Contributors to this thread:
Moose Decoy usage???
I've read countless pieces about how great the Montana moose decoy works, but have yet to hear how someone actually hunted with it.
What I would like to know is: 1-Best place to set it up when cow calling; 2-where to position one self for the approaching bull; 3-Do bulls approach from the front or back of the decoy; 4-anything else you could possibly tell me about deploying one of these Montana moose decoys?
Thank you in advance,
Edited in...I will be hunting with a Longbow and prefer my shots to be under 20 yards and preferably measured in feet.
A little off subject here....I carried a Elk Mountain Slip System with the moo cow image....I walked up to within 25 yards of a nice Shiras bull last September...the bull just stared at the cow decoy and I was able to draw, aim, and shoot while the bull seemed mesmerized...until the arrow buried itself in his massive chest...I was very impressed with the effectiveness of the slip system effect!!
PS attached pic is my comedic display of the moment just before the shot (re-enacted)
Just wear black. Moose can't see very well at all. If you want to get close, they've got to think you're another moose.
I tried a decoy on my hunt. It was a pain to tote around. Not needed in my opinion. The guides all wore black while calling.
I've called in maybe 135 bulls over the years and always wore black or dark blue. Walked straight towards a few, one guy behind the other and they just thought we were another moose. I have been known to set up on the edge of a slough with a couple garbage bags stuffed with marsh grass and set up on willow twigs. Moose will walk 1/2 mile around a slough to have a closer look.
Bear Track...do they approach from downwind? I'm doing this unguided and trying to put a plan together now.
Kinda like a Moose 101 class, that I'm taking along the way. I'm sure there will be many more questions as the season nears.
I figure the best way to get answers is to ask the guys who have done it and find out what work, or what has worked in the past.
In regard to the SLIP System...I do have a few moose covers available for it! PM me for a Bowsite Discount if interested.
Best of Luck, Jeff (Bowsite Sponsor)
You may want to look into the moose madness DVD set by Alex Guthroe, I think that's his name. Lots if great info on there.
Wouldn't hunt moose with out it. Great for getting bulls up close to 20 yards. Once the bull see's the decoy he is commented.
I carried one around almost everyday for 16 days in Colorado this year. I set it up a dozen times but only once when I knew a bull was close. When I spotted the bull I wanted to shoot, I set up the decoy about 10 yards away and behind me a little hoping he would walk by broadside toward the decoy. I called him in to about 25 yards where he could plainly see the decoy but he wouldn't come in where I had a clear shot. He turned and walked away. I got real aggressive with the calling and got him to come back. This time he walked around the right side of the bush I was hiding behind, away from the decoy but gave me a 5 yard shot. I called in a few other bulls but never had a chance to set up the decoy on those bulls. A friend set it up last year in Wyoming and pulled a bull in from a half mile out. I don't know that they help all that much, but I will use it if I ever get to hunt moose again.
A visual cue can often make or break his commitment to approach. It does not have to be fancy, by any stretch, just "black". A blanket draped over some branches works well. And, yes, they will attempt to circle downwind almost every time, in my experience.
elkmtngear, you are not working on a bomb are you? Just curious about the radioactive material sign...
I have been using decoys since 1987. I've have had lots of unbelievable encounters with a lot of success get bulls in real close. I had 5 come well within client's bow range last fall and even had to play hide and seek with a bull for 15 minutes that was trying to find me when I but the decoy down. The decoy that I have been using for the last 20 years is a taxidermist form mount that I can wear or mount on a tree.
Tao, Sounds like the same type of decoy Bob Bearman uses.
If you don't mind me asking, what was the best week for moose hunting for you last fall?
when it comes to Ontario moose hunting Tao is the man, he leaves no stone unturned, And when it comes to using a decoy Tao is the guy to listen to.. ten years ago or so, Tao visited the bowsite regularly and had quite a following with the moose hunting crowd, good to see him post every now and then.
What made you decide to go with a decoy like that? I would think that kind of decoy would be a pain to walk through the bush with.
Rodb... yes, it is like the one Bob Bearman uses.I made Bob's for him. The morning of the first day I had 2 bulls come in at 8:30 and 9:45. Then on the last Tuesday of the last week I had a 65"-70" bull come into the call with in bow range of a client. The season was good from start to finish except for the rain storms and the snow storm that blew in. The reason I like this decoy the best is I can put it on and wear it. The movement stops the bulls from hanging up. I just stand their facing the bull as it comes in. If the bull seems to hang up I take a couple of steps towards him while he is looking and that usually gets him moving again. While I am calling and waiting to hear a bull answer I hang the decoy on a tree looking out into the swamp or lake shore.That way she is always working while I am laying around calling, listening and watching. I will put the decoy on when I hear a bull answer or if I have enough time to put it on. It can get a little nerve racking if the bull gets past the client. There are times when have thought of cutting things loose, running and hiding. So far all I have done is just stand there and face the bull, face to face at 5-15 yards. The bull usually backs down and walks back the way he came from. But, I have been pretty good at turtleing or hiding, and playing peek a boo also when they get past the clents. Over a dozen times I have run through the alders past a client with a bull chasing me along the shoreline. Steward Hazard even shot a bull that was almost standing over me while I was curled up in a ball under a tamerack bush. After I ran past him twice with that bull in tow. I ran out of cover so I dove down into the base of the bush to hide.
I just found out that my clients cancelled their 10 day bow hunt at the start of the 2015 season. Anyone interested? It will not be open for long. A group of 3 will work out the best for the set-ups that I have. Usually the maximum shot is 25 yards or less. It is on the west side of Seseganaga Lake. The outfitter has 3 bull tags.
I didn't read all the posts but would agree with Marc that a decoy is a pain in the rear toting around...especially if you do much hiking. Where I've hunted moose I had to cover lots and lots of country to find them. A decoy is more bulk and weight...and just 1 more thing to carry!
Always keep the wind in mind! Moose have one of the best noses in the animal kingdom! A lot of guys don't know it but moose also have some of the best ears as well? If you think about it, their antlers act as funnels to funnel sound directly to their ears. I've found that whacking and raking trees are just as effective as a decoy....although high pressured moose may want to see something before coming in to close range?
Here is my first attempt at adding a photo
It is a completely different style of hunting here in north western Ontario. It is very difficult to do a spot and stalk because of all the blown down timber, the swamps with no bottom and the thick brush. We use boats or canoes to get around. Every on of my set-ups I make trails with the chain saw and it usually takes 4 hours and 4 tanks of gas to go a 1/4 mile
Thanks for the photos and the info. Appreciate learning anything I can.
Tao. If we are going to be hunting a lake for two weeks should we cut trails like that? Afraid of moving moose away from area. I assume you cut those trails earlier in year.
This is looking down one of the shooting lanes down to the waters edge at 15 yards. The decoy and I are about 120 yards to the right of this shooter. The second shooter is to his right and about 300 yards away. This view is facing west and we hunt this bay when the wind is out of the south or the south west, never with the wind out of the north or east. The boat is hidden on the north side shore of this point of land 300 yards north north west of this shooter.
I would take the time to cut all the trails and shooting lanes the first couple of days, figure out where you are going to hide the boat in the same place every time you hunt. This way you can get in and out quietly with out getting poked in the eye with a stick or tripping in the dark coming and going from your set-ups and also you are controlling the scent trail you are leaving behind. Get all the work done so you are not fighting to get their the rest of the hunt. When you are cutting with a chain saw all the animals know exactly where you are but when you are finished all the work the moose will be back to normal with in a day or two. I usually do all my prep work at the end of Aug or first week of Sept. I will have set-ups for each of the different winds. For the 3 weeks that I am guiding I want at least 8-12 set-ups
When we arrive at the lake were hunting the first thing we do is to put our stuff away and then get in the boats and go to our calling spots and clean them up, get a spot to hide the boat at each spot, clear a trail to each stand and the callers area, it takes some time but it pays off in the end. Oh and I learned this from Tao,
If during the hunt we find a new spot that is worth building a new set-up. I will, with the clients get out of our hunting clothes and using a different boat go in and first find a spot where we want to hide the boat. Then, one person would flag or blaze the best route for the trail, the second person would be swinging the chain saw cutting and the third would be tossing the logs and branches to the side. The shooter are then set-up 100-200 yards away from the caller. The shooters should be 10-15 yards away from any moose trails or 5-10 yards in the forest from the open, with shooting lanes at 45 degree angles around the shooter for 20-40 yard long shooting lanes 4-6 feet wide. the shooter should be in the center of this hub of shooting lanes but care should be take so that the shooter is not silhouetted. We would let the area calm down for a couple of days before we would hunt it or wait until after the next rain.
