Moose Calling Techniques

by Andre B
(Penticton, BC Canada)

Moose Calling Techniques

Moose Calling Techniques

Question: When to 'bull' call and when to 'cow' call?

Sure, ask a tough one! lol

I've written numerous articles and responses to variations of this question, but each time when I think of differing scenarios then the answer must change too!

I'm not sure there is an exact answer to this question: When to 'bull' call and when to 'cow' call?

I'll try to put it in perspective.

For the better part, most (and I use the term 'most' very loosely) of the moose hunters I know use cow calls exclusively.

Why, you may ask? Because it's easier and probably safer!

{Easier,] because during the rut bulls are actively looking for cows in heat. Bulls will spend a lot of time and energy (putting themselves at risk) wandering around looking, smelling and listening for cows calling. They throw caution to the wind and expose themselves like no other time of the year.

I distinctly remember one bull moose I watched, he crossed a cut block that had to be more than a kilometer wide, grunting the whole way... in the middle of the day no less! No bull in his right mind would do that unless he has breeding on his mind.

Safer, because who wants 1400 pounds of angry bull moose bearing down on him, and all he wants to do is stomp the life out of his adversary.

Now, that being said, both of these techniques can and should be used. It going to depend on the moose in the area and upon you.

Me, personally? I mainly use cow calls, resorting to bull calls, say, when I have a bull in sight or within hearing distance and he's hung up. He won't come in, even when I use a cow in estrus call. A call that to a bull should mean: I'm ready, you had better get here RIGHT NOW!

Maybe then a bull grunt, or two... a thrashing of some brush. Make him think he's got competition.

Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you sound like... he just won't come any closer. Period!

At that moment, you are faced with two options: Let him walk, or go after him. Maybe be a little more aggressive in your bull calling.

A very aggressive bull sound, that you can only hear if the bull is close is: A grunt followed by a snap of the tongue on the roof of the mouth. It's easy to duplicate, but beware... this is a direct challenge to a bull moose. Remember moose have hearing that is much better than our human ears can hear.

A moose external ear covers about 67 square inches compared to humans who have about 1.1 square inches.

A.B. Bubnek, a wildlife biologist says that moose communicate over distances of 2.0 miles using sounds that are imperceptible to humans. (Ecology and Management of the North American Moose)

In other words, a moose may be answering you or making noises with approaching that you may not hear.

Mike Langlois aka "The Rackman" often grunts and thrashes brush as he walks. Making moose noises as he travels; that's important! Make moose noises, not human noises.

When to 'bull' call and when to 'cow' call? It boils down to, do you want to be a lover or a fighter?

There are innumerable differing suggestions and ideas, try one, try them all! A good moose hunter must have many tricks and techniques up his sleeve!

I hope this was helpful! Need clarification? Have a comment?
Use the comment form below.

Thanks for the question!

Comments for Moose Calling Techniques

Click here to add your own comments

Sometimes, it just doesnt matter!
by: Binski

Several years ago, in Ft St James area of BC, a friend and I were hunting ducks on a swamp. After about a dozen or so shots at passing ducks, a huge Bull Moose stepped out of the bush across the swamp about 80 yrds away. He was focused right on us and clearly looking for a fight as he grunted and thrashed nearby willows. The only think we could think of was that he was responding to the bark of our shotguns.

Also, while hunting elk in the Kootenays, I have heard, on more than one occasion, distant Bull Moose respond by grunting to my elk bugles.

My uncle from Burns Lake recounted an incident many years ago at some remote logging camp located on the shore of a lake. He heard several Bull Moose from around the lakeshore answer a toot from a brass bugle (the musical instrument).

Cow call warning
by: Dan

I use both calls depending on the situation. I agree that you have to be ready when using a bull call because things can develop rather quickly and the next thing you know is that a bull moose is staring at you from 25 yards.

When using a cow call my hunting group has also attracted grizzlies on a few occasions. The bears were definitely homing in on the caller, which it took for a young lost/injured moose possibly due to the pitch of the call. A First Nation elder friend of mine told me once that his people call the "cow call" a "bear call".

gunt/ or cow call
by: Anonymous

yes it's hard to say but if you know there's a bull around then for me that's easy I'll take out my piece of moose antler and start racking the bush with some grunts but I also am on the move when I do this they hear you moving as your raking and grunting if there's a bull around you'll see him soon; as it has been proven by me. But if you have a no show sit for awhile then start cow calling and see how that works. Watch your wind!

cow call
by: carl

Most hunters cow call because ..... the sound carries miles and we all want every moose to hear us. Bull grunts are soft like a person talking in the confessional vs the preacher giving his sermon.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Moose Hunting Tips.

Want to learn how to hunt moose? Or are you wanting to increase your moose hunting skills?

Look no further!

Our moose hunting tips book is written with not just the novice in mind, there are tips in the book that even the most seasoned moose hunter will find of value.

The book includes 57 chapters, with more than 150 pages of information, jam packed with tips, techniques and discussions - The Ultimate Guide to Moose Hunting!

And don't forget to order one of our Fiberglass Moose Calls. In stock and ready to ship.

Like this page?