Zone 4 Moose Hunt

Huntermc6

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I hit the moose lottery and landed myself a cow moose permit for Zone 4 on the last week of the hunt which is 10/24/22-10/29/22. This is the first time anyone in my immediate family has been picked for a permit and the first moose hunt I have been on. My father hasn't been on one since the very first year of the hunt back in the 80's so you could say we are lacking in experience. I'm hoping you all can make some recommendations for the hunt as far as lodging, must have items, whether we should should hire a guide etc. I'll take any advice and suggestions.

I do have a friend that talked to a guide he knows pretty well that works in Zone 4 and some of the adjacent zones. He said the same thing that most of the biologist have said in that Zone 4 has been very hard hit by the winter tick issue and felt that this might be a difficult hunt. Anyone that has spent time in and around zone 4 the last few years that might have some input on this? I'm not looking for specific spots to hunt, unless you are feeling generous just general thoughts on moose sightings in the area. Thanks.
 

lester2

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I’ve never moose hunted Maine but was fortunate to be a part of many hunts in VT between 2006 and 2014 when our population was quite high. Several of those hunts were late October cow only hunts and we were successful every time. We found cows to be actually harder to hunt than bulls. Not sure if it was hunting pressure from earlier seasons, the fact many had calves with them they were protecting, no real good way to call them in or maybe a combination. We didn’t call at all, we just still hunted known hangouts with fresh sign. All three that we killed spooked when we saw them, ran off and then we followed tracks, twice on bare ground, once on a dusting of snow, until we caught up and shot them. They were exciting hunts, but difficult and we put on a lot of miles on foot. All were shot on state land where motorized vehicles are prohibited so we retrieved all three using a local horse guy. Again, I know it wasn’t Maine but I hope our experiences help. Good luck and congrats!
 

Huntermc6

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Link to my thread on a Zone 4A Adaptive Moose Hunt from last year. Not the full zone 4.



https://huntingchat.net/threads/adaptive-moose-hunt.54844/

Awesome write up JDK, picked up a few tidbits from there that will make things a little easier. The gutless method seems like the way to go regardless of how far you are from the truck.

Thanks for the other replies too, everyone I've talked to and listened to says road hunting isn't going to work any more.
 
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longbow

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Congrats on your permit!
If you are back aways from the road of course you have to cut it up there. We pulled a couple of ours out with long ropes and snatch blocks. Once out on the road we pulled it up onto a trailer and took it to the station to be weighed and checked in. Are you planning on butchering yourself or are you going to take it to a processor?
Below, easy way to get them out. Drove the Argo with moose still attached right up onto a trailer.
post-542-0-41304500-1508120600.jpg
 
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Huntermc6

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Congrats on your permit!
If you are back aways from the road of course you have to cut it up there. We pulled a couple of ours out with long ropes and snatch blocks. Once out on the road we pulled it up onto a trailer and took it to the station to be weighed and checked in. Are you planning on butchering yourself or are you going to take it to a processor?
Below, easy way to get them out. Drove the Argo with moose still attached right up onto a trailer.

As JDK has mentioned above the gate 4-Wheelers and UTVs are prohibited. However I have managed to talk a few of my buddies in to coming up for the week so we have some muscle to help us out if/when the time comes to take care of the moose. One of my friends dads is a butcher so if we can figure out how to get all the meat home to him without spoiling then I am going to do that. Zone 4 to his house is about a 5 hour drive though so we will see how that pans out. I have some time to figure that part out.

Based on what most have said I am going to plan to have to quarter the moose instead of pull it out of the woods but I will probably bring some rope too just in case I get into one near a road with access to the truck.

Take 6 good (not W-mart) meat bags, a couple backs, a small tarp, and leave the heavy crap ( snatch blocks, rope/cable, come alongs, chainsaw winches) at home. A pallet in back of your truck will be big enough for the meat bags, and let air circulate underneath them. Have a great time.

Thanks! the pallet is a great idea and something I didn't think of. I have another friend that went on a moose hunt in zone 1 last year so he has some game bags and a pack he is going to lend me which is great.


On a side note I have had a couple people mention looking for younger 2-3 year old cuts for cow moose. Apparently that might be some of the best available browse for them. Now I'm getting excited trying to plan this all out. Anyone have radio recommendation for up there? I was also looking at renting or purchasing an inreach for each truck so we can keep in contact if we go separate directions and to contact home occasionally.
 

JDK

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Our permit was for a small portion of the the northern part of 4 and should mention that the closer one got to sporting camps (Ross Lake to the north and PB to the west) the more hunters we saw. Makes sense if you think about it. There was a lot of cutting going on around Crescent Pond and the Russel Ponds last Fall (not in the zone I had).