Sbschindler is still using a lot of the set-ups that I made back in the early 90's at Boreal Lake. They are still producing moose after all these years. It makes hunting so much easier when you do the home work. As a guide it takes a lot of pressure off me knowing exactly where all my shooters are or should be. It also makes it easier to us the decoy to bring the bulls right past the shooters at 3-18 yards
We are hunting Odin Lake. I have shared info with sbschindler. I always welcome any info. Love hunting moose. Again I appreciate your info.
Tao, first off thanks for your replies (and others also).
Curious about your setup at the pond, you say your facing west and you only hunt it with a south wind. That means your scent is not blowing out over the pond. Do you always expect the moose to come from the south at this calling spot? I have watched Alex's CD many times and he recommends your scent blow out over the pond. How do you handle the wind?
blindgood... I had set-ups on Odin Lake also for every wind condition. Clients got a number of bulls there and I have lots of moose stories, my best week was 18 bulls within bow range in one week. If you are interested I send me a map I could mark down all my old spots. All you would have to do is look for the old chain saw cut logs where the trails were. I also had a good set-up at Lillycrop. There were some really big moose in that lake. Have you hunted Odin lake?
Rodb.. This set-up is on a point of land. The moose come from due south of the shooter swims north across 30 yards of water towards the shooter and then heads west along the shore and then follows the shore line north to cross the shooters shooting lane. The big lake is 70 yards to the north of the client with a 6-8 foot cliff to the waters edge so no moose will come from the north or east. The moose only come into this set-up from the south or the west. The south side of this bay is just covered with moose trails so there are too many back doors for the bulls to come in on the caller. So, this set-up goes against the rules of having your scent blowing onto the water because we are on a point of land that goes out into the big water. Over the past 3 years this set-up has presented 2-6 bull encounters within 22 yards each season
Most of my set-up has our scent being blown on to the water. All you have to remember is if the boat is being beat-up on the shore by the waves you are hunt the wrong end of the lake.
I had my very first successes with my decoy in both Odin and Borel Lakes. Just ask Dave if you have a chance.
Tao, what is your thoughts on the Montana Moose decoy? In your opinion, what would be an ideal set up with this decoy?
Tao, I think you need to get with some video Pros and make some Videos, sounds like you'd have some spectacular footage!
Mike. I have a Montana decoy. It is too short and is easily blow over by the wind. Also, if sun light hits it just right it does not look good, it is shiny. The sticks do not go deep enough into the labrador tea and it is always falling over. I have had clients get 2 moose using one. Do not set it it up in the open. I like to set up my decoys on the timbers edge or have it just in front of tea tag alder so I can secure it to branches. As my photos show.
Ace.. How many times I wish I could have had someone on camera with me. I have tried to do it my self but I never turn it on because I can not do both at the same time. I have to remain so focused on the bull coming in and the job at hand, I do not want to miss a single q form the bull. On some hunts the clients have memories for life
In one of your earlier comments you talk about going in and out in the dark, how critical is doing this? Crossing a lake in the dark with a strong wind scares the hell out of me so many times I wait until some light. But that means not getting setup until a half hour after sunrise. How much action have you seen the first hour and the last hour of the day?
Rodb if the weather has high winds we do not go out. If the waves are pounding the boats, their is no point in going out, the call will not carry. Most mornings and evening are always the calmest early morning and in tea evenings unless a storm front is moving in. I usually get up at 4:00-4:30am and we are in the boats by 5:30-6:00 depending on the distance we have to travel. I like to be on stand a 15 minutes to hour before legal light. In the evenings we are always coming back in the dark. I use a GPS and compass if I do not the area well, but most of the time I just use the features on the horizon to navigate by. I put bright eyes at the spots where I want to hide the boat. Always wear your life jacket and strap the engine kill switch to it. There are times where we may travel a hour in the dark, so you have to know where you are going. I have had clients shoot bulls just minutes into legal light or bulls grunting as we are using the electric trolling motor in the dark trying to get into our set-ups. I make sure everyone knows when legal light is each day
The first hour and the last hour are the most important times of the day. I would not want to miss one minute of legal light. The trick is to get in and out with out making any noise. That is why I use a electric trolling motor for the last quarter mile.
I really appreciate this conversation with you, I hope I'm not bugging you too much with all these questions.
If you have a lake where you can hunt it no matter which way the winds come from. Do you hunt it day in and day out?
How big of a lake, pond, opening (yards across) does it have to be for moose coming downwind to not be able to smell you?
I have seen moose catch a scent at what I figure was 100-150 yards. I usually like to give a hunting set up at least 3 calling sessions before moving on to another area. I have hunted the same set-up as long a 10 days once with moose activity every day and harvested 2 bulls. The only spots I have ever had where you can hunt it in any wind are Islands set-ups. Like Richard's Island on Borel Lake, or the island on Beaver Trap. I have had moose walk down wind from me 15-20 yards out in the water and did not catch my scent, but I take great care with my scent control. I was once caught in a position where I could not move. I was leaning against a tree with my shoulder and my calling horn tucked under my other arm. A 3 year old bull came out of the spruce and walked to the other side of the I was leaning against. I was looking down at the ground where his rear legs were. I could hear him smelling my pack. I was thinking to myself that I could hit his belly with my calling horn but thought that I better not because he would kick me. I stayed frozen against that tree for several minutes until he turned and walked away in the direction he came from.
Wow Great Info. Thanks Tao
From the caller's position with the decoy looking at the shooters set-up that looks north. It's just on the other side on the dead tree that is at the point
Here is another shooters set up showing 2 shooting lanes of 8 yards to the closest moose trail and the other moose trail at the waters edge at 12 yards. Behind the shooter is also 3 shooting lanes with the waters edge 24 yards away. The caller's position is to the right 80 yards away
Two small bulls that walked past a client at 11 yards and got to me and then proceeded to walk past the second shooter at 7-9 yards. The clients were looking at bigger bulls
The trail from the boat to the set-ups. Notice the chain saw cuts on the logs and the blazes on the trees for coming and going in the dark
Hiding the boat. The shooters set-ups are 100-150 yards to the east and west of the boat. The caller's position with the decoy is 40 yards to the west of the boat
Another hiding spot for the boat at another set up. This is looking south. All the shooters are over looking water with multiple moose trails between them and the water. The first shooter's set-up is 140 yards south of the boat, the second shooter is 160 yards west of the boat and the third shooter is 80 yards to the north. The photo is from the caller's position with the decoy.
Looking past the boat hiding spot towards the first shooter to the south who is 60 yards past the point of trees. The bull moose will not see the boat as it comes in, if he does see the boat that means he has walked past the shooters that are north or south of the caller. The shooter to the west is covering the back door to this set-up and will stops any bull getting to the caller and decoy
It appears that you hunt areas that have open space between the water and bush and areas that have woods right up to the water. Either way if the wind is blowing out towards the water that means any bull walking along the shore could eventually get down wind of the shooter. Are you hoping it's too late by then?
The few times I've heard real cows calling it seems that they do a few calling sequences and that's it. I wonder if calling every 20 minutes or so all morning or all afternoon is over calling. What's your approach to calling?
I really hate to ask this one but you always talk about moose trails, is that your prerequisite to a good calling spot? If no moose trails do you move on no matter how good the calling spot looks?
What I stay away from are the rocky shores and where the tall timber and thick alder come right to the waters edge with steep drop offs. What I look for are the shallow sandy, swampy shore lines. I look for game trails that lead to and from feeding areas. The moose trails will tell you where they like to travel and also what direction most of the tracks are going in. You will usually find the trails running along transition areas. Like the waters edge, the edge where the grass and brush meet, where the brush and the tall timber meet, and in the tall timber where all the blow downs end and the standing timber. These trails will determine where I build my set-ups. There are far more bad places to set up a hunt then good places. I like to start with a quiet series of calls over 5-10 minutes a couple of minutes apart. building up in volume over a hour before doing a series of loud broadcasting calls, calling quietly between loud broadcasting series of calls. You have to throw in those quiet no calling periods of 20-30 minutes near the end of the morning hunt. If you are not sure about what you are doing do not call to often. Some say I call to much at times. But as soon as I hear a bull answer everything changes to to quiet communication grunts.
Some times you can not hunt the spots where all the trails are (too many back doors), so you have to draw them from those areas into your set-up. But you do know where they are coming from. If the bull has to walk out in the water to catch your scent, the shooter should be able to get a shot off before or just as he is catching it. If you have mist coming off the lake it seems to dissipate your scent.
In the thick heavy brush of Ontario, I can see the need for calling and a decoy to get the bulls to come to you, but on many remote solo moose hunts to Alaska I have found visibility can be less of an issue. With that said, bulls still tend to hang up especially if they have cows. Flashing a white trash bag, scapula or shed found during the hunt may get stubborn bulls to commit to your calling, but if some do hang up, I have found you have to make them think you are another bull. My bull grunts and portable antler decoy mounted on my head may give me just that mobility to move into them. My first recourse is to call or decoy them to me, but when all else fail, I move in.
