Bagging a moose is something that is on almost every big game hunter’s bucket list. Few will actually get the chance but many long for the opportunity. If you are lucky enough to draw a tag it is important you make the most of this once in a life time opportunity. Here are some tips to help make sure that doesn’t happen.
Few hunters ever get the opportunity to hunt moose, this means that if you are lucky enough to get the chance you probably do not have any experience to rely on. But do not worry, although moose do have some specific quirks hunting them is much like hunting any other big game animal.
1. Scout as much as possible prior to the hunt.
The ideal means of scouting will be through boots on the ground, hiking the area and looking for moose activity. This in the field activity can be supplemented with camera for a more complete, 24 hours picture of the area as well. Pay special attention to areas that contain fresh beds, scrapes and of course tracks. You will also want to consider how the area will look, and what advantages it will offer moose, once the season arrives.
2. Hunt the right area according the weather and phase of the season.
In the earlier tip I mentioned recognizing what the area will be like, and the advantages it will offer, during the actual season. This is important, especially if you were scouting months in advance. Early season means targeting ridge lines or heavy cover. If the weather is unusually warm then head to swamps where moose will be attempting to cool off. As the rut turns on do to ponds, lakes or other bodies of water as they are favorite hang outs for cows- and big bulls will go where ever the cows go.
3. Remember moose have excellent sense of smell as well as hearing.
The moose you will be hunting is not Bullwinkle for the cartoons, they are a wild animal adapt at survival in harsh conditions. Their sense, particularly that of hearing and smell, are very good at detecting potential threats and predators and will bust you in a heart beat if not careful. Check the wind often and move to stay downwind at all times. Minimize noises, both when on stand and when entering/exiting the area, and do not hunt a location if conditions are not right. If you leave an area holding moose and are not detected there is a good chance they will still be there early the next morning.
4. Do not over call.
Many hunters think that moose need to be called in for a successful hunt and end up calling so much they scare away near by animals. Yes, moose are a sound driven specie and will often come to investigate what they think are strange moose in their range. But there is a limit to how much they will tolerate. Remember, calling is a moose’s means of talking and if your calling is poorly timed or inappropriate for the situation they are unlikely to come within range. A few calls in early morning or late at night can help pull in far off bulls but during the heat of the day I prefer thrashing brush to imitate a big bull cleaning his antlers.
5. Be in peak physical condition.
Moose are often found in rural, remote areas that require hiking to get to and hiking to scout. They are also very big animals and if you are successful you will then need to hike out the meat. This will likely be one of the more physically demanding hunts you have been on and it is key you prepare yourself ahead of time.
For additional tips on making your moose hunt successful check out this YouTube video.