We killed our cow in a 4-5 year old cut and that area had by far the most sign we saw. Places that were accessible were hunted I found cow hunting tough. They are quiet, don't come to a call, and basically do what they want. I'll also say that those (during our hunt) that thought they were just going to drive around and kill a cow were all pretty disappointed
 

groundtender

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As JDK has mentioned above the gate 4-Wheelers and UTVs are prohibited. However I have managed to talk a few of my buddies in to coming up for the week so we have some muscle to help us out if/when the time comes to take care of the moose. One of my friends dads is a butcher so if we can figure out how to get all the meat home to him without spoiling then I am going to do that. Zone 4 to his house is about a 5 hour drive though so we will see how that pans out. I have some time to figure that part out.

Based on what most have said I am going to plan to have to quarter the moose instead of pull it out of the woods but I will probably bring some rope too just in case I get into one near a road with access to the truck.



Thanks! the pallet is a great idea and something I didn't think of. I have another friend that went on a moose hunt in zone 1 last year so he has some game bags and a pack he is going to lend me which is great.


On a side note I have had a couple people mention looking for younger 2-3 year old cuts for cow moose. Apparently that might be some of the best available browse for them. Now I'm getting excited trying to plan this all out. Anyone have radio recommendation for up there? I was also looking at renting or purchasing an inreach for each truck so we can keep in contact if we go separate directions and to contact home occasionally.
Great advice from JDK. Do what he says.
20 years ago I bought Yaesu FM Transceiver Model FT-60 handhelds. They work really well. A jillion channel options, and someone a lot smarter than I am can talk all over the world (ham). But good for several miles or more for normal people. They don’t have a bunch of hunt ruining sound alerts which is good. Expensive, but I thought worth it. I believe they came with chargers for vehicle receptacles and household plugs.
 

802-603hunter

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Some good advice flowing in this thread so far. I'll try to interject without being too redundant.

Similar to Lester, I hunted some of the late season cow hunts in VT during the mid 2000's. I felt like at that time of year the cows were laying low, likely tired out from being chased around during the rut. We generally still hunted (at a fairly swift pace compared to deer hunting), and did well in rainy and windy conditions.

I hunted zone 4 in Maine last year in September, and while I didn't cover a ton of ground around the zone, what I saw all seemed to be pretty ideal moose habitat. Getting away from the roads and back away from the pressure seemed like the way to go.

On past moose hunts we went prepared to extract the moose whole. We used 4 wheelers, rope and winches, and draft horses all with equal success. Last year we quartered and packed my bull out, and having done so I don't think I would go any other way, unless we were extremely close to a road (albeit, highly unlikely given the way I prefer to hunt). Make sure you have plenty of game bags, 6 at a minimum and more if you want to pack out lighter loads. As far as meat care, we were fortunate with cool night time temps in the 30's, but I did have an 8 hour drive back home. My sub-permittee had an old smaller chest freezer that we brought along, which in conjunction with an extra large cooler stored all the meat on the drive home. I brought along a Honda 2000ei generator and left the generator and freezer running in the back of the truck on the way home, and intermittently for the few days it took us to process the meat. If you have access to a small enclosed trailer that would be ideal for storing away this type of equipment as well as the gear you will need.

That's my two cents, congratulations and best of luck. Make it an adventure to remember!

Freezer and cooler arrangement for moose meat on the road home, extra large long cooler is concealed by the tailgate:
6- Sat IMG_9984.JPG
 

Meatseeker

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Lots of great advice already given. I'll add a few thoughts... some of which will be redundant.

1.)Gutless method quartering is the way to go. 3 of us had JDK's cow broken down and in the truck in an hour and half. Invest in some quality XL game bags. Bring a jetsled. You can haul a quarter in a large jet sled no problem. Quartering also cools your meat down way faster than leaving it whole and will result in better overall meat quality. Back in camp hang the quarters in a shady spot and stake a tarp over the quarters to keep them dry (maintain good airflow). Cold dry air is your friend.

2.)You didn't mention your general experience level with the NMW's in your post. Assuming you are planning to do this DIY I'll add a few things.... You are going to a remote area without any infrastructure or facilities. Gas, food, water, and medical attention are hours away and cell coverage is extremely spotty at best. Having to go back to civilization for supplies will essentially cost you a day of travel. Camping is your only lodging option unless you know someone with a camp in the area. You have to plan for all possibilities. You'll need several gallons of potable water per person. You'll need to bring a ton of extra gas (~30 to 50 gallons). Have a good spare tire, a patch kit, high lift jack, and tow strap. Have some basic hand tools, a shovel, axe, and a chainsaw is a good idea too. Plan out your meals, prepare a shopping list, and add extra non-perishable food. Finally, pack a quality first aid kit and know how to use it.

