Moose Calling Advice - What would you have done differently?

Brian M

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I was out hunting last weekend and did a bit of grunting at last light before going to bed. At 6:05am I was awoken by a bull grunting within 30-40 yards of my tent. Of course it was pitch black still, so despite quietly getting out of my tent, I couldn't see a thing. I have an any bull tag, so as soon as it got barely light enough to make out the shape of a body I broke a couple sticks and grunted twice to try to draw him out of the alders he was in. I never heard him again. After 10 minutes of silence (and a few more grunts from me), I went to look and found his tracks heading straight away from me on a sandbar and across a river.

My first thoughts on what I did wrong is that perhaps I grunted too loudly. I had been using a bull magnet to amplify my calling the night before and without thinking used it again that morning. I'm wondering if a softer grunt would have sounded more realistic at such a close range.

Maybe I shouldn't have done anything? He was clearly hanging up in the brush, but maybe in time as daylight increased he would have stepped out of the alders on his own?

Or maybe I should have just scraped a bit and not vocalized at all?

I have lots of mountain hunting experience, but I seldom hunt moose and have done very little calling. I'm heading back out for the last weekend of the season and welcome any advice. Also, being the last week of the season, is it time to start employing cow calls? Or stick with grunts? I'm happy with bringing in a young dumb one, so whatever works even if it wouldn't fool an old bull that has already started gathering his harem.
 

Steven_JR

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I'm just as much of a novice, but my guess would be that your branch breaking and grunting was too loud/too close. And I say that because moose don't seem to be quiet when they move through the woods, so if I were to think like a bull, I might wonder why I didn't hear this other "moose" moving in progressively closer....instead of just all the sudden hearing one close by.

Hindsight is 20/20, but since daylight was in your favor, I probably would have sat until I had more light and then tried to stalk closer (if possible), or wait him out.
 

MacGyver

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At 6:05am I was awoken by a bull grunting within 30-40 yards of my tent. Of course it was pitch black still, so despite quietly getting out of my tent, I couldn't see a thing.
There approximately 9 hours between when you went to sleep and 6 AM.

You did not call that bull in, unless you consider snoring a call.
A moose hearing is hundreds of times better than most men. When you unzipped the tent and got out (not normal sounds moose hear in the woods) he was gone. You may had a chance if he was a couple of hundred yards.

Another scenario could be depending on his size or if he was getting beat up fighting you scare him off when you sounded like a bigger bull. Except for teenager bulls, they are really stupid when it comes to looking for love.
 

MacGyver

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And I say that because moose don't seem to be quiet when they move through the woods,
Over the years calling moose I have seen moose take 30 minutes to cross a small opening when they felt threatens. Other times I would be calling and have a cow moose standing 30 feet away looking at me. When a moose wants to you quiet you will never hear them.



It sounds like you are bless with having extremely good hearing or you unknowingly have train yourself to hear what is around you. That may sound odd to most hunters, but it is true.
 

Larry Bartlett

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B, That's why it's called hunting and not shooting. Mac, I disagree with your statement that Brian probably did not call in that bull from the night before. Many moose have come close to camp without a sound and waited nearby camp or calling locations until they have rested, ruminated, and/or just cased the joint out carefully. Every area with moose is different and animals behave slightly different depending predator harassment, hunting pressure, maturity and commitment to rut behavior. I've had bulls act just like Brian described and many that just didn't seem concerned about zippers, kicking over pots getting the rifle, hunters hollering at their partners to get the shot, etc.

I'd say that bull was just not meant to be...I have dozens that ghosted me to my own chagrin. Keeps me going back dangit!
 

Brian M

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There approximately 9 hours between when you went to sleep and 6 AM.

You did not call that bull in, unless you consider snoring a call.
A moose hearing is hundreds of times better than most men. When you unzipped the tent and got out (not normal sounds moose hear in the woods) he was gone. You may had a chance if he was a couple of hundred yards.

Another scenario could be depending on his size or if he was getting beat up fighting you scare him off when you sounded like a bigger bull. Except for teenager bulls, they are really stupid when it comes to looking for love.
You're wrong on at least one account. He stuck around for a good 45 minutes after I got out of the tent. Still grunting every few minutes, still breaking a branch now and then.

And I've heard countless accounts of moose waiting outside a tent or on an airstrip at first light after calling the night before. They often move in under cover of darkness.

Heading to the airport in about 30 to take one last attempt at it.
 

moose338

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I would tend to agree with the possibility that he may have thought you were a bigger bull that he couldn't challenge. There is also a good chance that it wasn't anything in particular that you did, and he just decided to leave for some other reason that we'll never know.
 

MacGyver

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You're wrong on at least one account. He stuck around for a good 45 minutes after I got out of the tent. Still grunting every few minutes, still breaking a branch now and then.

And I've heard countless accounts of moose waiting outside a tent or on an airstrip at first light after calling the night before. They often move in under cover of darkness.

Heading to the airport in about 30 to take one last attempt at it.
Your right Brian I made a lot of mistakes trying to help. The biggest one was thinking I could trust you not to leave out. Information such as “ He stuck around for a good 45 minutes after I got out of the tent. Still grunting every few minutes, still breaking a branch now and then.”



If I had known that I would have told you several tricks, I have use to bring in bulls when nothing else works.
 

Daveinthebush

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Maybe it wasn't your calling. Maybe it was your scent. The tent, plane, you or the campfire. At that close of range his nose probably detected too much danger.
 

greyinggrayling

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I have very little experience, and an any bull tag myself, so I’ve been reviewing a lot on info and videos. One thing I gleaned was if the bull is close enough that you can hear it, lay down the bull magnet or other amplification and just use your hands. Softer calls at closer range.
 

Brian M

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I have very little experience, and an any bull tag myself, so I’ve been reviewing a lot on info and videos. One thing I gleaned was if the bull is close enough that you can hear it, lay down the bull magnet or other amplification and just use your hands. Softer calls at closer range.
Yep, if I had it to do over again, that's what I would have done. Got excited, I guess!

Saw two bulls from the air this weekend, but couldn't draw either of them in with calling and seems I pushed them out of the area when I tried to go stalk them. Probably should have been more patient with my calling...but I'll admit that I'm not always the most patient hunter.
 

4merguide

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I have very little experience, and an any bull tag myself, so I’ve been reviewing a lot on info and videos. One thing I gleaned was if the bull is close enough that you can hear it, lay down the bull magnet or other amplification and just use your hands. Softer calls at closer range.
Personally, I only use my hands cupped around my mouth to call and have been now for many years. Never used a bull magnet or anything like it. If I see a bull far away, I just grunt louder. Have called them in from miles away depending on the terrain. I call and rake with a moose scapula. As far as I'm concerned there's nothin' better than the sound of raking a moose scapula on a quiet frosty morning. So, when they get in close, rather than take the chance that I might mess up with my mouth, like cough or something weird, I don't call anymore, but will just rake lightly with the scapula. They can pinpoint that sound just as easy, and it usually brings them in the rest of the way.
 

Daveinthebush

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We always use scent killer when whitetail hunting. I even take it to the bear stand if I get a stubborn bear. This year we switched products to Nose Jammer. Last winter I was in Illinois hunting from blinds. It was about -20 (coldest I have ever blind hunted) and the only way to stay warm was to use a propane heater. I had as many as 30-40 deer out in front of me and some within 5 yards. They never cared, never seemed to even know I was there. Scent matters!
 

tlingitwarrior

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I call with my magnet, but when the get close I use an old whiskey bottle. Take a pint plastic whiskey bottle and cut an inch off the fat end. It is awesome for raking the brush and grunting when moose get close.
 

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