I used my photo of a 64 inch bull I arrowed in 2004 and had my friend print it on corrugated plastic. The new image of the rack spanned 47 inches, but I cut off each antler palm and overlapped the center piece with reinforced corrugated with attached Velcro for ease of carrying in my day pack. A decoy is of no use if you don’t have it when needed. Like many homeless people who sleep on cardboard in the city of Chicago, my decoy can also be used as a moisture barrier should I have to spend the night away from my tent.
The antlers are attached on the head strap used to mount a GoPo camera. I cut a hole in the antler center piece above my left eye to facilitate the use of a GoPo while drawing and shooting with the antlers on. If needed, I can mount the antlers quickly to a bush or tree and back away, if during the approach the bull I’m after advances. The use of grunting and posturing while wearing the antlers, may grab the focus of a rut crazed bull enough allow my approach. The use of a mobile decoy is nothing new, but is typically used with a pair of hunters, one being the shooter. This design allows the solo hunter to do both. Again there may be hazards related to this tactic, should the bull charge, a bear is in the area, or a distant hunter makes an identity mistake. You are a moving decoy. That movement is key to a triggered response. In this case, if the response to do nothing allows me to move in among a group of cows with a bull, that’s OK too.
I would prefer not to use a decoy, but if you are pressed for time and need to get within bow-range to make an ethical kill, this may be an option to consider. Mike
That is an awesome idea Mike. I can only imagine the encounters one could get into with that setup. I'm interested to see how it works out.
I'm glad you brought up feeding areas.
Looking at your last photo it looks like there has been some logging across the lake. I'm aware of how these logging areas are a magnet to moose but what about fly-in lakes where logging doesn't take place, what should I be looking for under these conditions? I do know that moose will still be feeding in the water but not as much as they did during the summer.
Herdbull......Great information!!!!! I can see it working here as well on the bigger bulls. But you have to remember that if you are challenging bulls, things can happen very fast and get out of control as well, putting a inexperienced moose hunter at risk of bodily harm. When using a cow decoy everything happens slow and deliberately and the bull is coming in with love on his mind not a fight. But then again, use what ever you have in your tool box to get the bull to come within bow range. You also have to remember there is a big difference in styles of hunting the mountains and the black spruce swamps of Northwestern Ontario. I am addicted to hunting the mountains but I have to save lots to afford the hunts.
Rodb.... It is a forest fire burn that is about 5 years old in the background of the photos. Where I am presently hunting is a 45 minute float plane flight from Ignace Ontario on the west side of Seseganaga Lake. Take a look at it on google earth. The nearest road is 5-10 miles west of any of my set-up. Most of the local hunters hunt the cuts. Gun hunters like the new cuts while the bow hunters like the cuts that are 10-30 years old. These guys are also know as road hunters. I am known as boat/canoe hunter. Both burns and clear cuts provide feed for moose. Moose will feed on aquatic plants until the lakes freeze over.
In the forest fire areas I look for edge transitions to find the moose trails. Such as along the sides of swamps, creeks and rivers or patches of standing green timber. The burns may look nice, clear and easy to walk but they can be uuugggggly with all kinds of blown down timber and leg breaking holes hidden by waist high grass.
Found it! Great looking area and with the burn area it's no wonder why you see a lot of animals. The lake looks like it has many areas to hunt on any given wind although you probably don't wonder too far from the burn. I've been in fly-ins where there is a small lake with few options and I've been in other fly-ins with many options. The problem with many options is it takes a while to learn the place and you don't spend enough time in the prime areas. Without a prime feeding area it gets kinda tough to pin the moose down.
If you were to hunt a new area is there a particular spot you like to focus on first?
Herdbull, that's a cool decoy hat you got there.Don't think I have the stones to be confronting a big bull with that on though.Have you used it yet?I'd love to hear stories with that decoy hat.Taos stories of being chased back and forth in front of hunters was funny and I could just picture it
Rodb asked..."If you were to hunt a new area is there a particular spot you like to focus on first?"
Now that is a really good question.
When I look at set-up a new lake, I look for the rivers and creeks that feed in and out of the lake, as they are usually the corridors that hold the moose trails. Next is the the bays with the shallow weedy shore lines . Then you look at where the neighboring lakes are, as they can be where you can draw the moose in from into you set-up. Look for narrow strips of land that will as funnels to bring the moose through. Try and get set-ups for all the different winds. Look for islands that are surrounded by shallow grasses that almost join up to the mainland. Google earth has become a very useful tool
You have mentioned islands in the past but I guess I don't understand why.
What advantages does setting up on an island give you?
Herdbull......you're out of control!!!! Nice headgear too. : )
Rodb... Here are a couple of my island set-ups that I used and had a luck of success with. Borel Lake, Ontario the island is 51 26' 24.77"N and 94 08'43.70W and Beavertrap Lake Ontario 49 01'15.32"N and 87 26'54.50W Take a look at these on Google earth. You can hunt these islands with any wind direction. Look around the islands and you will see all kinds of feed in the shallow grassy waters. It seems that once a bull commits to coming on to the island it will not stop until it is on the island and the water helps to mask your scent.
Tao, OK, I found both of them and the islands you are talking about.
What's nice about both of those islands is that there is shore line on all sides fairly close.
So how would you place everyone with reference to the wind?
Rodb.. The island on Borel...There are 3 shooting position. It is like a triangle so the first shooter is the south west corner, the bulls have always swam across from the west shore to the narrow point on the island and followed the shore on either the north side or the south side, there are 3-6 larger spruce tree that the shooter hides beside and most of the bulls have passed by within 5-12 yards. The second shooter is on the north east corner and the bulls pass by the shooter hidden in brush with shooting lanes to the north and east. Every bull has always walked across the shallow water from the northeast with shots of 3-15 yards. The 3rd shooter is at the south east corner in the brush with shooting lanes to the east and the south. Every bull has always swam across from the south east shore. I called from the middle of the island and once I have a reply I would put on the decoy and step out into the open at the furthest corner of the island or betwen the shooters. If you look closely you can actually see the trails just in side the trees going around the whole island and the ones that go in to the middle of the island. I have had bulls chasing me around the island a number of times when they have gotten past a shooter and I can say that a client had a chance a bull 3 times
The island on Beavertrap. The boat is hidden on the north side of the island beside a beaver house. Trails run around the whole island just inside the tree line. All the moose have swam from the south west shore or down the middle of the lake to the south. Every bull that has come from the north has walked the shore line on the west to the southern side and then swam to the island. Every moose that came from the east has swam to the south east corner of the island. There is ugly rocking shore line on the north side of the lake and so is the north side of the island. So we only hunt the south side of the island. The first shooter is at the south west corner and the second shooter is in the south east corner. All the shooting lanes are 5-15 yards. I call from the middle of the island and if I get a reply I will put on the decoy and try to draw the bull past one of the shooters.
It seems that the wind direction has never affected the hunting. But, again scent control is key and the use of the decoy main have an affect also. The electric trolling motor is used for the last quarter mile on Borel and we park the boat between 2 trees that I cut down into the water on the middle north side of the island. We paddle just over 150 yards from the boat portage on Beavertrap.
Great Info Tao. Thanks for sharing.
The last time I hunted Borel Lake was 2001, can anyone tell me if the Richard's Island set-up is still there and being used?
Tao you have some serious miles between the two lake (340 mile).
Both the islands are less than 100 yards across, is there a size limit to an island? Is there a distance from island to the nearest shore that a moose won't swim to?
If you had a choice between an island or the nearest shoreline (less than 100 yards) which would you choose?
My friends and I are really enjoying this, thanks.
the last time I hunted Richards Island was 2013 and it took me a few hours to prep the place, but you can clearly see the trails, I always called from the top of the island, and had the shooters on both ends, I've had moose come in from both ends of the island, one in the morning and one in the evening, the evening moose stood on the east shoreline and woudn't come to the island but his tracks were there the next morning
I had moose swim about 2 mile from due south of Richard's Island right down the middle of the lake and the bull did not stop until it landed on the west side of the island. It was grunting the the whole time for the 45 minutes that it took it to swim there....... If the island is much bigger I think it would be harder to cover.....I have developed a too many lakes and had to walk way from them.... I am working on my last lake now, Seseganaga Lake, it is all up to my host outfitter and the clients now....That is the same place I called from on Richard's Island.... Glad everyone is enjoying the information. I am by no means an expert, there is no such thing, I hope to never stop learning..... They say you learn from your mistakes.
I am enjoying the google earth thing. I will see if I can find some more examples of my set-ups that you will be able to see clearly.
