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Thread: Ft Rich moose

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    Default Ft Rich moose

    Went out with a friend last week that has the Ft Rich DV muzzleloader tag to help him find a moose. I had spotted a small bull, probably 35" or so that we tried to call in, I knew he was in the area but he was closer than I had expected and we didn't get a shot at him. Had him at close to 50 yards but a lone spruce tree prevented him from taking the shot.

    I'm a bit perplexed about the rut, the small bull came in to my calls but came in silent, no grunting, no brush/tree raking, nothing. If I hadn't been watching closely we might not have even seen him. Is the rut late or is it over? I've found trees that were rubbed and a small rut pit but could get nothing to respond to my calls, bull and cow calls. I know the weather hasn't been very cold nor have we had clear skies at night, which I belive could be affecting thier behavior. So what's the deal, did we miss the rut or is it late? Any Ft Rich hunters out there have an opinion on this they'd be willing to share? This one has me baffled.

  2. #2
    Member northriver21's Avatar
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    Akhunter,

    This sounds pretty normal to me. This time of the year most if not all of the smaller "tweener" bulls have been pushed out by larger bulls and have probably got their butts kicked at least once.

    This does not curb their urge to find a girl, instead makes them a little more cautious about how they do it. This same bull would have probably come in grunting and raking in the pre rut. IMO smaller bulls will gather up a few early cows and then a bigger bull might come in and run him off. If you were making cow calls only, what he is trying to do is sneak in and see if it's a lone cow and sneak off with her. If he thinks theres a chance she is with a larger bull, he is not going to announce his arrival.

    As far as early vs. late rut. It is my opinion that while some clear cold nights in Sept may turn on the pre rut a little early, the recent warm weather has little affect on the actual rut being "late". They know when it's time to go, they have been doing this a long time.

  3. #3

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    I understand all that and agree with most of it but what i'm trying to find out is, is the rut over or is it late and hasn't started yet? I hunted unit 16A the last week of Sept and I had the same results with my calling when last year at this same time, I had bulls coming in almost daily to my calling. I don't want to waste my time with calling if the rut is over and we'll switch tactics if it is. I know there is a second rut but it doesn't last as long as the first one and i'm not sure when that one starts.

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I understand all that and agree with most of it but what i'm trying to find out is, is the rut over or is it late and hasn't started yet? I hunted unit 16A the last week of Sept and I had the same results with my calling when last year at this same time, I had bulls coming in almost daily to my calling. I don't want to waste my time with calling if the rut is over and we'll switch tactics if it is. I know there is a second rut but it doesn't last as long as the first one and i'm not sure when that one starts.
    Some of the smarter moose might be sneaking in to see if you are really are a moose, they sometimes come in from downwind to smell and tell if you're a moose. Large bulls with a harem of cows already, might not come over to antler scraping sounds, thinking you must be the bull he just kicked butt on, and will expect you to come to him. Most bull moose would probably still be interested and come in for a cow call well after the main rut is over...beginning in late September to around the end of October, we've seen large bulls with a group of cows in November - December. Don't give up yet & good luck to you!
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Default Ft Rich moose

    Bulls grunts will go two ways- find a bigger bull still lookin for a cow or alert the smaller ones to a possible sparring match about to go down.

    This late in the season I'd try cow calls. I know in south Anchorage the bulls are mating as seen on abbot / lake Otis a few days ago.

    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I've had similar experiences to yours and have wondered the same thing. I remember talking with Jay Massey about this years ago and his take was that the timing of the rut had nothing to do with weather, and everything to do with the time of year. He used to say that it all turned on at the 10th of September. What he meant was that you could expect to interact more with moose (in terms of calling and raking / thrashing) on and after the 10th than you could before that time.

    Actual breeding doesn't happen until October, so what you have going on at this time is some calling, but it is greatly reduced from what you saw earlier in September. Right now bulls are paired up with cows and breeding is about to begin or has already started. So there is not a lot of pre-rut activity going on.

    On the other hand, I have seen situations where we had bulls calling all around us and in one day it all switched off. It was like someone threw a switch. One day there was a lot of calling and the next, nothing. Not a sound. From that I learned to take my cues from what the moose were doing. If you're not hearing a lot of calling or thrashing, it's probably best to keep it quiet and use other tactics instead. That's what we do. It's not always successful, but neither was calling when the bulls weren't calling.

    I have not heard about what's going on with this in South-central this fall, so unfortunately I can't directly address your question. But hopefully it's been helpful.

    =added in the following= I forgot something! Last week I did interact a bit with a bull over in the Knik area. He was a smaller bull that was hanging around a cow that had two calves from this year. I noticed that the bull was not calling at all, was not salivating or anything. But he was hanging around that cow even though she was obviously not a breeder this year. I did some calling and he ran off, but the cow and calves stayed put. I was quiet and the bull circled back around to the cow, eventually coming into full view for some photos (see below). You can see that the whites of his eyes are reddish, indicating that he's pretty engorged. But a bull that size isn't going to see much action this year.



