Hunting Washington Forum

Big Game Hunting => Other Big Game => Topic started by: avidnwoutdoorsman on October 27, 2020, 02:15:09 PM

Title: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: avidnwoutdoorsman on October 27, 2020, 02:15:09 PM
I'm hoping for discussion here. First off I fully understand Moose hunting is not something everyone gets to do every year. Though most of us on this forum like to follow along and read about the lucky few who go moose hunting.

I hope one day I get to go on a moose hunt. I have and continue to research ways to be successful if I am ever provided said opportunity. However, what I have researched for hunting moose and increasing success various significantly from what I feel is ever discussed on hunt WA. So, I'm wondering why? Roughly 100 people get a moose tag every year. Can we start a thread on what method is most successful in WA or elsewhere would be my goal...

Excluding the late season tag in WA all other tags are during the rut, it its in early October as I'm currently assuming. Could be way way off but my research suggest the peak rut to be Sept 26 - October 14th and this to be when you should be hammering the moose woods. Now this is more northern data so when is the RUT in WA...roughly? I would assume it could be a little later here which makes it smack in-line with the tags.

Why is there so little mention of calling Moose when that is the resounding method preached when hunting anywhere else? What I see most commonly as advice is drive, drive, drive, and drive some more.

Alternatively, Moose have very good ears. And if you sit in one spot you can call and pull a moose in from anywhere that is within a 3mile radius of where you are standing. So why wouldn't the suggestion be to scout your spots out. Then sit and call. Maybe it's because we have such a low moose density?

So lets recap some discussion points.

When is the best time to hunt Moose in WA; pre-rut, rut, post rut? When are these times give or take?
What is the best way to hunt each in WA?

There is infinite information on other game in WA on this site but very little on Moose, Sheep, and Goats. Sheep and Goat are a spot and stock game mostly, but moose are not. Just trying to start an educational topic on Moose for me and future moose hunters. Hopefully the WA Moose Vets will way in and others that have chased these unicorns before.
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: HillHound on October 27, 2020, 02:41:34 PM
 I shot my moose 3 years ago early in the October season and him and two other bulls were on a hot cow the evening before I got him and were still on her the next morning when I made it happen. Prior to this we did call at every vantage point once we had glassed it over. This turned up a few bulls we would have never seen. I think people say to drive a lot just so you donít get stuck on one spot where you saw that HUGE bull before or whatever. Just because they have been there before doesnít mean they will be there now so you just have to keep hitting spots until you find fresh sign, or hear them grunt. I recommend walkers game ears Or some other type of hearing enhancement it makes a world of difference hearing them grunt in response to your calls from a few hundred yards away
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: NRA4LIFE on October 27, 2020, 02:46:53 PM
My first suggestion is to not plan on moose hunting in WA.  When you factor in the dwindling number of tags, applicants, points, etc, the percentage of people who draw an OIL tag in their life for a bull is very small.  The actual odds are near impossible to calculate with the draw system the way it is, but if I had to guess, maybe 1 in 20 of us will ever draw in our entire lives of applying.  And that may be optimistic. If you just want to draw one, Idaho is a much better bet.

I was lucky enough to draw a cow tag in 2016, but even now, the number of those tags is a fraction of what it was then.  We hunted hard and I was eventually successful (Nov. 11th).  I can tell you one thing, it was very difficult to spot them during the rut in early October with the foliage still on the brush and trees.  They also were nearly nocturnal before the season due to the heat that year.  The only moose we ever seen scouting was within a half hour or so of sun up and sun down.
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: nwskier on October 27, 2020, 08:19:10 PM
After receiving notice that I was fortunate enough to draw a late season bull tag this year almost every weekend since has been spent hiking, biking and driving getting know roads and habitat for the upcoming season.  From the sign noted in my travels and on line research I have narrowed my focus to areas with tall timber that have bordering sections where the timber was harvested not long ago creating a grocery store of young growth for the animals.  Two weekends ago my scouting and recommendations from on line research appeared to pay off when I found two bulls and two cows grazing in the area that I thought showed the most promise of all.  Juiced by that experience I put some boot miles in this past weekend through 6" of snow to check on two other areas I have viewed as very promising.  Unfortunately last weekend the moose did not view those areas as attractive as I have because on both outings I did not spot a moose and only crossed two sets of their tracks in each area.  In the matter of one weeks time my mindset went from hero to zero as far as cracking the code of where to find moose.  With only a few days remaining before the season kicks off I am pretty much committed to following the grocery store plan for the first week of the season anyhow.  I will keep you all posted on how it works out and hope that the outcome is as great as the journey has been to date. 
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: Stein on October 27, 2020, 08:46:44 PM
My first suggestion is to not plan on moose hunting in WA.  When you factor in the dwindling number of tags, applicants, points, etc, the percentage of people who draw an OIL tag in their life for a bull is very small. 