I tried the grid coordinates you listed above and it took me to the Phillipines. I just figured you were throwing us off.
Put the name of the lake and the province then use the Long. and Lat. to fine tune the location
Here is another one of my old set-ups. Using Google Earth. Trapper Lake, Thunder Bay, Ontario....1st Shooter at 48 55'31.89"N and 87 05' 47.37"W 2nd Shooter at 48 55' 32.09"N and 87 05'48.99"W The caller is at 48 55'32.50"N and 87 05' 46.85"W If a bull comes in from the north east I some times moved into the island of tree to the south of the calling position to help draw the bull past the 1st shooter. If the bull answered from the west I would head to the east end of the point of trees. The trail to this set-up came from Found Lake
Caribou Lake, Thunder Bay, Ontario. The boat is at 48 46'11.94"N and 87 40'09.31"W The trail to the caller and 2 shooters head north of the boat to the edge of the burn. 1st shooter is 20 yards from the waters edge and 15 yards to the burn at 48 46'14.25"N and 87 40'11.25W. The caller is at 48 46'13.53"N and 87 40'10.43W. The 2nd shooter crosses over a beaver dam to the other side of the creek and is at 48 46' 15.14"N and 87 40'09.70"W. The 3rd shooter walks the trail due west of the boat for 100 yards and then heads north 60 yards to the edge of the burn at 48 46'12.61"N and87 40'13.73"W.... Some 50-58" bulls came from the north and the west in the burn and a couple came from the north east. Nothing came in from the south and we hunted this set-up with winds from the northwest, north and northeast.
Tao, won't have time to check out your new setups for a few days but I do have another question right now. We have talked about hunting in high winds and using lakes as a funnel. Last year we had quit a few high wind days and sitting in a cabin all day isn't real exciting.
Are there any places that a person can take a stand where a moose just might happen to walk by? I know that stand hunting might not be a real high percentage situation but it sure would be higher than sitting in the cabin.
rodb, I would guess a trail along side a creek that comes from one lake to another would be a good spot to just sit, but its a long shot, if you knew b4 hand it was a major route that would increase your odds, sitting along side a travel route would still be better than sitting in the cabin,,
What I usually do is pick a area where I do not have a set up. Where the is a corridor beside a creek system or swamp system that runs between 2 lakes. Usually you will find a moose trail in the tall timber that is easy to walk. Usually the wind is not as bad. I would go about 1/4 mile down and get set up on the trail with shooters about 100 yards from me and I would start calling using just communication grunts and calls. It is tough to keep your scent under control but you do the best you can. I have only had success a hand full of times because there are too many back doors for the bull to come in on you. But it is better then not hunting. I have had a client shoot a bull from the out house and clients shoot from the cabin during Thunder Storms. The best was a guy wearing just his under wear ( shorts and rubber boots)10 yards from the back of the cabin, a 18 yard shot at a 48" bull that came in at lunch time
Tao and sbschindler, thank you for your comments, very much appreciated.
I was starting to run out of questions but I think Tao keeps leading me on with new topics. Now he throws out communication grunts and call and of course I have to ask what the hell are they? Keep in mind I'm very familiar with Alex's CD.
I would also like Tao to walk me through a normal day of hunting if he doesn't mind.
Communication grunts, are short 2-3 second cow grunts that I can best describe as you are thinking question mark as you call. I usually do a series of 2 or 3 grunts every 5-10 minutes. Alex covers it in his tape/DVD. Alex has lots of good basic information to help a guy get started. He would call them 2 or 3 part calls. Alex was my booking agent for 11 years while I was working for Howey Bay Outfitters. That is also the time when he was working on making his tape and DVD........Earl give me a call Sunday morning around 10am
Legal light is 6:30am, sunrise is 7:00am. Alarm goes off at 4:15am , breakfast, coffee, bathroom, brush teeth. 5am everyone heads to the wood shed or fish cleaning shed that is used to hang hunting clothes at night to get changed into hunting clothes, spraying down with scent eliminator as you go, grab life jackets and packs spray them down as well. Grab the bows in soft cases.5:15- 5:30 every one is in the boat and we are off at full speed for 15 -30 minutes, 2 miles from the set-up I start slowing down to a slow trolling speed for the last 3/4 to 1 mile from the set-up. At 1/2 mile to 1/4 mile from set-up I stop motor and lift the prop out of the water. I go to the front of the boat and sit down on the bow of the boat facing the clients and the back of the boat. This should pick up the back of the boat out of the water allowing the boat to slip quietly through the water. Lower the electric motor into the water and work out way to the boat hiding spot. I have the landing marked with bright eyes and the flash light easily picks them up. Parking the boat with the motor end of the boat on the shore. Every one steps out of the boat at 6:00am with their gear. We step into the woods, stop and get out of our life jackets, take our bows out of the padded bow cases and into the light cloth cases, the spray down with scent eliminator, and spray Mares urine or Cow moose urine on the bottoms of our boots. Everyone walks quietly to their shooting spots down well marked trails. Everyone waits for legal light. I usually start to call 15 minutes before legal light. Start out with soft calls and over the next hour going louder and louder until I am using the calling horn. I do my calling sequences of grunts and calls, cow in heat calls , and agitated cow calls. If the morning stays calm we will stay until 11am when we quietly head back to the boat and leave using the electric trolling motor and do the reverse of what we did that morning to come into the set-up. Once we are back at camp everyone gets out of their hunting clothes and into their camp clothes and everyone goes to work, getting fire wood to the cabin, starting breakfast/lunch, filling boat gas tanks, sweeping and cleaning the cabin. Then it is lunch with hopefully a nap for a hour or so. 3Pm everyone starts to hit the showers and get back into their hunting clothes. 3:45- 4:00pm everyone in is the boat and we do the same as the morning to get to our set-up. I want my first call going out 4:30-5:00. We start heading back to the boat at the end of legal light and again we are leaving as quietly as possible in the dark. Usually back at the cabin by 8:30-9:30 Get out of our hunting cloths and into our camp clothes. Supper and then to bed. Start all over again for 3 weeks
Good afternoon all,
OK, I looked at both lakes and I'm looking at Trapper lake right now. Using your lat and long for the caller puts me at the NE corner of the bay on the north end of the lake almost centered east and west. I'm using Flash Earth instead of Google earth because I get a better view so the co-ordinates may be of some. If you are indeed setup in the bay can you tell why you choose that location?
Looking at the open bog to the west brings up a question I've been meaning to ask, are there areas where a bull will not enter when coming to a call?
As far as Caribou lake goes, another nice spot. Burns really do attract moose.
With each set-up a lot of leg work was done before even starting up the chain saw. There has to enough cover where the caller is to hide a cow moose but still be able to see the bull as he is coming. There was not a single trail going through the swamp to the west, but there was a major trail on the north edge of it coming past one of the shooters at 5-7 yards, who is about 80-100 yards away from the caller. The big thing about this set-up is there were no back doors for the bull to get to the caller with out passing by a shooter.... As for burns, it can be tough to get a good set-up because there can be so many back doors, but if you do the leg work to find the trails to see if it is a good spot or a bad spot to set up on.
Believe it or not I may be down to one more question.
And as usual you brought it up, what does a major trail look like? or a well used trail for that matter.
I have seen trails down to the dirt, I've seen trails through grass/bog that you can see from a satellite. I don't know if you can assume that moose trails are similar to deer trails simply because the numbers aren't there.
Got any pictures of good moose trails?
Go to Sandridge Lake, Thunder Bay using Google Earth.49 02'19.61" N and 87 26' 52.09" W is where a number of trails merge into one and run to 49 02' 14.22"N and 87 26' 53.28"W which brings it through about a 100 yards of trees to the grass swamp where it starts to head in a westerly direction cross over the creek. I consider a major trail as one that you can not count the number of moose tracks that are using it as one track is on top of a another, some times is the same direction sometimes in both directions. I know of 3 lakes that have moose trails that are 5 feet deep and my shoulder width wide for 10-20 feet in length on shores of O'Brien Lake, Caribou Lake and Root Bay on Lake Superior. On most of the moose trails that I find I can travel for 100s of yards or even miles with out having to do any bush whacking. They are often the easiest way to travel through the woods
I can honestly say that I will never live long enough to see a moose trail like the ones you describe.
What's the best trail us that hunt in areas that might have 1 moose per square mile expect?
On all of the lakes that I have guided on or hunted myself, there has always been these moose trails or have had these trails close by, if they are not there I do not bother to build my set-ups. I am sure that if you are doing a fly-in moose hunt you will find them in the bays where ever there is a good food source
Have you ever tried calling at night say around 1:00 AM? I know when there is no wind the calls seem to travel an amazing distance with plenty of echos.
when leaving our evening stands we have waited until pitch dark and paddled into different spots where we cow called several times, we were hoping to bring a bull into that spot so in the morning we could set up at our regular spot and then call the bull into us, rather than risk having the bull right at our spot and having to set up with him so close.