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    What northriver21 said, and I would like to add finding where a bull/bulls were scraping does not mean there are there now. There is no way I knowing when they were there three weeks or three days ago. Will they return? Will the smell bring in other bulls and cows? The only thing we know for sure is they were there at one time.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    What northriver21 said, and I would like to add finding where a bull/bulls were scraping does not mean there are there now. There is no way I knowing when they were there three weeks or three days ago. Will they return? Will the smell bring in other bulls and cows? The only thing we know for sure is they were there at one time.
    Yes, but they do use the same rut pits year after year. So, assuming the bull that dug the rut pit is still alive, chances are that he'll be back there this year. It's worth staking out places like that.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member northriver21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    understand all that and agree with most of it but what i'm trying to find out is, is the rut over or is it late and hasn't started yet?
    Ak, the rut should be in full swing right now. It's the pre rut that is mostly over. I only say mostly over because as you have already stated there is a smaller "second rut" where unbred cows and bulls unable to mate during the first rut will continue the ritual.
    I know you know this, but for others, pre rut is when all the calling, rut pits and scraping happen to get the animals grouped up for the actual "rut". Once the animals are grouped up, everything changes and you cannot expect the tactics used on Sept 15th to work the same on Oct 8th. A bull is not going to leave his cows to get one more....The cows come to him.

    Most of the moose within several square miles are now in very small localized concentrations. This means that by just spot and stalk hunting, you will see less moose, but when you do find them they will be in a sizable group. They are busy mating and dominance has been established. The only bulls you are going to get to come to your call are the ones who have failed to gather a harem because of their lack of dominance or plain availability of moose in the area. Most of those bulls are doing the satellite routine, circling the harem and trying desperately to hit a cow while no oneís looking without getting beat up! When all this happens you are only going to get smaller bulls to respond to your calls as they are the ones who will travel the furthest to your cow call, OR if you happen to get right on top of a bigger bull with his harem and challenge him to protect it, then you will probably get a look at him. At the very least you can get some reaction and go in on him. You will have lots of eyes on you though and those cows do protect their bull.

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I hunted unit 16A the last week of Sept and I had the same results with my calling when last year at this same time, I had bulls coming in almost daily to my calling. I don't want to waste my time with calling if the rut is over and we'll switch tactics if it is. I know there is a second rut but it doesn't last as long as the first one and i'm not sure when that one starts.
    You were getting lots of action because last week of Sept is still pre rut activity they are using all of these sounds, and smells to help them group up. I cannot explain why it was not the same for you this year other than maybe there were less moose in the area or they were pushed out of their routine by more huntersÖ. Maybe you had a frog in your throat and didnít sound all that sexy this year.

    Once again I know I am preaching to the choir with you and many others on this forum. If it were me and I was just after a meat bull, I would continue with the cow calls from 1-2 different spots a day, hoping to get a smaller bull to come in for reasons stated above. Now If itís a big bull youíre after, I would cover lots of ground slowly, scraping and grunting often. If you do get within earshot of a bull and his harem you will know. You will either hear all of their ruckus or he will answer your challenge. Be ready for some quick shooting.

  10. #10

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    I had a cow calling like crazy!! in my yard a couple nights ago.. She had 2 calves (this years) and a little "paddle bull" with one antler was doing his best to protect his "Harem" as they ate all my Crab apples... It was entertaining to say the least... They must have been practicing for next year!!! lol


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    Member letshunt's Avatar
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    I was out on ft rich Friday morning and spent some time cow calling, a small 42 inch bull came right to me, he was making some very low volume grunts. I saw him way before I heard anything at all. While I was skinning him, had another bull come in to the area. They are there, just seem to be a bit quiet. I was in TA402, saw lots of sign. 50 yards with the T/C pro hunter.


  12. #12

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    I'll take this info and apply it where needed, appreciate the feedback from everyone. Letshunt, congrats on your bull, looks like you'll have some fine eating this winter.

    We are headed back out tomorrow afternoon to try and find a moose for my friend, will post up results if we manage to put one down.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I'll take this info and apply it where needed, appreciate the feedback from everyone. Letshunt, congrats on your bull, looks like you'll have some fine eating this winter.

    We are headed back out tomorrow afternoon to try and find a moose for my friend, will post up results if we manage to put one down.
    Good luck to you guys! Looks like pretty good hunting weather the last few days...

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  14. #14

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    Isn't the RUT a female controlled endeavor...when the cow is in estrous regardless of any month, weather or moon phase, etc. a bull will breed her if possible? Haven't hunted moose too much but have hunted white-tailed deer (ungulates) for 35+ years in Michigan. Typically doe estrous or the RUT occurs in early November but some a month earlier and some a month later. Buck responses are strongest/loudest during the main rut but all that changes when the buck to doe ratio is 1:5 rather then 1:1. Too much estrus in the air so why waste energy posturing when everyone can get some action.


    If all the bulls in area appear contented and don't show many signs of RUT behavior perhaps observe the number of cows in the given area and determine if there are too many cows. Over-browse could be a preliminary indicator to an overpopulation. A year later, most will have displaced to greener browse areas and your hot spot will have shifted.

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    Yes, the cow is the one who determine when she is mated. She will be in heat for the first time this year between Sept 25 and Oct. 10 for app. 24 hours. 80% of the cows will be service during this time. If she is not bread she will go in heat again in 22 to 24 days. The moon, turning of the leaves, weather or when a bull is ready has nothing to do with it. The weather does effect the bulls when it come to wanting to mate. If it get cold they become very active.

    Trying to understand what is going on is a area is not as simple as counting the number of cows, there are so just two many variable.

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