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Moose hunting: Techniques for harvesting mature bulls

By Billy Coulombe

Moose mating season is a highly anticipated by every hunters. In this article, I'll give you some tips and tricks to help you harvest a dominant mature bull during this period. Many hunters head straight for the woods in search of their trophy bull moose, but it's essential to prepare properly to turn your dream into reality.

Hunting preparation

Firstly, before venturing into the woods, it's important to prepare yourself properly. Wear appropriate clothing, pre-washed with our Dizzapear earth or spruce scented soap. Waterproof hiking boots and fleece clothing, for example, will keep out the noise and keep you warm. When it comes to cleaning your clothes, don't neglect washing your cap , as it can emit a sweat odor. It's also a good idea to bring along some concealers with you, such as synthetic (Buck-50) or natural (La Bête) ProXpedition urine, to mask your scent throughout the day. Also, have means of navigation with you, whether it's a map, GPS or an app like Avenza Maps.

Finding the right area

Now that you're ready, it's time to find the right area. Why and how do you choose one place rather than another to meet the dominant bull? First of all, it's important to consider the time of year. For example, during the Prime Time, bull cover much more territory than usual. Start by locating where the cow are by examining the most active salt lick or the pyre that's really stocked with food. Once you've identified the right area, you've done 25% of the work. Now you have to work for the other 75%!

Prepare your routes

At this stage, it pays to reach the site 30 minutes before legal shooting time to check the wind direction. This will prevent you from being picked up by your scent as you travel. Once you've checked the winds and decided where you're going to enter, it's time to make your presence known by imitating a plaintive female. If there are females nearby, they too will make themselves heard to keep the males with them. If this is the case, all you have to do is wait for the legal time to go out in search of them and start moving. At this point, you've done 50% of the work.

Final approach

The next 25% will be the most difficult. Your movements must be slow and produce only natural sounds, such as the sound of a branch breaking. Any unnatural movement will cause you to lose several points on your final approach. Also, make sure you always move with the wind in your face to avoid revealing your body odors, especially your breath. It may be advisable to chew on a fir or evergreen branch, or some spruce flavored candy. While you're on the move, keep up the cow plaintive calls while listening for the bull movements. Never stop calling, even when you're closing in on them. If the bull is with the cow, he would have likely already made himself know. Do not change your calling method when you approaching the bull. Make him believe there are other cows joining his harem. When you feel that the bull approaching  you or when you approach him, it's time to change your calls to imitate those of a bull. You've now done 75% of the work and entered his territorial. 

Prepare your final approach

If you've reached this stage, it means that nothing has been left to chance: winds, scents, noises and movements. For the remaining 25%, you must prove that you truly  a threat to the bull. I suggest starting by imitating his calls, without overpowering him, as dominating him could be fatal. This is the most important step, make sure to apply ProXpedition's mature bull scent (Buck-50 or La Bête) on your clothes and don't hesitate to direct the wind towards him so he can smell you. If you succeed, all you have to do is pull the trigger to claim your trophy. 

I've personally harvested 75% of my dominant bull in similar situations during the rutting season. 

Good luck!