All About Moose Hunting:
Moose hunting is a type of big-game hunting that is historically associated with hunting Africa’s “Big Five” game, including the lion, elephant, cape buffalo, leopard and white rhinoceros (with tigers and rhinos on the Indian subcontinent). While most of the mentioned species are protected these days, other species, including the moose, elk, kudu, hartebeest, antelope and deer, are still allowed to be hunted.
As moose typically inhabit Northern Hemisphere’s boreal and mixed deciduous forests with temperate to subarctic climates, moose hunting mostly occurs in countries, such as Alaska, New England, Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and other parts of North America.
Hunting of big game, such as moose, for food is an ancient practice, which dates back thousands of years. Based on cave paintings, it seems that our early ancestors hunted these animals in groups, using a combination of large rocks and spears, or alternatively running them over a cliff.
Big-game hunting is done in various ways, including the old way of using a tree stand. However, these animals tend to be more aware of the old techniques, so new ways are now more preferred, including those that use stealth, where hunters stalk the prey until they have a clean hit.
Another conventional method is driving, where the shooter would take position stealthily, using the natural landscape to select a spot that offers a wide view. Then, the drivers would move towards the shooter in a line, while making noise to force the animal to run towards the hunter, giving him the killing opportunity. However, this technique would only work well when there is cover and a good natural feature to help pen the game.
Gear and Equipment:
Remember that it would take a lot to get ready for a successful moose hunt. Considering that you already have a moose camp, the following is a list of best and most recommended moose gear for serious hunters (serious because you better take this type of hunting seriously to be successful):
Knife – This is one of the most important items for moose hunting, and make sure you have one with good quality that is strong enough to endure some abuse and will stay sharp for a long time. Basically, you have to carry different types, including the Buck Knife for gutting, the Gerber for skinning and the Wyoming Knife to aid in gutting and skinning.
Binoculars and Spotting Scopes – When it comes to these pieces of equipment, always purchase the best you can afford, and if you got the luxury of time, look through different optics with quality in mind. Though you could not afford to buy the best when it comes to optics, it is definitely an investment. Your ability and comfort to view moose and other wildlife would depend on a good glass to look through.
GPS – This has become one of the essential devices modern big game hunters rely on. A decade or so ago, the GPS was inaccurate, crude and seldom added to any list of moose-hunting supplies. But now, with waypoints, mapping, computer interfaces and even built-in digital cameras, it is surely found in a big-game hunter’s gear list.
With GPS, moose hunters can venture out into the woods without being worried about getting lost. If you have ever experienced being turned around out in the woods, where every hill looks like the last, you should know the relief of getting back safely.
D r y and W a r m Camouflage Clothing – Being cold and wet can spoil a hunt fast. Investing in dry and warm clothing will pay you large dividends, and most likely, the largest moose too! If you are comfortably warm and dry, you can stay out in the field longer, which can translate into seeing more big game and a higher success rate.
Sleeping Bags – Unless you have a warm sleeping bag, you will not be comfortable when you rest after hunting. Remember that a good sleep is needed to replenish your energy for the next day’s hunt.
Range finders – Are you often taking a guess at how far your prospective moose is standing from where you are? Most likely, you were seldom correct—a situation that is seen time and time again without a range finder. Overestimating and underestimating can risk you a miss at best, and a wounded animal at worst. With a rangefinder (which does not cost all that much), you and your hunting partner can save a lot of time from tracking wounded animals.
Game Cart – Once you have the game on the ground, you need to find an easy way to get it out of the bush. Though an ATV or similar vehicle is nice, it is not always allowable or available. If this is the case, then you either have to carry it or, much better, roll it on a game cart.
Aside from those listed above, do not forget the basics, such as backpacks, hunting rope, limb saw and (why not?!) trail cameras.
Useful Hunting Tips:
The following privy tips are used by some of the best moose hunters, and would not it be great if you know them as well? If you do not know these techniques, then you would not be seeing the most moose!
Focus on a single area.
Take advantage of the wind and use a wind indicator to determine the direction from which the air is flowing.
When it is the breeding or rut season, hunt near ponds and lakes.
Hunt for moose near water and food sources.
Do your hunt at fringe areas that are away from where other hunters are and far from the road and traffic.
Do not set up camp along the edge of a likely hunting spot, as your smell and noise can chase away any nearby moose.
Research and learn about the difference between home range and core areas.
Learn to differentiate old and fresh moose marks and signs.
If you hear or see a moose right before or after dark, leave the area quietly at the moment and return early the next morning. If not spooked, the moose would still be there.
Do some pre-season calling and scouting.
Identify and learn how to hunt at prime moose habitats.