Hunting Scenario Questions for experienced moose killers

ndbuck09

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
470
Location
Boise, ID
My buddy and I are hunting moose this year in Alaska. Here's a scenario we're curious about:

600yd open meadow where moose are known to be in. This meadow is above a pretty good little 1/4 to 1/2 mile rip through thick thick alders. We start hunting September 1. Say you are pretty confident there's a bull around the area. Do you do a raking sequence in the morning and afternoon? More raking than that? Do you not do any vocalizations since it's so early on Sept 1? What would be your strategy if you were in this situation of knowledge of a bull in the area using a 600yd meadow, and thick crap around that isn't going to be allowing for far off glassing?

Thanks!
 

KJH

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2016
Messages
527
I'm a believer in hunting the same place for several days in a row... especially if you know there is a bull nearby Assuming your rifle hunting, I spend the fist day raking sparingly, but 3-4 times a day with the most active and long session in the evening. Be back there early in the morning. There is a very good chance a bull will be close by in the morning to where you were raking. I rarely call and rake from the position where I sit and watch. That early I would be more concerned about hunting into the wind. I never hunt that early, but I would hold off on any calling for the first day, but that will depend on the weather and where you're hunting. I really like my chances of hunting when its raining although it makes for some additional "experience". I'll make a lot more noise (raking and calling) when its raining.

I'm sure there are some other folks here who will have excellent different strategies, but that's what I would do to start hunting that type of area if you've never hunted that clearing before.
 

Kevin Dill

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
2,611
I like your raking strategy. As Vern points out, Sept 1 is very early and most moose won't be feeling real rutty. However, bulls are fairly likely to be intrigued by the sounds of another bull doing his thing. It's not unusual to find a couple bulls hanging together early on. Which reminds me....

It was early in my hunt several years ago. I was heading through the trees trying to get to a vantage point. Somewhere out in front of me I heard an antler scrape a tree. When I heard it again I quickly got set up and ready to call. I used my oil can to scrape a spruce trunk roughly, and pretty soon I heard a couple 'glunks' followed by raking. I scraped the spruce again and dropped the call behind me. 5 minutes later I had 2 bulls walking directly my way. I shot the biggest one at 18 yards with my longbow. Raking...without vocalization....can be a good strategy.
 

hodgeman

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
Messages
1,344
Location
Delta Junction, AK
Sept 1 is really early for that kind of action. I've taken several bulls in late August and I just typically try to be as still and quiet as I can be to not blow the bull out of the area.

If I raked at all, it'd be pretty minimal.
 

AKDoc

Senior Member
Classified Approved
Joined
May 16, 2015
Messages
654
Location
Alaska
Lots of valuable information and solid perspectives already shared. I certainly agree...generally speaking, Sept 1 is on the early side for calling...but stay positive, optimistic, and alert!

After at least a day glassing, I'd choose to be initially very conservative in my calling behavior and options. I'd start by raking without any vocal calls, and I'd initially rake very briefly and sparingly during calling sessions so not to scare-off a jumpy bull...as the days go on, I'd slowly pick it up in frequency & duration of raking, and with more time eventually add a few grunts.

Throughout August, it is not unusual to see bulls hanging together in pairs. Then they start getting feisty and tired of one another as they rake the velvet from their horns. I suspect that any response you get to your early calling will be a curious bull, cautiously coming to check out what's up...might stick it's head out of the brush ringing the meadow to have a look. I've even had curious bulls come check-out the action when I'm running a chain-saw in August!

I personally like getting into the field before/closer to mid-September, and then begin that same conservative approach using cow calls. Cow calls are my primary go-to the last half of September...and the bulls (and cows) sometimes come running!

Regardless of the timing of the hunt and the calls that we choose, we all agree that it is crucial to be always mindful of the wind direction...that will be a deal killer any date of the hunt. This is especially true with moose...they have a long nose for a reason!
 
