Preparing For Moose - International Sportsman (2024)

Preparing For Moose - International Sportsman (1)

“Interested in a Canadian moose hunt this fall, in the last days of September or the first part of October?” Asked Linda Powell with Mossberg Firearms, a friend of several years. Before I could respond, she continued, “It’s with Love Brothers and Lee, hunting with Ron Fleming. I suspect you and Ron have crossed paths many times at DSC conventions. Other hunters in camp will be John McLellan, who you’ve known for years, and Jeff Johnston, another of your friends from Oklahoma. It should be an enjoyable hunt, mostly calling moose.”

“Ms. Linda, you had me with Canadian moose…but all the other things you mentioned made me want to interrupt to say YES!”.

The next few minutes, we visited about the required paperwork, lists of items I needed for the moose hunt, and particularly what rifle I would be using. I have been shooting Mossberg Patriot Predator rifles chambered in 6.5 PRC and 7mm PRC. No doubt my 7mm PRC loaded Hornady’s 160-grain CX Outfitter or 175-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter would do an excellent job on moose. And frankly, I seriously thought about taking my favorite 7mm PRC until Ms. Linda said, “You do know Mossberg chambers the .375 Ruger in their Patriot Synthetic Cerakote rifle.”

“I want one!” I blurted as soon as she mentioned .375 Ruger. I have often said, “If I had only one rifle with which to hunt the world, it would be chambered in .375 Ruger!” I dearly love that round when it comes to hunting, especially for big-bodied animals.

Since the introduction of the .375 Ruger, shooting Hornady ammo, I have used the round in Africa on elephants, buffalos, hippos, eland, lions, kudu, roan on down to vaal rhebok, and blue duiker. In Europe, I have used it on reindeer, red stag, alpine ibex, fallow deer, mouflon, and roe deer; in Australia, I’ve used it on Asian buffalo; in North America, I have taken giant Alaska brown bear, elk, bear, and deer with it. My .375 Ruger rifles have done all I have asked of them and more, including shooting out to 700 yards with great precision.

In years past, I have hunted and shot moose in Maine, Colorado, Wyoming, Alaska, and British Columbia. I shot them in Maine and Colorado with a .308 Win T/C Encore handgun, shooting Hornady 180-grain InterLock loads. In Alaska and Wyoming, I used a T/C Encore .30-06 handgun shooting Hornady InterLock. My British Columbia’s Prophet-Muskwa moose was taken with a .375 H&H Mag T/C Encore rifle, again using Hornady ammo. All my moose were shot back during the time I did public relations and media work for Thompson/Center Arms before it was initially sold by the original owners.

In British Columbia, my last moose was a horseback hunt from a remote camp. Recalling it brings back great memories but also painful ones. On the long ride into camp in the dark, my horse stumbled while leading two pack horses. I pulled hard on the reins with my left hand to “keep her head up.” Doing so, I held on too tightly to the lead rope with my right hand. When my horse stumbled, both pack horses jerked backward, pulling me out of the saddle. My left foot remained hung in the stirrup. My right ankle ended up under my horse’s right foot. At this point, my mount took the opportunity to put all her weight on my ankle and then tried to grind it into the rocky trail. It took some doing, but finally, I was able to get the horse off of my ankle, which immediately hurt badly. We were still eight dark miles from camp. There was little to do but pull the laces on my boot as tight as possible and crawl back into the saddle. For the next eight days, I did not unlace my right boot. I hobbled in pain up and down mountains for the duration of the hunt. Writing about “my situation,” even now, years later, makes my right ankle twinge with pain!

We hunted extremely hard! Before the hunt’s end, I had taken a really nice 54-inch, wide-palmed moose and an ancient 6×5 bull elk.

With those memories, I listened as Ms. Linda said the hunt would be conducted from a remote lake, fly-in camp, where we would hunt the shoreline from a boat, occasionally stopping to call in hopes of attracting a bull. That made me even more excited! Thankfully, the hunt is in the not-too-distant future.

While awaiting the arrival of my .375 Ruger Mossberg rifle, I am getting ready for moose in several ways, including ensuring I have proper footwear and clothing and selecting a proper scope and ammunition.

