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Gear & Other Tips For Your Moose Hunt

By Alex Gouthro — Bowhunter/Guide
Northern Ontario Bowhunter Services
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Moose Hunting Tips

Northwest Ontario is the area of Canada where the two sub-species of Canada Moose overlap and there is a considerable variety in the sizes of the moose found there. There are variables that can effect any moose hunt on any given lake — including bears, wolves, and weather. Furthermore, moose are solitary animals by nature; moose sightings are infrequent in comparison to animal sightings on many other types of hunts, such as deer hunts. Howey Bay Resort does its best to make sure that clients have an enjoyable hunt experience — but can’t guarantee success for every hunter. New moose hunters should be prepared to accept such variables; they are part of moose hunting.

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Calling Hunts:

Because bow hunts, and to some extent gun hunts, take place during the main moose rut season these are calling hunts — where you call the moose to you. So hunters should either learn how to call moose themselves- or hire a guide who knows how to set up moose bow hunts and call moose.

Many hunters come on their first hunt using a guide, learn the ropes, and then come back to hunt without a guide on subsequent trips. Others like to try things on their own, and learn to call and set up moose hunts before coming on their hunt. With proper instruction this can be done and saves the cost of a guide. See advice on ‘Preparing For Your Hunt’ below.

Party Hunting:

Hunters should know that Ontario allows ‘party hunting’ which means that any member of a hunting party may harvest any animal for which the hunting party has the appropriate tag. The only stipulation is that the appropriate tag must be attached to the harvested animal once an animal is taken.

Hunt Packages & Costs:

The rates for moose bow hunts through Howey Bay Resort are dependent on the number of hunters and the number of adult moose tags assigned to a hunt package. Larger hunt parties can access considerable savings by selecting a hunt package with fewer adult moose tags. Once a package is chosen there are no hidden costs — All hunt packages include free fly-out of moose harvested.

Preparing For Your Hunt

Because Moose bow hunts take place during the rut and are calling hunts, one of the best ways a hunter can prepare himself/herself for this kind of hunt is to learn how to call moose and how to set up the calling hunt.
You can do this in two ways. You can find a good moose guide and have that guide teach you the tricks of the trade — or — You can purchase a comprehensive audio and/or video guide that will take you through all the stages of becoming a successful moose hunter and caller.

The newest, and by far the most extensive product on the market today, is Alex Gouthro’s video DVD series, the “Gouthro’s Moose Madness Series On Moose Hunting & Calling”. This four-part DVD series took over 5 1/2 years to complete and is easily the most comprehensive video program ever produced on moose hunting & calling, containing six hours of action-packed instructional video. Alex’s moose expertise is constantly evident throughout the Gouthro’s Moose Madness Series — It is a superb instructional program! In addition, Alex Gouthro has just produced a six chapter approximately 2 hour version called “Gouthro’s Moose Madness Quick Fix for the Hunter”. This comprehensive video guide for the moose hunter deals with the essentials the hunter should learn on the road to becoming an expert moose hunter and caller. To learn more about these extensive DVD programs go to the Gouthro’s Moose Madness website at: http://www.gouthrosmoosemadness.com.

Learn How To Call Moose

The most exciting way to hunt moose is to call them in during the rut. If you haven’t yet learned to call moose you would do yourself a favour by purchasing the Gouthro’s Moose Madness Series on Moose Hunting & Calling. This is by far the most comprehensive video package ever produced on the subject, consisting of four DVDs containing over six hours of action-packed instruction. This DVD series will get you ready for any moose hunt.
To see the content of the Gouthro’s Moose Madness Series go directly to the web site.

Compliance With The Law

Remember to bring along a hunting license from your state or province. You will need to produce this when purchasing your Ontario Moose licenses. You are required by law in Ontario to encase your bow when travelling with it during legal night time (half hour after sunset to half hour before sunrise). A light unlined cloth case of any kind will serve this purpose.

  • Ontario law prohibits the use of barbed or serrated broadheads for hunting.
  • Ontario law requires that your bow must have a minimum draw weight of 49# (at 28″ draw or below 28″)to be used for hunting moose or bear.

Clothing

Clothing is a personal thing, but your moose hunt from the middle of September to the end of the first week in October can bring with it a variety of weather — warm or cool days (40 to 75F. or 5 to 24C.) & cool or cold nights (28 to 40F. or -2 to 5C.) A cool or cold morning can turn warm by 10:00 a.m. A warm day can become chilly or cold by 6:30 – 7:00 in the evening. A cold front can bring temporary cold rain or snow. A warm front can make it almost hot during the day. These fronts can bring with them higher winds. Having said this, it would be highly unusual to have a full week of bad weather at this time of year. The weather is generally quite acceptable.

Loose fitting layered clothing (starting with two-piece thermal underwear) to meet changes in weather is definitely the way to go. This implies that you will have a good day pack that will allow you to store the articles of clothing that you take off when it gets warmer, or to access clothing as it gets colder. With the new materials out today it is possible to bring an outfit together that meets these needs that is still lightweight. I try to wear camo layered clothing so that when I take something off I’m still in camo. In Ontario it is not required to wear red when hunting in the archery season.