I can say that my first real calling lessons have taken place at night on Borel and Odin Lakes. Upon trying to return to the cabin after the evening hunt. Stopping the motor to listen to a cow calling. That is when I started to match her call for call, trying to show the same emotion she was and even the same agitation. Noting the changes in her calling once bulls started to answer her calls. I agree with sbschinder that it can help to prime the area for the morning hunt
One more question and that should wrap things up.
Tao you talked about partially hiding your decoy, is there a reason you don't want a decoy out in the open where a bull can see it from a distance?
I do understand that you wearing the decoy allows you to move around with it.
Because we are DIY hunters I would like the decoy to focus the bulls attention away from us.
Ok, one more. Camo vs black for shooters. If our calling position is different than our shooting position I think we are better off in black than camo. I think if a bull happens to see movement he's a little more accepting of black moving than camo.
Any thoughts you guys?
I was doing OK until you mentioned emotion and agitation in her call and then you blew me away when you mentioned that she changes her calling once a bull answers.
We've heard cows make the classic 4 part call and a long agitated call. I've watched videos where the cow is being harassed by younger bulls and voices her displeasure.
Can you describe a emotional, agitated call? And what she does when she hears a bull answer?
Is it a good thing to have a REAL cow call in your hunting spot?
I do not want the decoy out in the opening of the swamp grass. As you can tell by my photos of my decoy because I do not want the bull that is coming in to be able to circle it. But if I have time to put it on I will step out into the open just a little and stay facing the bull as it comes in and just move enough side to side. or raising and and lowering the decoys head, and maybe take a few steps towards the bull when it is watching. If I was hunting by myself with the decoy I would position my self about 20 yards in front of the decoy. I always wear wool, King of the Mountain because it is the most natural sounding when you rub against the brush or grass. I would still prefer camo over all black. I have run through the brush as fast as I go, grunting like a cow moose, with a bull chasing me along the shore line for hundreds of yards past the second shooter one,two and 3 times back and forth in front of the second shooter
It is tough to try and describe how to do an emotional and agitation calls. In Alex's tapes he tries to do it and describe it but it still not the same. I have watched some moose hunting videos and have heard some good calling but also some call that were wrong for the situation. When I do an emotional calls what is going through my mind is picture a cow saying please, please, please, please.....to the bull. When a bull has answered a cow call the cow starts to grunt, I start thinking quiet???(question mark) and heavy ???? and you stop your broadcasting calls and you want the bull to stain to hear your grunts.
As for agitation calls I would say unless you have someone to teach you or until you have actually a cow doing it, and you can copy what you are hearing, don't try it. But it is one of the best calls to have rapture if calls and grunts. I'm pretty sure I have between 20-30 different calls and grunts. But to explain how to do them is difficult to do.
Clients have told me they can tell when a bull is coming by the calls and grunts that I am doing even before they hear or see the bull.
Many times I had real cows calling within 100-200 yards of me a number of times. Many times I would call, then she would call, we would do this all morning or all evening long. Sometimes I got the bull to come in, sometimes she would. More then a couple of times she would come over and wanted to pound me into the ground if she could have found me. That is how agitated she was, but she was the best bait there was because she was doing calls that my lungs are not big enough to do. All I had to do was keep her in the area. You can imagine what the clients were thinking and then the bulls would start answering. Everyone stayed calm and hunted the plan. This has happened on Borel,Oden and Sandridge Lakes
"because she was doing calls that my lungs are not big enough to do"
That is a very interesting statement and one that I have thought about many times.
Are you talking about volume? Length of call?
I hunt with the best bunch of guys in the world but I can honestly say that running a bull by them is most differently OUT. Especially a bull that is bent on breeding what he is chasing. NO WAY! Sorry guys.
It is the volume of air moved during the cows grunt that you can feel it in your chest when she is grunting at you. As if it is coming out of a 45 gallon drum and it seems to even shake the leaves on the trees. ... You have to remember, all the bull has heard is cow calls, any movement the bull sees in the brush is a cow to him , any natural sound of you moving the tag alder is a cow to him, the sound he hears running thought the brush is a cow running away from him playing hard to get. So,if you are doing cow grunts while you are running away trying to lead him past the second shooter, as long as you can stay in cover you are fine. As soon as you step out into the open the game changes. So, I stay in cover and play hide and seek then with the bull.
It sounds like your describing the alarm call. I think Alex tries to mimic it in his DVD but I don't remember if that is how he describes it.
There has been several times when I was calling that later one of guys would say "did you see that bull' or "did you hear that grunt"and I saw or heard neither. So I told them that if they see or hear a bull to let me know by grunting that way I know there is a bull in the area and I can change from a broadcast call to a softer more inviting whines and grunts, does that sound about right?
No, it is not the alarm call. It is sounds like a draft horse that has just tried to move a heavy weight and it did not move and is getting frustrated and want to give it another pull, it is almost like a huffing and puffing
What areas are you guys guiding in? My dad isn't getting any younger. we're from Michigan. i'm looking into 21-b for 2016. looking to get a decoy, and by reading this, me learning the 20 variations of calls is out the window. do you guys hit the woods right for the archery opener, or let them the rut get heated up a little.thanks
The areas that I have guided in are units 3, 4, 14, 21A, 15A and 15B. I have had clients harvest bulls from the first day of the season to the last day of the archery season. The rut usually starts around the 20th to the 28 of Sept and run into the beginning of Oct
Tao, what is your email address? I sent you a PM, but I don't know if you are able to see them.
I 100% advocate all mid to eastern Canada Moose hunters to get the DVD Moose Maddness by Alex Gouthro, Tao in my mind is the best there is and what separates Tao from the others is he leaves no stone unturned, But a good visual aid is Alex's DVD's I will bring what Tao tells us in to perspective, see attached link,
It sounds like most of your calling is passive, have you ever used aggressive calling?
If a bull knocks what do you do?
Some interesting and great info....
Yes, I have had lots of luck using aggressive calling in my earlier days, but I found that things happen too fast and you usually only get one chance at a bull using this style of calling. I found that while guiding clients using cow calling everything happens slowly and deliberately with the bull and I can get him coming and going for a longer period of time. I have had some pretty scary encounters with bulls using aggressive calling and challenging bulls. It is one thing when you are hunting with experienced archery moose hunters and another thing when you have clients that have not had many encounter with bull coming for a fight and want to stamp you into the ground. You know you are in big trouble when, the bull is 10 feet away from you and every hair is standing up on the back of his neck, his ears are straight back flat against his neck, his eyes have rolled back in his head, seeing the whites of his eyes, he is walking stiff legged and is rocking his his head slowly from side to side coming straight at you and there is no where to shot him because his head and antlers are covering all the vitals.....A antler nock is telling you that the bull has heard your call and is acknowledging your call to say he is not ready to come to your call now... but he will be there latter, he is busy with another cow right now.... So, you want to go back to that spot for your next morning or evening hunt..... If you hear bulls fighting, do a slow stalk to them using quiet cow communication grunts the whole time so they know you are coming, walk about 20-30 yards at a time then stop for a minute or two and listen, then go another 20-30 yards, stop and listen until you get to with bow range, the whole time paying close attention to the wind, remember to keep grunting quietly
Earl- could you post those photos that I sent you from work. Two of those bulls did the antler knocks a day or two before they came it to the call. One of the bulls had a reallyyyyyyyyy big antler knock for 2 morning hunts and one evening hunt
Sorry Tao, I have a different computer and have a difficult time with photos yet. I will keep trying.
I have hunted moose for almost 40 years in BC quite successfully. But I have learned a lot here and it has put perspective on past encounters. I hope the dialogue continues.
Gerry, that's quit a statement for a person of your experience.
Tao, I haven't had it happen yet but what do you do if you see a bull already with a cow?
You've talked about little things (well maybe there not little things) like showering every day, eliminating your scent and using cow-in-heat scent. How important are other little things such as rubber boots and cover scents? Are there other little things that you and your clients might do that add to your success?