Last edited:

Voyageur

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
634
I found this thread to be really helpful.
 

Alaskan89

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2013
Messages
187
Calling early in the season tends to bring in the younger bulls from my experience so I try to stay away from calling until around the 10th and the later in Sept you hunt the better your odds are of getting a response from a mature bull. I've also called bulls in from camp and have had several friends do the same, calling at night before it gets dark then calling again early in the morning right before it gets light and any bull that came in during your evening calling session is more than likely still in the area come morning time.

Calling moose is a blast and I like to compare it to calling elk, nothing gets the blood flowing like a big bull moose grunting and thrashing trees and bushes, head swaying back and forth as he's coming in for a fight, there is nothing like it IMO.
 

VernAK

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2012
Messages
1,368
Location
Delta Jct, Alaska
Calling early in the season tends to bring in the younger bulls from my experience so I try to stay away from calling until around the 10th and the later in Sept you hunt the better your odds are of getting a response from a mature bull. I've also called bulls in from camp and have had several friends do the same, calling at night before it gets dark then calling again early in the morning right before it gets light and any bull that came in during your evening calling session is more than likely still in the area come morning time.

Calling moose is a blast and I like to compare it to calling elk, nothing gets the blood flowing like a big bull moose grunting and thrashing trees and bushes, head swaying back and forth as he's coming in for a fight, there is nothing like it IMO.
The 10th has been the magical date for me! I don't know how many bulls we've taken on the 10th but it is a considerable percentage.
 

Kevin Dill

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
2,611
I don't get boots on the ground until the 10th this year. Nevertheless, I've seen plenty of bull action around that time too. I'm sure there are several habitual moose hunters who can attest to flying over mature bulls and seeing a cow somewhere nearby. That happens often enough to me that I know it's dependable.

As far as early-season strategies go, mine would be to gain a vantage point and watch an area. Watch it enough (hours) to see what might be there. Then watch it some more. I'll spend a half-day sitting a hillside and glassing one area. No calling early on. If a bull is spotted in the distance, make a plan and go for it. I'm definitely not a fan of 'blind' calling or raking in the early season.
 

VernAK

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2012
Messages
1,368
Location
Delta Jct, Alaska
I don't get boots on the ground until the 10th this year. Nevertheless, I've seen plenty of bull action around that time too. I'm sure there are several habitual moose hunters who can attest to flying over mature bulls and seeing a cow somewhere nearby. That happens often enough to me that I know it's dependable.

As far as early-season strategies go, mine would be to gain a vantage point and watch an area. Watch it enough (hours) to see what might be there. Then watch it some more. I'll spend a half-day sitting a hillside and glassing one area. No calling early on. If a bull is spotted in the distance, make a plan and go for it. I'm definitely not a fan of 'blind' calling or raking in the early season.
And don't stink up the country by wandering about......get to that vantage point and start glassing. If it's warm, they don't move much.
 
OP
ndbuck09

ndbuck09

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
470
Location
Boise, ID
This is some top shelf information here guys! Thank you so much! We're going to hunting from Sept 1 to Sept 13th so we'll definitely take it slow early on! Definitely call elk here in Idaho but it seems moose hunters discuss the aspect of moose needing to get a bit closer to their rut before they'll really get responsive. Given their up to 2-3 day response times occasionally, it seems that they're just more patient and slow about getting around to really responding in general compared to elk.

The oil can raking was mentioned early on and I heard of the use of an oil quart bottle mentioned on a tundra talk podcast...anyone got a pic of that? Is it as simple as cutting the bottom off of a standard quart oil bottle??
 

Kevin Dill

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
2,611
This is some top shelf information here guys! Thank you so much! We're going to hunting from Sept 1 to Sept 13th so we'll definitely take it slow early on! Definitely call elk here in Idaho but it seems moose hunters discuss the aspect of moose needing to get a bit closer to their rut before they'll really get responsive. Given their up to 2-3 day response times occasionally, it seems that they're just more patient and slow about getting around to really responding in general compared to elk.

