Do-it-yourself moose calls

by Tom Armstrong | September 26, 2015

bull moose - wood antlersThere is not much in the northern Ontario hunting world that compares to having a snorting, salivating, grunting bull moose closing in on you, intent on a fight.

Any hunter who has experienced this is unlikely to soon forget it. Calling moose can be one of the most effective ways to close the distance and to bring that bull out in the open, not to mention a great way to make for some seriously exciting hunts.
bull moose - Important moose calls
bull moose - Raking antlersA tool to add to your moose calling arsenal is a set of homemade moose antlers; they are simple to make, light and compact, and have several uses that can help you bring in that elusive bull. Click HERE for a template to make your own.

What you’ll need:

  • ½” plywood (40” x 24”)
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill

The process:

  • Draw out the antler template on plywood
  • Cut the antler silhouette out using a jigsaw
  • Drill a hole in the hand and thumbholes, to get the jigsaw started here
  • Sand the edges and the hand holes

Thrashing – When calling, use the wooden antlers to thrash and rake brush; thrashing alders or small trees at the edge of a pond or clearing, simulating a rut crazed moose trashing a tree, putting on a show for a cow, or challenging another bull.

Visual – If you’re closing the distance to a moose, or drawing one in close, holding these wooden antlers above your head, or against your head (if it’s safe) can make them think there’s a small bull challenging them, further drawing them in. It’s best used behind some sort of cover so they don’t entirely see you, but at some phases of the rut, a love/rage blinded bull will come to you standing in the open with these up in the air.

Moose calling horn:
Another great calling tool is a homemade moose calling horn; amplifying your call, giving it more range and allowing moose to hear you further away.

It can be made quickly and easily, depending on how fancy you want to make it. It can simply be made from a piece of birch bark, from an 8-12” diameter log.

In the spring the bark seems to peel off better, however cutting bark all the way around a tree will likely kill it, so you can recover bark from a recently fallen tree or cut log. Ensure your bark is fairly thick, not just the thin outer layer, taking bark almost down to the wood.

Start with a piece of birch bark 20-24” wide by 24” long, and roll it into the shape of a horn, with a 6-7” opening at one end and 1-2” at the other, cutting the ends square. The end result should be around 18-20” long.

You can get as fancy as you want with securing it; punching or drilling holes and tying it together with twine or leather, or a few simple wraps of tape to keep its shape.

Your horn need not be fancy… mine is as simple as they come; a piece of rolled birch bark wrapped in electrical tape. Although as simple as this is my dad has me beat.

He’s carried the same calling horn for years, some rolled up linoleum flooring wrapped in packing tape; crude, and maybe not the best acoustics, but it does what it’s meant to do, get your call out there.

Calling tip:
When calling, start softly using just your hands, increasing volume for the first couple calling sequences, moving on to the calling horn. You don’t want to start with a loud call from the horn, and have a moose under a hundred yards away wondering what the yelling is about.

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