Moose bulls have incredible hearing so use that to your advantage. If you think about it, their antlers act as a funnel to their ears for hearing. I cup my hands and use my voice for cow calling. I also whack a tree with a large stick that I also used to rub up and down on the trunk and limbs.
I ended up calling in over a dozen bulls on my hunt. Around 75% of the bulls held up at 75 to 200 yards trying to see what was making the noise. A cow decoy may help but is a pain in the rear to haul around. When I rubbed a tree it pretty much ceiled the deal....and here they came!
I mostly use cow calls because they can be heard from so much longer distance than bull grunts. Whacking and scraping trees can also be heard from long distances. Keep the wind in mind...moose have incredible noses!
During pre and early rut bulls will likely cover vast distances. Where you see them one day they may be gone the next. They often went from cow to cow...smelling them. If cows weren't in estrous they wandered on to the next cow. I spent a lot of time around cows. Watching, waiting, calling, and whacking/rubbing trees in areas with cows or recent sign. Once bulls find an estrous cow they will likely hang out with them.
Have a great hunt! Those hunts don't come along very often in the Western US!
The only thing that breaks branches and cracks brush in moose country is a bull moose. This is probably the most under utilized call for moose. The sound of a popping branch carries a long ways and WILL be noticed. Might take hours for a bull to show up, so keep checking the area throughout the day.
I’m no expert but it seems like there are less variations from the basic moose call then elk have to the basic elk calls. If you apply the same emotional changes that one makes to the basic elk calls and apply them to moose seems to work well. Ex) pleading cow moose or cow moose being harassed by young bull. There’s a whole lot to less to learn about the vocalizations than for elk. We had great luck sucking them the last bit using a Montana decoy. For the $100 after everything you’ve got into a moose hunt I’d bring one with. As far as getting the deal done if you can call in and kill anything else you can kill a moose.
Hardest part is slowing down and waiting for them to do their thing when all you want to do is hunt harder work harder etc. Just gotta wait. And when you’re working a bull everything is way slower than other animals. Need to let it play out. That’s essentially my two take-aways.
What is your terrain going to be like? If can glass for long distances where the moose are hanging out then try to get on a higher point and glass. If is thick stuff then have to call. Is important you be where there are actually mature bulls. They are not everywhere but if are seeing cows and rut is kicking in then bulls should show up very soon.
Calling may be your only option in heavy cover, but your calling like mentioned by many above, may result in bull's staging up once the pinpointing of the exact location of the calling trough their hearing is not confirmed when visibility to that location was made clear. It's at this time I use something white like a fake antler to flash the bull. This attempt to confirm the location of the pseudo bull should be done with caution as the rut crazed bull breaks his staging and comes in to confront.
Second the idea of calling in the evening before you leave an area. Any bull hearing that will remember it, so when you slip back in there the next morning and do a few more cow calls, a very good chance a bull will respond. Definitely works.
Thanks guys . I guess I will have to slow my roll for this hunt!! Different style for Me! Can’t wait and any other tips are greatly appreciated !! Been a dream for a long time to get a chance to hunt moose. Maybe I will get lucky and draw a tag in my home state also. Hunt
I probably have 40-50 different cow calls and grunts......moose are very vocal......the trick is to know when to call, when not to call, what call to use and how loud or how quietly to call.....don't elk hunt moose....if you do it right bulls will come into spitting distance.....if you do it wrong 60 yards can be a challenge
Tao, would like to hear a little more about what you do to get them in very close. I am headed back up to AK this fall with the longbow. Shot a smaller one with it last time, but after a 50+ this time. Thanks!
The biggest thing is to understand what you as the caller is doing....the most common mistakes are...doing the same call over and over again....calling too loud once you have a response....calling when you should be grunting....giving up on your calling site too soon.....calling from a open area with no cover to hide a cow moose......when you are broadcast calling, not calling enough, not doing series of calls, and not understanding when to be quiet.....when you force yourself to call when you should not. Not understanding what the bull is thinking of your calling....
I know a lot of guys have called bulls into a couple of hunder yards, close in to 80 yards rifle hunting......bow hunting that may as well be a mile away.......40 yards your doing good......20 yards even better yet.....but if you can get the bull still looking for you at 5-7 yards or closer you are doing it right....and then to be able to it consistantly...
I use two deer scapulas. I use about twelve inches of threaded rod screwed into holes drilled lengthwise into the ends. Wrap with foam then tape over top. Looks and sounds very authentic and weighs less than a pound.
