Warren Boy Tags First Moose in Waldo County Since 1935

By Ken Waltz
VillageSoup.com Novemer 12, 2008

FREEDOM (Nov 12): Patrick Krennerich has a passion for hunting and his dedication to the sport — along with plenty of persistence and the assistance of others — helped him experience a significant, and historic, first.

Last week, the 13-year-old Warren resident, who is an eighth-grader at Coastal Christian School in Waldoboro, became the first person to bag a moose in Waldo County in 73 years.

The youngster bagged the 1- to 2-year-old cow, which weighed 550 pounds, at 4:15 p.m. Nov. 3 in Freedom using a 30-06 rifle. The moose was tagged by Paul Flynn at the Freedom General Store. Guide Steve Cole of Thorndike helped Krennerich bag the moose. Krennerich’s dad, Nate Fickett, also was on the hunt.

This fall there were 45 moose permits awarded in Wildlife Management District 23, the first time the zone that includes Waldo County has received moose permits since 1935. Krennerich’s moose was the first tagged in the county for this season, thus the first in 73 years.

Krennerich was on the first of a several-day hunt with his guide and dad.

“It was enormously exciting for us,” said Flynn of tagging the historic moose. “Having [the hunter] be a 13-year-old boy was even better.”

Cole operates Spruce Mountain Lodge and Guide Service in Thorndike. Krennerich and Fickett found him via an Internet search. Cole’s involvement in the successful hunt was to use a moose call and get Krennerich into an area to find moose.

And what was Krennerich’s initial reaction to shooting the moose? “Well after he got done squealing he was pretty happy,” said Cole. “It was pretty exciting. We hunted all day and didn’t see anything and once it did happen it lasted just a few seconds.”

Krennerich has gone deer hunting with his dad for about two years, but had not gotten any animal himself until this moose. This is the second year the youngster applied for a moose permit.

In June, there were about 100,000 applicants for about 3,000 moose permits issued in the state, with only 45 going to the area Krennerich got his moose. Krennerich and his dad would have gone on a hunt by themselves if the youngster’s permit was in the northern part of the state, which has plenty of moose. That is not the case in Waldo County, which has a much less dense population of the large animals.

Patrick Krennerich, 13, of Warren kneels next to the moose he bagged Nov. 3 in Freedom. It was the first moose tagged in Waldo County since 1935. The one- to two-year-old cow, which weighed 550 pounds, was shot at 4:15 p.m. using a 30-06 rifle. This fall there were 45 moose permits awarded in Wildlife Management District 23, the first time the zone that includes Waldo County has received moose permits in 73 years. The moose was tagged by Paul Flynn at the Freedom General Store. The other moose tagging station in Waldo County is in Liberty. Guide Steve Cole of Thorndike helped Krennerich bag the moose. Krennerich’s dad, Nate Fickett, also was on the hunt. (Image courtesy of Nate Fickett)

The plan was to hunt for the entire week, if necessary, but, as fate would have it, only one day was needed for Krennerich to realize success. The hunt in WMD 23 is for all of November.

Krennerich, his dad and the guide hit the woods early in the morning Nov. 3 and spent the day tracking and calling for moose. Krennerich said he could hear moose, mostly cows, “talking” back to the group, but did not see any animals. Bulls (males) and cows (females) respond differently to calls.

The group sat near one bog for a couple of hours but got cold and decided to keep moving. “It was a long day,” Nate said. “It started really cold. The frost was on the ground until noontime. The spot we got the moose was one we hunted earlier in the morning and that was the spot the guide really wanted us to concentrate on because that is where he had seen all the tracks when he did his scouting the week prior.”

The guide’s hunch proved the perfect formula to hunting success.

The guide began to make moose calls and the group could hear responses. Krennerich heard a bull, which is what he wanted (his permit allowed him to hunt both males and females). “There was a bull chasing the cow because you could hear it and you could see the trees moving and thrashing around,” Nate said.

Still waiting for a chance to bag the bigger prize, Krennerich momentarily had his gun pointed at the cow, which had come out of the woods and appeared on a dirt road. However, the youngster still scanned the woods for a chance to see — and shoot — the bull.

Nate and the guide encouraged Krennerich to shoot the cow because, with so few moose in WMD 23, no one knew how many chances they would get. So Krennerich shot the moose twice from 30 yards.