Thank you Gerry for your kind words........Rod--Bulls with real cows I am bating between 50-75 per cent chance that I can draw that bull away from that cow by using just cow calls, not by challenging the bull. Listen for that antler knock.... some times it might take a day or so. The big thing when you see them together is the bull following the cow or is the cow following the bull. It is easy to get the bull away from the cow when she is following him. He has already mated with her and is now looking for his conquest. Having said that, knowing what calls to do and when to do them is the big thing. It is hard to explain all the different calls I do to get this done. But the biggest mistake you can do if they are with in a 100 yards is to call too loud or to grunt too soon, what I mean by that is picture a bull is coming to the call and stops 80 yards away from you and is just standing there looking in your direction, you will have a urge to call or do something to get the bull coming again because the bull has stopped. You have to force yourself to stay quiet for 2-4 minutes ( looking at your watch will seem like hours) before letting out one quiet little confirmation grunt to get him grunting and walking to your call. Scent control is everything for close encounters, wearing wool, scent free rubber boots, putting mares urine only on the bottom of your boots or on scent rags around your calling or shooting position, never on you, go scent free, some cover scents do not work where you are hunting. If in doubt about you scent rub your clothes down with the moss you find where you are hunting, scent free boats, pack sacks, life jackets, seat cushions. If you can fool your eyes you can fool theirs, if you can see it, so can they. If you can smell it so can they, if you can hear it you know it will be loud to them when it is quiet. If it is windy sound does not carry well up wind. Did I say be scent free........ Plan your hunt and hunt your plan, do not go looking for green pastures in the middle of your hunt. If the boat is getting beat up by the waves odds are you are hunting the wrong end of the lake. Only one person do the calling from only one location, make it easy for the bull to know your exact location.....If you have questions I will do my best to answer them using my past experences. Remember, any one can get lucky once or twice, but if you can get 20 - 50 moose coming in to the call in a 3 week period of time, that is when you really start your learning curve and it becomes like a chess game
Tao said..."that is when you really start your learning curve and it becomes like a chess game"
I'm hoping to find a moose similar to me, and he will only want to play checkers.
Tao, and everyone else who has contributed, thank you for adding all your insight. It has been a pleasure to read your writings.
So what your saying is to wait him out rather than going after him.
Several times on a previous hunt I heard a bull grunting off in the brush. His grunts would get quite then louder almost like he was following a cow that was leading him around through the country side. I must say that it's very hard to sit there and listen to it not knowing what to do.
Do you make a lot of noise when calling, stomping, breaking branches that sort of stuff?
I've heard that a calf distress call to the cow with a bull doesn't work, any experience with that?
I'm with Mike on the game thing.
I like to always be leaning against a tree, smaller tree or large tag alder when I am calling. It forces me to not move around as much and helps you to blend into the forest. I will at times lean hard against it to make it move and I will also gather dry branches and but them in a pile near my calling sites. Sometimes when I think I may have heard something but I am not sure what it is or if I think I may have heard a grunt I will break sticks and branches using my hands or stepping on them to creat small cracks or large crack that can be heard up to 1/4 mile or so. I will walk loudly in the water if there is enough cover that I can do it with out being seen. I have lost count of the number of times that I have run through the tag alders grunting like a cow moose with a bull moose chasing me on the water edge past a client or two....... I always instruct my clients that if they see a calf to shoot if they wish and I will put my tag on it (party hunting is allowed in Ontario). One client did this and a bull came running to assist the downed calf and the client shot his first and his second moose in less then a minute. If you know how to do a calf in distress calls they work well but you have to know when to use it, as you would with a lot of different calls. I have a series of calls that I do if I know that a client has released a arrow and I can get a mortally wounded bull to stop running away, turn and come back for a second, third , forth and fifth arrow
A few things I liked to do was to try and set up a staging spot. I would call after dark some-what near my daytime spot. I did not want a bull standing and waiting right where I wanted to be come daylight. I wanted to call at a spot away from my daytime spot and be able to access the daytime spot with out him knowing I was there, this could be a half mile away or more. a great tactic is to silently get into your spot b4 daylight and then moose walk in the water when its just daylight enough to faintly see, that sound will attract a lot of moose. when you hear him grunt hopefully from your staged spot, you can ready yourself for what's about to happen.
A few subjects ago we discussed moose trails, how important they are and too position a hunter overlooking moose trails.
Will a bull that is coming to the call always use a trail?
Moose will usually use the path of least resistance and if they are coming from a greater distance and can cover ground with less effort and less time to come to the call. This does not apply to clear cut and burns , but even there you find moose trails along transitions zones. Moose will develop trails to their food source going in and out of the water in shallow bays.
Lets say that you call in a bull and he winds you or somebody else. Is he now wise to calling and will not respond anymore? If he's a local to the area what do I need to do to get him to come to a call again?
We were all tagged out on our hunt and went back to sit on my moose for a bear. We went back to the exact spot and saw a cow with a calf and pretty nice bull. We were having fun watching them and the guy I was hunting with cow called and when he did all hell broke loose and this giant bull came charging in. Turn your volume up enough and you can hear him grunting. He grunted non-stop. Sorry for the poor video quality and not getting the video going sooner. This bull was really aggressive. If you click on my handle in youtube there are a couple other videos of this big guy and a couple rifle kills with just a little calling. Unfortunately we didn't get my bow kill on video. In two trips we are 5 for 6 on self guided moose and should be 6 for 6. Good info on this thread though and next time I plan to use a decoy!
I have had the same bull come in a number of times in a 3 week period of time. I had clients shoot at a bull and was hit with a arrow in the shoulder blade and got way. The next group of clients, 10 days later harvested that same bull 50 yards away from where it was first wounded. I think that if you get busted your busted and it my take a couple of days for the moose to forget about you, or the bull may just continue on his way doing his rounds and travel 20 miles looking for another cow. I have had as many as 8 different bulls come into the call at one time on a couple of evenings. I have had clients harvest 2 bulls with 45 minutes of each other on a couple of morning hunts. So, just because you make a mistake do not give up on that hunt, stay on stand and keep calling just as if nothing has happened another bull could be on his way and you do not know it.
Shiras.... great video.... you learn from every encounter you have whether you are hunting or not.
I've had a discussion with my outfitter concerning hunting a different lake they have. He states that they see moose all summer at this lake but in the fall they disappear so he wants us to hunt a lake a few miles away. The lake has a lot better moose habitat, creeks, small shallow bays with vegetation. My question is, are the moose truly gone and unhuntable or are they some distance from the lake and still callable?
When I do my scouting I want to know if there are any resident cows. Their home range is smaller then a bulls. Where there are cows the bulls will be there when the rut starts. Seeing moose during the summer feeding in the shallows is always a good sign. I would say the moose are there but may not be hunted correctly. Bulls are always on the move and their home range is much larger than a cows. During the false rut a bull will go looking for the cows ( taking inventory of the cows) and will return once the rut starts. The but will travel from cow to cow in his home range. Younger bulls will just try and stay out of the bigger bulls way and will not travel as far. A spike horn will usually follow a day or so behind his mother and stay close to her home range. If there is a big bull in the area the smaller bulls will go quiet and just seem to appear with out any loud grunting. If the smaller bulls are vocal it may mean that there is no larger bulls in the area. Having a very big bull in the area will shut down all the smaller bulls.
My understanding of moose feeding habits is that when the water vegetation dies off the moose move to willow if there is no deciduous plants and trees around. Not being familiar with willow and where it grows can you tell me where likely spots would be to find willow? Any way to identify it when looking at Google earth?
I have seen moose feeding on aquatic plants right up to first ice in late Oct. The willows have long slender leaves and are found in the transition areas between the tall timber and the waters edge beside lakes, rivers and creeks. The Sandridge Lake location that I gave to see a moose trail runs beside many thickets of willows and tag alder. When you are hunting look at shoulder height and higher for signs of browsing
I'd guess the moose are feeding aquatic all bow season.
Sitting in one spot for a morning or evening hunt can be uncomfortable. We have brought in chairs but I was wondering about other options. We use the three legged chairs but even those are a pain to carry and are noisy.
Tao, somebody has to video you. I'd better not be the client because I might be laughing too hard watching the bull chase you to hold my draw. Then again, knowing how imposing bulls are up close, I'd probably settle down. Either way I want to congratulate you on your hunting knowledge and woods lore, and your willingness to share it with the uninitiated. I've got relatives in Toronto, I might just book you one day.
I have a 1" thick foam that is made of two 16" long by 8" wide and is covered in a quiet cloth material hinged that is attached to the back of my belt with 2 loops. Velcro holds the two halves together at belt for walking, when I want to sit I just gentle tug at the top of it and it falls down and hinges down to make a 16"x 16" pad to sit on that keeps my butt dry. Then when I get up I just lift the bottom half and the Velcro holds it back up again when I want to walk. With the chairs take them apart and slip aluminum tubing into bicycle inner tubes to silence the metal sounds they make and reassemble them...... During my prep work I will use my chain saw to help make sitting spots where I have my back again a tree. I spend a lot of time standing listening while I'm leaning against trees or alder. Try not to stand or sit out in the open....... Thank you for the kind words Willliamtell.....I get a kick out of it when the clients tell the stories from their point of view when they see me being chased or when I am playing hide and seek with a frustrated bull...Everyone of them always says to themselves " I better start shooting or Tao's in big trouble, that foam pad he sits on is not going to be enough....