My buddy had a Colorado moose tag this fall and new had zero moose experience so we studied up on calling a bit. I talked to a guy with lots of Shiras experience, and he told me that cow calling seems to be much more effective than raking. After a couple days of looking for moose we finally spotted a bull and got after him, but it took an hour to get to where he'd been and we assumed he was ahead of us and long gone. I threw out a cow call, we waited a couple minutes, and then heard a stick break up the hill in the timber. Another call and we heard an antler clunk against a tree, much closer. A third cow call directed behind us, and moments later there was a bull poking his head out of the brush in shooting range. I was absolutely floored that it worked so well, he came in on a rope! It was one of the most exciting experiences I've had in the woods...you gotta call.
I will see if I can dig some up......I picked up a helper for my guiding about 5 years ago and he tapped a bunch of my calling sequences and grunting......he even got a bull chasing us drawing a bull towards the shooter.
I more or less stopped the bull challenging in the early 90's and only do cow calling and grunting now a days.....things happen more slowly and deliberately...with more ability to keep them coming back multiple times and keeping them in the area longer.....plus being able to draw multiple bulls into the area......up to 7 bulls in one morning or evening......is that not right Richard!
The are lots of good videos on moose calling and actual cows call.....there is also the moose madness series to learn some of the calls and grunts......but that's just to get you started.....but it takes some experience to really understand what you are doing and why....if you wish know what my thought process goes throught during the calling from start to finish and what to do when you get a reply....let me know.....
Ok.....there are two calls...bull sounds are oooooh base....cow is err.....bull grunts are oh! Cow grunts are either er? or er! Calf is eeiiii........then there are cow calls which are made up of long calls or short calls, made of 1-5 part calls put togeather in a series
We've called in and shot quite a few bulls but since I want to get in a bigger bull with the longbow anything I can do to get him spitting close is a great help. I think I will take a decoy this trip. Heads Up or Montana?
So....I just got to my calling location...there is enough cover to hide a cow moose...the wind is blowing my scent into the dirrection that a bull will not come to...I will stay within 20 yards of this spot the whole time if I can help it....I will start with speaking volume cow grunts and very short calls...to see if any bulls are close by for the first 15 minutes or so....think ??? the whole time as if you are asking if anyone is there....remember never the same sound twice...always just a little different but short 1-3 seconds long
In that first 15 minutes I will call / grunt 1-3 time 5-30 seconds apart then wait and listen 2-5 minutes before doing another series...if a bull answers and is grunting you go silent...as long as he is grunting there is no need to make a sound...he is letting you know exactly where he is..
It has now been about 15 minutes of quiet calling and grunting with no response. Now I start to increase the volume doing the same type of calls and grunts as before....for the next 15 minutes...no standard cow in heat calls yet.....just communication calls and grunts to see if a bull is within a 1/4 to 1/2 mile away...the volume is like talking really loud to some one across a gym but not yelling
A half hour of calling has now past from the first call. No bull in the area has answered....now to start broadcast calling using a horn or birch bark call. Everyone knows the cow in heat call 2 long followed by a short and ending with a grunt....never a Oh which would be a bull...always a ERRR.....now picture a bull a mile or 2 away, walking along and it hears something .He stops and is now listening to get a dirrection, location and distance to the cow....if you stop calling he will not be able to pin point your location....remember you do not want to ever repeat a call.....you wait and listen 15-45 seconds from you first set of calls..now do a short call followed by a long and ending with short call.....wait and listen 15-45 seconds.....now a long call, then a short and end with a long call....wait and listen 15-45 seconds.......now you just keep mixing it up with long , medium and shorter calls and grunts....followed by wait and listen.....use different volumes....these series of calling sets goes on for 10 to 20 minutes.....people 2 1/2 miles away on a calm day have heard my every call....now you put the horn down and wait and listen.....
It has now been about 45 to a hour since my first quiet calls and I just finished putting the calling horn down from the broadcasting calls....every moose in a 2 mile radius knows exact where I am. I have listened for a response but I have not heard any bull grunts in reply...but my hearing is no where as good as a moose's. So if would have answer 2 miles away I won't have heard it......so now I'm going to back to the same communication grunts and calls that I started with using only my hands back to the volume as if I was talking loudly....every 3-5 minutes between call sets....and listening.....this goes on for 20 minutes to 30 minutes......
