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Location: Manotick, Ontario, Canada
Joined: 03/20/2007
Posts: 13
Strike Three on Moose

I'm back from my third moose hunt of the year, and have to go sit on the bench. No moose for me.

I hunted twice earlier on with my bow, we had bull and cow tags for the first hunt and a bull tag for the second, and my biggest thrill was a probable flash sighting of a moose moving by out of range.

This time I'd be hunting my favourite way (on my feet and moving) and on my home court (at my deer camp in Parry Sound).

The bush was very dry when we arrived, and we still had green leaves on poplars and birches on the burn (about 60% of our hunting area). Normally when it's dry we don't see moose. There were two of us in, and the camp next to us (Teal's Camp - great name! ) had 5 guys in - unfortunately we were all hunting calves.

On opening morning, I went out to scout one area while Pat went to sit at a spot that's been good in the past. I saw no fresh sign, but as Pat approached his watch, he heard - then saw - a bull moose feeding. The moose went out of sight, and then re-appeared - with a bigger rack! The two bulls eventually moved off. He heard Teal's shoot, and later the sound of a chainsaw, so we assume they got a calf.

That afternoon I did some more scouting and found some calf sign that was a few days old. The next morning we decided to put Pat on watch, and I'd go through some thickets to see if I could push him a calf. Later in the morning I came up out of a particularly thick spot onto an open clearing, and what did I see but a cow and a bull!

The cow was a good size though not super large, and the bull was the smaller animal. We stood eyeball-to-eyeball for a while as I checked to see if there was a calf nearby - no such luck. The cow was about 25 yds away and the bull about 35 - both within bow range (if I were hunting with a bow and not my Whelen). I eventually shooed them off, and they ran west - still no calf got up.

That afternoon we heard Teal's shoot again and more chainsaw work, to we assumed a second calf, but we never heard anything more from them. They probably left because of the warm weather.

We didn't see anything more for three days, when Pat put up and observed two bulls and a cow to the west of us (near what we call the Big Valley). The cow may have been the one I saw on tuesday, but the bulls were definitely different animals from what we'd seen before.

The last day we decided to do some more hunting in the same general areas where Pat had seen the last 3 moose and I saw mine. After splitting up we both modified our plans slightly (which would put us in the same area). I swung a bit to the north, and then angled to the south-west. I crested a little knoll, and saw two moose (at least) about 150 yds away. I'd forgotten my glasses, so couldn't see them very clearly. though the one quickly emerged as a bull (eventually I guestimated his score in the 160 range).

I figured the only way I was going to tell if there were a cow and calf there as well was to get closer. They were watching me, so a hidden approach was impossible. I put my rifle to my head to simulate a rack, began waggling it slowly and started walking toward the moose. The bull separated himself from the cow a bit and became very interested in me. I got to within 50 yds of them when I had a good view, and realized I was only looking at two with no calf present.

I dropped my rifle to my side and began walking at right angles to what I'd been doing. This exposed the other side of the knoll and there I saw Pat. At this time the two moose made as to walk away. Pat pointed to them and then in the direction I was walking. A little more patience showed another good sized bull in the valley before me.

Pat had gotten to that point an hour before me when the moose had come over a hill toward him, and were milling about him when I came upon them. Again these were moose we didn't recognize from before.

In all, we saw 10 moose (7 bulls three cows). I wish I'd had a fraction of those sightings during my bowhunts. The only fresh calf track we saw was on the way out of camp on sunday - in Teal's territory. They must have been having a PTA meeting down that way this year.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
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Strike Three on Moose

Good story. Did you have a tag that you had to take a calf? I didn't know you could get one. You couldn't shoot the cow huh?

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Location: Manotick, Ontario, Canada
Joined: 03/20/2007
Posts: 13
Strike Three on Moose

Ontario moose regulations are focussed on the harvest of calves as part of the over-all management program.

Based upon the Scandinavian model, harvest is directed toward calves with a limited harvest of the reproducing members of the herd - being bulls and cows. About 50% of all calves die during their first year, so its believed that whatever the calf harvest, the hunting pressure on them only removes half their number from the population of juvenile animals that will survive the winter.

An Ontario moose licence is valid for calves only. It's purchaser may apply for an adult validation sticker if he enters a draw specifically for bulls or cows and in specific WMUs.

The number of applications in some zones has reached a point where the chances of being drawn for an adult animal is miniscule. Last year in the WMU I gun hunt, the chances of successfully drawing a bull tag was 26:1, and the chances of getting a cow tag was 18:1.

For this reason I've switched the main focus of my moose hunting from firearms to archery. In the WMU I archery hunt the odds of getting a bull is 1 in 4 and the chance (recently) of getting a cow tag has been 100%. I still gun hunt however.

The government is supposedly conducting a "study" to review the system we have in Ontario, and the "results" are expected in the spring. Most of us are anxiously awaiting the report. I've put quotes around a couple of words because its strongly suspected in the hunting community that the decisions have already been made and this "study" is merely window dressing to try to give the changes some air of legitimacy.

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Joined: 08/27/2004
Posts: 1964
Strike Three on Moose

Yea same here lots of cows and bulls no calfs. I seen one all year and it was runnning full tilt with the cow to get away after a friend of mine downed the bull.

Ive been applying for 7 years with no tags, I know a few others going on the 17th year and some on 15 with no tags. They say that the Ontario gun hunter stands hardly any chance atall drawing a tag, exspecially when drawing as a single person and not in a party. I agree its BS. Then this year a women in the region next too mine gets her hunting license for the first time a draws a bull tag first year. Tell me what you think of that overall fairness.

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