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Thread: RFI: Hunting Skills and woodcraft

  1. #1
    Member AK-Sniper's Avatar
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    Default RFI: Hunting Skills and woodcraft

    I've been hunting up here for three years now, and have been completely unsucessful.

    I grew up hunting in Northern Utah, mostly deer and elk. I know that Moose are not deer and I was hoping that some of you very experienced hunters would be willing to shed some light on hunting skills and woodcraft for Alaska.

    for example:

    Animal behavior
    animal habitat
    woodcraft
    stalking
    glassing skills
    reading terrain for game trails (old & new),
    recognizing game sign
    etc...

    I know that getting out in the woods is the key but it would help if I knew what the heck I was looking for.

    Thanks
    Diamond Marquis

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    moose are REALLY big, sort of dark colored with really, REALLY long legs ! OH, and they smell really well ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    moose are REALLY big, sort of dark colored with really, REALLY long legs ! OH, and they smell really well ...
    Thanks for the heads up Lol !!
    Diamond Marquis

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    just kiddin' with ya ! Actually though, what I have experienced moose hunting was nothing like elk or mule deer huntin', in all seriousness, hunt the wind and mosey around alot - the last guide that hunted me in B.C. had two rules - #1: wind is everything and #2: wind IS everything (but then, thems my rules for coyote hunting too) - One "small" surprise for me was how fast a moose can disappear ! They sort of "look" dumb but I don't think they are ...

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Treestand hunting is not as popular up here as it is back east, however it can be a great tactic for moose- IF you know the habits of the animal. Open meadows on ridges near the edge of timber or thick brush are good places to be at first and last light, when they are likely to be moving. For such a big, seemingly awkward critter, they can fade away real quick when they want to. You can be very successful still-hunting if you pick the terrain carefully. In the end, it all boils down to time in the field.
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-Sniper View Post
    I've been hunting up here for three years now, and have been completely unsucessful.
    For starters...what are you doing now?

    Not intended as an insulting question, but without some idea of what you're currently doing I have no idea what (if anything) you might be doing wrong.

    There are a few different moose tactics but I generally like to go high on a spot that overlooks decent moose habitat and glass until dark. I'm still amazed at how many moose you see just "appear" out of nothing when the magic hour rolls around. Same thing works early but it's usually real early and I'm usually asleep.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Have you tried or considered hunting caribou or black bear? Both offer some higher odds of success if you're in the right area at the right time. Some people have moose dialed in and get one every year, but for the new hunter (and for me), moose can be a lower odds game.

  8. #8

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    Find a very old book that you might be able to check out if not try to find a low price copy. Its called the Moose Book by Sam Merill.
    It was written near the turn of the 20th century and was directed in New England. However, its detailed analysis of moose behavior and hunting techniques has not been approached by another book or video.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    Treestand hunting is not as popular up here as it is back east, however it can be a great tactic for moose- IF you know the habits of the animal. Open meadows on ridges near the edge of timber or thick brush are good places to be at first and last light, when they are likely to be moving. For such a big, seemingly awkward critter, they can fade away real quick when they want to. You can be very successful still-hunting if you pick the terrain carefully. In the end, it all boils down to time in the field.
    cdubbin- your avatar is so small I can't tell what kind of milsurp rifle it is... and it's buggin' me!

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    cdubbin- your avatar is so small I can't tell what kind of milsurp rifle it is... and it's buggin' me!
    LOL this any better?



    Hoping to shoot a moose with her this fall, if I can find ammo.
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    LOL this any better?



    Hoping to shoot a moose with her this fall, if I can find ammo.
    I should know, but I'm ashamed to say I don't. French?

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    I should know, but I'm ashamed to say I don't. French?
    Nope, although it was made by their neighbors, but for service on another continent (and hemisphere). You'll get it.
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    Nope, although it was made by their neighbors, but for service on another continent (and hemisphere). You'll get it.
    (Sorry about the hi-jack.)
    Belgian Mauser?

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    (Sorry about the hi-jack.)
    Belgian Mauser?
    Close enough; 1891 Modelo Argentino. Sorry, guys, but I was enjoying that; carry on.
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Spot and move, spot and move, spot and move, repeat.

    For moose, they prefer very thick cover that can conceal a large animal like themselves. Those areas can tend to have a lot of water, which is also a big part their diet (plants that grow in standing water or marshy ground).

    The most common technique for the various places or terrain for moose is to sit in a spot that has a good view and glass for a while, then move or go check out any moose spotted for legality. Here's how my plan would go:

    Find a place that is vey marsy/brushy, the kind of place that would be a wet, sloppy, pain to pack an animal out of. Find the highest spot or spots of ground that offer a decent view of the area your hunting. Focus on an area about 5 square miles. That is, an area where any animal would be no more than 2 or 3 miles away from you. It's easy to pick out a big bull that is worth approaching to see if he's legal. 2-3 miles is a reasonable distance if you're motorized. Much less if by foot.

    Get to that high ground and make yourself comfortable. Spend 20-30 minutes glassing the area over and over again. You have to look at the same spot 10 times. 1 of those times, a bull could be walking in that little gap and wont be visible again. If you spot for that time and see nothing, move to a new spot, one that offers a different vantage point. Use a spot that lets you look somewhere else.

    If you find a bull, you have to get up to call him as legal or not legal. You need time for that. It takes a while to get over to him and find him again.

    Moose dont tend to bolt and run for miles like elk will. If they get spooked, they dont go far, but dang are they good at hiding. That's why you have to focus on the same place for a long time. You get that one glimpse of them the one time the move in two hours. Then you can get over to them because you can count on them moving slow.

