose while up at his cabin.

"I looked out the window of the cabin early one very cold morning and there was a moose," he said. "I went out on the deck and wondered where it had been during hunting season. I was glad I had a hunting trip to look forward to."

On Sept. 18, they set out on their adventure. Getting there and back was definitely part of the experience.

First, they drove some 400 miles to Winnipeg, Canada, and from there drove more than 450 miles up to Thompson, which is literally the end of the road in that part of the country. Anderson drove his truck towing a trailer to haul a large cooler/freezer in hopes of coming back with fresh meat.

Once they arrived in Thompson, they boarded an airplane for a two-hour flight to Munroe Lodge.

"All you could see as we flew was water and more water between low-lying plains," Anderson said.


At the main lodge, which sleeps only 12 people, Anderson and his son prepared to first go caribou hunting. The next morning, they boarded another plane which took them even farther north to the border of the Northwest Territories, now called Nunavut Territory.

Their caribou camp was just south of the 60th parallel and Anderson, his son, and several others hunted the Central Barren Ground Caribou while they were in migration to winter feeding grounds in the south.

They stepped off the plane to find the land snow-covered.

"It poured rain that night, though, and after that it was cold, wet and windy for the rest of the trip," Anderson said.

Fortunately, Anderson didn't have to hunt long before finding his caribou.

After only hours of hunting on their first day, Anderson got his caribou. He was the first one in the group to get one and the only one in the group to get one with a double set of horns and one shovel.

"I was so lucky!" Anderson said.

Tom Anderson got one later with his bow and arrow.


Everyone was pretty excited, according to Anderson. As they hunted, the guides pointed out a multitude of blueberry bushes, on which caribou were feeding.

"I ate a lot of blueberries too," Anderson said.

Back at camp, which consisted of temporary outbuildings and canvas-covered tents, guides prepared their meals, which were super, Anderson said.

"We had great food and great conversation," he said. "Everyone got along great."

After they shot the caribou, Anderson and his son headed back to the main lodge and prepared for moose hunting. The moose hunting area was closer to the lodge, but they traveled by boat to get to the specific location.

"With the wind, the waves were up there and it was really lousy weather," Anderson remembered. "I was glad I was dressed for 30 below," Anderson said.

It wasn't too long into the hunt, again, when Anderson spotted a moose across a lake.

"We spotted him around 9 a.m. and started calling him," Anderson explained. "He was walking along the shore and we'd whack brush and he would stop and stare at us."


At one point the moose disappeared into the woods and Anderson thought he was gone, but then the moose returned and started coming toward them.

"All of this took an hour and 15 minutes," he said. "He was just taking his time."

When the moose got close enough, Anderson took his first shot. He couldn't tell if he had hit the moose, though, so he shot again. The moose just kept walking and as Anderson shot a third time, with the moose about 200 yards away, he hit the water in the lake. The fourth shot hit water as well.

"At this point, I'm yelling to the guide that I think there's something wrong with my scope," Anderson said. "I was having a hard time seeing with all the wind and rain and my last shot I thought I'd shoot high, and I hit the moose's horns. The moose was dazed by that and I was too. And then the moose went down."

It turned out Anderson had shot the moose previously.

"I hit him in the lungs; I have one of the bullets," he said. "It was so interesting and exciting."

The 1,200 pound moose died in the water so they had to tow it in with the boat as far as they could and then butcher it while still in a few feet of water.

Anderson was excited and got out the camera, only to find he was nearly out of film.


"I thought my wife was packing film for me and she thought I had done it," he said.

He used his last shots to get the photos and then he said he'd pay a guide to take photos using his Polaroid camera.

Anderson's goals realized, he fished and caught some enormous lake trout and hunted with his son for moose, to no avail. His son did shoot a ptarmigan game bird, however.

"I'll take him on a trip another time so he can get his moose," Anderson said. "We were pretty happy with how we did overall and we had a real good time with everybody."

By the end of the trip, which lasted over a week, they loaded up their cooler with 750 pounds of moose meat and 300 pounds of caribou meat and headed south from Thompson.

The drive back was largely uneventful, until the cooler crashed off the trailer somewhere between Moorhead, Minn., and Bemidji, Minn.

"I looked in the mirror and it had just busted and was heading off the trailer," he said. "I managed to stop so the cooler hit the bumper of my truck and stayed on the trailer.

Fortunately, a man came out of a nearby tavern and said he knew someone who could prefabricate a new hitch in about three hours.

"We were so lucky," Anderson said. "I can't believe we found that guy."

They made it home just a few hours past schedule.

Since then, Anderson can't seem to get the grin off his face. He and his wife, Bonnie, have been eating the meat, which is tasty, according to Anderson.

"It's delicious - the moose seems a little tough compared to regular meat, but the loins are wonderful!"

Anderson, who is retired from Potlatch, headed up to the cabin this week to share some of the meat with neighbors and prepare for the hunting season here.

"I don't really care if I hunt or not," Anderson laughed. "We already have plenty of meat, that's for sure."

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