Is your moose hung up? Learn how to imitate a competing bull


Gear and tactics

For this tactic, I use a cow call, something to make antler sounds and a cow decoy. Traditional cow calls are made of birch bark, but I’ve also used an orange traffic cone with the base cut off. Both simulate the long nasal passage of a moose’s nose, making for a realistic sound that carries a long way. A good standard sequence is four to six nasally, whiny moans, starting at about 10 seconds in length, then getting shorter with each subsequent call.


To mimic the sound of a bull thrashing trees and underbrush with his antlers, I like to use the scapula bone from a moose’s front shoulder, saved from a past hunt. It’s compact, easy to use and sounds very realistic. Other options include an actual antler or a solid tree limb that’s about four inches in diameter and free of bark.

A moose scapula is ideal for thrashing brush

When thrashing, a bull typically stands still and rakes his antlers up and down, continuously combing the leaves. When imitating this, try not to be too aggressive and intimidating—you want to sound like a bull looking to mate, not scare off the real bull.

I always like to use a decoy while calling, because when incoming bulls see it, it makes them confident they aren’t getting fooled (even though they are). During the rut, bulls always approach cows from the back side and downwind to check her state of estrous. So, always position the hind part of the decoy to direct any incoming bull toward your shooting lanes.