If you know of anyone that is in the business of filming, doing camera work and has hunting experience that wants to do it. I have two 10 day hunts booked this year with clients. I would just need to talk with the outfitter and clients.
Tao because your doing all the calling and the shooters are some distance away I was wondering what the best approach would be for two shooters with one of them doing the calling. Would the best approach be to have the shooter doing the calling walk mid point between the two setups and do the calling? If this is the case how far away should you be from the other shooter and how far do you walk from your setup to the calling position?
It is always more difficult to do two jobs at the same time. If you are the caller and the shooter your calling set-up becomes very important. You do not want to get caught traveling between your calling site and your shooting position. What I would do is clear your shooting lanes at this site 5-15 yards from the waters edge into the alder brush and do all your calling from deeper in the woods 20-30 yards away (Where you use your calling horn) and then move forward to your shooting position to listen and watch and use your quiet communication grunts. It is important not to do your broadcasting calls from your shooting position. Also make sure you have enough cover to move between these two positions without being seen or heard.
"Matilda" is almost ready for the woods. A friends wife sewed her up for me, and now all she needs is a few finishing touches. She's lightweight and portable and will be able to be stuffed with grass and what not then mounted on a tree branch. She might even go both ways if I decide to cut some antlers out for her.
The lake we might hunt next time is smaller than Borel. The lake has four bodies of water with a few creeks coming and going. We will split up into two groups. Obviously we won't be able to call in different spots all day trying to get a bull to answer. Which means we will spend a lot of time in one spot calling. Do we keep doing the same thing over and over or is there other things we can do to change things up?
If the wind is right I will spend 1 1/2 days to 3 days on the same set-up before consider moving to another set-up. I think the worst thing you can do is try and hunt all your set-ups at the same time. Remember your calls can carry up to 2 miles away and it may take the bulls a day or so to get to you. Don't think for a minute that they can not hear you and they do not know where you are. So if you move around to much they will come into your set-up that you were at before and are not at now. Remember you are not elk hunting....
Wow....lots of great info here! Thanks!!
There sure is Elmer. I haven't posted on here because I have nothing to offer but I can tell you that I've checked in on this thread regularly since it started in anticipation of my hunt this fall.
I'm glad I don't elk hunt any more (kind of), I'm perfectly content to sit in one spot for several days.
I want to clear up a misconception that I have. It is stated in a video that while calling it is OK to break branches, walk in the water and to use your horn to simulate a moose urinating in water. But in a previous post you stated that care should be taken not to be seen or heard. I don't want to start any battles here but are these things you do in your setups?
There is a time and place a do all that ... but when?? You do not want to walk out into the open only to be seen by a bull that is coming in. If you have enough cover to do it is great. If you do not, I will do the water routines in the dark before legal light, or in cover of heavy fog or heavy morning mist. A number of time I would keep walking in the water on the opposite side of a island or point of land than the bull was on to draw the bull past the shooter.....remember a cow usually only goes pee every couple of hours.....All my calling sights will have a pile of branches and small log for me to break....I will break a couple if I think I hear something coming in and I am not sure what it is. If a bull is answering and is coming in do not break branches. It is the hardest thing to do is to stay quiet and not over call once he has made the commitment to come in. Only the caller should be making their presents know, a shooter should never do any calling or break branches, the bull should never know where the shooter is
The smallest lakes that I have ever hunted with set-ups are Sandridge, Beaver Trap and Bath Lakes with only a couple of set-ups on each lake. I hunted these lakes for 3 straight weeks and had all three groups harvest P&Y bulls(4). We had 56 bulls come in and 18 were within bow range. 8 bulls one evening. Trapper lake is another with only one set-up on the whole lake and we harvested one bull out of the 5 that came in that 3 day hunt.
I do not seem to be getting them for some reason...try my personal e-mail...
Since this is mainly a Ontario discussion I will ask this here. I've looked at The Ontario hunting regulations several times and I can't find it stated anywhere about the use of Walkie talkies and electric calls. Does anyone know if these are legal to use while hunting? And if not can you point me to the specific regulation stating it?
It is perfectly legal to us them, but P&Y will not recognize a animal that is taken using them. You can also use salt licks and bait if you like. Party hunting is also allowed, but again P&Y will not recognize the animal
I'm going to present you with a situation that we will be in come 2016.
We have a our option to hunt two lakes or outposts.
The first outpost we have hunted before and we know there are moose there but no idea about how many. When viewed from a satellite you can see an occasional moose trail. There are two major lakes and and a lot of hunting setup options.
The second outpost we have not hunted before and I have talked about it in this thread. Small lake, few options, plenty of moose in the summer but when viewed from the satellite there doesn't seem to be any trails. I have inspected all the creeks for miles, I have covered all the grass swamps but no trails.
The two outposts are only 7 miles apart.
The ground work and scouting need to be done before you can decide. Just because you can not see the trails from a satellite does not mean that they are not there. It may be worth your while to go on a fishing trip and walk some of the shore lines in the bays and feed areas.
Tao, that is exactly what I'm doing this August. Satellite images are a great starting point, but boots on the ground are more valuable in my opinion.
I am planning on doing my prep work Sept 5-8. Is there anyone interested in flying out and helping me with my scouting and set-ups? I will swing the chain saw and all you have to do is toss what I cut off the tails and do some blazing. I am going to be making at least 2 new set-ups and doing the maintenance of what I already have. You just have to get up to Ignace or Thunder Bay, Ontario. No one is getting paid, but if you want to learn and are will to do some hard work, let me know...
Lots of good info in this thread. Thank you for bringing it back to the top.
I am doing some thinking Tao,probably won't work but I am giving it some thought.
I ordered 1 and recieve 2 Montana Moose decoys ,,,i figured if 1 is good 2 should be great hahaha MikeC.....26 days
I just finished building and stitching together my birch bark moose call, and now I'm ready for Sheniqua, my Montana cow moose decoy, to purr her pretty love song...
Prep work is all done...11 set-ups all ready to go.... set-ups for every wind direction .... lots of cow and calf sign...Thanks to Brennen and Keith for your help, you made it a lot easier
I was wondering if you found somebody to jump on that opportunity.
Good luck to all of you this fall.
Seen 4 cows, 3 calves, and 11 bulls(from yearlings to 55" bulls)The first bull grunts were heard with minutes of first morning calling and had a bull coming to the call the dying minutes of the season. Had first shooting opportunity ( missed, hit a branch) on the morning hunt of the second day(actually had a bull chasing me towards a client).Second shooting opportunity was that evening at 11 yards, moose bolted to 5 yards, second shot was at 18 yards, both misses because the crossbow limb hit the same tree twice. Second Sunday of season at 8:45 a year and half old bull was harvested (guide in training Brennen called him in from about 3/4 of a mile away). The last Wednesday of the season, at 8:15 the second bull of the morning, was wounded (hit high above spin, wrong pin) at 30 yards coming in down wind of decoy. Ran out of legal light 8 times and had to wait for bulls to walk away( these bulls are not counted but did come to with bow range). 2 bears were seen. All the set-ups worked well....Lots of antler knocks....heard cow calls during all 3 weeks....9 of the bulls that came in were P&Y class bulls. The wind was out of the south for all but 4 days....Scent control was a issue with the first group but not with the second group. Both groups re-booked for next year. The first group of 4 had 3 of the 4 had opportunities to harvest moose and the second group of 2 had one of the 2 had opportunities a moose. But again running out of legal light could have changed this. I think I have Brennen to help me guide next year with the one larger group again... hopefully
it looked like temps were a bit above average, had 4 good days end of sept but then it looked like it warmed up again, ????
Sounds like you had some bad luck this fall.
Tao, as long as you are back I have a couple of questions. We are booked for next fall and the lake we will be at we have hunted before. One of the spots to call at is way on the other side of a second lake. Rather than travel that long distance (which also involves changing boats) I'm thinking about a spike camp closer to the calling area. How far a way should a camp be from a calling location? Is a camp fire there a bad idea?
I am going to say at least a 1/2 mile if you decide to do it. But great care must be taken not to disturb the calling site or where you are going to be calling them in from. What I have done is in the past is to find a island to camp on, less likely to get a bear tearing up you camp site. Set everything up a day or so ahead of time. Leave the main camp in the afternoon after showering and hunt the evening hunt. Spend the night at your spike camp. Pack sandwiches and drinks. Hang your hunting clothes up under a tarp. Have camp clothes and shoes to wear while your are in your drop camp. Don't sleep in your hunting clothes!!! Pick a spot to go to the bathroom ( don't pee all over the place). A camp fire is not a good idea for your scent control but if you must, keep it away from your hunting clothes and your sleeping area.. Scent control wash clothes and spray your self down with scent control field spray (hair, hands and exposed skin etc..... before you crawl into your sleeping bag. Bring a alarm to get up in the morning. It can be tough to get a good night sleep. After the morning hunt return back to your main camp to eat a cooked meal and shower before the evening hunt. Don't call from your spike camp
You keep talking about cover scent and how important it is but what about attractant scents such as mare-in-heat, cow-in-heat and the synthetic stuff.
