Mathews Inc.
Judging moose at this time of year?
Moose
Contributors to this thread:
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
Ucsdryder 09-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
cnelk 09-Jun-20
cnelk 09-Jun-20
cnelk 09-Jun-20
HiMtnHnter 09-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
HiMtnHnter 09-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 09-Jun-20
Shiras42 09-Jun-20
Shiras42 09-Jun-20
Shiras42 09-Jun-20
Medicinemann 09-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
Ziek 09-Jun-20
Pig Doc 09-Jun-20
Ziek 09-Jun-20
Ziek 09-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
Ziek 09-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
Pig Doc 09-Jun-20
Ziek 09-Jun-20
Ziek 09-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
Bowboy 09-Jun-20
Pig Doc 09-Jun-20
Jaquomo 09-Jun-20
Adventurewriter 09-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 09-Jun-20
Ziek 09-Jun-20
fishnride 10-Jun-20
Ermine 10-Jun-20
altitude sick 10-Jun-20
Adventurewriter 10-Jun-20
Ermine 12-Jun-20
fishnride 12-Jun-20
Adventurewriter 12-Jun-20
altitude sick 12-Jun-20
JayZ 12-Jun-20
Harvester 13-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 13-Jun-20
Ermine 13-Jun-20
Ziek 13-Jun-20
Harvester 13-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 13-Jun-20
Ziek 13-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 13-Jun-20
Treeline 13-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 13-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Grey Ghost 14-Jun-20
Adventurewriter 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Mathewsphone 14-Jun-20
Ziek 14-Jun-20
Cazador 14-Jun-20
fishnride 28-Jun-20
From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Mornin' guys,

I'm not well educated on judging moose antlers, especially in the early stages of their growth. I photographed this moose 2 days ago in Colorado. Can you moose experts tell me if this is a young or old bull? And what characteristics determine your answer?

Thanks, Matt

From: Ucsdryder
09-Jun-20
No clue but I assume they’re like elk or deer. A big animals is a big animal, no matter where they are in their growth. That doesn’t jump off the page as a “big” animal. I was talking to CNELK yesterday and he said moose lose their antlers much earlier than elk, so I would be curious to know when moose antlers finish growing. That might help answer your Question.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20
John,

That was my first impression, as well...young bull with so-so antlers. But then I looked at his body and face, and started thinking he's old and possibly on the downhill slide. He also appears to have some kind of mange going on.

Matt

From: cnelk
09-Jun-20
Younger bulls will have deeper valleys between their palm points, and not as many.

Thats not an old bull, but he will score because he has at least 2 brow tines on each antler [required to get that palm length measurement]

From: cnelk
09-Jun-20

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Young bulls

From: cnelk
09-Jun-20

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Next age class up. That back one will score better. Be hard not to pass on either one of these

From: HiMtnHnter
09-Jun-20
Obviously look for a big body, sway back, etc...one thing about bigger, older bulls is their antlers beams tend to droop before the paddle begins... also look for big bulls feeding early in the summer and bedding near willow-choked parks during the day. They are often bedded just outside the open areas in the shade.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20
Thanks, guys, the pics help a lot.

So, does the bull in my pic have a skin/hide problem, or is he just shedding his winter coat?

Matt

From: HiMtnHnter
09-Jun-20
Shedding his coat. It's called molting.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20
Does the size/length of the dewlap, or lack thereof, provide any clues about age?

Matt

From: Mathewsphone
09-Jun-20
No most deals freeze off In the winter.What to look for is big wide paddles split fronts lots of points

From: Shiras42
09-Jun-20

Shiras42's Link
GG, Not sure on the Shiras moose as much as the Alaskan, but we did use the bell as somewhat of an age estimator. Most all of the more mature bulls have had the long skinny portion of their dewlap/bell freeze off and most all of younger bulls still were sporting it. Notice all of these younger bulls had the long dangly bell.

From: Shiras42
09-Jun-20

Shiras42's Link
Here is a middle aged bull my brother shot. Notice the longer bell.

From: Shiras42
09-Jun-20

Shiras42's Link
And here is a fully mature bull with the rounded bell

From: Medicinemann
09-Jun-20
Dewlap is a helpful indicator. Longer points (especially near top of rack) usually means a younger bull. Antler sag near the base of the antler means a big bull....but I have only seen that in A/Y bulls and Canadian bulls. It would take a helluva Shiras to exhibit that. Body size is another indicator....and the best way to describe it is to say that you'll know a big bull when you see it.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20
Thanks for the education, fellas.

The bull in my pic is currently living behind my condo in Winter Park. Hopefully he'll stick around, and I'll be able to monitor his antler growth over the course of the summer.

Matt

From: Ziek
09-Jun-20
Here are a few photos from my 2012 CO hunt.

Hunting early in the bow season, you should be able to pattern at least a couple of bulls, IF you put in the time over the summer. They won't be wondering looking for cows until mid to late Sept. and the younger bulls will start first. Before that, they generally stay in the same area, or travel route. For a higher scoring bull, you need to know what to look for. Study the score sheet and understand the measurements. Dewlap doesn't tell you much of anything, except they can look pretty cool.

