The moose’s awesome power, great size, and flavourful meat are what make them so valuable to many hunters above all other big game animals. Those who have hunted moose before are likely familiar with the fact that they are graceful animals, especially in their natural habitat.
When it comes to moose hunting, it is not just a matter of technique and technical skill, science, or art, you must have a passion for hunting moose. In this article, we will mention some moose hunting tips and tactics that can help you to increase your success rate on your next hunting trip.
Moose Hunting Tips
1. Know Where to Hunt – Plan Ahead
There are some factors to keep in mind when choosing the best range. First, choose an area with a good moose population and do a lot of research in advance. Look for spots where populations are larger and look at the bull-to-cow ratio.
After selecting a general area, it is time to narrow your specific zone down. Search for things that moose like, you can do this by using topographic maps, Google Earth, or other tools.
Moose like water, so search for river and lakes banks that support flora like alder and willow. Also, areas previously burnt by fire are good locations to look for moose. Burnt areas will support much of the vegetation, like young willows that moose love.
You can search for both coniferous and deciduous woodland as well. While dense coniferous forest provides essential insulation during winter, the deciduous forest provides food.
It is wise to look for two or three specific areas that seem to be a good moose habitat, and if possible, try to scout them ahead of the hunt.
Head into your chosen areas and search for signs of moose activity, both past and present. These animals will generally return to spots they previously made a home. The presence of major game trails and old scrapes and rubs from former years is proof that this can be a good area.
Just keep in mind that moose are moving around throughout the year, so if you spot them in a certain area during the year, they may have already moved on by the hunting season.
If you are scouting just ahead of the hunt, look for fresh tracks, droppings, beds, scrapes, rubs, damaged shrubs, or any other recent signs of moose activity.
When choosing your hunting area, look for an area that offers good spots to glass and call from. Choosing a good glassing area is an important thing because this is where you will spend most of your time till you get your moose bull. Also, try to select two or three calling locations. If the wind direction is wrong for one spot, there will be other options for you.
Finally, make sure you are never too far away from your car. After a successful hunt, you will need to take the hunted moose back to your vehicle. This is a lot of weight to handle, even if you dress it in the field.
2. Moose Has a Keen Nose and Strong Hearing
Moose are wild animals that can survive harsh conditions. They have an excellent sense of smell as well as hearing, making them able to detect potential threats and predators.
Make sure to check the wind direction and always stay downwind during the hunt. Also, it is important to be as quiet as possible, you do not want to spook the animal with your noise.
If conditions are not right in a specific location, do not hunt it. If you leave a spot holding moose without being detected, you are more likely to find them there early the next morning.
3. Hunt With a Partner
Hunting with a partner will ensure you are prepared for everything. With one working as the shooter and the other as the communicator, the weapon will always be at hand and ready. And two pairs of eyes are better than one. After a successful hunt, taking your prey back to the car will be easier with two hunters.
4. Be Patient
It is important to be patient when it comes to moose hunting. Many beginner hunters will call just one time, wait around for a bit, and if they do not hear any response, they will move on to another spot.
These animals can be very wary, especially the older, big bulls. After calling, experienced moose hunters will wait for at least 30 minutes. Then they perhaps will call again a little louder, and so on. They will stay in a given area for several hours at a time.
If you are calling at a decent time of day and hunting in a good area, an animal will respond eventually to your calls, and you will claim your prize.
5. Do not Assume Anything
When a spooked moose starts running, do not assume it will not stop. Moose may stop rather quickly and continue what they were doing.
Also, if you shoot at a moose and it turns and vanishes deep into the bush, do not assume you have missed your shot. But instead, assume you have hit the target and search for the animal with all your determination.
You can stalk moose in the snow. Although it is a delicate operation, it can be done. In deep snow, when the moose are just a few hundred yards into the bush, they often slow down.
6. Do not Over-Call
Moose are sound-driven animals, and if there is a strange moose in their area, they will often come to investigate. A proper calling can bring the animal to your area. But calling too much can scare any nearby animals. If your calling is appropriate for the situation and at the right time, moose are likely to come to your area.
Moose Hunting Methods
Spot and stalk hunting is one of the primary methods of taking moose in the mountainous country of the Rockies, Alaska, and western Canada. The position that overlooks big expanses of willow is a great place to glass from. But if there is no willow in the area, watch younger stands of aspen and birch.