“I was more excited than he was,” Nate said.

Patrick Krennerich, front, shakes hands with guide Steve Cole after the successful hunt. (Image courtesy of Nate Fickett)

Krennerich was more matter-of-fact in his response, saying he was just happy to get the moose that the group had gone into the woods and spent all day to find. “If I had a bull tag I would have gone after the bull,” the youngster said.

Ultimately, Krennerich’s name was drawn for a moose permit out of thousands of applicants and he was lucky enough to get his moose on the first day of his hunt.

Krennerich plans to go deer hunting during the Thanksgiving break. He also hopes to get a turkey during fall or spring turkey season, and he and his dad are planning a bear-hunting trip with Cole for next year.

While this was Krennerich’s first personal hunting success, Krennerich has many fish stories to tell, the best being when he caught a 7.5-pound largemouth bass while fishing on Seven Tree Pond in Union two years ago.

“That was really cool,” Krennerich said. “I thought I was stuck on a log and then it started moving.” He decided to catch and release the fish. “I figured I would like to catch him again but that probably is not going to happen.”

Krennerich did not have a camera to take a photo of the fish.

That Krennerich would experience his historic first moose this fall is perhaps fitting on many levels. First, he is a young man with an unwavering passion for the outdoors, including hunting and fishing. He loves being out in nature.

Krennerich is an avid golfer and, in winter, spends as much time as possible on his snowmobile. He has climbed Mount Katahdin three times, the first when he was age 10.

Krennerich also has dealt with personal challenges during his young life. He is a cancer survivor. He also is civic minded, being recognized by Sen. Susan Collins a few years ago for being one of several local children to take the initiative to raise money and replace their school’s worn flag, said his mother, Kelly Fickett.

Krennerich has been through his share of challenges. When he was 6 months old, he was diagnosed with cancer in the form of a malignant neuroblastoma tumor behind his right lung. “They found it after he had viral pneumonia that made his right lung collapse,” said his mom. “They were monitoring the lung via regular x-rays and when it had reinflated, they saw the mass behind it. He had major surgery to remove the nectarine-sized tumor and then endured six months of chemotherapy. At the time, this form of cancer was universally fatal if diagnosed after one year of age. He is now completely cancer free, but does still undergo yearly echocardiograms and EKGs to check his heart for late affects of his chemotherapy. So far, nothing has shown up.”

The tumor did, however, leave a lasting impact on Krennerich as it pushed on his spine and left a curve in it. That curve puts constant pressure on Krennerich’s nerves, which, in turn have left him with migraine headaches, which occasionally can be debilitating. Sometimes the youngster has to spend 10 to 12 hours in bed, and the headaches often leave him physically ill.

Krennerich was homeschooled through the fourth grade. He then enrolled in public school in fifth grade and was immediately pushed ahead to the sixth grade.

While in sixth grade at the Warren Community School, Krennerich and a friend were given the responsibility of raising and lowering the flag every day. In the course of these duties, they noticed the flag was worn and took it upon themselves to raise money and make arrangements to purchase a new flag, which they also arranged to have flown over the United States Capital Building. Sen. Collins came to the school to honor them and had a special ceremony to raise the new flag.

Krennerich loves history and wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up, but is having trouble deciding which part of history to focus on — perhaps either Egyptian or Civil War. Last year he wrote a science paper and choose mummies as his topic. He wrote about all of the different kinds of mummies and even mummified a small roaster chicken to go with the paper.

Krennerich has many collections — coins, stamps, sports trading cards — but his most prized collection is hundreds of books. He has many old books. He enjoys historical fiction and westerns, especially those by author Louis L’Amour. Everywhere he goes, he always has two books with him, the one he is reading at the moment and an extra in case he finishes it.

His grandfather, Howard Vultee of Camden, who used to be an avid hunter, gave Krennerich one of his most prized possessions, a head mount of a grants gazelle from Africa. Vultee calls the youngster a “renaissance man.”

Krennerich also loves to go banding wild birds with his uncle Richard Brown of Lunenburg Mass, who is a professor ornithology (study of birds) at Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Mass.

Krennerich, who hopes to someday go on a hunting safari, also has a passion for building model airplanes and automobiles.

Sports reporter Mark Haskell contributed to this story.

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