Moose Hunting in Alberta:
Sportsmen worldwide visit Alberta each year in hopes of bagging a sixty-inch bull while moose hunting in Northern Alberta's remote boreal wilderness. Alberta is one of the top destinations for Canada Moose as only one other province has more bulls in the top one hundred Trophy Records.
The moose is the largest member of the deer family in the world. Bulls can weigh over 450 kg (1000 lb.) and stand 2.3 m (7.5 ft.) at the shoulder. Cows average about 350 kg (770 lb.).
Moose are easily identified by their large size and dark brown to black colours. Other distinguishing features of both sexes are the broad muzzle, shoulder hump, and a loose fold of skin called a "bell," which hangs under the throat.
Bulls have broad, palm-like antlers that can measure as much as 1.8 m (6 ft.) from tip to tip, and together both may weigh up to 40 kg (88 lb.) In spite of their large size and ungainly appearance, moose can move through underbrush very quietly. Moose have acute sense of smell and hearing. Their sense of sight is poor. When alarmed, they will often trot off with smooth strides.
The rut usually occurs from mid-September to mid-October. Calves are born the following spring.
Areas of preferred habitat include muskegs, brushy meadows and small groves of aspen or coniferous trees, particularly where such habitat adjoins lakes, ponds or streams. During the spring and summer, moose feed on aquatic plants and browse on the tender shoots of willow, birch and poplar. In the spring, moose also seek aspen bark, aquatic vegetation and minerals from natural salt licks. During the winter, moose browse near the edges of dense forests where there is less snow.
Natural Resources Service estimates the provincial population (in Sept.) to be about 118,000 animals. This estimate is based on population counts in selected areas and hunter harvest information.
The most popular method of hunting trophy bull moose is to call them during the rut. The weather is typically still relatively mild at this time of year (Sept.-Oct.) and hunters find success with both primitive and modern weapons.
Employing ATVs to explore backcountry wilderness is just one of the common tactics used in Alberta to locate trophy-quality moose. There are zones and seasons in Alberta that allow for archery hunting only, offering undisturbed opportunities for the dedicated archer. Hunters either still-hunt or hunt from ground blinds or tree stands strategically located along travel corridors.
Hunting moose after the rut can also produce good quality bulls. Snow blankets the province at this time and the leaves have dropped from trees, allowing for spot and stalk hunting and easy tracking. The frozen ground allows outfitters to get you into places unreachable in September and October.
Many moose die of old age having never encountered a hunter.