When it comes to bow hunting moose, you want to up the game because they are big game and have considerably good hearing and smelling capabilities. There is a need to ensure you are well prepared for the hunt to harvest a great moose next time.
This article discusses seven handy bow hunting moose tips you can follow to up your moose hunting game for your first or next kill.
Be sure to try out the tips the next time you go hunting. It’s the best way to learn and raise your chances of moose hunting success.
Tips for Hunting Moose
Bowhunting calls for a great deal of skill since you usually have to get as close to the quarry as possible, sometimes even as close as less than 30 yards away. Moose are also quite alert animals. As such, knowing some tried and tested moose hunting tips is necessary.
Here are seven tips for hunting moose with bows.
- Know the Seasons to Hunt
- Familiarize Yourself With the Hunting Area
- Prepare the Right Equipment and Gear
- Use Wind to Your Advantage
- Physical and Mental Preparation
- Hunt Near Food and Water Sources
- Use a Moose Call
Top 7 Moose Hunting Tips
All moose hunting tips you find are purposed for one thing - helping you have an easier time hunting by equipping you with the right knowledge for feeling your next or first-ever moose.
Take a close look!
1. Know the Seasons to Hunt
It's best to hunt moose during the rut when the cows and bulls come together for mating. At this time, the cows call out the bull moose to come to mate with them and keep them company.
The moose rut usually begins in September and ends around November. Moose tend to become less alert of their surroundings during the rut season, especially the younger bulls mating for the very first time or their second one.
For higher chances of a good kill, you should count on the carefree moments of the moose to make your move. The moose are notably vocal at this time as the cows call the bulls, which often acknowledge the call with a grunt if they are in the mood.
You can hunt the bulls by waiting for them to come out to the feeding and water areas where the cows usually stay. However, it would be no harm sticking near the females.
Moose calls are highly effective during the rut for enticing the bulls to think females are calling them out for mating.
With some luck and putting good skills into practice, you can fell a bull during the 72 hours the mating game lasts between a cow and the bull.
Hunting during the rut is important as it makes your work easier. After the mating season is over, hunting becomes harder because the bulls retreat into the deep woods for intense browsing and recovery from the demanding mating.
The shift makes finding the bulls harder, and you have to go deeper into the woods as well.
2. Familiarize Yourself With the Hunting Area
Familiarizing yourself with the hunting grounds increases your chances of success during the hunt. It also helps you find your way in and out of the hunting grounds easily.
Some of the most significant aspects to note include the behavior patterns of the moose, their resting, feeding, watering, and mating areas, and the signs they leave behind wherever they go.
There are several ways to get to know the hunting area. Most hunters only travel through the area by following the roads, but that's limiting as they can only go as far. It's advisable to get on foot and walk into the area as you observe the habitat for moose signs.
3. Prepare the Right Equipment and Gear
Yes, you are an archer first, but you will need more than the standard archery equipment.
Most states require moose bow hunters to use a bow with a minimum draw weight of 50 pounds and broadheads whose cutting diameter is at least 7/8.
Moose like spending their days near water bodies or swampy areas. It's usually cold here, and you must carry clothing such as thick socks, waterproof boots, wool or fleece clothes.
Fleece and wool clothes ensure you stay warm enough during the hunt. It's also important for managing your noise output as you hunt. Such clothes absorb the occasional slap of twigs against you to reduce instances of the sound reaching the moose's ears.
4. Use Wind to Your Advantage
Although not as strong as it is in whitetail deer, the smelling capacity of moose is considerably strong.
The animals can tell the scent of humans easily and take to their heels or become extra alert. And this is not only for the hunting day. They also note smells left behind earlier.
If the animals note human smells in their habitat, they become extra careful. They retreat further into the thickets, making it harder for you to see them. You don’t want this happening to you as it diminishes your opportunities for a good kill.
Counting on the wind to favor your hunt calls for ensuring you stay downwind of the moose, meaning that the wind should blow in your face or toward you to take the scent away from the quarry.
If there is very little or no discernible wind, a wind indicator comes in handy. It's a simple container with a lightweight power that you release into the air and observe which way it goes.
5. Physical and Mental Preparation
Successful moose hunting requires proper mental and physical preparation. It pays to be in the right mindset, with high but manageable expectations, enthusiasm, and positivity. It takes a while to kill a moose, and you don't want to give up during the first few days.