When it comes to choosing a scope for my moose hunt, there is no question. It will be a Stealth Vision SVT 3-18×44 Illuminated scope. I have one on both my 7mm PRC and 6.5 PRC rifle. I took one of my scopes with me to Alberta for the black bear hunt I did back in the spring. In Canada, I mounted the Stealth Vision scope on a .308 Win, Mossberg Tactical rifle, which my long-time friend Brad Fenson graciously allowed me to borrow. Shooting Hornady ammo, the combination worked to perfection!

I appreciate the Stealth Vision scope’s clarity and the ability to utilize their patented anti-cant integral Green Light Technology and their on-demand lighted reticle. Canting my rifle may not be that important at close range, shooting the huge vitals of a moose, but I intend to run my combination through a lot of paces out to 800 or so yards at Stealth Vision’s range before I leave for Canada. After my moose hunt, I plan on using the Mossberg .375 Ruger – Stealth Vision scope combination on whitetails where I might be shooting out to 400 or more yards. And who knows, my only chance at a moose of a lifetime may occur at something less than close range. I will be ready!

The scope’s on-demand lighted reticle will come in handy should we hunt during poor light conditions which can certainly happen with arrival of cold fronts, or, if we call in a bull in dense cover early or late.

Moose are big! You cannot appreciate how big they truly are until you walk up to the downed bull. They have monstrous bodies! You really come to appreciate how big they are if you have to pack them out on your back. Years back, I packed out several moose, my own and those of friends. During our upcoming moose hunt, hopefully, the bulls we take fall close to where we can get a boat to minimize the pack.

As to ammunition, I intend to use Hornady’s Outfitter, 250-grain CX loads. In the past, I have taken a lot of animals, large to small, with Hornady Dangerous Game 300-grain DGX (expandable) and, in the case of elephants and hippos, and follow-up shots on buffalo, 300-grain DGS (solids). I, too, have used Hornady 270-grain InterLock SP-RP on various animals.

I chose Hornady Outfitter because I like the idea of shooting a controlled expansion, deep-penetrating copper alloy bullet into a moose. Moose have hard, dense bones and big muscles. With called-in moose, the only shot might be a head-on or a quartering shot. I want a bullet that will drive through heavy muscles and bone to penetrate a bull’s vitals. I also like the idea of Hornady Outfitter ammo having both the primer and case mouth sealed. This will be a hunt where we may deal with lots of water!

Based on conversations with Love Brothers & Lee’s Ron Fleming, shots could be relatively close. I will sight in at 100 yards, but then I will also shoot my Mossberg/Stealth Vision/Hornady combination at 25, 50, and 75 yards and out to 400 yards. I want to know exactly where my bullet will strike at those distances.

Moose have huge vitals, including a heart and lungs, which make them a big target. Yet, I may have to accurately place a bullet between two limbs or between trees, and I need to know I can precisely put a bullet into my “target” at whatever the distance or the shot presented.

I like shooting and recovering spent bullets to see how they performed terminally. Given the opportunity, I will shoot “my” moose more than once. A second or third shot is usually required with most bull moose.

Placing follow-up shots in the same place does little additional tissue damage. When hunting big animals such as moose, elk, and eland and dangerous game like buffalo or big bears, I place each shot four to six inches from the previous shot to create more than one wound channel. This is another reason I like precisely accurate rifles.

Within the next weeks I will start putting together my “Moose Rifle” and spending time on the range while anxiously awaiting my late September departure to “moose camp”. I’ll keep you updated on the progress…

Larry Weishuhn

Professional wildlife biologist/outdoor communicator, Larry Weishuhn, known to many as “Mr. Whitetail”, has established quality wildlife management programs on over 12,000,000 acres throughout North American and other parts of the world. He has hunted big game with rifle and/or handgun on six continents. Larry is a Professional Member of the Boone & Crockett Club, life-member of numerous wildlife conservation organizations including the Dallas Safari Club, Mule Deer Foundation, and Wild Sheep Foundation. He currently serves on the DSC Foundation Board of Directors, is one of three co-founders of the Texas Wildlife Association; is a member of the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame and the Muy Grande Hall of Fame; he too, received the Zeiss Lifetime Achievement Award among many other honors.

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Preparing For Moose - International Sportsman (2024)
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