Out of all the members of the deer family within seven sub-species recognized in the world, the moose is the largest. Moreover, the Alaskan moose is the biggest in the family with its bull weighing over 1800lbs. In Alaska, moose is hunted for food and as a sport yearly during fall.
Like any other big hunting game, moose hunting requires a good deal of planning and preparation, and all the necessary tools and equipment. The planning phase for such a trip should be given close attention, while not going overboard. A good hunter will always prepare a comprehensive list of the needed gear to accompany their hunting equipment. These may include a gun, the best rifle scope, extra ammunition, knives, binoculars, a compass, and a small chainsaw. In case you plan on hunting down a large-sized moose, it is suitable to use a caliber rifle. It will maximize your opportunities of getting a trophy while minimizing the animal’s unnecessary suffering. Make sure you clean your gun properly to enhance efficiency before starting your moose hunt.
Hunting tactics are similar from one region of Alaska to the other, with the only difference being the timing of the hunt. Here are insightful tips on how to hunt moose in Alaska:
Glassing for Moose
Commonly referred to as spot and stalk hunting, it is important that you seek an advantage point that will give you a clear view of the area so that you can locate and identify a legal bull clearly. You run better chances of taking a bull if you remain fixed on a glassing location compared to a mobile hunter who spends a good part of their hunting spree walking around searching for game.
However, you should know that it might take you several hours to days before you spot a legal bull. Therefore, it is crucial that you plan well in advance to brace yourself for an overnight hunt. Ensure that you bring along a raingear, insulating layers of clothing, binocular, a full water bottle, snacks, freeze dried meals, a cooking pot, and comfortable folding chair.
Choosing the best glassing location is an important aspect of moose hunting in Alaska. A high glassing ground gives you a clear view of the willows as opposed to looking through them on the same level. Increase your chances of success by hunting in areas where moose densities are high. A moose can easily be found at water resources, therefore, concentrate on areas around river valleys, springs, and small lakes. The flats areas along deltas, lakeshores, riverbanks and beaver dams often support willow, dogwood, alder, and other winter and fall moose.
Having a game plan is crucial when glassing moose otherwise you may overlook some critical details. Before all else, use your naked eye to look over your area in search of some movement from a distance. Afterward, use your binoculars to focus on areas of habitat that are likely to hold moose. Patches of willow are a good starting point.
Also, do not expect to see the full form of the moose since the vegetation or terrain will obscure parts of the bull. Bull’s antlers also stand out and may be easy to spot from a distance.
Calling is probably one of the most thrilling experiences of a moose hunt. It is considered the best way to lure bulls during the hunt since they are always seeking amenable cows, especially during the hunting season.
Mastering the art of moose calling is an important aspect when going hunting since it gives you a greater chance of success. However, you do not need high mimicry talent to enjoy a calling success. Although a bull and a cow make different sounds, using either of the two sounds may attract your prey. A bull makes an “errough” guttural sound. The calls are usually made in succession. Imitating this behavior may draw a bull to your glassing spot.
Another way bulls call is by thrashing their antlers against trees knocking down dry twigs and branches in the process. It is quite easy to imitate this since all you need is a large stick that is about 5 inches in diameter or a dry moose scapula. You should rake a tree with your stick breaking twigs and branches to imitate a bull. This may attract a bull towards your direction. Ensure that you listen carefully between calling sessions for any response.
Despite their significant size, moose are just like any other member of the deer family. They move at the first and last light depending on the photoperiod as well as rut phase. Putting down a moose at last light can be a daunting task and can lead to a long evening away from the base camp. Such nights are the reason you should always carry your survival kit. If you are not prepared to sleep out, then you are not ready to harvest a moose.