Moose, the largest of the North American deer species is a magnificent animal to hunt. Not only is it not as common as a deer or an elk, but it is only hunted in a few states. They are found mainly in the northernmost states of the US, and hunted in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana ,Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and of course, Alaska. So although not every hunter will have a chance to hunt this great beast there is an opportunity out there.
If you are planning a first time moose hunt there are a few things to be prepared for. The most important is that the moose isn’t in the size range of a deer. These things are huge. A bull moose can range from 1000-1500 pounds. Once gutted and deboned, you are looking at hauling meat that may weigh up to 600 pounds not including antlers or cape. This is an animal that will be difficult to haul or pack out alone.
Before the hunt, you need to be prepared for the business side of dealing with such a large carcass. I like to have a buddy on call or with me as there is plenty of meat to share. Regardless if you hunt with a buddy or hunt alone, there has to be proper planning to remove animal of this size from the field. You need to start with the plan that the quartering and rough processing will be done in the field. You will also need game bags and the knives and tools you are comfortable with using. Most hunters think they need a giant Rambo knife for such a large animal, but I do most of my field work with a blade less than four inches long. Just use what you are comfortable with.
Next, you need to have an appropriate meat pack or deer cart, or another type of meat transporting method. Some guys are lucky enough to kill moose on lake shores and river banks which allows the hunter to place the meat right into the boat. I have a buddy that uses a mountain bike. He can load it down evenly and push out his moose in a few trips. Some people use an aluminum deer cart that you can buy at Cabela’s or other major sporting goods retailers. Know where you are hunting and choose wisely.
Most importantly, you need to be in good physical condition to butcher and haul out a moose from the field. Trust me on this. I’ve had to help a buddy with a moose when I wasn’t prepared and it wasn’t any fun. I spent the next few days wondering when I’d be able to move again and we only had to haul it 80 yards to the truck. Now imagine you have to haul your moose a few miles to the truck, or worse, a few miles to a boat and then to a truck!
These are just a few of thing things to plan for if you plan to take your first moose. Make it easy on yourself and research some of the ways to make the handling of your trophy easier and your hunt will be something to remember with fondness instead of pain.