The most common mistake I hear and see most callers doing is cow calls and then doing a bull call and they can't tell the difference ....errrrrr never ohhhh.....and then repeating themselves over and over again......hi John, hi John, hi John, hi John, hi John.....it does take the bull long to figure out something is not right.....and calling too loud once a bull has answered back, stop yelling at me!!! Once you have a reply you want them to stain to hear you...the closer the bull gets the quiter you grunt...and keep thinking ???? while you are grunting....or please, please, please.....their is no aggression in your grunting....you are asking for the bull to come to you...
Beginning September in CO in 2018. I called this Shiras moose with soft but excited cow calls from about 300 yards to 11 yards from my buddy (he has bigger balls), as I stayed about 25 yards away. That was 20 minutes of pure fun and photo op only, as neither of us had a CO moose tag.
Thanks Tao Where i hunt it is largely muskeg and fir ridges. Very few lakes to funnel movement . it seems you call much more frequently than I do but i like the concept of varying volume working in close then farther out then back in. My hearing is very poor so i often have to have visual confirmation of a response so i set up in areas of clearings or cut lines that allow me them at a longer distance. I then use minimal calling and adjust tone and frequency depending on reaction of the bull
I have been accused of calling too loud and too offen.....but when I call loud I call offer and I am always letting little quieter calls and hunts between 2-5 minutes of listening.....I am constant but always but always different.....
Do you start your calling before light in the morning? Are there times of the day that you do not call, or is ok to be calling even around mid day, etc? When do you begin your evening session of calling?
I like to be on stand about a half hour before legal light.....that means getting up at 4:30am and leaving the dock by 5:30- 6:00 for a 15-45 minute boat ride, then a 5-15 minute walk to stand for legal light at 7:15 and hunt until 10:00-11:00 when we sneak out and head back to the cabin........the even hunt, we start to hit the shower at 3pm and head out as soon as everyone is dressed and ready. I like to start my first calls by 4:30-5:00.
A number of clients have harvest bulls as a result of calling from the cabin between 11am and 3pm while cooking breakfast or lunch and calling from the out house.....48" 50" 56" and a 64"........always have a game plan for going to the out house.....
That doesn't sound too bad, and it's what we did last fall for 9-10 days. Being on stand 30 minutes before light is pretty easy when your stand is 15 feet from the tent. .
Do you think calling directly from camp is bad in terms of human scent in the area or should we be walking a ways from it depending on the wind? Our camp is situated in a perfect location to call both up and down a wide creek valley that has intermittent willows along with some thicker stands of spruce scattered throughout.
In 10 days of calling, morning, noon and night, never going more than 2-300 yards from camp, we called in one moose. A bull on the first day. The year prior a 63 and 35 were taken within 3 days doing the same thing. I think weather played a role in our 2018 demise and hoping for a cooler 2019!
Smaller bulls and post rut bulls can come in very quietly also. Small bulls, because they may have been beat on a time or two. Post rut bulls are tired and may still be looking for some love but not the fight to get it. It's amazing how quiet such a huge animal can be when they want to. So before you step out into the open, when done calling, have a very careful look around with your bino's. More than once I've had a bull go charging off from close by when I thought I was all alone. I also shot one November bull at about thirty yards that I didn't see or hear sneak in, after calling for about an hour.
Bulls can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours to work their way to you.
The wind will always determine what you should do.......call or stay quiet..... The days that will determine that calling is a good idea...the wind blows our scent towards the lake over the water. There fore if a bull wants to try and catch our scent he will have to walk allong the shoreline in the open opposed to the thick tall timber and blow downs.....the cabin is 10 yards from the waters edge and the tall timber is 18 yards from the back of the cabin......the out house is 16 yards to the waters edge in the timber......you need to know where you are drawing them in from
On September 28th last fall a client harvested a bull on the evening hunt....we blood tracked a couple of hundred yards. 2 guys gutted it and I ribboned the trail to the lake.....the next morning, the same 2 guys went ahead to skin and quarter the bull...while I used a chainsaw and one guy tossing the logs that I cut....I was on my second tank of gas and almost at the downed bull....when a big bull got fired up....we had tagged out with 2 bulls at this point.....I got to the guys and threw a quarter over my shoulder walking back to the boat ....on the trail we just cut is a 56" bull walking towards me...it finally stopped 15 yards from me ...stood there for minutes looking at me then turned and walked right back to the boats
I had 18 different set ups with in 5 miles north of camp. 4 miles south , 1 mile west and 3 miles east. All accessible by boat only.....in 9 days of hunting we had 14 bulls within 40 yards...not counting the ones at 80 plus yards or the ones that came in after dark.....we tagged out and did not hunt the last 12 days......the best I have ever done is 56 bulls in 3 weeks...keep in mind 7 bulls were on one evening hunt....so have a number of set ups does help .....but more than half my set ups never get hunted but they are there if I want them...again the dictates which ones get used
When things are going right and you are hearing bulls....but what do you do when you have not heard a thing in days, or the weather turns on you and you have high winds and rain.....some times the worst thing you can do is give up on a area to soon after you have spent days priming the area.....what about the bulls that come in silently or very quietly and you don't even know it....