    Also, be careful of letting color or shape fool you. The only thing that gives a moose away is movement. It's easy to get fooled by various objects while glassing. Only chase after something that moves. Also, if you see a cow or even better, multiple cows, watch them close. Bulls will often be close. Also, cows indicate a place where the moose feel safe to be. You're likely to see other moose there.

    We hunt in a nasty swamp with a manageable trail that runs to about 6 ridges that offer a view. Our camp is set up on the highest point of the swamp. Our day consists of getting up early, spotting from our spot to see if anything is obvious, then going from one ridge to the next, spending 15-20 minutes on the top of each one. We take a break right about noon, most of the moose lay down for a sort of midday nap. Then we do that same thing abut 3 hours before sunset.

    There's other techniques, but i'm not an expert. If you have a boat, you use a boat canoe to do the same basic thing. For thick timber, you nee to call to get them close to you. I've never been able to be successful at calling.

    Good luck. Hope you find that tan bugger. Make sure you know how to identify a legal bull. - Andrew
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    I know of hunters that know almost nothing about the op questions and yet they have taken several moose. Why are some hunter just better than others is it luck, or another reasons? I have to admitted knowing how they hunt, luck seam to be the best answer. I do not believe luck is the reason most of these guys appear to know what there doing. Finding that reason has been has been a mission of mine for many years. What I found is there is no one reason for there success one thing that does standout is “attitude”.

    I know there is a animal in the area, all I have to do is find it, no matter what it takes. A person with this type of attitude will be a successful hunter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    I know of hunters that know almost nothing about the op questions and yet they have taken several moose. Why are some hunter just better than others is it luck, or another reasons? I have to admitted knowing how they hunt, luck seam to be the best answer. I do not believe luck is the reason most of these guys appear to know what there doing. Finding that reason has been has been a mission of mine for many years. What I found is there is no one reason for there success one thing that does standout is “attitude”.

    I know there is a animal in the area, all I have to do is find it, no matter what it takes. A person with this type of attitude will be a successful hunter.
    Luck has less to do with it today than in years past, although luck is still a major element. These days (due to more people, less moose and more rules) the average moose hunter has to do his/her homework by asking, googling, reading, planning, etc. Many of us will have to travel long distances and then adhere to strict antler regulations. We will not have the luxury of shooting a moose close to home, and will have a time restriction to deal with.
    But even with all the planning and research, you may miss a moose by a day or an hour, possibly even a few minutes. Last year, for instance, we set up camp and then were told by a guy looking for his knife that he had gotten a big bull a few hundred yards away just the day before (he also warned us about a grizzly close by). Many people stumble into moose, and some first timers score right away while other seasoned veterans, who connected year after year, may skunk several years in a row. That is especially true if their old moose haunts (such as the kenai Peninsula) have less moose and more restrictions causing them to have to learn new areas or rely on the luck of the draw for an "easy" antlerless/cow or "any bull" hunt. But still, that is luck.
    I don't mean to sound negative, bu the old days with their sure deals don't exist anymore unless you live out in the bush or have tons of money and time.
    My advice is to sweeten your chances by drawing as much as your pocket book allows, study all you can about moose, spend hours on Google Earth and with topo maps, and then go check it out before the season begins. If you ask people you know are knowledgeable, they will probably tell you lots, but not in an open forum. Good luck!

  18. #18
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    I know of hunters that know almost nothing about the op questions and yet they have taken several moose. Why are some hunter just better than others is it luck, or another reasons? I have to admitted knowing how they hunt, luck seam to be the best answer. I do not believe luck is the reason most of these guys appear to know what there doing. Finding that reason has been has been a mission of mine for many years. What I found is there is no one reason for there success one thing that does standout is “attitude”.

    I know there is a animal in the area, all I have to do is find it, no matter what it takes. A person with this type of attitude will be a successful hunter.
    I think luck plays a very big part of it. Look at it this way......

    There are two deer hunters on a small island they've never been to before. One has lots of experience and one has very little. Before they head off hunting the experienced hunter decides to go one way and the inexperienced hunter the other. Fortunately for the inexperienced hunter ALL the deer were on the side of the island he chose and he shot one. Not the same result for the experienced hunter.
    You can have all the experience in the world but if you decide to go one way, and a moose went the other then you won't see him. Had you gone the other way?......well I think you know what I'm getting at.

    I hunted an area for YEARS and all I saw were cows and calves. But I stuck with it because I "figured" there should be a bull in there somewhere. Finally I started killing bulls one year after another. Of course there has to be moos in the area you are hunting, but beyond that....sometimes I think it's the luck of the draw.....

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    4mer brings up a good point....

    Are you seeing lots of cows and calves? Sub-legal bulls? No moose at all?

    If you're seeing lots of cows and calves the bulls are almost surely in there, maybe change your glassing technique/time.

    Only sub legals- maybe you're in an area with a lot of hunting pressure.

    No moose at all even during twilight- maybe you need another spot altogether.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Animal behavior-they get up early to eat and move around then take a nap then get back up in the afternoon/evening to eat and move.
    animal habitat- moose can be found in all sorts of habitat from mountains to swamps. Look for areas that offer food and water.
    stalking- stay downwind and try and use cover and concealment to your advantage.
    glassing skills- look for shadows or sheets of plywood. Big moose will be obvious when the paddles catch the sunlight and if it is thick or they are not big you will see a shadow and think it is dirt then it will move. Try and look for outlines of their backs or hind quarters and watch for movement.

    What have you been doing for the past 3 years?

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