I would agree.  Odds are very low, at the current tag level it takes about 20 points before you have a 1% chance of drawing.  With max points in the easiest to draw unit the odds are steady at about 2%, assuming tags hold level (they are down almost 50% in 4 years).

The best strategy if one wants to hunt moose is to figure out what states have draws and apply there as well as Canada.  I think Minnesota or somewhere back there had decent odds, at least compared to here.  The strategy I would use is to apply everywhere I could afford and reasonably hunt.
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: avidnwoutdoorsman on October 28, 2020, 09:06:46 PM
My first suggestion is to not plan on moose hunting in WA.  When you factor in the dwindling number of tags, applicants, points, etc, the percentage of people who draw an OIL tag in their life for a bull is very small. 

I would agree.  Odds are very low, at the current tag level it takes about 20 points before you have a 1% chance of drawing.  With max points in the easiest to draw unit the odds are steady at about 2%, assuming tags hold level (they are down almost 50% in 4 years).

The best strategy if one wants to hunt moose is to figure out what states have draws and apply there as well as Canada.  I think Minnesota or somewhere back there had decent odds, at least compared to here.  The strategy I would use is to apply everywhere I could afford and reasonably hunt.
Iím not necessarily trying to hunt WA or counting on it. Just wanted to talk. Strategy. And yes each state or area will be different but similar. Shiras moose generally like the same stuff regardless of state. Donít they? And Yukon/Alaska similar but different trees and muskeg. Etc

Again. Donít care about odds. Just want to talk about moose Tactics. You hunt elk in WA similar to Arizona or CO. Just drumming up moose convo and why would somewhere change your tactic. In this case why hunt WA like WA or is WA how youíd hunt MT. Whatís the difference? Iím reading some but want to talk it out! I invited anyone that has moose hunted, not just WA.


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Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: jrebel on October 28, 2020, 09:30:55 PM
I would think the same strategy that works in Canada would work in Washington and likely work in Maine.  I would start with glassing vast areas of ground and listening.  If they are rutting, you will hear them.....assuming you know what to listen for.  It took me two moose hunts to really hone my ears and understand what I was hearing.  I would call both cow and bull and listen.  If your in an area that has cows, the bulls will show up if the rut is going strong.  Bulls in Canada will cover serious ground looking for the ladies....like miles and miles on end.  They literally will trot while they grunt until they hear a cow call.  Once they hear the cow call, they usually will come on a string.  If they hang up out of site give them a few bull glunks and get ready.  Moose are very callable if they are rutting.  I assume the rut in WA starts about the same time as the rut up north, late Sept. and runs through most of Oct.  I don't know that for sure, but I can tell you I heard a moose glunking the third week of Sept. this year. 

You also need to know what they are eating.  They love willow and aspen.  They will break the aspen trees when they are young to eat the top couple feet of tender bark and twigs.  If you find 10-20 foot aspens with tops broken out....you found their kitchen. 

Usually the cows will not move to far.  The bulls will move a lot....especially if they are looking for cows.  The other obvious is water.....moose love and need water.  Make sure there is a water source close. 
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: Jonathan_S on October 28, 2020, 09:38:03 PM
I'd rather have one late moose tag than two early ones. Moose are exponentially more visible in late October through November
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: jrebel on October 28, 2020, 09:40:57 PM
I'd rather have one late moose tag than two early ones. Moose are exponentially more visible in late October through November

Are they rutting in this state that late?  If not, I would disagree for the one reason only.....hunting moose in the rut is about as much fun as a grown man should have.  Most of the moose killed in our camp are done so at less than 100 yards.    I have had multiple bulls glunking at 40 yards or less and that is exciting.   :tup:
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: Jonathan_S on October 28, 2020, 09:53:51 PM
I'd rather see what I'm hunting and glass for "the bull" when they're in the cuts; rather that than get excited and shoot a dink bull. Now were it a non OIL tag, I might feel different.

