Moose, like the other deer of North America, become larger as you move north through their range. The larger body size enables them to survive the harsh winters, and as body size increases, so do their antlers. This prompted Boone & Crocket to recognize 3 sub-species, all of which are labeled by geographic regions only. On average, to harvest a top end animal of the smaller sort, one would want to hunt near the northern boundary of that particular sub-species. In fact, Tom shot his #1 SCI (#8 P&Y) Canadien Moose very near (150 miles) the line where Canadien Moose become Alaskan / Yukon Moose.
The 3 sub-species of North American Moose as recognized by Pope & Young Club :
SCI recognizes & classifies the Moose of Newfoundland as the Eastern Canadian Moose
Moose can take a pounding, but are actually relatively easy to kill with a well placed arrow. They tend to walk off and get good and sick. Just leave them for a bit and get your camera ready. Good Whitetail gear should work well, but one should be shooting a good heavy arrow at least 240 FPS. I love retractable broadheads, but would seriously consider a good “cut-on-contact” head for moose. Even the “little” Shiras moose is over 1000 lbs.
The very best method to hunt Moose with a bow is to grunt them in during the rut. They are quite aggressive and can often be drawn in close by mimicking a lonesome cow or fiery bull. Moose are more vocal than one would figure and return calls can often be heard for ½ mile on calm days, making this an effective and exciting hunt.
You rarely see a lot of moose while hunting them, with the very best moose country having 4-5 animals per square mile, which isn’t many, so be prepared to work for your bull. In most cases, the hard part is finding the bull, especially on wilderness hunts where they are not particularly wary.
Practically all the Shiras moose hunting is by limited drawing in the lower 48, and the tags are almost as coveted as Bighorn Sheep. Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado all have good opportunities for Shiras, but if you had to pick 1 state, we would take our chances in Wyoming. There are a lot of moose and the draw is by preference points, which allows you to draw with some level of planning. Wyoming also allows you to purchase one preference point annually for a nonrefundable ($7) application fee. Some of the private property intense units require as little as 2 preference points to draw a tag, while the national forest units require as many as 7 preference points to draw.
We have an outfitter that works in a remote area which has a good number of mature bulls and the tag can be drawn with 4 preference points. This hunt runs around $5,000.
Utah has some excellent hunting and also has tags available via landowner tags. These tags run around $8,000, but should be considered a good hunt. The other states offer very good hunts, but the tags are drawn through a lottery, which creates a tough situation with respect to planning a hunt.
Shiras are also found as far north as the Kootenays of southeast BC. There are a few good outfitters with nonresident allocations in this area which offer a good hunt. We suggest working with 2 different outfitters in this area which offer these hunts for around $6,000.
The "freezer filler" of central Canada, most rural Canadien sportsman hunt Moose to fill their freezer as they are readily available and the meat is delicious.
There are basically 3 kinds of Canadien Moose hunts. The wilderness “fly-in” or “ horseback camps” in the wilderness of British Columbia, the “fly-in” lake hunts of the northern prairie provinces and Ontario, or the “drive-to-camp” of central Canada. There are also limited opportunities in Minnesota and Maine, as they have limited entry draws. Maine allows nonresidents, while Minnesota does not.
The wilderness fly-in camps are the most productive from a trophy perspective. The best time to go is late-September when the bulls are rutting and can be called in close for an exciting bowhunt. Typically, there are no “archery-only” seasons in these areas, so bowhunters will need to hunt during the general season. Hunting pressure is rarely an issue in the wilderness, so bowhunters have a very good chance to connect with a rutting bull. We work with several good outfitters who offer this style of hunt, typically running between $6,000 to $7,000.
The fly-in lake hunts are typically run by outfitters who do more fishing than hunting, but have access to good moose and capitalize on the opportunity by taking a few hunters every fall. Success is good, as most hunters will shoot a moose, but one should expect smaller bulls and hunters should not be as fussy. These hunts run around $4,500 in the better camps, and offer great fishing.
