Moose Calling Frustration

by Jay
(Alberta)

Bull Moose - 50 inch plus mature moose

Bull Moose - 50 inch plus mature moose

Bull Moose - 50 inch plus mature moose
Moose Track - Yup, we know they are here!
Moose Rub - they are in the area.

My family hunts in an area in remote area in north central Alberta. Over the years, we have taken a number of what most would consider to be trophy class animals.


While we are not complaining, the large majority of these bulls were taken by simply being at the right place and at the right time.

Typically, we hunt the core areas and simply run into them next to a lake or on a cut line immediately adjacent. We never see tons of moose, most of the time it is 1-2 moose per week for a party of 5 hunters, but the moose we do see tend to be mature bulls up to the 50" range. We rarely see cows, but know that they are there because we see tracks.

We have tried calling in and around these areas but have never had any success of a bull coming into a call. Sign in these areas include tracks, rut pits, thrashed branches.

What are some reasons why we get a poor response rate when calling moose? Could it be poor moose numbers? or density? Could it be a low bull to cow ratio? Wolves in the area? Why don't we have younger bulls coming to the calls?

We have had luck calling moose in other areas further south many years ago. We know that it is not hunting pressure, as we are the only ones hunting in that area.

We have contemplated the reasons for years but are no closer to finding out the answer. Any insight to the lack of calling success would be greatly appreciated.

Comments for Moose Calling Frustration

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No Response to Moose Calling
by: Mark - The Mooseman

Jay, you pose some interesting questions but one important piece of information you left out is timing.

What time of year are you hunting?

Your success rate tells a story in itself and although you harvest big moose every year by simply bumping into them I can understand you wanting to increase your chances.

That is what moose calling does!

There are many reasons why calling moose may not be a successful tactic for you. Obviously I'm not there with you so there is no way for me to be certain that any specific advice I give will be correct for your situation.

One thing I noticed right away is the fact you mention wolves in the area. If there is a population of wolves in the immediate area near where you hunt... moose will not vocalize. It would be to their own peril to give up their location by calling.

Do you ever hear any cows calling in your area? Are you hunting when cows are in estrus?

Those questions also need to be answered.

If you are not hunting during the rut then it stands to reason that bulls will not respond to your cow calls.

You also mention a lack of immature bulls and cows. With the big boys hanging around immature bulls will tend to stay out of the limelight lest they get challenged. Those big bulls you see, had to be immature at one time.

You are seeing bulls. So why don't they answer your calls? How patient are you when you call? Do you stay in likely areas and call for hours? If not you should.

Bulls are obviously in the area you hunt, with low hunting pressure there is no logical reason why bulls shouldn't come to your calls.

Calling should bring in both immature and mature bull moose. I suspect that your lack of calling response is because of only one or more of a few reasons. Listed in what I feel is order of importance.

1) Wolves
2) Not hunting during the moose breeding season
3) Not being patient enough when calling
4) Not being aware of wind currents

If you can answer a few more questions, I may be able to offer some more insight.

Thanks for asking ~ Mark MTMM

Moose Calling Frustration
by: Jay

Thanks for your original comments Mark. To give you further insight I will try to answer some of your questions below.

We typically hunt the first 10 days of October, depending on how the weekends fall.

We have heard cows call on occasion, but not common and one of our biggest moose was taken at 1pm when my brothers heard a cow call at noon by a small lake half mile off a cutline in a burned out area.

When calling in morning, we try to be there at 1/2 hour before light and stick around for at least two hours. Basically same think at night, calling from 4:30pm to dark. Usually leave ATV's mile away and walk to spots (side of lakes where the sign is). Aware of wind, but typically put vantage before scent.
I said wolves,because if we get a fresh snow, there are lone wolf tracks travelling every major cutline in the area we hunt the next day.

Only other info I can provide:
-is we hunt on the edge of a major burn (2001) one of our sweet spots is where mature forest meets burn area
-our calling regimen is usually cow calls, quieter first, then get ramped up, later followed by some thrashing and maybe a bull call near the end of the hunt. All sessions 20-30 minutes apart.
- moose sign is sporadic outside of core areas where there is a bunch then you have to travel 2-5 miles before finding another pocket of fresh sign.

