Longtime whitetail deer hunter Pete McLaughlin of Edmond comes from a family in Maine that boasts five generations of moose hunters.
So, it's ironic that the biggest bull ever taken by a member of the McLaughlin hunting family was done so by the relative living on the plains of Oklahoma.
McLaughlin killed the trophy moose in September in the North Woods of Maine, less than 5 miles from the Quebec border. The 10-year-old bull field dressed at 986 pounds, was estimated to weigh 1,400 to 1,500 pounds on the hoof, and the antlers measured 166 inches.
McLaughlin, who has hunted whitetails for two decades, is a meat hunter. He had never mounted a trophy animal before, but his kinfolk in Maine told him that if he didn't mount this moose, not to come back.
His wife, Kellylyn, drove the moose head from the Maine taxidermist to Edmond last week in a U-Haul trailer, although it didn't fit in the first U-Haul she rented for the trip.
The moose has fed five families, and McLaughlin thinks the meat tastes better than venison and is comparable only to bison in big game.
Moose season is as highly anticipated by Maine hunters as the whitetail deer season is in Oklahoma, only everyone — residents and nonresidents of Maine — must enter a lottery to try to win one of the coveted moose hunts.
McLaughlin, 49, was born in Maine but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. He visits family in Maine each year, but this was his first time to apply for a moose permit.
He bought one set of extra chances, improving his odds of winning a moose hunt to 1 in 566.
“The guy that took me hunting, my cousin, had never drawn the lottery in 17 years,” McLaughlin said. “He was happily angry.”
McLaughlin won one of the 3,725 moose hunting permits issued by the state of Maine last year. He was one of about 300 out-of-state hunters to win a permit and the only Oklahoman.
Maine's moose population is estimated at 79,000. Maine has three hunting seasons: a six-day season in both September and October and a longer season in November when the hunting is tougher.