The waiting is over! You’ve got your tag to hunt moose. Make the most of the opportunity by starting with pre-season scouting.
Satellite photography and topographic maps offer great insight to where moose can be found. On photos, look for broad deciduous tracts adjacent to dense coniferous stands. The former provides food. The latter gives shade in hot weather and warmth in cold conditions. Old burns and cutblocks can offer excellent moose forage until regenerating vegetation matures.
Use topographic maps to get a sense of the area: water, vegetation, relief and built features like roads and buildings. Really steep habitat won’t have the shrub communities moose seek; too flat, and muskeg and other wet habitats can make hunting tricky before freeze-up.
Another tip? Local biologists, trappers, forestry workers and pilots know lots about local moose populations and are often happy to share if approached respectfully.
Look for moose activity first and foremost—pellets, tracks, evidence of browsing and wallows all suggest that moose have been using an area. Identify trails you can walk and call from and points of land where you can sit and glass (use binoculars).
Think about what access will be like in the hunting season. Areas impassable in summer may be accessible on frozen ground. It’s also important for identifying routes for extracting a moose if you’re successful. If you’re going to hunt from a boat or canoe, identify launch points, calling locations and access routes into more remote habitats where moose are likely to be less disturbed.
Predicting where moose will be is partly influenced by the time of the year. If you’ll be hunting the rut, think about where cow moose will be at summer’s end—the bulls won’t be far. Moose avoid heat in summer. Look for areas with dense forested cover near water, including lakes, ponds and beaver dams.
Later in the season, post-rut as the weather cools, bulls seek isolated, out-of-the-way patches of good feed, often in more open country. Good feeding can include young stands of forest or large shrub communities, including alder, willow and dogwood. For more on hunting later in the season, check out 4 Tips to Find Your Late-Season Moose.