Tent camping for moose is a strategy employed by very few, mainly because of the work involved, but with effort comes reward! A camping moose hunt offers the ability to set-up lodging in the ‘epicentre’ of where your game animal dwells. While moose camping, you are essentially living in the heart of the action, positioning your tent a short distance from your hunting location, near a dry marsh or slew, for example, where you intend to hunt. Follow me on a journey into Bullwinkle country, grab your tent and camping supplies as we go tenting for moose!
There is a certain primitive quality about backwoods tenting during the big game season that appeals to me. The inherent mobility of tenting, combined with some proven camping strategies, I will demonstrate, culminates in a more successful moose trip. Tenting for moose may seem like just an inexpensive way to hunt, but by using a few of my proven moose camping techniques, it may very well be your most successful hunting trip at any cost!
Find a suitable tent site
When planning your moose camping hunt, choosing the right location is a key ingredient to success. A moose tent setup is slightly different from a regular campsite you would set up at other times of the year. Once you decide which region to hunt, a good ‘moose camper’ must be aware that the days are shorter and nights are colder at this time of year, so cold weather camping it is. Look for a sheltered location away from autumn winds and potential snow. Tucked away in a quiet, dry corner is always the way to go, as I have in my setup below:
Fine-tuning your spot
After you scouted a location where moose activity is present and potential for a harvest is there, a moose tent should always be set-up with shelter in mind. Pick a site that is slightly elevated, sandy with proper drainage in the case of heavy rain, while offering natural shelter from tree canopy in the event of snow. Your campsite should be located a short distance from a suitable source of water. When setting up a tent at this time of year, extra precautions ensure the best location for the tent.
Essential Equipment and Set-Up
The equipment required for moose camping is similar to that required the rest of the year, except that a heat source is now a necessity. You may opt for an old-fashioned wood burning box stove to use inside a canvass army-style tent, or choose the more convenient portable Coleman propane catalytic or naphtha heaters for added warmth. Remember that safety is always a factor when positioning the heat source inside your tent. Make sure the heat source is well ventilated and is positioned close but not too near the sleeping area.
Advantages of the Camping Hunt
The greatest single advantage of camping for Bullwinkle is the ability to set-up lodging in the ‘epicentre’ of where your game animal dwells. While moose camping, you will be living in the heart of the action! You could, with little effort, position your camp a short distance from your hunting location, near a dry marsh or slew where you intend to hunt. Not bound by the four walls of a built structure (cottage or lodge) is advantageous for a moose hunter, since your basecamp can be easily packed up and relocated, during the middle of the hunt. Should you discover your location is unsuitable, for whatever reason, simply break camp and find another spot.
The availability of good moose territory not already hunted by another party can be difficult. A quick browse through the classifieds of this publication will give you a quick indication the number of hunters in search of territory, as well as the high cost for those wanting to sell their built camps. At least with camping for moose, you do not need to have a camp or cottage built, as you can setup wherever you like. There is not always a need to purchase an expensive hunt camp either, considering that most province’s and states allow for 21 consecutive days of camping on crown land. Be sure to check your area before you go.
Every moose hunter needs a good set of binoculars. This feature will help you choose the right pair for your next trip!
Essential camping gear
When it comes tenting in the fall, polar sleeping bags are a must! I use the classic Woods Polar 3 Star bag which keeps you toasty warm in the coldest of climates. Your tent, regardless of the design, must have a fly or tarpaulin covering, and be properly anchored with adequate drainage as I have below.
Essential tools related to this must be included in your toolbox such as hammers, axes, and shovels. The better equipped you are, the more successful and enjoyable your hunt will be. Another aspect to consider is how you intend to process and store your game meat, should you harvest a moose. Since you will not have a large propane fridge or electricity, you must carry some sort of refrigeration equipment. Coolers and other small portable propane iceboxes will be required. You must also set up a meat pole to provide added protection from predators for allowing meat to cool.
Off grid advantage
Since lodge rentals come at a premium in most parts of North America, tent hunting has found its niche. Once you have located a productive territory, there is really no need to pay for a fancy camp. Since a hunting trip is meant to be about the actual hunting, we must consider the quality of game on your territory first, and then work on setting up camp in the heart of that productive area.
Camping for moose is certainly less expensive than other methods , but the real thrill and satisfaction you gain from setting up your own tenting hunt through your own hard work. That is the ultimate reward. Good luck and happy moose camping! Should be fortunate to harvest a moose during your trip, be sure to check out my award-winning book; Canadian Wild Game Cookbook, for lots of great moose recipes!