The autumn moose hunting
Consider the fall hunt for moose. Why autumn? Winter driven hunt for prey, more profitable to hold after the establishment of stable snow cover. It is easier to find animals, get around them and expose them to shooters. In the fall and early spring, the same operations have to be done “blindly”. However, late autumn and early winter do not always spoil hunters with snow (say, the last two seasons), and by the middle of the corral hunt, most bull moose have already shed their horns. It can be very frustrating to put a huge bull at the end of December and find only rosettes on its head instead of horns. The exit suggests itself: summer and autumn hunting “on the roar” or autumn hunting with a dog. We will focus on them in more detail.
Hunting “on a roar»
This hunt is especially popular with trophy lovers, as it is conducted exclusively on males and you can choose a worthy specimen. In contrast to the corral hunting, the chances of getting an animal are disproportionately greater. On a paddock hunt, in addition to the skill of the hunter and the shooter, you also need a fair amount of luck. Many hunters who have been out hunting for years and decades did not get their chance to distinguish themselves. The beast just didn’t come out on them. And in the hunt for “roar” takes part, as a rule, only one shooter, respectively, all the chances he has. With the competent work of a professional (a huntsman or guide) and the presence of a hunting object in the grounds, a shot is guaranteed to you. If not on the first attempt, then on the next. In addition, you do not need to run anywhere, as when hunting with a husky, or stand for a long time and freeze on the paddock number. Of course, this does not mean that hunting “roar” is simple, but there are certain advantages, in my opinion, there are.
Moose hunting on the roar takes place during the rut and the struggle of males for possession of the female. On cold autumn mornings and evening dawns, the males come out to measure their strength and call their rivals to battle with guttural cries (roars, groans). Places of such fights are determined by the presence of broken branches and young trees, trampled areas and, most importantly, holes knocked out in the ground by hooves. The hunter, finding such a site with fresh tracks, can prepare the hunt. Some professionals are able to reproduce the voice of an elk without any devices, and to help others, high-quality imported decoys are produced. I tried Swedish, American, and canadian – very similar. There may be others.
The hunting process itself is simplified as follows. Early in the morning, after dark or in the evening, the shooter with the accompanying huntsman (or one, if he is well prepared) goes to the pre-chosen place of elk tournaments.
It is better to hunt two hunters: one-beckoning, the other – the shooter. Why? Now explain. The wabil begins to give a voice-call. The tone of the sound can be different, depending on the purpose of the hunt. For example, if the sound produced by the beckoning simulates a powerful animal in the Prime of life, then not every male will dare to fight with it. Even the average specimen with decent horns is likely to get scared and just run away, not to mention any underdogs.
This option will suit only the hunter who is counting on a special trophy. Partners should discuss the situation in advance. If there is no response to the call, the hunters wait for some time and again give the signal or change their location.
But the answer is received. He heard the call of the groan of the moose. A professional should immediately determine the age of the animal by the voice and whether it makes sense to waste time on it. Let’s say that a potential trophy is suitable for primary characteristics, then the hunt begins. There are two options here. Since the animal can hear the trick at a close distance, the hunters should split up. Either the beckoning one goes behind the shooter’s back, or the shooter comes forward to intercept the moose on the way to the intended opponent. It all depends on the area and how far the elk responds. Now the shooter and the assistant have taken up positions, and the wabil begins to beckon. After making sure that the animal moved “to waba”, you need to stop beckoning for a while. My professional teacher advised me not to beckon at all. Instead of feeding waba, he would start quietly breaking small dry branches and sometimes scraping the tree trunk with a stick. However, if the animal does not respond, you can still cast a voice several times.
But the hunter heard the crackling of a walking animal (which is unlikely) or saw its movement. First of all, if you are interested in a trophy, try to determine the trophy value of the instance. Correlate it with your desires and financial capabilities. Today, it is not uncommon for the value of a captured animal to be determined by its size. After making sure that the trophy meets your requirements, prepare for the shot. Trying not to make sudden movements, silently raise the gun and take aim at the side of the animal, even if it is poorly visible. Lead him to the open gap and press the trigger. If you are not sure of yourself, wait until the moose stops, and then shoot. In another option, you can set the gun in advance in the expected place of passage of the animal and wait for it to shoot.