From: Pig Doc
09-Jun-20

Pig Doc's embedded Photo
Pig Doc's embedded Photo
I've been wondering the same about this guy that's hanging around my house in Fraser. Less than 10 miles from your place Matt. Maybe they are twin brothers. :)

From: Ziek
09-Jun-20

Ziek's embedded Photo
First bull found, we named Piney Bull. He traveled a big loop that included our campsite drainage. He was the "prettiest" bull we found.
Ziek's embedded Photo
First bull found, we named Piney Bull. He traveled a big loop that included our campsite drainage. He was the "prettiest" bull we found.
Ziek's embedded Photo
Later that same day (July 24) we located this guy. We could usually find him in one of 3 drainages. We named him Moniger Bull, for the first place we found him.
Ziek's embedded Photo
Later that same day (July 24) we located this guy. We could usually find him in one of 3 drainages. We named him Moniger Bull, for the first place we found him.
We started scouting in July. On our first outing we found several moose, including the two bulls I targeted. Over the course of the summer, I got MANY photos of them.

From: Ziek
09-Jun-20

Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
Here are two more of Moniger Bull on 8/24. Notice the thin bell.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20
Just to be clear, I didn't draw a moose tag, nor have I ever hunted moose. I'd love to, but I'm afraid it may never happen in this lifetime. I'm just trying to learn more about them, since I routinely see them in and around Winter Park.

Chad, that's cool you have one living around your place too. And they do look very similar to each other. I did learn one thing last weekend. They have absolutely no fear of my ferocious golden doodles. ;-)

Matt

From: Ziek
09-Jun-20

Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
These two are Piney bull on 9/3 & 9/4. He had a very symmetrical rack with deep front forks that looked great, but wouldn't score very well. He also had a huge "mail-sack" bell. Still trying to decide which one to shoot when the season opened.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20
Great pics, Ziek! Did you end up killing either of those bulls?

Matt

From: Pig Doc
09-Jun-20
This one basically ignores my German Shorthair. I walked up to 10 yards of him and he ignored me as well. He doesn't seem to be afraid of anything.

From: Ziek
09-Jun-20

Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
This is Moniger Bull opening morning. My wife had eyes on Piney Bull at the same time, so it IS very possible to pattern them very successfully. Adding 'season choice' tags is just going to screw up early archery season worse than ML already does.

From: Ziek
09-Jun-20

Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
These two youngsters entertained us from camp on 9/11 before we left.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20
They don't seem to be a particularly difficult animal to get within bow range of, once you locate em.

Moniger is a beauty, Ziek. Congrats!

Matt

From: Bowboy
09-Jun-20
Great bull Ziek! Did you ever post a story?

From: Pig Doc
09-Jun-20
Great bull Ziek!

From: Jaquomo
09-Jun-20
Matt, if you are in an area where they see people (most of CO), if you act like a tourist and wear regular clothes they generally aren't alarmed. They don't like guys in camo sneaking up on them. One guy I helped had his wife stand about 70 yards away out in the open and act like she was taking photos, while he snuck around behind and shot it at 20 yards with his longbow.

09-Jun-20
Anybody use any bracketing with ear width like mule deer?

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jun-20
Lou, I doubt it's the camo that bothers them. More likely it's the difference in body language between a tourist and a hunter that they pick up on. Either way, they seem like a stupid simple animal to hunt once you locate one. I ran into them often while elk hunting in unit 18. They usually strolled right by me within easy bow range, as if they knew I didn't have a tag.

Matt

From: Ziek
09-Jun-20
I sold the story to Bowhunter Mag. It appeared in the August 2013 Big Game Special. They also bought the photo of 'Piney Bull' (the one above, where he's eyeing me) and used it as a small black & white at the top of several pages. The wind was blowing pretty hard that day, and his dewlap was blown back against his chest. He was less than 10 yards away when I took that photo. A short version also appears in the Third Edition of Colorado's Biggest Bucks and Bulls.

I wish I had a better "hero" shot. When we first tried to move him for a pose on that damn mountain side, he flipped completely over and one of his tines caught my pant cuff. It tossed me up in the air and I came down on top of him. Luckily, not on the antlers. He almost got his revenge.

From: fishnride
10-Jun-20
Dang guys, this is the greatest thread of the year! I drew an Idaho bull tag and I’ve been soaking up all the moose info I can and this is great. I’m hunting 12-1 in the Lolo Zone and going all in for this hunt this year. I’m heading out for my first scouting trip later this month. My unit is super thick, but hopefully I can snap a few pics and post to this thread to see what you guys think of some early season bulls. If anyone has any info on the unit, maybe past bear or elk hunts please shoot me a pm. Super excited. Keith

From: Ermine
10-Jun-20

Ermine's embedded Photo
Ermine's embedded Photo
At this time of the year I’d look for split brow tines and wide paddle. Width of the antlers. The scouting really doesn’t get good until late July in my opinion.

