This question may be better suited to a hunting forum, but alas I know of none, so hopefully someone here can give me insight.
We're going to be hiking in western Newfoundland in a week. I would expect the moose to be starting to rut. Big bull moose with raging hormones.
Actually its still quite early for full on rut - I usually don't see that here until the first week or two of october, so you may find you're ok. They'll be thinking about it, but not exceptionally stupid yet.
Is there a strategy one should follow if an encounter takes place. There will be no big trees to hide behind. The terrain will be more akin to tundra with low dense Tuckamore and Alders. [quote]
hold still and keep your distance, they have really crappy eyesight, and an incredible sense of hearing and smell. Stay upwind if possible, once they know you're a person they'll vamoose. (heh..)
[quote] Is bear spray effective? Is noise effective? What should one do to avoid becoming moose meat, so to speak?
bear spray, I doubt it.
noise - just make your regular talking going through the bush. Don't try to make loud whoops or noises like you might to warn something off (moose make loud challenging grunts and bellows) If you have someone looking at you aggressively try to get out of vision, or drop to ground, they're only aggressive against big things (like themselves) or things that make big noise (like themselves). Competing bulls who want to steal their ladies don't disappear behind alders. They have really crappy vision, but good hearing and a sense of smell.
Personally I'd not be too afraid of a bull in rut, they're dumb as posts, but only generally aggressive with other moose. Be far more concerned about a cow with a young calf. Cows with a calf will be *aggressive* and will use hooves as axes.. They kill wolves and will stand up to bears. To be honest I am much more "cautious" about a cow moose or cow elk with a calf than just about anything else.
Having spent about 27 years in the bush every fall looking for moose in rut, I've never had or been with anyone who had an aggresive bull come *after* them. You can get them to come up to you curious like, because they are kind of dumber than posts during the rut, but I've only ever seen them be aggressive against other things as big (or bigger) than a moose. The usual result when walking is they smell you or discern you as a person and take off, or suffer a sudden 7.62 mm brain hemmorage..
Of course if you can get a moose tag, they're mighty tasty... if a lot of work to get out of the bush
I'm actually mildly surprised to see you asking - Looking at some of your trip pics it looks like awesome moose habitat. No significant moose population in your haunts in Ontario? (BTW, I'm jealous - Newfoundland is definately on my list... )
Yes, your correct. I've encountered moose hundreds of times. But never in this type of terrain. It's always been in the Boreal or Carolina forest, where there are lots of trees to hide behind and where one can see for great distance through the forest. No stumbling upon anything in the dense underbrush.
NL is a new place for both of us. There are suppose to be more moose on the rock than people. An article we were reading cautioned about driving and then the question was raised about moose in rut and what to do. And, well, I've never given it any thought, hence the question.
Actually, it's my hiking partner who raised the question. She is the more cautious of the two of us and to her credit, more often than not has a valid reason to be. It would be folly not to listen to one's hiking partner.
I agree on the cow moose with a calf statement. My first hand experience with them is that they're not afraid to charge you any time of the year. When I lived in Alaska and we were out in the bush, I have been charged/chased on two seperate occasions by a cow moose with a calf. Luckily we were fast enough and were able to scatter into the trees. Neither of them followed us very far before they turned back.
My advise with bull moose though, just keep your eyes and ears open. Your nose too. They can smell pretty musky around the rut, but they're not there yet. They're just now probably getting around to scraping the velvet off of their antlers, so they've got some time for the rut yet. They can be a little more agressive during the rut, but it isn't like they're going to come looking for you, lol.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle
We spent ten nights on the trail and saw moose every day. More than one on most days. Big bulls and cows. Heard him grunting more than once.
Saw the strangest thing one day - at least for us city folks. We where just cresting this peak up onto the tundra above tree line. Laying just in front of us was a bull and his cow, resting no doubt. We watched them for a few minutes and than they must have got a wiff of us and up they got and walked off over the tuckamore. Apparently they will stay together as long as she is ready and than off he will go in search of another friend.
Apparently they will stay together as long as she is ready and than off he will go in search of another friend.
Yeah, the bulls will follow a cow around for a while waiting for her to be receptive. I've actually shot two moose myself where I've been walking and see a cow stand up through the deadfalls... Wait wait wait.. and then the bull stands up behind the deadfall just a short distance away from her.
Here's hoping I can find some mishaps, I'm headed for lesser slave lake on friday to try to have a mishap.. tasty tasty mishaps...
I thought you might be able to relate to my little experience. The NL moose seem so much bigger than Ont moose. Is this the case? Good luck on your hunt.
Well, not much "luck" hunting. We went to a new area east of slave lake where we could get moose draws easy. saw exactly two moose tracks in fresh snow in three days! - not a lot of deer and *tons* of wolf. actually saw wolves twice, which is unusual for here, as they are ususally *really* shy around people because they get shot.
Had a wolf on a cutline sitting and just watching us, instead of taking off. after a while of watching through the riflescope I told my dad "ok I'm gonna do him a favour and educate him." I put the crosshair about three feet to the right of his nose and put a round of .30/06 into the snow in front of him. He started, and continued to just look back at us and occasionally amble down the cutline bold as brass..
Anyway, the new area was a bust but we still had fun. wolves and deer, snow buntings, great grey owls, and hawk owls. The only real bummer was I forgot the little wad of hardware cloth I use as an inline spark arrestor for my little wood stove in my shangri-la, so I got a few pinholes on the tent..
Oh, and I also was hammocking in what worked out to be a low of -14C with wind.. that's a new low for me in the hammock.