Some other questions are
Should we be going to same spot, morning and night for the whole week or should we rest it? we typically hit the spot 50% of the hunt.

If two spots had same sign, but one was entirely in the burn area and the other was adjacent to mature growth, which woulkd be favourable for moose calling.

Thanks inadvance for any further insight that you can provide.



Improving Moose Calling Success Rates
by: Mark - The Mooseman

Good to hear that you are keying in on the timing of the rut... The first 10 days of October. So that rules that out.

A few wolf tracks are present but not necessarily a large pack to cause the moose to become quite or move out. Only the old, sick or very young moose really have to worry about solitary wolves. The lack of response shouldn't be influenced by them.
That being said, I wouldn't rule their presence out.

More often than not cow moose will be vocal in the early hours of the day (daybreak till late morning) then again in the late afternoon. Really though it will depend on their estrus cycle. They will be much more vocal if they are ready to breed rather than just in heat. Those sounds are different too.

Timing and patience is key for calling moose. I use cow calls almost exclusively, and call from just before daylight until late morning. I will call right until I take a break for lunch, so depending on how far camp is away, that will be say somewhere between 11am and 12 noon. On the rare occasion I'll stay put the entire day, but that can be very boring if you don't get any response.

As for how often to call in any given spot. Last season I hunted the same area 8 days in a row. Setting up and calling both morning and night from the same ground blind at least 10 times and the balance would have been within a couple of hundred yards of that spot. I saw 11 bulls last year!

This year was different!

Hunting from the same area at the same time of year, we hunted for 3 days and saw nothing and heard nothing!
We moved on the fourth day and got a bull that came to our call. Go figure!

My preference is to concentrate on an area that holds moose... and you said it correctly; the core areas. That is THE MOST important information. If you hunt the core areas you'll find moose.

I call every 10 - 15 minutes, using my watch to keep track of time. It gives you something to do anyway! lol

Seriously, it sounds as though you have it figured out, maybe try spending a little longer in one spot and calling. I would most definitely spend more time in your honey holes. Me, I narrow my ideal spot to 2 or 3 then target them heavily.

If moose aren't there today then maybe tomorrow? If you call at a spot in the morning and they come in that evening when you've moved to a new area? Well, you weren't there! You snooze you loose! I always worry about that?

Something else you can do to monitor what's going on. Get yourself some trail cameras and set them up while you are there. You'd be surprised at what goes by and at the times of day.

I've added three Spypoint trail cameras to my hunting equipment and the pictures don't lie. Read my review Spypoint Trail Cameras

Hope this helps. Need more clarification... just ask.
~ Mark

moose calling
by: Robbie

I think maybe your patience. Just assumption..

Do a look up for Wayne Kubat moose calling on google.

He has posted a very good article which gives you technices for different times of the year..

Also do a look up for wayne kubat three day moose strategy...

I have tried different moose calls and the best by far is a birch bark call...

Hope this helps..We live in the Yukon and since I have used Wayne Kubat method always got moose
Robbie

Moose Calling Tips
by: Jay

First I would like to thank Mark and Robbie for the tips so far. I do have a couple more comments and questions if you are interested in providing feedback.

I actually have Wayne's "bull magnet" fiberglass call, got it when I lived in the NWT. The calls sure resonate, but I don't think I have had actually called a bull in with it yet. My success has always been with a birch bark and that is what my brothers use. Mark's advice and the three day strategy definitely have one thing in common and that is patience.

When I look back to my previous life, we had tons of success calling in more accessible locations, it just seemed that you went out in the evening and that same night you were successful and when I talk to most hunters that hunt these semi-accessible locations, they largely echo the same thing. Outside of the success rate, the biggest difference that I notice from these old locations to our new ones is the size of moose we get now as they are way bigger.

My remaining questions revolve around try to understand the differences.
Does the extra patience primarily apply because we are now dealing with mature breeding moose?
Is there a correlation between population density and the patience or time needed? I would thing that the moose population in our area is low.
How does the age structure of a bull population affect calling success?
What impact would the bull to cow ratio have on calling success? To me if bull to cow ratio is low, there may be no reason for a bull to come in to a call as there is lots of cows to pick from.