The drive-to camps are common across Canada. Most are remote, by US standards, but accessible by 4x4. Guided hunts run around $3,500. Typically these areas have a good population of moose, but relatively few mature trophy bulls. These areas often have bowhunting only seasons during the rut and are pretty productive. A good bull in these areas will be a 3 ½ year old with 30-40 inch antlers, what we like to call “Eater-Bulls”. We like Alberta for these types of hunts, and have a couple of good outfitters who run good camps. We have a great moose hunt for the seasoned woodsman in this area - semi-guided out of drop-camp. The hunt includes license, meals, accommodations and camp director for $1,400. This is currently the very best deal we can find in moose hunts.
Alaska / Yukon Moose
This subspecies is the grand-dad of all moose, with good bulls pushing 70 inches of antlers and close to a ton of muscle. The best moose are found in the wilderness where they can live to maturity. Nonresidents are still allowed to hunt moose in Alaska without a guide and many do. A common hunting method is to fly into a remote river system and float-hunt. The pilot will drop off the hunters and pick them up downstream “a few-miles”. Success can be good, but plan on a ton of work.
Drop camps are also popular, and the best value for the experienced hunter. A professional outfitter will provide good equipment and know where to go to get you into the bulls. Float trips or a fixed camp are both available. Wilderness hunts are expensive, mainly because of flying. Flying is very expensive, so deals should be scrutinized carefully. Its often required to make an extra trip into the bush for meat, which is built into the price. I work with a good outfitter that has good drop camps, which run $3,500 plus additional flying. Plan to spend $5,000 if successful.
For all of us who have packed moose, fully guided is the way to go - nothing like a young buck to have packing moose. This is especially helpful if you are not experienced in the bush or unfamiliar with calling. Fully guided hunts with good outfitters are in high demand and are getting top dollar. We work with 2 good outfitters, one in Alaska and the other in the Yukon. Both hunts run around $10,000 and combine well with Caribou. We highly recommend you consider that option.
Alaskan/ Yukon Moose in Northwestern Alaska
Hunt Alaskan / Yukon Moose in the Brooks range of Northwestern Alaska. These guys specialize in bowhunting, being hard-core bowhunters themselves, which is why they’ve done so well. Their hunters have killed at least one bull invited to the panel scoring the last four P&Y scoring periods, 2 of which are top-5 (all time). Hunt remote river systems by jet-boat, or small inflatable rafts, calling to rutting bulls. MR James and Larry D. Jones hunted with this outfit in 2000, which the details of the hunt published in Bowhunter magazine. This camp has become very popular and books early as they only book 6 guided hunts per season.
Bow Hunt: 12-day fully 1x1 guided hunts - $20,000 plus trophy fee ($4,000),
Where: Western Brooks Range of Alaska – Big Game Units 23 & 24
What is included in hunt cost
What is not included in the cost
How to get there: Fly into Fairbanks, Alaska
Canadien Moose Bow Hunt in Northwesten BC
Hunt trophy Canadien moose near the Telegraph Creek – Stikine River area in northwestern British Columbia. This is a rugged, remote 8,000 square miles of wilderness where most of the area is untouched by professional outfitting. It's the oldest established outfitting area in northern BC, established in 1884 by F.C. Galbreath, and famous for producing fine trophies. This is another full-service, all inclusive hunt with a top of the line outfitter.
Good trophies can be taken during the early season (late August into early September) but you'll generally see more and better animals during the last 2 weeks of September, when the mature bulls are on the prowl for cows. Choose from the lake or river system hunts where you stay in a nice warm cabin or more remote hunts by classic horseback where you stay in back-country wall-tents.
This area is loaded with game and this hunt combines well with goats, mountain caribou or even grizzlies.
Where: Telegraph Creek, Northwest BC.
Cost: $12,900 US (12 days, 1x1), Deposit: $4,000
What is included in hunt cost
What is not included
Fees for Additional Animals: Animal / Tag Fee / Trophy Fee / Gov't Royalty
We are currently without a good Eastern Canadian Moose Bowhunt in Newfoundland, but it's on the radar and I'm working on it. Call for details (715) 554 - 3302
We are currently without a good Shiras Moose Bowhunt, but it's on the radar and I'm working on it. Call for details (715) 554 - 3302