Moose hunting tough but fun

?The last couple weeks have been a blur for me.
First, I was down in Minnesota earlier this month attending the St. Paul Ice Show. Then I got home last week, unpacked, and repacked to go on a moose-hunting trip for a few days.
It’s an annual tradition with a number of hunting buddies to try and put in some time moose hunting during the last week or so of the resident season in December—and we’ve been successful the last few years.
Then after a couple days of moose hunting, I flew out to Calgary this past weekend for an ice-fishing promotion at a new Bass Pro Shops store out there.
I’m glad to be home now and look forward to getting ready for ice-fishing season.
The moose-hunting trip last week took us north of Kenora for a few days. We typically wait until late in the season to do this trip because we feel it gives us a bit of an advantage.
First is snow, which we’re missing so far this year. Snow lets us see fresh moose sign and allows for quiet walking so we can sneak up on animals.
Traditionally, cold temperatures also help because the moose tend to move around a lot more to stay warm and look for food, which increases our odds of running into them.
We’ll usually try to find some fresh sign and then we’ll attempt to track the animals if the wind is in our favour.
If there is an opportunity to do a small drive or push, we usually have a large enough group to pull one off and have had success with this method in the past.
But our hunt was tough last week. The minimal amount of snow made our typical method of snowmobile travel difficult, so we were forced to cover ground in trucks and on ATVs.
The problem with ATVs is they are much colder than snowmobiles and the temperatures last week were not favourable.
The cold weather also made walking loud because it froze the small amount of snow we had so every step included a loud crunch. Moose can hear very well so this made sneaking nearly impossible.
At the end of a few days of hunting, we did manage to find some fresh sign and chased a few moose around but just didn’t score.
Still, we had a great time and have plans already pencilled in for next year’s hunt.
The trip to Calgary on the weekend was fun. I had never been there before and got to take in a Flames’ game on Friday night, so that was pretty cool.
I spent all of Saturday and Sunday at the new Bass Pro Shops store there talking ice-fishing with people and doing seminars on their giant fish tank.
Anglers in Alberta do not have the same fishing opportunities we do here in Sunset Country, but they still get out and put in plenty of time on the ice.
They use artificial lures almost exclusively because it is illegal to use live minnows as bait and all hooks must be barb-less.
The recent cold snap in the weather has pretty much locked up all the lakes in Sunset Country. I have not been fishing yet, but my dad reported some good crappie action in a small lake that he walked out on over the past weekend.
Crappies are a great species to target early in the season because they usually are grouped up in large schools and they have not been pressured by anglers in some time, so catches are usually good.
We’ll talk more ice-fishing next week.

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