Do you use a lot of that? And if you do how and where?
Scent control is everything when you want to get moose in close. If you are hunting with a gun it does not matter when you are shooting them at 100-200 yards... But if you want them to get in as close as 3-7 yards without getting busted. I have seen clients get busted at 100 yards and clients not get busted a 3 yards.... I am completed scent free as you can get when I am guiding or hunting, I shower twice a day just before getting into my hunting clothes(scent-lok under clothing with King of the Mountain outer wear) I use Borax in my boots, lots of Dead Down Wind products. My hunting clothes stay outside a goodly distance from the cabin, hanging under a tarp or in a wood shed. Life jacket, boat seat cushion, pack are all scent free... I use mare-in-heat and synthetic cow moose in-heat on the bottom of my boots once I have left the boat and I place it in scent wick around my calling and shooting areas. Never on myself or my pack. In a 3 week period of time I go through 24 ounces of it with all my clients....and 2 -36 ounces bottles of Dead Down Wind field spray just myself. After every hunt the clients see me strip down to my underwear outside and make the 50-75 yard mad dash to the cabin in the dark, the cold rain or snow to where I get into my camp clothes and shoes.
Tao, I know we have talked about your decoy and that you like to keep just the head exposed out in the open at the edge of the bush. Just curious as to why you don't think putting a decoy out in the open is not a good idea.
If you have it out in the open. It offers too many ways for the bull to approach it. Also if the bull is close the caller can no longer do his job. I want to be able to put the decoy on and to be able to move with it. If it was out in the open I would not be able to do this without getting busted
I know you are the guide/caller but it seems like you have as many close encounters with bulls as the shooters do. In our case the caller will also be a shooter and not able to carry around a full shoulder moose head like you do.
How does a caller/shooter maneuver himself to bring a bull past the shooters but still be in position to shoot a bull?
It would be very difficult to carry a bow and a decoy and move around trying to position yourself so that you keep the shooter between you and the bull.
At what point do you say the hell with the decoy and get ready to shoot?
And as long as we are talking about decoys.
What percentage of bulls that come in actually see the decoy? Or in other words how big of a roll does the decoy actually have in getting bulls to come in?
There is a time and a place to use the decoy, whether I am wearing the decoy or not. Most of the moose (bulls) that I come into close contact with have either gotten past a shooter or have come in the back door so to speak. If this happens I have a number of choices to make. 1- go quiet and hide or 2- run away and play hard to get which I have learned to do over the 15 years or so. It is a case of mistaken identity on the bulls part. What I want to do is lead the bull past one shooter or the other. I literally run as fast as I can, making as much noise as I do running through the alder and splashing through the water, cow grunting every 10-20 yards. Clients have seen me running past them or towards them in the alders with a bull trotting along the shore line 20-100 yards behind me. I usually stop about 40-80 yards past the shooter and look back at what is happening and where the bull is. If needed I have sometimes turned around and run back past the same shooter 2-3 times with the same bull in hot pursuit. I will keep doing this until I run out of cover or if the bull is coming too close. Then I will hide at the base of a bushy spruce tree or curl up into a small ball in a tag alder bush or lay down among the blow downs.
With regards to the scents. Do you think bulls are checking your scent wicks when you are not there
I never leave the scent wicks out. I usually put them back into a container or zip lock baggy and bring them out with me. I have found that if they are left out the moose will come in and you have a mixture of reactions from a smell and leave to destroying the tree that you put them on.
Here is a photo of a 64" bull a client shoot
Time to get this one going again. I followed this closely last year as moose hunting is my passion. Where i hunt there are antler restrictions. We called in 15 bulls My partner had opportunities at 2 legalk ones and failed to close. I had several bulls under 30 yards but not legal. After 8 days i put away the bow and picked up the rifle and killed my bull on day 10. he was a bull the would answer but wouldn't come in, after going down a cut line i found him with a cow and calf in a large meadow. Tao I want to thank you for sharing your experiences. I heard an antler knock this year and knew what it was. Given we are hunting muskeg country it is necessary that we call them to us in most places. The one thing i didn't try but intend to this year is scent so any helpful hints your willing to share would be appreciated
Gerry, thanks for the kind words...I believe scent control is everything...to getting them in real close. I aim at being as scent free as possible and use cover scents and attractors in the form of wicks around the area I am at stand. The photo I last posted is of a bull that we heard bang his antlers once every morning and every evening over 3 days before he decided to come in at 11:45am on the 4th day.. Tao
Must be that time of year so let's get this thing going.
Attract scent, Cow-in-heat
Spent all winter trying to find a supply of mare-in-heat- no luck. Ontario doesn't allow original moose urine so the only other choice is synthetic. There are some that carry synthetic scent but I only found one that has it in 32 oz. bottles, all the others have it in 2 to 4 oz bottles.
Is there such a thing as too much cover scent being used? If you take in your scent wicks every night does that mean you can't soak in the ground in varying spots around your setup?
I have used mare's urine since the early 1980's with great success and even had bulls following my foot prints step for step with their nose right to the ground. I have used a spray bottle to fog the air as a bull walks down wind of me within 10 yards. Again I want to be completely scent free.
I will be picking up a fresh supply of mares urine this week
I'm heading north in less than two weeks what brand do you use
I too use mare's urine. It comes from Quebec and is bottled by Buck Expert. It is the real deal and works.
looking forward to the stories Tao
Second year in a row I killed my bull first morning so I haven't got to try the decoy yet, maybe next year?
Decoys....wow. I think about them and I do carry a fake antler or scapula to wave if needed. I've had a number of Alaskan bulls at 10 yards or less and they are THE most imposing animal in Alaska for ultimate size and power. I've decided decoys aren't for me...meaning at least I don't want to use them in a manner which has a rutting bull seeing and believing I am a moose. I've had bulls be at comfortable distances and in a matter of seconds they are 5 or 6 steps away. Anyway, please don't interpret this as me being negative on moose decoys. I think they are a fine way to bring in moose. I can do it as well (I believe) without an actual true decoy. If not...well....no big deal. I just had a big bull close enough to touch with my arrow a few weeks ago and I don't have any problem telling you it was NOT a fine feeling at the moment it was happening. That bull closed down fast on my calls and came in looking for a moose. Looking back on it, I'm glad I was as inconspicuous as possible.
the trick to using a decoy is not to decoy the moose into you but to decoy the moose by someone else,
That works when you have a second person around. We typically go one-on-one against the bulls we kill.
Heardbul, love the decoy, hope your neck is strong enough in case one charges lol.
I have watched as bull come in from 1/2 mile away. It seems once the bull saw me moving with the decoy. It comes in at a steady pace and does not stop until it gets to within 15-20 yards. I stay facing the bull the whole time it is coming in just moving from side to side or raising or lowering the decoy's head.
When I am guiding it is a team hunt with everyone having their job to do. Mine is to call and get the bull to walk past the shooters
This year I saw a bull coming in slow and steady then it bolted and from 60 yards away at a dead run right at me when it was 10 yards away I could see the blood blowing out both sides of it's chest .It veered to my left and fell 25 yards away from me. ...what a thrill. .....the clients have rebooked for next year's hunt.
Tao how did this season go
I guide moose here in Colorado we use the heck out of the decoys works great
Just wear black. Works awesome. Moose don't see very well, and when they think you're a moose they are coming to fight or fornicate, period.
Had lots of action....should have had 4 bulls on the ground. Had 3 wound, all 48"+, a frontal at less than 20 yards, a client was playing grand theft auto on his IPad and a bull came walking in at 9 yards and they straddled each other, by the time he got his crossbow up it was just over 30 yards away and he shot center of mass with his 40 yard scope marker hitting it in the hump, the third was a 23 yard broad side perfect shot but the front leg came back as it was slowly walking in and hit the shoulder blade. Had 1 catch and release both clients could have shot but they chose to pass on it, had it had both sides of his rack it would have been well over 48 " but one side came straight down below his jaw in one big hanging ball. Almost got run over by 2 caribou (6 feet away ) ....A 600+ pounds black bear came stalking me while I was calling, I never saw it but a client did...not sure how close it got.
Bull moose rubbing pole. .found 3 sheds on the ground around it
Bull moose rubbing pole. .found 3 sheds on the ground around it
A 48" bull went between 2 trees that are 27" apart...he went through...
A 48" bull went between 2 trees that are 27" apart...he went through...