That was our problem this year we had very cold weather for the time of year and the ponds and swamps started to freeze. The moose moved and we had a hard time relocating them . still called in 4 bulls but none legal with the antler restrictions. But at least 3 times tracks in the snow showed that bulls came in after i left the area
This past September 28 four of us left the dock in 2 boats for the evening hunt. There were 12-18" waves with the rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow falling side ways. We followed the west shore heading north for about a quarter mile, then we put the nose into the west wind for a mile. The waves calmed down as we approached the end of the big swampy bay. I was on the north side of the creek with one shooter 80 yards north of me...the other 2 shooters to my south and WSW about 200-250 yards always. I can see about a half mile south, 150 yards to the west, 40 yards north and a mile of lake to the east. I'm hiden 10 feet in the jackpine. The wind is blowing and the white outs come and go...I call when ever the wind lets up...I try calling at 4:30 with my hands at a volume as if I was talking real loud....but the call doesn't seem to carry very far..the shooter 80 yards away could hear me the others could hardly hear me, if at all....so I pick up the horn and go straight into my broadcast calling sets and series of calls and grunts....I could only a 100 yards to my south with the snow falling sideways. I called whenever the wind would let up a little. At 5:00 I put the horn down and started to use just my hands and back to the usual lower volume communication grunts calls between wind gusts...all I could hear was the wind and the trees....I couldn't really see but 100-150 yards...then at 5:30 one of the shooter walks out of trees into the swamp with his bow raised high over his head waving it.....back to the boats we go and meet up on the south side of the creek.....he had shot a bull.....he saw it come from the south for a 1/4 mile and heard it for the last 100 yards.....I had no idea anything was coming.....All I did was just my regular call routines...I figure my calls were carrying over a mile in those weather condition....it is not the first time that I have hunted in bad weather and had no idea that a client had shot a bull
I always suggest going completely scent free...but I always put Mare's Urine on the heel of my boots when leave the boat to lay down a scent trail. Once I am at the calling site I place 2-3 scent wicks 10' -16' around myself hanging from branches. The shooters do the same.
When you return in morning to a place you called previous evening start calling 2-300 yards from location you called from. I stumbled on and spooked bulls a couple times that were bedded almost exactly where I had been the previous evening when I walked directly to the same spot before daylight.
Once we leave the boat I start grunting quietly as we walk into the set-ups about 50 yards away from the boat all the way to my calling spot. Always 2 short questioning grunts every 20 to 40 yards as I am walking in.....the bull will answer with one grunt to let you know where he is....I have hit the ground a couple of times so a client could shoot over me as a bull is coming down the trail to intercept us.....
when calling, or should I say when listening after my calls, I always put my calling cone to my ear and slowly swivel my head. the cone really amplifies what I can hear as far as replies from bulls who might be a mile or more away.
Listening is the most important part...knowing when to stay quiet and listen for a response...as soon as you hear or think you hear a reply you need to change your calling to grunts.....using Walker's Game Ears or another hearing aid helps...
No experience out west. But here in Maine, I keep running into situations where I think I am being too quiet.
If you are moving in on a lone moose, I’ve had better luck making some light grunts, breaking branches and and smacking an antler on its edge into a tree to create a “knock.”
If the bull is with a hot cow that is sounding off, I have had the cow take the bull away many times when we start calling from a distance. If the cow is calling hard, I just try to sneak in, and either still hunt into them, or make noise when you think you are in tight and hope the bull comes to challenge.
