Master the best moose hunting techniques: let the hunt begin
Moose Hunting | September 21, 2023
July 11, 2022
Getting a full set of moose hunting clothes, from boots to hats and everything in between, that will protect you against all types of weather can be expensive. Where should hunters heading out on a moose hunting expedition focus their efforts? Do they really have to be camouflaged from head to toe? Should they plan for scorching days in the sun or early snow flurries? Could they start with a few key items only and build their kit from there? Or even reuse deer, duck or turkey hunting gear? Expert Martin Leonard is here to help differentiate between the gear you have to get, and the items you could potentially do without.
In this article, you will learn more about:
Moose have notoriously bad vision, but they are able to detect contrasts, which makes blending in an essential skill. They also have a great sense of smell, so hiding your scent should be a priority during your time in the woods (more on that later).
The dates of your hunting trip, your chosen weapon and hunting method will influence your choice of gear. Those going in early September may have a warmer time than those heading out at the end of the autumn, so check dates as they vary based on whether you are hunting with a rifle, shotgun, crossbow, or bow. Hunting from a blind is also a bit easier from a clothing point of view as you’ll be inside for most of the day. However, those running and gunning will need to consider a few factors, such as making as little noise as possible when approaching an animal.
Here are a few more details about preparing for a fall hunting trip.
As mentioned, moose can detect contrasts, so it’s important to blend in. Make sure your chosen camouflage pattern matches your surroundings. Most forests in Quebec and Ontario are made up of conifers and leafy greens. Opt for a varied pattern with autumnal colours such as beiges and browns, without too much green. Mossy Oak’s Break-up Country or Realtree’s Edge are good options for moose hunting clothes, and SAIL has also developed its very own pattern after closely studying Quebec and Ontario forest patterns.
Hunters hoping to harvest moose need to plan their trip long in advance, as well as set up and prepare their chosen spot. The final autumn expedition will often be set for a specific time. As the dates are fixed, you’ll need to be able to deal with whatever weather is thrown at you.
What to pack will depend on how well you tolerate the cold and rain, but as a rule Martin Leonard advises bringing layers so you can remove from or add to your day kit as needed. Choose quiet materials so as not to be heard while walking, especially if hunting with a bow or crossbow as you’ll need to get much closer to the animal to get a good shot. Bring a waterproof kit including a jacket and pants that you can wear over your normal clothes.
Your main consideration when purchasing a hunting jacket should be waterproofing. Look for options which have a waterproofing membrane on the inside, not the outside of your jacket, as these are much more quiet when moving around. If hunting from a blind, a water repellent jacket could be enough to keep you dry on your walk to your spot in the morning. As the weather could change throughout your expedition, a three-in-one jacket made up of a waterproof shell and a detachable inner lining (both of which can be worn together or separately) could be a great addition to your kit.
Most hunters will set up camp in a blind or wear a backpack while walking, so having lots of quickly accessible pockets may not be as important a requirement as, for example, when turkey hunting. Browse Browning jackets for a good selection of hunting jackets.
And what about pants? According to Martin Leonard, waders are unnecessary when moose hunting. A good pair of waterproof pants worn over a thinner pair of pants should keep you warm and dry when walking outside.
Look for a big enough backpack that can hold your water bottle, snacks, ammo and other essentials such as a GPS, binoculars, sunscreen, sunglasses, game call, odor eliminator bottle and a first aid kit. Have a look here for more information on the essential gear to take with you while moose hunting.
In Quebec and Ontario, the orange high visibility bib is almost always compulsory during gun hunting season. Make sure your bib is visible at all times and from all angles, even when carrying a backpack. In Ontario, all hunters must also wear an orange head cover as well.
Here, it’s all down to personal preference and how well you tolerate the cold. If you’re sensitive to the cold, bring a hat, neck covering, scarf or hood. Ideally these would feature a camouflage pattern, but it’s not mandatory. “Start by investing in your jacket and waterproof pants, and gradually build up your kit over the years to include hats and hoods. But this can wait a little,” says Martin Leonard.
When it comes to gloves, don’t worry about getting a pair that’s touchscreen compatible as you’re unlikely to have a phone signal. However if you want to really treat yourself this season, look for a pair of heated gloves for that little bit of luxury on those mornings when the weather is not great, or bring hand warmers and slip them into your pockets so you can warm your hands up.
Again, your choice of hunting boots will vary based on your chosen hunting method. If hunting from a blind, you’ll only need to keep your feet warm and dry during your morning walk to your spot. Consider waterproof or hiking boots with a good pair of warm socks, so you can remove your footwear inside if you need to dry your boots.
If you’re running and gunning, you may cross a fair bit of potentially muddy or swampy terrain. Make sure your boots are both waterproof and comfortable to walk in. Look for hiking boots with a good waterproof membrane.
Like you, your clothes carry a human scent that is easily detectable by animals, and which could ruin your chances of a successful hunting trip. Always carry odor eliminator with you and spray yourself regularly. In addition, wash your hunting clothes separately. Use soap specifically designed to remove human scent, and throw an odor eliminator sheet in the dryer. Shower products such as unscented hair and body wash, deodorant or wash cloths are also available.
If you want to go further, look for hunting jackets with a scent-locking charcoal membrane, although these are on the more expensive side. Otherwise, Dead Down Wind has created portable wardrobes and duffle bags to keep your hunting kit from absorbing any of the surrounding smells. A great addition to your hunting cabin!