Physical preparation before the actual hunt increases your chances of killing a moose. If you don't do enough physical exercise, you'll find the hunting experience difficult since it involves a lot of movement that may be too demanding on your body.
While you are less likely to run around, you might have to walk up some hills or climb a tree stand. As such, be sure to do enough exercise to train your body to get used to prolonged standing, lying down, crouching, walking, or carrying a heavy butchered moose.
The usual archery training sessions can be coupled with physical exercise for even better results during the hunt.
6. Hunt Near Food and Water Sources
Moose bulls usually like to stay along the borders of thick woods and forest openings. The females prefer staying near ponds and along the edges of rivers and lakes. If you want to kill a bull specifically, you should wait for one when it comes to mate with the cow.
Since waiting for the bulks to come out is not always practical when it isn't the rut season, you can opt to hunt cows. Alternatively, you can use moose calls to lure the bulls out of the deep woods to the food and water sources.
Moose like feeding on twigs, buds, and the barks of trees and shrubs such as maple, aspen, and dogwood. Aquatic plants are a favorite for moose as well. Such food sources are easy to find underwater or along the edges of water bodies and forest openings.
Hunting near the watering and feeding places makes it easy to kill a moose. The animals will be less alert during feeding and watering, providing a good window for you to strike.
7. Use a Moose Call
Sometimes it takes ages to spot a moose. Don't give up yet. Moose calls can break the ice and increase your opportunities for a decent kill. While they work best when you imitate cows calling out to bulls, you may also call out cows and bulls to "other bulls".
Either way, there are higher chances for you. Cows usually call out to bulls for companionship or mating during the rut.
During the mating season, you can moose-call a bull using a DIY funnel or birch-bark cone. The older bulls may take longer to come out, but those breeding for the first or second time will most likely seek out the calling female without worrying about their safety.
To call out a cow post-rut when finding a bull, use the cry of a distressed calf. Any nearby cow will come around to check on the calling calf, even if it's not her own.
If you are keen on felling a bull, you can call out one by imitating the noise a bull produces when scraping and thrashing trees with the antlers. A bull is likely to come out to protect its territory.
Another way to call a bull moose is to imitate the friendly gluck sound bulls use to communicate with others in their social circle.
Calling moose can be frustrating if none shows up soon enough. Sometimes you wait for hours before any comes out because they are afraid that it might not be a real cow calling.
Plan Your Hunting Technique
There are several moose hunting tactics to try out. The strategy you use depends on the topography of the hunting ground, your preferences, level of skills in both archery and bowhunting, and the behavior pattern of your quarry in its habitat.
Try any of these four techniques on your next hunt.
As the name suggests, the spot-and-stalk technique involves first sighting the moose you want to fell and following it closely but carefully like a stalker until an excellent opportunity comes up to shoot it.
The golden moment to wait for here might be when the animal is less alert and carefree in a way that it even presents itself better for you to have a clean shot at any of its vital organs like the heart or lungs.
Since stalking involves moving around as you look for a good shooting range, you should take care not to spook the animal through unnatural noises, scents, or having the quarry spot you.
The one downside with this tactic is that you might spend a lot of time waiting to spot your kill, which can test your patience to the limits. Use this technique in the early morning and during the day you have plenty of time to spot and stalk the moose.
Unlike spot-and-stalk, still-hunting involves slow but deliberate movements in the hunting grounds until you spot a moose long before it sees you. A good hunter using this tactic walks less and observes the surroundings more for moose presence.
Still-hunting entails a series of being in motion and stopping now and then. After a few steps, the hunter stops and squats or stands to scour the area for moose.
The trick here is to observe sunlight, wind, and prevailing weather conditions to use them to your advantage. It might not be easy, especially during hot, dry days.
The major disadvantage of this method is that you might spend a long time still-hunting moose and fail to find any. It's also easy for other hunters to mistake you for a quarry.
During stand hunting, the hunter uses a portable or permanent stand to wait on moose moving around comfortably, unaware of the hunter in the stand.
You can make a stand inside a thicket for better concealment near the edge of a sizable clearing that is situated near a moose travel corridor. The stand should be complete with side and front walls for more concealment and shelter from adverse weather like rain.
A stable stand is one you build between several trees, but one attached to only one tree also works.
Stand hunting is most hunters' favorite as it helps with scent management and keeps the hunter out of the moose's line of sight.