To answer your question, yes our moose are rutting. Saw a bull shot today that was with a cow. Another bull didn't let me sleep for two nights with his grunting. This week was tough seeing a cow without a bull
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: jrebel on October 28, 2020, 09:56:01 PM
I'd rather see what I'm hunting and glass for "the bull" when they're in the cuts; rather that than get excited and shoot a dink bull. Now were it a non OIL tag, I might feel different.

To answer your question, yes our moose are rutting. Saw a bull shot today that was with a cow. Another bull didn't let me sleep for two nights with his grunting. This week was tough seeing a cow without a bull

We are usually hunting them the first 10 days of Oct in northern Canada.....so sounds like the rut coincides. 
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: ibuyre on October 29, 2020, 03:41:33 PM
I was lucky enough to draw a Wa cow moose tag this year, and filled it in Oct. BUT I don't feel qualified to answer your questions. The biggest help for me, and how I ended up filling my tag. Was I hooked up with a local from this site that knows the area like the back of his hand. He helped me a ton.

The little I have learned in my hunting is. I can only speak for Oct. But when I was hunting them, they where only up and moving the first 2hrs or so of light and the last 2 hrs. Then they went into super thick stuff and you couldn't see them. I jumped some at like 10'-20' and never even saw them, when I tried to go into the thick to find them.

Some people tell me Oct is better, some people tell me Nov is better. I don't know. lol ANY moose tag you can get you take and feel SUPER lucky to get it ;).
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: h3x0ctb1n on November 01, 2020, 09:32:02 PM
ANY moose tag you can get you take and feel SUPER lucky to get it ;).

Amen to that!
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: huntnnw on November 02, 2020, 06:34:44 AM
Drive! it may sound lazy but its the best way to hunt moose. Drive truck or atv and cover ground glassing as much as possible is the best way to hunt moose. If you do get into a area with lots of moose sightings, sign etc then you can slow down and hunt it on foot.
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: Birdsandfish on November 08, 2020, 09:20:25 PM
Having just concluded my first moose hunt. Here is my take away. I hunted in Idaho but it seems itís the same for the most part. Take all your research and burn it ans throw it away. . Get in a truck/ATV and cover as much ground as you can and be in the woods day light to dark for as many days as you can. If you think youíve covered ď a lotĒ of ground, cover more. I will saying having hunted September-October. Snow was by far the best. I hunted the ďrutĒ and wasnít impressed. Granted it can vary but I dedicated a huge portion of time around peak rut.  Thereís some luck involved with moose hunting too. Cover ground until one pops out on the road or an opening. I hunted 19 days until I finally found a bull.
Title: Re: Hunting Moose In Washington - Strategy
Post by: nwskier on November 12, 2020, 09:45:04 AM
After receiving notice that I was fortunate enough to draw a late season bull tag this year almost every weekend since has been spent hiking, biking and driving getting know roads and habitat for the upcoming season.  From the sign noted in my travels and on line research I have narrowed my focus to areas with tall timber that have bordering sections where the timber was harvested not long ago creating a grocery store of young growth for the animals.  Two weekends ago my scouting and recommendations from on line research appeared to pay off when I found two bulls and two cows grazing in the area that I thought showed the most promise of all.  Juiced by that experience I put some boot miles in this past weekend through 6" of snow to check on two other areas I have viewed as very promising.  Unfortunately last weekend the moose did not view those areas as attractive as I have because on both outings I did not spot a moose and only crossed two sets of their tracks in each area.  In the matter of one weeks time my mindset went from hero to zero as far as cracking the code of where to find moose.  With only a few days remaining before the season kicks off I am pretty much committed to following the grocery store plan for the first week of the season anyhow.  I will keep you all posted on how it works out and hope that the outcome is as great as the journey has been to date.

Having filled my tag now the biggest lesson I learned concerning strategy is be to flexible and ready to adapt to conditions regardless of what was working for you during scouting.  I did not anticipate 4 nights of full moons and day time highs in the 50 degree range at the start of the late hunt.  The moon I could have researched well in advance but the temperatures not so much.  In hindsight, during the first week of the season, with a small window of opportunity to see bulls at first light I either spent too much time stalking bulls that were not shooters or glassing areas that had no animals.  If I had a redo for week one I would have been covering more ground at a faster pace pay more attention to the rising sun and temperatures.  Remember - it all works out in the end, if it has not worked out its not the end.