Pay particular attention to your feet and footwear. I hunt in knee-high LaCrosse rubber boots that are big enough to hold at least two pairs of heavy socks when I need them. I use the wick-a-way socks so that my feet stay relatively dry in the field. However, the moisture collects in these boots and they must be dried out on a daily basis. Goretex-type boots might be an alternative if you can find a reasonably high fitting pair. I also have a pair of normal rubber-bottomed, leather-topped boots for those days when I walk in the woods scouting for moose sign. I have a pair of rubber ‘Duckies’ that I use as slippers around camp. Their rubber construction allows one to go outside to meet the calls of nature without having to tie up laces, etc.

My rain gear consists of a light Gortex rain suit (complete with hood) that fits over regular hunting clothing on cooler days, but can also be worn alone on warmer days. I also have a heavier lined Browning Hydro Fleece outfit which gives complete protection against rain & cold. I have used this outfit for the past four years and have been perfectly dry and comfortable. However, while waterproof, this outfit can become quite heavy to wear when wet. You may prefer a waterproof saddle cloth outfit instead.

With regard to headgear I take along two types — a lighter cotton military-type with a wide brim (camo). This suits me for warmer days and keeps light rain from running down my neck. I also have a heavier type (Gortex) with earflaps for colder days. To compliment the hats I also bring along at least a couple of neck ‘tubes’ (the sort that skiers wear).

Dealing With The Moose

Moose QuarteredMoose are heavy animals and once the animal is down it will pay to have the items listed below to help move and/or tie the animal in field dressing activities. One of each per hunting party is all that is necessary.
Light-Weight ‘Come-A-Long’ Winch — great for moving an animal either on the ground or if it is hung up on the bottom in shallow water.

100 Feet of 3/8″ nylon rope — for use with or without the winch.

You may assume that, it you have hired a guide, that the guide will have a ‘Come-A-Long’ winch and rope with him — You won’t have to bring these items.

Other items you should bring with you include:
Life Jacket — These hunts are conducted from lakes and require boat travel. Bring along your favorite life jacket.
Hip or Waist Waders — for use to get at a moose that has died in deeper water. One pair per hunting party is sufficient.

Your favourite Skinning Knife and Meat Saw — I use a knife with a gut hook and a Whyoming Saw (take down). You’ll need only one saw per hunt party but extra knives always come in handy. Also, some parts of moose hide are a 1/4 inch thick — have a good knife sharpener along.

A 10 X 10 sheet of plastic — This will be used to lay meat down on in the field-dressing/cutting process – very useful in helping keep the meat free from dirt, etc.

Pepper & Cheese Cloth — We coat all exposed meat with black pepper and then cover it with cheese cloth before hanging the meat. This keeps any parasites, flies, etc. from getting at the meat. My hunting partners and I usually completely skin the quarters before hanging and thus will use about 1 pound of pepper on an adult moose. Remember that you are hunting at a time when you can get very warm weather; this is why we completely skin the quarters — to get the meat cooled down quickly. The cheese cloth also helps keep the meat clean while hanging and in transport.

Comfort When Hunting

If you are not in a tree stand it is likely that you will be spending a good deal of time in a ground blind. Make sure that you have a seat of some sort for comfort and to keep your bottom dry. I have used a Game Tracker seat that attaches at any level you want to a tree (we usually try to set up calling ground blinds around a site that has a tree to use). Where this is impossible I use a thermal seat that is placed directly on the ground. There are many models to choose from. As an alternative I often use a packsack that is combined with a metal frame to make into a seat. In each case, these seats provide a level of comfort you would not otherwise have and helps to keep one drier and warmer. Many of my clients are now using the knapsack/seat combinations — they are very useful when getting into and out of the boats as well — and boats are the main form of transportation. The combo seats work great and can be set up quickly anywhere. If you go for one of these chairs make sure that it is quiet — try it out in the store before you buy it.

Comfort In The Camp

Our moose hunting camps are very well equipped and comfortable. In terms of bedding you need bring only your sleeping bag (beds & pillows are supplied). If you are hunting Get Lost Lake (tent camp)you will need to bring your own pillow. You may want to bring along a pair of slippers to wear inside the cabins — you’ll find the cabins exceptionally clean and we encourage hunters to keep them that way. Otherwise everything else is supplied to cook, eat, stay warm, etc. You do need to bring your own toilet articles & towels along.

Safety

We recommend that each hunting party bring along its own first aid kit that includes anything special that any of the members of the hunting party needs. This kit should include such items as headache pills & throat lozenges.
You may assume that, it you have hired a guide, that the guide will have a First Aid Kit with him — You will only have to bring along anything special (personal medications, etc.) you may need.

Other Gear Tips:

Tree Stand Items: If you are bringing along a tree stand, don’t forget your safety belt, haul line, tree steps, etc. We do not supply treestands or their accessories.

Binoculars: A set of binoculars are useful for searching lake shorelines for moose that may have come to the call; I consider them essential.

GPS: Another item that I have found to be very useful is a GPS. I find that this gives me much more freedom to wander in the bush. By taking position readings every so often I can always determine my bearing back to camp or some other waypoint selected. I use my compass to follow bearings to the waypoints.

Fishing Gear: If you are on one of our fishing lakes you will want to have jigs and/or lures that are good for Pickerel (Walleye)& Great Northerns (Pike). If you are hunting Vahalla Lake bring along some Lake Trout lures as well.

Hope this all helps — Have a great Hunt!