When I first started to try and stalk bulls as quietly as possible I was lucky to see the back end of one walking or running away over the ridge a hundred yards away....as soon as I started grunting my way in sounding like a cow did I have them actually waiting for me to walk in on them
Anyone care to take a gander at what this bull is saying? We filmed these two bulls after we were already tagged out. Turn the volume up and you will hear non-stop grunting. Sorry I was filming with a noisy point and shoot camera so not the best footage. That second bull was a beast!
I just found out that my first group of 4 hunters has had a guy drop out. The group has 2 bull tags and a cow tag. The group made up of guys from Michigan and Nashville. The is another guide helping me with the group. Scent control and following rules (dirrections) are essential to being a team player on this hunt...there should be lots of opportunities weather permitting. This is a good group that aways has aways had a fun hunt and take it seriously. Wake up at 4:30 and leaving the dock before 5:30-6:00....nobody's going to wait. If you are interested send me a message. The cost @ USD $6,000
Thanks everyone especially Tao! Tao I cut and paste your words of wisdom into a word doc that will be printed out and with me in the field in a week. I will read it every night! Heading to Bethel and out solo for moose.
They had it in the local Can Tire (Cranbrook) and it was on clearance for $10/bottle. It was the "Buck Expert" stuff. Buddy in Calgary bought some also on clearance at Calgary as well. Have you used it before? We are flying in from the Yukon down to a lake north of Dease and excited to see how it goes. Sep 24-Oct 6 so timing should be good!
I’ve used it for years. It is the only scent I use as I find scents a bit worse than useless. Buck Expert real horse pee flat out works! I put out wicks along trails or in an “L” shape with legs a few hundred yards long. Put them out at night, call, then leave till morning. Sneak back in and start calling softly at first. Keep the wind in mind so they smell the scent before they smell you.
Non- scented tampons work the best and are the cheapest. Even comes with the string to tie it onto the branches a high as you can reach. Use a wide mouth bottle and you can tie the tampon on then simply dip into the pee. Same for refreshing them. But eventually every thing you smell or taste will be like horse piss. You get used to it.
I’m going to be some disappointed if I can’t get the original Mare in Heat anymore :(
Not really a tip but you can watch a bulls reaction to my calling at this link. I took several short videos of him. He wasn't legal in our unit by brow tines and we didn't feel he was by spread either (Figured about 6" shy of that 50" mark)
Well i found a bottle of Mares urine but it must have been off absolutely no reaction to it on 4 different setups. On a good note I did incorporate some of Tao's calling tips into my routine and called in 5 different bulls one of which was legal and currently resides in the freezer
I believe your calling tips did make a difference . I called more frequently then i normally did , i also consciously varied my calls more than i have done in the past, it also helped me to stay put longer . One bull showed up 2 1/2 hours after i started calling. One note none of the bulls that came in made a sound , the only one i had grunting did not show himself. My theory is the high number of wolves in the area keep them quiet.
Also....if there is a bigger bull around the smaller bulls are quieter...not want the big ones to know where they are...offer grunting more quietly while the big ones will let you know exactly where they are as they come in
Tao great stuff I have a Shrias tag in Colorado...it seems from my research that moose calling is moose calling no matter the subspecies,,,you find that to be true? ....also can they be called uphill as well...is that an issue?....do they like to hang with the girls in thick swampy stuff or on fairly open hillside where they can keep track of things... say a fairly open semi timbered hill or knob close to swampland???
The area I have has some remote stuff but also some areas frequented by hikers. An elk will only smell ya for a split second and bolt how sensitive are moose to scent? I got a big Bull in AK years ago....but was spot and stalk so I'm new at this calling aspect but doing plenty of looking and research. Your stuff is great....thanks for sharing your experience.
During the height of the rut if a bull doesn't hook up with a cow do they just keep moving covering drainage after drainage? Do they normally stay in the general region of their summer haunts???
When I was on a Stone's sheep hunt....I came across moose in the high mountains and alpine valley...call worked when there was enough cover to hide a cow moose....if you are calling from out in the open...they bust you at a couple of hundred yards. If they catch your scent they are gone....look for patches of 6-7 foot tall brush to call from...which are usually in the valleys or a protected hill side. Communication grunts and calls work all year long....when it's not the rut...don't use the typical cow in heat call
Please listen to Kevin Dill.. We use their vocalizations to sneak in on them. I have sound that AK moose seem to react to calling better then Canadian, and that of shirus..but if you can get a cow mewing and use this as your indicator it has seem to work much better for us..