Fooling moose through moose calls is a great way to make your next kill. It works best for summoning bulls towards cows that have already indicated through moans or calls that they are ready to mate. You might also attract a bull towards another.
You'll find several commercial moose call tools you can use, including birch-bark cones. It's also possible to make yourself a simple funnel for projecting your voice during the calls or grunts.
The downside with this method is that the bull moose are usually cautious and have to be sure that what they have heard is a real call from a cow in heat or a bored one looking for a mate. As such, they might take even hours to come out.
However, the opposite is true. One advantage of the method is that if the bull is in the mood for mating and companionship, it is highly likely to throw all caution to the wind and come out within a few minutes to seek out the calling cow.
Safety Considerations When Hunting Moose
Like you do with any other type of hunting, you should be careful when hunting moose. Your safety comes first. Be sure to observe these and other basic safety concerns when you hunt moose.
Wounded Moose Might be Confrontational
Hunting experts always recommend that hunters should approach a felled moose from the rear where the animal won't see you if it is still strong enough to attack.
Sometimes the arrow doesn't hit well in a way that incapacitates the animal immediately. A wounded moose might charge at you, ripping through you with the antlers.
Let Someone Know When and Where You are Hunting
Hunting sessions might sometimes take you deep into woodlands as you look for a quarry, especially after the rut when the bulls retreat deeper into the forest for food and recovery from the draining mating.
It's advisable to let a friend or family member know where and when you are going hunting. You can even leave them a map for an easy search if you don't come back at the expected time.
Other ways to ensure you are safe from losing your way include using GPS and a compass.
One of the places moose like most is beaver ponds. If you do not carry enough clean water with you, you might be tempted to drink from such ponds, potentially exposing yourself to beaver fever. Moose meat would be no good if you contract such a fever!
Bowhunting moose can be a highly productive undertaking if you know what tricks to use before and during your next hunt. We hope that our tips will set you up for big success whenever you hit the trail searching for moose.
While each of the seven tips we have covered guarantees you higher chances of a good kill, you will raise the chances even further if you follow all or a combination of the tricks. You can only limit yourself.
People Also Ask
Both new and experienced bow hunters usually have plenty of questions about bow hunting moose they wish experts would answer. In this last section, we take a closer look at some of these questions to help you understand the topic better.
Can You Kill a Moose With a Bow?
It's possible to kill a moose with a bow as a beginner or an expert archer and hunter. Be sure to find a good bow and learn the basics of target shooting such that it will be easier for you to drive an arrow through your quarry in a real-life hunting session.
How Much Draw Weight Does It Take to Kill a Moose?
Moose are big game and require a bow draw weight of at least 50 pounds to fall. The higher weight ensures the arrow hits the animal with a high force for more penetration and injury. It is these two that ensure the hit moose dies fast and as humanly as possible.
Can a Recurve Bow Kill a Moose?
The simple nature of a recurve bow might dupe you into believing that it is impossible to kill a moose with one. Although less potent than the complex compound bow they fight for the hunter's attention with, recurve bows can fell moose for a clean kill.
The most significant disadvantage of using a recurve bow to hunt moose is that less potency means you must get as close to the animal as possible. It could even be below 30 yards, which is tricky as you can easily spook the moose.
How to Attract Moose to My Tree Stand
Moose calls are an excellent option for attracting moose to your tree stand. Since tree stands limit your movement, your options for calls are also limited to a few methods.
You should consider ditching calls suitable for ground-level for ones easy to reach the animals from your elevation. Homemade funnels and birch-bark cones are great for imitating cow moose sounds they make when calling out to bulls for mating or companionship.
Where Do Moose Like to Hang Out?
Moose spend time around water and food sources. Their sources of water include beaver ponds, lakes, rivers. You can find them along the banks of these water bodies.
Moose also hang out in feeding places with buds, twigs, and barks of some trees such as dogwood, aspen, birch, and maple. These feeding areas are usually along the borders between forest openings and heavy timber sections.
How Hard is It to Hunt Moose?
Hunting moose is easy if you have the right equipment, know the behavior of moose, and have the proper archery skills. It's also crucial to note that the best time hunting them is during the moose rut when they usually throw all caution to the wind.
Successful hunting starts a long way from the actual hunting day. It involves prolonged periods of studying moose habitat and behavior and practicing to better your shooting skills.