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Thread: Becoming a better moose hunter.

  1. #1
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    Default Becoming a better moose hunter.

    Several years ago, I had to find a new hunting area because F&G changed the regulation.
    I had no problem finding a good hunting area with lots of tracks and I would call in several bulls. I could not kill an animal, they were just to smart for me.
    I went back to my hunting books, talked to several people and still could not connect with a bull. I did not know what I was doing wrong. Looking over a map of the area and thinking about my last hunt, I realized, I really did not know what I was doing wrong. I started making notes of everything I knew about the area, hunting methods, and moose behavior in early and late hunting season. It was apparant, I had several problems and I needed to change my method of hunting. We now take one or two moose every year.

    I came up with a list of six mistakes. Here is a list of five of my mistakes. Can you guess what the sixth mistake was?

    Not covering enough country.
    Improper use of calls.
    Watching openings at the wrong time.
    Hunting the timber incorrectly.
    Unable to see moose.

  2. #2
    Member 379 Peterbilt's Avatar
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    Not sitting it out long enough before giving up on the spot.

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    Default Biggest mistake

    Tom,
    Sixth mistake was not taking me with you! Seriously though, knowing some about you I would not think that watching wind direction/scent control were issues. I would guess the same as 379 Peterbuilt, not giving the area enough time. That is one of my biggest issues. I get impatient. I also am guilty of hunting an area were moose were a couple of weeks ago instead of where they are now. During the rut they often are not in the areas they frequent in August and early September. I just need to work more at finding the right areas.
    Good luck this year!
    Patrick

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    Default Lemme Guess

    Not hunting during their wake up hours?
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Ya, I second ( or third) what 379 Pbuilt said. Gotta give em time.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

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    Well from reading that I would say a couple things even though it sounds like you have it pegged now.

    On the improper use of calls I don't know how you can improperly call moose unless you sound like a coyote. I don't have ONE moose sound I use. I switch them around quit a bit.

    Covering lots of country isn't necessary if your in good moose country.

    Watching openings at the wrong time doesn't work as much if your calling as your making so much dang noise nothing is going to just sneak in to you.

    I don't see moose when hunting as I am set up and calling.

    I am basing this all on you saying that you figured out everything butt didn't list on here.

    If this is a calling or spot and stalk situation the number 1 thing is Patienence Plain and simple no questions asked. It kills me when I hear guys say they call for a half an hour and then move.

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    Default I get impatient.

    I get impatiet as well, cuz them no see um's are DREADFUL! I try to ignore them but MAN! They're relentless! I bought some bug gloves & bug head cover & mosquito netting, I hope this cure's what ails me...

    Another thing I am finding is no proper place to climb for a treestand! All the moose holding meadows & swaps & willow patches don't have any large enough trees to hold a treestand...& Hunting with a bow, I will need a tree stand to hit a moose over the tall grasses that are in all the moose meadows...

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    Default Change of mind...

    Changed my mind:

    I think the final one is not reading sign well enough. Plain and simple; if you don't see sign of game there really isn't any point in hunting for it. You can glass, you can find game trails, you can go where you're sure or guessing where migratory patterns are but it all comes down to seeing the evidence. Some places may have old tracks and others look like there was a moose barn dance minutes before your arrival, but if there isn't any sign of game you should move elsewhere. Also, if you're seeing bear tracks or wolf tracks chances are the moose has moved on and you should too. Just my own experience talking but I do have a 100% ratio of moose seasons to moose kills. (lucky for me, knock on wood).
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Robb it can't be that because if there is no sign you shouldn't be there in the first place I don't hunt a place if there is no sign to start out with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 375ultramag View Post
    Robb it can't be that because if there is no sign you shouldn't be there in the first place I don't hunt a place if there is no sign to start out with.
    Obviously, but you need to be able to read the sign that IS there... tell how old it is and get an idea of travel patterns.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Ya and don't forget that bulls get a hankering to move and suddently you can see a bull crossing a saddle going from valley to valley that had not left any sign in that area previously. You know what they say about them moose "They're where you find 'em"
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

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    If you remember, I said I had lot of tracks. It is not possible to tell if a moose is a bull or cow from tracks unless the cow has a calf with her. I also did not mention that there are several active scrapes in the area. If you have active scrapes there are bulls around you. You just have to find them.

    This area is covered with heavy brush and small swamps. I started hunting it before you could buy a GPS and it was very easy to get lost. (I did several times.) If I found a heavily used moose trail ˝ mile east of swamp “B” heading north/ south I could not map the trail because I did not know where swamps A, C, were without a GPS.

    I learned early on the best way to hunt this area was to call a bull into a swamp and I would call in several bulls every year. On average, I would connect with a bull about every three years. This was not good, considering the number of bulls I was seeing.

    When I first started hunting this area, it was a any bull area. If I saw a bull, it was a dead bull. After they changed the reg. to spike fork/ 50 inch. I could not get a bull because there was very few legal bulls.

    The answer to my question is. Hunt a area where there are LEGAL BULLS not SUB- LEGAL BULLS. This mistake in my opinion is the number one mistake hunters make. In fact last year I knew four hunters, that keep hunting an area where there is little or no chance of getting a legal bull.

    For several years I also hunted a area were I would see cows. Thinking where there are girls, the boys are sure to follow. I did not realize the girls (cows) would leave to hunt out the boys (bulls). Cow moose must be easier than girls. (Lucky bulls)

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    Default wow.

    There is a definate difference in male/female tracks: Big males are more likely to leave their dewclaws in the mud than females but that's not the tell-tale difference. Males' front tips point outwards while the females have a more crescent shape to them and they curve inwards... true for our moose (tundra species) in Alaska and I'm pretty sure that's the standard for all of them.

