Friday, 28 August 2009

Tips on catching a moose

Well, Moose Season is upon us, and it's about this time of year that Wildlife Biologists go from those jerks who don't know nothing about nothing to the Hunter's very-very bestest buddy in the world (hey let me buy you a beer) and informational goldmine. What's funny is those jerks who both think you know absolutely nothing about wildlife and wildlife management, but simultaneously want animal information from you. Either I'm a know-nothing-Nazi, or I'm a brilliant Animal guy, pick one people! ;)

Well, I'm not going to tell you where you can find that 60 inch bull, but I can give you some general pointers on things you can do to improve your chances of catching a moose.

  • DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Scout areas first. Talk to people who live around an area, if there are any. Do it before the season starts. If you're flying in, that's a little trickier, but you can still take regular stops on your raft trip/whatever and get on some big bluffs to scope the area out.

  • "DON'T HUNT WHERE THEY AIN'T"
Not my quote, but it's prefect. Remember that Moose are like us, in that they prefer some habitat more than others. Where I might prefer tundra patches to alpine shale, a moose seem to like whitespruce, and are found in associate with water. There are some moose on hilly surfaces around here this time of year, but in general they prefer flats. In the Rocky Mountains, the trend is totally reverse.

  • GET OFF THE *****ing ROAD!
Studies have shown that the further you get from the road, the more you travel, the more likely you are to catch that moose. People who road hunt have a low level of success. People who walk in on foot have a higher level of success. People who take a boat or ATV have a higher level of success. People who take guided fly-in hunts have a very high level of success. In general, the deeper you're able to access, the greater your odds are.

Alternatively...

  • LEARN TO USE A BOW
The Fairbanks Management area has many legal bulls in various and sundry places. you can catch them, and they'll all but fall into your freezer. But there's a massive catch - you must catch them with Archery only. For this reason, many people are unwilling or unable to engage on these hunts. If you look at the regs, many of the Fairbanks Management area hunts are very liberalized (i.e., no antler requirement for bulls), but there's still difficulty in controlling in-town moose numbers. Many that aren't harvested here end up as road kill. That's good for no one.

  • JUST HOP THE RIVER
Unit 20A is some of the most productive moose habitat in North America. To find something comparable, we have to go overseas in Fennoscandia, which is practically a moose factory. However, many people are unwilling or unable to hunt in 20A. Consider getting help using a boat, or renting one. As far as rifled hunts go, the hunt in 20A is one of the best.

  • DON'T KAMIKAZE
Kamikaze hunting is where you go out and hunt really hard for a few days (usually a weekend) and then have a hard return-date. It's short, intense, and it inspires people to take stupid risks. Take your time. If you're not rushed, you won't practically walk over moose because you'll be able to stop and look around. In general, the more time you allocate to a hunt, the more likely that hunt is to be successful. In the Interior, here in Alaska, "I was out hunting moose" is often a legitimate work excuse.



I hope this helps. I won't be going out this year, since I have no freezer space after my last fishing trip. I actually prefer it that way - I can go do a winter hunt at my leisure, since I've got meat to last me a while. But I wish all of you the best as the various hunts open up.

Remember to sight in your rifle!

1 comment:

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

And don't forget the bullets. I miss moose steaks...