I’ll also say that moose know difference between hikers and being hunted. Definitely not as spooky as say elk but when hunting them they don’t always just stand there either

10-Jun-20

altitude sick's embedded Photo
A very old bull, not high scoring but about as old as they get.
altitude sick's embedded Photo
A very old bull, not high scoring but about as old as they get.
I agree with the wide and drooping main beam as one indicator. And I don’t think they deserve the “stupid” reputation

I just don’t think they are afraid of much.

On an even playing field they can hold their own against anything.

10-Jun-20
Holy be-jesus Ermine is that Colorado bull???!!!!!!

Altitude that is a cool bull

From: Ermine
12-Jun-20

Ermine's embedded Photo
Ermine's embedded Photo
Adventurewriter- yes that is a Colorado Bull. I was fortunate to arrow it.

From: fishnride
12-Jun-20
Awesome bulls guys!

12-Jun-20
Ermine that is fantastic!!!! Great bulls

12-Jun-20
Wow, heck of a Shiras bull

From: JayZ
12-Jun-20
Justin, what did that think score? Did you enter him into P&Y? If so, did you get invited to panel? Looks like that thing would be towards the top for bow killed Shiras.

From: Harvester
13-Jun-20
The Ermine bull has it all. Good front palms, not just long points. Long paddles are key for a good score with about 20 or so points. Paddle width will be there on older bulls, as will spread. I started scouting Mid July last year and found many good bulls. I was done hunting on opening day.

From: Grey Ghost
13-Jun-20
Got a pic, Harvester?

I've often wondered how they score moose antlers. It's becoming clearer now, thanks to you guys.

Matt

From: Ermine
13-Jun-20
Grey Ghost. And the number if points counts towards score. However the length of the points does not matter. The biggest measurement is the paddle length to the browtines

From: Ziek
13-Jun-20
Since the OP asked about judging, maybe we should mention scores. Scoring a moose is not as straight forward as some animals. My bull was scored by a really experienced measurer - a guy who has participated in several panel scoring events. He came up with 180 3/8 final score. The P & Y panel (which he was also participating in, but wasn't allowed to even be consulted on my bull since he was the original measurer) came up with 176 0/8. However, the B & C panel measurers agreed with the original score. So it is listed in each organizations record books with a different score. It came in 3rd at each convention though, in 2013.

From: Harvester
13-Jun-20

Harvester's embedded Photo
Harvester's embedded Photo

From: Grey Ghost
13-Jun-20
Pretty bull, Tom!! And the Chuck Adams pose makes him look HUGE. ;-)

So, basically you look for long, wide paddles that extend all the way to the brows, with a bunch of short-isn points?

Matt

From: Ziek
13-Jun-20
The length measurement is subject to some interpretation, but basically goes along the back of the antler from a valley at the top of the palm to a valley at the end of the brow, that is most nearly parallel with the inside of the palm, which is of course, not straight to begin with. If, as in the case with many Shira's moose, the brow is not forked or palmated, that length is taken at the mid length of the brow point. In other words, if scorers can't agree when it's on the bench, a hunter can only say for sure that it's pretty big, or not.

From: Grey Ghost
13-Jun-20

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo

Grey Ghost's Link
I got curious enough to Google it up.

Matt

From: Treeline
13-Jun-20
Almost as crazy as caribou for figuring out the “on-the-hoof” score!

Hell, I just want a tag!

Would be hard to pass up any Shiras that looked like a moose, much less a bomber/gacker like Justin got...

Will keep on keeping on and hope for a tag I’m in Colorado before the wolves are brought in, they kill all the moose and the tags are reduced back to 1990’s numbers...

From: Grey Ghost
13-Jun-20
I'm right there with you Tavis. I just want a tag before I'm too old to pack the beast out.

Matt

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20
Both make bc

From: Grey Ghost
14-Jun-20
Interesting, Brandon. I wouldn't have guessed the first one made BC, but I'm still learning.

Matt

14-Jun-20
I had heard that Shiras making BC is one of the easier animals...

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
My bull that I killed 48" wide 4x4 with no fronts (spikes) up front scored 136 py if he had fronts upper 150s.

From: Mathewsphone
14-Jun-20

Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
Mathewsphone's embedded Photo
183

From: Ziek
14-Jun-20

Ziek's embedded Photo
8/23/18 while scouting for my wife's cow hunt.
Ziek's embedded Photo
8/23/18 while scouting for my wife's cow hunt.
Ziek's embedded Photo
Again on 8/23 later in the day. Practicing a stalk.
Ziek's embedded Photo
Again on 8/23 later in the day. Practicing a stalk.
Ziek's embedded Photo
The bull that was tending the cow she shot opening morning. Several times he was standing practically right over her while she tried to get a shot at the cow.
Ziek's embedded Photo
The bull that was tending the cow she shot opening morning. Several times he was standing practically right over her while she tried to get a shot at the cow.
A few more photos.

From: Cazador
14-Jun-20
Incredible moose photos. I really hope I can find something like those. Wow!

From: fishnride
28-Jun-20
Well guys, I’m heading up to my unit in Idaho tonight for a week of scouting. I couldn’t be more excited and hopefully I can put eyes on a few bulls and hopefully post a couple pics of midsummer bulls to this thread.

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