    I'm sure surprised at your final answer of hunting where legal bulls are... that kind of goes with the territory of hunting (it's a hit/miss thing with what you see). Maybe I'm nuts, but if we all knew where the legal bulls were we would probably change the word "Hunting" into "Shopping".
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Default Clarification

    I am a new moose hunter. I have not taken one, though had some chances on spike/forks, but held out for bigger, my mistake. My question revolves around the cows hunt for the bulls. I thought it was the other way around. I guess I though they were like deer as in if there are a few cows look for the bull. I would appreciate thoughts regarding this as I am going out this year thinking to find the cows and glass real hard.

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    I'm not that experienced myself, so my first advice for anyone just starting out like we are would be to find an experienced hunting partner. I'm lucky enough to have 4; my father in law, brother in law, and two of my step children. I'm hoping to learn a lot this fall, but we'll see.
    Chris Willhoite

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    FYI ...and no affiliation with the church:

    Tomorrow night, Tuesday 8/21 at 7pm, there's a moose hunting clinic on moose hunting techniques and becoming a better moose hunter at the Bible Baptist Church in Fairbanks (just off the Steese, near all the shopping, 32 Adak St).

    If you're OK with the fact that the clinic is at a church, it might be worth attending. We don't attend there, but somehow got on the mailing list. We WILL be going to the moose hunting thing tho'.

    Brian

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    Im still looking for more tips and info.

    When are moose most active, night or day. From the road, it seams like the only time to see them is dusk or dawn. Ive drove a few times at dark and have only seen 1.

    When should you glass the moose meadows?

    I have located a couple of them (meadows) that have last years rubs, and rubs before then. I have sat at these meadows a couple of times but have not seen a moose. Do the bulls seasonaly occupy these places?

    This spring at my bear bait wich is close to the meadow I hunt, We caught two moose on the game cam that are legal. And I have seen another spike and non legal bull within a few miles of the meadow. Not to mention at least 7 or 8 different cows.

    Ive also just tried still hunting a bit, not much cause its so thick and the bugs are still bad.

    Anyway, I know the moose are there, just cant see them.

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    I can't believe you clam to be a moose hunter and can't tell the difference between cow and bull tracks!

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    Default Here's Some Help...

    Im still looking for more tips and info.

    When are moose most active, night or day. From the road, it seams like the only time to see them is dusk or dawn (great moose hunting times) . Ive drove a few times at dark and have only seen 1. (I guarantee that more have seen/heard you)

    When should you glass the moose meadows? ALL THE TIME! Moose will get up and feed several times a day and lay back down. They will duck in and out of alders for cover and you have to be on constant alert to see them in action. Later in the afternoon you'll see more crossing meadows but typically you'll see them stay close to protective edges of alders and tree lines. Swamps are different, bears aren't efficient in swamps for obvious reasons but they will freak a moose out, so the bigger the swamp, the better chances of seeing a moose.

    I have located a couple of them (meadows) that have last years rubs, and rubs before then. I have sat at these meadows a couple of times but have not seen a moose. Do the bulls seasonaly occupy these places?
    l bad. (Moose only move fast when they are being threatened or chased, still hunting for moose is a really bad idea unless you like feeding mosquitoes and gnats.)

    Anyway, I know the moose are there, just cant see them. I'll help you if you'll help me fill my tags
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

  20. #20
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    Default moose movements and tracks

    Seems like everyone has different experiences with moose. Inre the question about whether or not moose move fast, I've sat on glassing spots and seen my fair share of moose activity. I've seen bulls in rut come over hills a mile distant, and in the course of a half hour they are crossing the river and going up the other side and gone. Not being chased, mind you, just doing what some bulls in rut do...looking for cows I imagine, but I can't confirm that in all cases. If you spend a fair amount of time in the air you also get to see this type of behavior, and the amazing distance some moose will travel at a good clip. So in my experience, bulls can and do move fast even when not being chased.

    Inre the difference between cow and bull tracks,
    If you stop to think about things you will find that common sense completely rules out the notion that "It is not possible to tell if a moose is a bull or cow from tracks unless the cow has a calf with her."

    Not knocking you Tom, but as this thread is ostensibly about becoming a better moose hunter I wanted to get this across. The best way I've found to really learn about tracks is to spend as much time as you can visiting the tracks of moose you have just seen, and studying them so that you can eventually distinguish any differences in shape/size/depth etc. If you see a cow, go over and look at her tracks. Take pics. Use a tape measure and measure their length/width. Same with any other moose (young bulls, mature bulls etc). There is a distinct difference on many levels between mature bull and mature cow tracks. If you think about this - about the vast weight difference alone between mature bulls and mature cows - it's only common sense. And not only are mature bulls much heavier than mature cows, their feet are bigger! Granted there are some big old cows out there, and you can't always tell for sure by tracks if it's a bull or cow, but I think you can often tell by tracks alone.

    FYI, in my experience moose can be active all hours of the day. I've shot more moose midday than any other time. Yes, I've shot my share at sunup and near sundown, but most were near 2pm or so. Go figure.

    A fun project that this community could get involved with this fall is if we all took some pics of tracks from known (seen) moose, with some kind of measure in the pic, and then we posted and compared these pics later this winter so that we could all learn a bit more about what tracks look like in different terrain (mud, grass, sand) and how they compare to what moose made them. So when your moose is down, pop a few pics of just-made tracks with your leatherman or tape alongside...would be a cool learning thing for all of us.

    Good luck this upcoming season to all,

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