There are so many things that go through your mind when you draw a tag that you never expect to get. “I’ve never been in that area before, how am I going to cover it in one summer” was a blaring thought when I found out I drew my dream moose tag. It was one of the biggest areas I have had the opportunity to hunt.
I knew I needed to start preparing right away; top priorities were a checklist and phone calls to get the ball rolling. So what exactly did that checklist look like?
1. Print out a map to bring on the hunt.
I was able to find one online. The first trip I took was in late July canvassing the area, talking to locals and finding out what most people who live up there see during hunting season.
I let as many people know that I had a moose tag in their area. The locals were extremely friendly which was a bonus. When they would see a moose they would inform my local friends who would then pass the info along.
2. Mark key areas.
I used my printed map and GSP to mark key areas. My markings indicated which area looked good for moose and which areas to save for last. This was tremendously helpful when the season opened.
I had everything marked and ready to go, ensuring I didn’t waste time when season opened.
3. Talk to the expert.
I spoke with a couple different local biologists, one old and one new. They are a great resource on population and recent years of filled tags.
4. Scout the area.
We all know how important pre season scouting is. Scouting the area at least a few times before the hunt is essential, especially in the absence of a guide.
5. Practice, practice and then practice some more.
It doesn’t matter what you come across during season if your arrow isn’t flying true and rifle isn’t sighted in. I took the time to practice as season neared to be sure I was on and ready to go.
6. Check your pack.
Last, but not least make sure you have everything you need in your pack. I was sent a package to do a blood test, skull measurement, and tooth removal for FWP. Make sure you have plenty of food, water, tags, GPS, bear spray, gloves, game bags…etc. I always triple check and lay everything out so I don’t forget anything.
The season had finally opened. As I hunted each area I made note of area with and without moose sign. Based on the sign I made decisions on whether to return to the area later in the season or not.
8. Keep in the loop.
Keep track of where others have had success. Who has harvested? Where did they harvest? The more conversations you have the more information you will receive so no time is wasted.
9. Bonus: Save your coordinates.
You never know when you will have the opportunity to help a friend. I saved my map and GPS coordinates and was able to pass them onto a friend who was lucky enough to draw the tag this year. I was able to help him tremendously when he left to start his checklist.
Happy hunting, I hope this helps any first time hunter who draws a special tag.
Erin Loecker, NP Prostaff