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Thread: Moose Hunting in Burn Areas

  1. #1
    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Default Moose Hunting in Burn Areas

    As I was going through the draw handouts yesterday, I was marking some potential areas I would like to hunt moose next year. One of the areas is an area my neighbor and both of his sons drew cow tags for this year (yep, 3 tags in one area, in one family). They have taken moose out of this area before, several in fact. It is an area I thought I would put in for because I am planning a haul road hunt in early September and wanted to have a moose hunt that extended into October and November so I could get to that later in the year.

    My neighbor left on Sunday to head up. To my surprise, his truck was back in his driveway this morning. Turns out the area had burned up pretty bad this summer. They hunted around the entire area for 3 days with no sign of life at all, soot still on the ground as far as the eye could see. Completely burned out.

    I know that burn areas can provide great moose returns in the years after the burn, but my question is, how long do you have to wait for that to happen? Would the moose start coming in for the new browse as early as next year? Or is this an area that won't be productive until say 2 or 3 years out?

    Thanks in advance.
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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I'd say give it a few years. I would also say to talk with area bio. Moose response to burns should be well documented. I would additionally say to look at areas around the burns, as moose would be pushed out of the burn, and into these unburned areas.
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    Default Burned areas

    Burned areas can be good hunting the year right after a burn, because new lush grass will grow already by then. Plus the burns don't burn every single tree in an area, there will still be patches around swamps and around some of the ridges that moose can still hide in and feel comfortable in. The only problem with hunting in October and November is the moose will probably have moved out of the burns into where ever they go for their post-rut feeding areas. Hunting burns in August and September can be good, but by October and November it's possible they could move out of these areas to their rut and post-rut areas.

  4. #4

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    I started researching burn areas as Hunt Planner in 1998. The field evidence we've collected over the years by trial and error with hunting burn areas is this:

    After a large burn, "quality" abundant regrowth begins between 4-5 years post burn, brings in moose (noteworthy numbers) between year 5 and year 7, and peaks at year 10. After that, vegetation seems balance out with surrounding non-burn forage and moose begin to disperse.

    Hope this helps.

    larry

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    i think the recovery of the growth is also contingent on the intensity of the burn... hot fast burns that only take the the growth but leave the root structure i think recover faster than the deep burns like we experienced along the steece and CHSR in 04/05 where the soil was burned down to the clay... the fire out by our claim 09 already had new growth in it 2010...as the wind moved it fast across the spruce. so in all? recovery all depends on the intensity IMO...
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  6. #6

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    In theory, when a forest becomes mature, all of the available nutrients of the forest are locked into the woody tissue of the trees. That is why there is very little high quality browse for a moose to eat in a mature forest. So, after a forest fire, supposedly the nutrients that were locked in the woody tissue of the tree become released back into the soil. This allows pioneer species of plants to grow there which are high in nitrogen, phosphorus etc. This pioneer species browse is very important to yearling moose, pregnant and nursing cows, and bulls that are recovering from the rut. Again, I say this is all just theory, because I am not really sure anybody has actually taken the time to measure this, but it makes sense. I once read the key to understanding moose and their feeding strategy is to understand that they are "fertility junkies" meaning they seek out foods that are easily digestible and high in nutrients, because they have such high metabolic demands. This is also why they tend to live close to rivers. Because the river floodplain is constantly undergoing change/succession. As a river goes through cycles of erosion and deposition, new soils are enriched with vital nutrients that create high quality browse for moose. This is why you find thick patches of willows on rivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    In theory, when a forest becomes mature, all of the available nutrients of the forest are locked into the woody tissue of the trees. That is why there is very little high quality browse for a moose to eat in a mature forest. So, after a forest fire, supposedly the nutrients that were locked in the woody tissue of the tree become released back into the soil. This allows pioneer species of plants to grow there which are high in nitrogen, phosphorus etc. This pioneer species browse is very important to yearling moose, pregnant and nursing cows, and bulls that are recovering from the rut. Again, I say this is all just theory, because I am not really sure anybody has actually taken the time to measure this, but it makes sense. I once read the key to understanding moose and their feeding strategy is to understand that they are "fertility junkies" meaning they seek out foods that are easily digestible and high in nutrients, because they have such high metabolic demands. This is also why they tend to live close to rivers. Because the river floodplain is constantly undergoing change/succession. As a river goes through cycles of erosion and deposition, new soils are enriched with vital nutrients that create high quality browse for moose. This is why you find thick patches of willows on rivers.

    Very interesting post Bushwhack. Theory or not - interesting.
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    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    In theory, when a forest becomes mature, all of the available nutrients of the forest are locked into the woody tissue of the trees. That is why there is very little high quality browse for a moose to eat in a mature forest. So, after a forest fire, supposedly the nutrients that were locked in the woody tissue of the tree become released back into the soil. This allows pioneer species of plants to grow there which are high in nitrogen, phosphorus etc. This pioneer species browse is very important to yearling moose, pregnant and nursing cows, and bulls that are recovering from the rut. Again, I say this is all just theory, because I am not really sure anybody has actually taken the time to measure this, but it makes sense. I once read the key to understanding moose and their feeding strategy is to understand that they are "fertility junkies" meaning they seek out foods that are easily digestible and high in nutrients, because they have such high metabolic demands. This is also why they tend to live close to rivers. Because the river floodplain is constantly undergoing change/succession. As a river goes through cycles of erosion and deposition, new soils are enriched with vital nutrients that create high quality browse for moose. This is why you find thick patches of willows on rivers.
    Deer and moose are alot alike as far as new growth, cuz they can reach it easy. Moose break the tops off small trees for the buds until they can no longer break the tree down. Then they change feeding areas.
    Funny how animals are. In Minnesota where I came from the whitetail dear are attracted to the sound of a chain saw, because they know there is gonna be easy pickins on the ground soon. Kinda like the bears in Alaska. Gunshot? hum? sounds like easy food on the ground. I'm sure moose are much the same. I always saw moose in Minnesota during the deer season in fresh cut logging areas.
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    I have hunted burns the year after and have seen intense browse, with mostly cow and calf in the area. Bulls seem to remain in cover until the rut fully kicks in and perhaps before then feed the open areas at night. I agree that these areas are easy pickings, but the moose remain the same in nature, meaning easy food is great, but the still need cover. so look for burns that have variety and be patient when working them, give the bulls a chance to come out of nearby cover as they might even be more apprehensive with less cover around the burn area.

  10. #10
    Member mit's Avatar
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    Too many variables to make an overall conclusion for every fire in every location.
    Tim

  11. #11
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    As a timber grows to maturity is simply "canopies" out undergrowth - nutrients and zillions of seeds are still there they just sit idle until that canopy is removed. Move a cement slab and watch all the weeds pop up for example.
    I have seen good moose activity in logged areas in Canada on year two - as long as there was some mature timber/willows etc nearby. I would concentrate hunting the "fringe" of the burn areas for next 2 years - by year 3 or 4 you should start seeing decent numbers reaching further away from the non burnt area's. Overall size of the burn will dictate how long the entire area is both good feed and good cover...
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