Best Large Bull Moose Calling Techniques

by Dan

<i>Photo by Tyrone</i>

Photo by Tyrone

I would like to know your advice as for calling in the dominant bull moose of the area.

What call should I make and when?

Should a person go with cow call only?

Or bull call only, trying to make the dominant challenged by an intruding bull on its turf?

Where would be the best in higher grounds a hard wood forest mountain or spruce concentration forest when it is warmer, cause they go in for cover from sun and cooler?

What if bull comes along and stops and will not come in closer? What to do then?

How to Call the Biggest Bull Moose

Great bunch of questions Dan!

It just might not be as simple as it sounds.

Personally I like to use a cow call as my go to choice for moose calling. I have had much better success rates calling moose in this fashion.
I know other very successful moose hunters (and guides) that mix bull calls in with cow calls. As an example: make a few cow calls and move a ways away and then make some bull calls. As though there is a bull already with a cow in estrus.

The thing about using bull calls is you don't want to sound too BIG! If you are loud and your thrashing is too vigorous the bull in hearing range may be intimidated. On the whole, bulls know the other male moose members of the area, if he is the dominant bull, then any bull in his area would be a threat to his breeding stock.

"Don't move there is a bull standing behind you!"

I have not had a lot of success doing the combined calls. You might fair better? Not that I haven't tried, I've just had (seemingly) a higher success rate at calling in bulls using strictly cow moose calls.

Rightly or wrongly, I don't move around very much once in my calling location. I'll call into differing directions but I don't physically move far. I know I have read and written about the pros and cons of moving, its just the method I have adapted.

When the temperatures heat up moose go into heat stress and head deep into the forest where it is cool. Not just anywhere though. They still need food, water and shelter. You need to key in on these resources. Somewhere in your moose home range, you will find that core area that matches his needs. The cows won't be too far away either.

As for the bull that hangs up. There are various reasons for that to happen. One is he may already be with a cow and will not leave until he has bred her. Sometimes they just won't come, for any amount of coaxing. It may be your calling location. Bulls are sometimes reluctant to cross too wide an opening thus exposing themselves. Other times they just throw caution to the wind and head to the cow that is calling.

Sometimes when calling moose you just need to throw everything you have at them. When one moose calling technique doesn't work then try another. Try them all!
Remember that bulls don't always come in making noise. Sometimes they just come in quietly. Maybe they are just curious or maybe they are intimidated, I don't know.

Case in point! Last year while bull hunting on an archery hunt, I was set up over looking a deep valley. To my left and right was thick forest. I called down into the valley, fully expecting any response from that direction. My cow calls echoed back as the sound drifted down the valley. I had been calling for 30 minutes or so when my hunting partner motions to me and whispers... "I think I heard a branch break", motioning over his shoulder towards the thick forest. I looked in the direction he mentioned and much to my surprise there was a bull standing about twenty yards from us.

All I could see was his head. I whispered back "Don't move there is a bull standing behind you!"

Long story, short version... over the next 10 minutes or so I coaxed him out of his hiding spot with more cow moose calls and when he came clear of the trees at full broadside I gave a low grunt. I was already at full draw and fully expected him to stop.

But that is not what happened... no, he lurched forward and took off at a full run. He made a large circle out and away from us and returned into the forest from where he came. He was running at full speed when he hit the thick forest, yet we did not hear him as he escaped us. He left us speechless really.

Why did he take off like that? The only reason that I can come up with is this: maybe he was not the dominant bull in the area, maybe he had had a run-in with the dominant bull? My conclusion is he interpreted my grunt as a threatening sound and wanted nothing to do with it.

Had I used bull calling prior to seeing him, he may never have shown himself. He came in looking for love, not a fight!

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