The oil can raking was mentioned early on and I heard of the use of an oil quart bottle mentioned on a tundra talk podcast...anyone got a pic of that? Is it as simple as cutting the bottom off of a standard quart oil bottle??

I think elk have almost no comparison to moose when it comes to calling and response behaviors. Maybe that's why I love them so much....they're all individuals and unpredictable. So many times I've heard accounts of guys who called....called....grew impatient....called....and then went elsewhere to look. Pretty soon the frustration grows if calling doesn't produce and they're not seeing bulls. Eyes and ears are where it's at in the early season.

Oil cans...(plastic oil bottles actually) work great for me. I prefer the Phillips 66 Aviation Oil bottles myself. Blue. I'm not joking....that's the best plastic bottle ever, lol. It's more rigid and makes better sounds than the softer white plastic bottles. Doesn't that seem ridiculous to read? Just find an empty oil bottle and hopefully the plastic feels stiff....not super flexible. Flexible = dull. Harder = crisp and noisy when raking. Cut the bottom off and clean it up thoroughly.
 

SliverShooter

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
69
Location
Bozeman, Montana
I prefer the blue bottles that Kevin uses. Also had good luck with a yellow Penns Oil bottle last year when a blue one wasn’t to be found. The moose in my avatar was called in to four yards with a birch bark call. Birch bark calls work fine but they are not as durable and their tone is susceptible to moisture.
 

twincedar

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
429
This is some top shelf information here guys! Thank you so much! We're going to hunting from Sept 1 to Sept 13th so we'll definitely take it slow early on! Definitely call elk here in Idaho but it seems moose hunters discuss the aspect of moose needing to get a bit closer to their rut before they'll really get responsive. Given their up to 2-3 day response times occasionally, it seems that they're just more patient and slow about getting around to really responding in general compared to elk.

The oil can raking was mentioned early on and I heard of the use of an oil quart bottle mentioned on a tundra talk podcast...anyone got a pic of that? Is it as simple as cutting the bottom off of a standard quart oil bottle??
Being a southerner, found that an empty plastic Amdro fire ant bait jug with its bottom removed makes great noise and quite packable also. Furthermore they’re white once you.m peel off the wrapped labeling, so hold up two to mimic a moose rack.
 

diamond10x

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2018
Messages
146
Location
Texas
Don’t overlook a wooden oar. From everything I’ve tried, a wooden oar sounds the best to my ears when raking brush.

Breaking sticks about the diameter of your wrist every now and then is also a noise that can bring in a bull. A calling technique that can be used early before the rut really kicks off.
 

VernAK

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2012
Messages
1,368
Location
Delta Jct, Alaska
Moose are not orchestra conductors that can identify precise tones. They often respond to many different sounds and tones. Yes, canoe paddles work very well for audio and visual effect and I've used them successfully when I was hunting via canoe.......a paddle would be a PIA in the mountains.

I've had numerous experiences where bulls responded to our camp noise. Two years ago, an OK bull approached within 50 yards of our camp but we already had two bulls and didn't need this one. But again my 80 year old partner had to try his 50 S&W handgun on a moose and again my efforts at adult supervision failed. It turned into a real CLUSTER! Fortunately modern video is easily edited.

Plastic oil bottles work well and I have a couple yard sale Bull Magnets that hang in the little spruce trees by the "calling spot" from year to year.

I have one Old Phardt partner that we don't allow to call as his cow call sounds exactly like a wolf howl. Guaranteed not to call a moose!
 

Alaskan89

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2013
Messages
187
An old scapula works well for calling moose but IMO nothing beats the Bull Magnet, I run a piece of 550 cord through mine and carry it over my shoulder, if it hits the brush and trees while walking through the woods it won't scare off any moose that are in the area and might actually attract them.
 
Top