If it is getting late in the season and you still haven't got your moose, don't despair. As the season progresses, moose are more and more powerfully influenced by their hormones and consequently more subject to critical errors in judgment, such as responding to a hunter's moose call.
Moose calls can be divided into two general categories: calls that imitate cows and calls that imitate a bull-in-rut.
The thing they hold in common is that, as when mastering a foreign language, you need to practice before you try to use it. Preferably not where you are going to hunt. There's no need to make the local bulls suspicious of your accent.
A simple and inexpensive cow call can be made by punching a small hole in the tin end of a 1-pound coffee can and stringing a heavy, cotton, boot or athletic shoe lace 36-54 inches long through the hole. Tie a knot in the end of the lace on the outside of the can's bottom so you can't pull it through the can.
Now, dampen the lace, reach into the can and pull the knot up snug against the bottom of the can. Gripping the lace inside the can firmly between the tip of your thumb and the crook of your index finger, drag the tip of your thumb and your crooked index finger slowly down the lace until you get the proper plaintive wail.
Be sure the lace is just damp, not soaked, before you start calling. If you keep the lace clean, you can get the proper amount of moisture into it by stuffing it in your mouth and chewing it for a few seconds. You can do it with a dirty lace, too. It's strictly a matter of personal choice.
Your call should make a gargling squawk similar to those emitted by a passionate cow. Practice until the sound you get resembles something coming from a biological organism. It is a good idea to trap the can under your arm or between you knees to eliminate any tinny notes.
Too much pressure from the thumb will turn your sexy squawk into a raucous bark guaranteed to put any insecure bulls to flight. Remember this is a seduction and it doesn't pay to be too demanding. Too little pressure on the lace and you get nothing. Including no attention from eligible bulls.
You can soften the note of your calls by moving your hand stroke to the end of the string farthest from the can. This is the best place to start. Stroking the string close to the can produces a louder, sharper bark.
As with all game calling, and all other flirting, the less said the better. The less noise you make, the more attention you will attract, so don't overdo it. Limit your calls to a few gurgles every 20 minutes or so.
By calling less, you also reduce your chances of making a mistake. Remember, it is the bull's curiosity, not your lovely singing voice that is bringing him to you location. It's similar to yelling at dogs, the less you do it, the more effective it is. Try to preserve some of your seductive mystery.
Calls imitating bulls can be made with no special equipment at all. The characteristic, short "mmwagh" vocalization of a rutting bull can be made with nothing more than a hand cupped over your mouth and air expelled from the back of you throat.
But be advised that if you use the bull call, you had better be hunting the big boys. Smaller bulls, the spike, fork element of the spike, fork 50-inch population, are likely to turn tail and run at the sound of a bull audacious enough to announce his presence in this manner.
The call serves a dual purpose. It announces the presence of a suitable mate to any cows in the area and it challenges any bulls in the neighborhood to fight for the turf.
Any bull indulging in this behavior must have a lot of self-confidence and it is probably justified. Bulls may overestimate their abilities, but they rarely bluff. The later in the season you use this method, the better. By then, even some of the wimpy, little bulls are so high on hormones that they may respond briefly.
With either the cow or the bull call, it is often useful to slowly pour water from a can onto the ground or into water while calling. This simulates the sound of a moose leaving love notes written in urine all over the countryside.
If it's late in the season and you are using the bull-grunt method of calling, thrash the brush around your location with the scapula (shoulder blade) or antler of a moose to simulate the sound of a bull rubbing his rack on trees. If you don't have a scapula or antler to do it with, a sturdy, dry stick will do a good enough job.
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