Moose Hunting Tips & Techniques|
By Mike Toth
For the experienced or novice moose hunter alike, nothing compares to an isolated moose camp to optimize their chance for a successful hunt, as well as provide surroundings of exceptional natural beauty.
One way to ensure a private, secluded hunt, and have a large portion of the planning, accommodations and equipment provided for you, is to take part in a fly-in trip, the likes of which Twin Lakes Outfitters can provide.
The following text will provide a general overview of moose and moose hunting which will hopefully include information for the well-schooled hunter as well as newcomers to the sport.
The name moose is derived from the Algonkian name meaning "eater of twigs". Moose are the largest of the deer family with seven different sub-species recognized in the world, four of which inhabit North America. They are the Alaskan, Shiras, and the two which inhabit Ontario, the Eastern and Northwestern moose.
The Alaskan moose is considered the largest of the family, with bulls weighing in at 1800lbs, with a comparable Eastern bull generally never weighing over 1400lbs.
Moose are generally the size of a horse, with long ears, humped shoulders, an elongated head and a "dewlap" or bell hanging from the throat. Their "gangly", awkward appearance is deceiving as it suits the diverse environment which they inhabit and allows them to travel over any type of terrain. They are capable of running as fast as 35 mph. and can swim or climb steep hills with equal ease. Although their eyesight is relatively weak, they certainly aren't blind, but their most acute sense is that of hearing which is aided by their "donkey like" ears that help the animal to pick up even minute sounds at great distances.
Below is some general information specific to the Eastern moose, the type most prevalent in Ontario.
Calves: Birthweight - approx. 30 lbs. Weight at 1/2 year - male 350 lbs. female - 330 lbs.
Adults: maximum weight - male- 1200 lbs female - 850 lbs.
Maximum age: captive - 20-25 years wild - 15 years
Mating: mid September to mid October
Gestation: 240-245 days
For the most part, moose habitat is generally quite diverse including swampy areas as well as mixed forested higher ground. Summer will find them feeding more on aquatic vegetation, while during the fall season their diet shifts to include more leaves and shoots of hardwood trees and shrubs. Fresh or second growth areas are a favorite during the fall. Moose will still enjoy frequenting spots around lakes and swamps where yellow marsh "hay" is abundant.
Generally speaking, an area which includes both young trees and swampy lakes would be considered prime moose country.
During the summer, moose tend to spend most of their time within one or two square miles of "home territory". This begins to change somewhat during the fall, where bulls tend to be the greater wanderer, traveling up to 4 miles from their "home" area in search of a suitable mate.
On bulls, antlers begin to grow early in the summer until their maximum size is reached by late August. Up until this point the antlers were covered by a "velvet" which now begins to have a reduction in blood flow causing the covering to gradually peel off, resulting in the more polished, bone like structure seen in the fall.
In the winter, sometime between December and March / April the antlers are shed and the process begins anew.