The best glassing platforms are hills and knobs, but in the absence of topography, you can climb a tree to discover the area. In order to get up above the willows, some hunters even use lashed poles to construct glassing platforms. A height of eight or ten feet might be enough to begin seeing faraway animals.
If you notice a moose in the area, but then you lose it, keep hunting in the same area. The moose is unlikely to wander too far unless it is spooked. Bulls will typically go only for very short distances every day. They travel very little at night, so if you see a bull in a given area in the evening, there are good chances to see it again at dawn.
If you notice a new moose sign, then the moose is more likely to be in the area. So if you control your scent and stay as quiet as possible, you will eventually cross paths with it.
Despite the name, hunting with this method involves staking the animal and making your way along rivers or through the forest. Care and caution are essential when using this method, you must be careful with each step you take and avoid snapped twigs or any other sounds. Hunters who use this method do their best to blend in with their surroundings.
The moose are most active during the morning and evening hours. So when it comes to still-hunting, the best way is to move carefully and slowly through likely moose hangouts during those given periods while glassing the surrounding terrain for the antlers, ears, or legs of hidden moose.
Wind direction is the main factor to consider when still-hunting. These animals might tolerate some mysterious shapes and noise, but if they smell a human, there is a high probability that they will run away through the brush.
If you are hunting through head-high willows, look around for any land features that can give you a little elevation to see over the tops of the surrounding brush.
Also, locate bodies of water in your hunting area. To do this, you can use some tools like topographical maps and Google Earth. Calves and cow moose are often found around water sources, and mature bulls will come searching for them during the rut.
Spot and Stalk Hunting
During peak rut, bulls will travel several miles per day to look for cows, making them less predictable. But spot and stalk hunters who are in a prime glassing position will have the chance for good hunting opportunities. With lots of moose travelling around, hunters are likely to see more of them.
During the rut, if a hunter is hunting for a big bull, paying close attention to any nearby cows can be helpful. A bull is just as likely to drift in and out rather than staying glued to a cow for days on end.
Keep in mind that if a cow is not accompanied by a bull in the early morning, this does not mean she will not be accompanied by one at night. While glassing, if you find a cow, make sure to come back to glass the same area a second, third, or even fourth time.
Stalking moose is not that difficult, at least when compared to highly cautious animals like elk, whitetail, and Dall sheep. After locating a bull moose and memorizing its location details, you can approach rather aggressively, keeping the wind direction in mind.
Do not worry if you are making a bit of noise, moose are used to hearing the sounds of breaking twigs and snapping brush. But avoid making any unnatural sounds, like rhythmic footsteps and metal on metal that sound nothing like an animal.
When using this method, you will set up your stand in a prime location and scan one certain area. Normally covered to protect from snow and rain. You can use a newly constructed stand as little as a couple of days before a hunt or an established stand.
Some hunters use the same stand year after year, while others prefer to build the stand just before the hunt. They want to take advantage of the moose’s curious nature and attract a curious moose with the sounds.
Stands are normally located in well-scouted spots and often along migration routes. The type of weapon you use will determine which location is the best, with long ranges favouring rifles, but this method is fantastic for archery hunting as well.
If you have chosen a suitable location for your stand, the moose will eventually come to your area. Also, you can use calling to attract moose to your spot.
Since you are above ground level, it is less likely for moose to pick up your scent. This is another advantage of using a stand-hunting method.
However, you will spend a lot of time watching and waiting, so you need to be patient. For your safety, make sure to wear a harness when stand-hunting.
Calling is a popular method that experienced hunters can use effectively throughout the hunting season. Like still hunting, you will stalk through your hunting area searching for any sign of moose. But you will use this calling technique to attract any nearby moose to your location.
There are many kinds of moose calls, from the short grunts of a bull challenging a rival to the long whine of a cow in heat calling out for a bull. In order to use this method effectively, it is necessary to understand moose behaviour at any given time.
Generally, during the rut, a cow call is used first to attract a bull. Once a bull approaches, the hunter will use a bull call to mimic the behaviour of another bull. he can challenge the bull by using grunts and scraping an old antler against the shrubs. If everything goes well, the bull will eventually show himself in order to show his dominance. This is when you take your shot.
This may sound relatively simple, but using these calls effectively requires lots of experience. You need to know how to call properly and when to use a certain kind of call. It is better to start with a fairly quiet call, as you never know how close a moose may already be to you.
After that, you should wait and keep a close eye on the surrounding area for at least 30 minutes. Older bulls, in particular, are very wary. They will assess any situation first before they come running into the area. So play the part of another moose very well.