It happens that the elk responds to the call, but does not go to the hunters. In this situation, you can try to approach the beast. I have strong doubts that this is possible, but I have heard that it is possible under certain conditions.
When selecting a position, you should pay attention to one more point. Moose does not like to go out in the open. He always goes thicket, and the place will have to choose such that, intercepting it on the way, still have the opportunity to shoot.
It is possible to organize a hunt for several people. The gamekeeper-wabil, having determined the location of the moose by the moan, builds a kind of chain perpendicular to the animal and, moving away from the line of shooters, begins to beckon. In this case, the elk, unless it is made a noise, will certainly come across one of the shooters. But I don’t think you can call it a serious hunt. Such a sensitive animal as a lone bull will surely smell or hear one of the shooters. Most likely, no one will be hunting.
On our website you can watch a video of moose hunting on roar in September.
You need to shoot very accurately and only if you are sure that you will put the animal on the spot. It is believed that any animal that is in a calm, relaxed state (grazing, resting), poorly holds the wound and, when hit by a bullet of the appropriate caliber, falls immediately. On the contrary, an animal filled with adrenaline, excited, can go far even with a severe wound. I think that the moose, eager to fight with an opponent, is very heavy for slaughter. In addition, the black trail is difficult to get the wounded, and the dog can only be used after a while, since its participation directly in the hunt is excluded. In addition, branches, bushes, some nettles and other stuff, which is full of autumn in the forest, will interfere. You will most likely have to shoot at dusk, hence the serious requirements for the equipment of the hunter “on the roar”.
The elk’s neck, heart, lungs, and spine are considered killing places, just like any other animal, but it is better not to risk hitting the area of the shoulder blade. In my experience, elk is the weakest animal on the wound among all ungulates and from a bullet of serious caliber, when it hits the middle of the front part of the body, it falls immediately. But this does not mean that it can be treated with disdain. Elk is elk and 300-500 kg of live still need to be laid.
Weapons and equipment
You can hunt elk “on the roar” with almost any smoothbore 12-or 16-gauge rifle. But, as we all understand, rifled weapons with strong optics will greatly facilitate the situation for the shooter. Of course, the cartridge must be serious to leave this mighty beast in its place. I think at least 7, 62×51 and 7,62×54 R, necessarily with a semi-shell bullet.
I shoot a 9,3×62 cartridge with a bullet weighing 18.5 g, and there are no problems. In my opinion, bullets are good .30-06 Springfild and German 8×57 Mauser. It is acceptable to use large, so-called elephant calibers, such as 375 Holland & Holland, because in trophy hunting, the trophy is the priority, and the part of the meat that is spoiled by a powerful bullet can be neglected. The optimal weapon, I think, will be a double-barreled Union-Express for a special cartridge 9, 3x74r.
Since it is necessary to shoot more often at dusk, it is very helpful to have enlightened high-quality optics, and even better-an imported “beater” with a red dot or tick.
Hunting with dogs
In this classic hunting are used in the first place huskies. However, I have seen ordinary mongrels that are great at keeping and barking moose. The task of the dog is to find an elk and, having indicated its location by barking, allow the hunter to approach and shoot. Elk is not afraid of dogs, they do not have to hold it.
The main task of the dog is to indicate where the elk is and distract it so that it does not hear the approach of the hunter.
Going out to the land where the moose are supposed to be sleeping, the hunter lets the dog or dogs in a free search. The husky should not come off far from the owner, so as not to go “out of hearing”. Finding the animal, the dog gives a voice, which is guided by the hunter. The hunter must know his dog so that he can tell exactly what animal it is barking at by its voice. A well-trained dog, in turn, should not be distracted by other animals and birds, otherwise the hunter will quickly run out of breath, running after each barking squirrel.
Hearing the barking, the hunter quickly (preferably running) moves to the dog. But the closer to the goal, the more careful and slower the approach should be. The last hundred meters should go very carefully and start looking for the beast. Only when you clearly see the target and determine the location of the dog, you can shoot.
This, of course, is an approximate and simplified scheme of hunting, in reality there will be many surprises that the hunter must cope with in each specific situation.
Determining the quality of the trophy