Bagging a moose or Dall sheep doesn’t happen by chance, it takes highly honed skills of a hunter to bring them in. But what are the attributes and skills of a hunter? There is a plethora and what makes each hunter a successful one is about as unique to him or her as his or her fingerprint. There are, however, a few techniques shared by them when it comes to hunting big game.
Perhaps the most artful of all techniques is “calling.” This is a technique hunters use to bring the game to them. A hunter imitates the call of a rutting deer or moose during the fall season. A good “call” can reap surprisingly successful rewards.
The “spot-and-stalk” technique works best in mountainous terrain offering views of grassy or treeless areas. Hunters typically find rock outcroppings to shield themselves from view, then mentally create a grid of the landscape and begin systematically scanning the quadrants using a riflescope or binoculars to look for game. Moose will tend to be located at the base of hills or mountains while sheep and deer are more likely to roam the grassy areas near forests or on the saddles of alpine meadows.
“Still hunting” requires more initial detective work. The hunter seeks evidence of animal activity such as bedding areas (flattened grass); antler rubs (disturbed bark on saplings) and recently used game trails (fresh scat and or tracks). The hunter moves quietly and slowly, looking for clues; stopping frequently to listen for animal sounds. Still-hunting works especially well when the hunter is very familiar with the habits and sounds of a particular species.
Needless to say, big game hunting is an art that takes years to perfect, and any seasoned hunter will tell you, you never stop learning!