Hunting moose during the rut and late in the season calls for different strategies. With snow on the ground, moose like to stick to their wintering areas. Knowing a little about moose behavior and habitat preference will put you in the right spot to find your late-season moose.
To find moose, find their food: saskatoon, dogwood, chokecherry, willow bushes, alder and aspen—especially the young shoots. That’s right, moose are so hungry they literally eat trees. Locate patches of moose-chewed shrubs or baby trees and you have found where they like to hang out.
Late-season moose aren’t spread throughout their entire home range; they stick to good wintering areas. In winter, they tend to roam around in river valleys, logged areas, burns and wetlands. Finding moose tracks and “sign” (moose rubs or chewed plants) will put you in the right place.
Moose are like spiders—where you find one, there will be more. Unlike spiders, they are as big as they look.
As a moose hunter, you love snow—whether you like it or not. Snow is your best friend, and your best friend is exceptional at helping you find moose tracks.
Look for moose tracks crossing roads and trails. These tracks will help you figure out how moose are moving between key habitat, bedding areas, and feeding locations.
River valleys are a good place to start looking for late-season moose. They provide the food and shelter moose need in the winter, and are quiet and secluded.
Valley floors often have large willow flats; south-facing slopes typically have good saskatoon, chokecherry and dogwood plants.
Ridge tops are a favourite nap spot for moose. They can watch below and use their huge noses to scan the breeze.
Also keep a keen eye on open areas like the edge of meadows, muskeg, fields or logged areas. You may find moose feeding early in the morning or late in the evening.
Bonus Tip: Google Earth is a fantastic way to check out potential hunting areas. Maps, air photos, and some orientation skills will allow you to locate prime moose habitat on the ground.