Tactics for Big Moose
By: Nathan Theriault
You have been drawn for a once-in-a-lifetime moose tag, or maybe, second, third, or fourth. If that is the case, you are extremely lucky or blessed. There’s nothing wrong with a little of both if it gets you a tag.
However, being lucky alone does not work so well today with filling a tag. Over the years, OMM has invested in all the best tools of the trade to get clients in front of some of the largest bulls in the woods. Trail cameras, scent, and careful calling are critical tools that improve a hunter’s odds of success.
You probably have heard the saying, “you get out of it what you put into it.” This statement cannot be more accurate when it comes to moose hunting. Whether it is choosing your outfitter or planning a do-it-yourself hunt, hunters need to do their homework.
Sometimes we are fortunate to locate animals within a half-mile from a road, but most trophy moose are miles away from any ground accessible by vehicle. Moose habitats have changed with the landscape, pushing the moose into places harder for the human eye to see. The time has come to collect your thoughts and put together strategies to address this dynamic.
Cameras will help you study animal movement. Make sure to spread your cameras into many types of terrain, forest types, and areas with water. By doing this, you will put together a timeline that will add to your scouting repertoire.
When placing your cameras, be sure the batteries are new, and the memory card is formatted and cleaned, so the pictures are in the proper order. Trigger the camera before setting to make sure you get the shot. You may only get one chance.
Be cautious of false triggers and clear away any brush that may cause them. We set our cameras for 3-shot bursts to catch those bulls following a cow. We try to put cameras on the high side to keep them out of reach of pesky bears.
Sometimes a stick behind the camera can give a better angle. Camera use is regulated. Make sure to get landowners’ permission before setting and labeling cameras.
Artificial and natural scents can be beneficial in attracting a big bull. They also help keep him in the area. Making a fake pit and tearing up nearby bushes is intimidating to a bull that has laid claim to a site. These visuals are taken seriously by a big bull, causing him to be more responsive to calling.
Calling is the most fun way to interact with a cagey old bull. A scapula or shoulder blade makes a realistic antler sound when used on trees and brush. This resembles an aggressive bull marking his area, announcing he is present and willing to fight for his territory or cow.
Natural sounds like breaking branches or stripping leaves to imitate walking or feeding are great ways to get a response. It is a subtle tactic allowing you time to adjust your location and get the wind right. Be careful not to overcall. As a rule, if the moose are vocal, you can be too.
In conclusion, much needs to be considered during each week of hunting. One common factor to look at is the average breeding time in the zone. As bulls breed the cows in their respective areas, bulls begin to travel looking for additional receptive cows.
Soon many bulls are beat-up and tired, so be patient when calling. Being too aggressive with calling may hurt your chances rather than help them.
During a week of hunting, I usually expect only to get two days of great weather. However, it may be spread out across the whole week. Those are the times to take advantage of the knowledge gained from your scouting tools and hone-in on your target bull.
When it comes to this coveted tag, nothing should be left to chance. Do your homework. Use those cameras, practice with scent, and calling.
Learning is part of the fun. Avoid frustration and be patient. Plan and execute with perfection.
Be safe. Have a blast! Success is in your future.
Nathan Theriault owns OMM Outfitters in Eagle Lake, Maine, dedicated to helping clients make great memories and meet their life goals. OMM is an education, entertainment, and hospitality company providing extraordinary outdoor adventures, including excellent service, world-class outfitter standards, attention to detail, high-quality, even perfection in every aspect, including food and lodging. All with a smile!
OMM’s enthusiastic staff loves the outdoors and wildlife. They are goal-focused as it energizes and guides clients to their desired outcome. OMM also adheres to and shares the outdoors’ ethical traditions, including respect for wildlife, the environment, and landowners.