I know small moose eventually become big moose, but given our success on just walking up to mature moose versus calling (as stated in my original post), you would think that the chances of observing smaller bulls would be even better, given their tendencies to roam during this time of year. Do you agree? If so, what does this say about the population status?

Last question that comes to mind....if you see a 4-5 yr old bull and he doesn't see you, you are downwind and you thrash branches to get him to come closer and he takes off on a sprint in the opposite direction..what just happened? Was he intimidated or did we just get busted?

Patience is a Key Factor - Part II
by: Mark - The Mooseman

Vic: I know small moose eventually become big moose, but given our success on just walking up to mature moose versus calling (as stated in my original post), you would think that the chances of observing smaller bulls would be even better, given their tendencies to roam during this time of year. Do you agree? If so, what does this say about the moose population status?

MTMM: I agree with what you say, but... my observance has been quite the opposite. My partners and I have scouted and hunted one particular zone quite extensively over a period of about 20 years. During that time our party harvested more than 25 moose and only once did I see an immature bull. They're there and they're are always more moose around than the ones you see.

Vic: Last question that comes to mind....if you see a 4-5 yr old bull and he doesn't see you, you are downwind and you thrash branches to get him to come closer and he takes off on a sprint in the opposite direction.. what just happened? Was he intimidated or did we just get busted?

MTMM: Are you sure he didn't see you or something unnatural? Moose can be stupid at times, but just as often they'll be like Wiley Coyote and be overly cautious and suspicious.
Just last a couple of years ago I had a bull come out of the forest, coming into my call. He exposed himself when he was about 400 yards away and was coming in at a full trot, when suddenly he just stopped. He paused for a moment and turned to retreat into the forest from where he came.
My folly; while he was coming I moved a couple of inches to adjust my camera angle... bye, bye!

Patience is a Key Factor - Part I
by: Mark - The Mooseman

Vic, I copied your questions here and I'll address them individually.

Vic: Does the extra patience primarily apply because we are now dealing with mature breeding moose?

MTMM: I personally don't believe so. In my experience, patience is required for any age of moose. You have to keep in mind that moose can hear extremely well and may be quite some distance away. It's very possible it can take a moose hours to reach your location. I think Wayne's advice to hunt an area for 3 days spending 90% of the day in that spot is right on the money.

Vic: Is there a correlation between moose population density and the patience or time needed?

MTMM: The only factor that I can think of here is that if any given moose population is low then the moose will be more spread out over a larger landscape (ie: fewer moose per square kilometre). In that matter, if bulls are actively looking for cows in estrus, then as they travel about it will take more time to cover their core area.
Don't forget though, any bulls that are with cows will (for the most part) not come to your beckoning calls. However; the bull will MTMM where he heard a cow calling and return to that spot after breeding the cow he is with, which can take up to three days.

Vic: How does the age structure of a bull moose population affect calling success?

MTMM: Don't know the answer to that one.


Vic: To me if bull to cow ratio is low, there may be no reason for a bull to come in to a call as there is lots of cows to pick from. What impact would the bull to cow ratio have on calling success?

MTMM:I don't know if the bulls can actually tell what the cow ratio is. I doubt if anyone has ever launched a study on that one. I think if a bull hears a cow calling and he is rutting (and without a cow) he would answer or at least investigate where the sounds are coming from.
Something else to keep in mind when calling moose is that sometimes bulls will come in silently. They will stay in the shadows and look for a cow. If they don't see one then they can easily just move away and you would never know they are there. In this type of case a cow moose decoy can be of use. It will give the bulls a visual and may draw them in to you.

excellent response
by: carl

I would recommend get in your spot before daylight, do what you know how to do as far as calling, water noise, break sticks etc, however never leave before four hours are up.

Our success has proven that.

One other thing in Ontario no horse pee or natural scent is allowed.

I will never use synthetic scent again!

Last year I had a bull with in 28 yds bow and arrow ready for one more step, reached for my artificial scent spray, watched the mist hit the bulls nose and he absolutely did a 180 and was gone.

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