3.)Get off the road. Hike into the back of cuts and spend as many hours in the woods as you can. Cover as much turf as you can looking for sign and looking for where other hunting pressure is. If you have a bunch guys going have them spread out and scout for you. If you find good sign in an area without a bunch of people... hunt it hard.

4.)Invest in the OnX hunting app. This is a mapping app that shows you satellite ortho photos of the area. It also functions as GPS allowing you mark waypoints and navigate. You can download the maps for the area to your phone prior to your hunt and it work seamlessly on your phone on airplane mode without cell coverage. Buy an inexpensive cell phone battery pack from Walmart and carry it with you. You'll have plenty of juice to use it all day. This also allows you to e-scout the area, add a bunch of points you want to check out ahead of time, and then navigate to them when your there. I view this as one of the most valuable tools you can have with you.

Good luck!
 

Huntermc6

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Some good advice flowing in this thread so far. I'll try to interject without being too redundant.

Similar to Lester, I hunted some of the late season cow hunts in VT during the mid 2000's. I felt like at that time of year the cows were laying low, likely tired out from being chased around during the rut. We generally still hunted (at a fairly swift pace compared to deer hunting), and did well in rainy and windy conditions.

I hunted zone 4 in Maine last year in September, and while I didn't cover a ton of ground around the zone, what I saw all seemed to be pretty ideal moose habitat. Getting away from the roads and back away from the pressure seemed like the way to go.

On past moose hunts we went prepared to extract the moose whole. We used 4 wheelers, rope and winches, and draft horses all with equal success. Last year we quartered and packed my bull out, and having done so I don't think I would go any other way, unless we were extremely close to a road (albeit, highly unlikely given the way I prefer to hunt). Make sure you have plenty of game bags, 6 at a minimum and more if you want to pack out lighter loads. As far as meat care, we were fortunate with cool night time temps in the 30's, but I did have an 8 hour drive back home. My sub-permittee had an old smaller chest freezer that we brought along, which in conjunction with an extra large cooler stored all the meat on the drive home. I brought along a Honda 2000ei generator and left the generator and freezer running in the back of the truck on the way home, and intermittently for the few days it took us to process the meat. If you have access to a small enclosed trailer that would be ideal for storing away this type of equipment as well as the gear you will need.

That's my two cents, congratulations and best of luck. Make it an adventure to remember!

Freezer and cooler arrangement for moose meat on the road home, extra large long cooler is concealed by the tailgate:

This is a great idea. I think we might bring a small 4 wheeler type trailer for carrying extra gear and packing the moose back if we get one. I have heard of this freezer and generator trick and I even think I have seen one coming down 95 one year in October. I have a friend that is going to let me borrow the game bags he brought on his hunt last year and a pack as well. Luckily everyone coming has XL Jet Sleds they can bring if necessary, we all ice fish together as well.
Lots of great advice already given. I'll add a few thoughts... some of which will be redundant.

1.)Gutless method quartering is the way to go. 3 of us had JDK's cow broken down and in the truck in an hour and half. Invest in some quality XL game bags. Bring a jetsled. You can haul a quarter in a large jet sled no problem. Quartering also cools your meat down way faster than leaving it whole and will result in better overall meat quality. Back in camp hang the quarters in a shady spot and stake a tarp over the quarters to keep them dry (maintain good airflow). Cold dry air is your friend.

2.)You didn't mention your general experience level with the NMW's in your post. Assuming you are planning to do this DIY I'll add a few things.... You are going to a remote area without any infrastructure or facilities. Gas, food, water, and medical attention are hours away and cell coverage is extremely spotty at best. Having to go back to civilization for supplies will essentially cost you a day of travel. Camping is your only lodging option unless you know someone with a camp in the area. You have to plan for all possibilities. You'll need several gallons of potable water per person. You'll need to bring a ton of extra gas (~30 to 50 gallons). Have a good spare tire, a patch kit, high lift jack, and tow strap. Have some basic hand tools, a shovel, axe, and a chainsaw is a good idea too. Plan out your meals, prepare a shopping list, and add extra non-perishable food. Finally, pack a quality first aid kit and know how to use it.

3.)Get off the road. Hike into the back of cuts and spend as many hours in the woods as you can. Cover as much turf as you can looking for sign and looking for where other hunting pressure is. If you have a bunch guys going have them spread out and scout for you. If you find good sign in an area without a bunch of people... hunt it hard.

4.)Invest in the OnX hunting app. This is a mapping app that shows you satellite ortho photos of the area. It also functions as GPS allowing you mark waypoints and navigate. You can download the maps for the area to your phone prior to your hunt and it work seamlessly on your phone on airplane mode without cell coverage. Buy an inexpensive cell phone battery pack from Walmart and carry it with you. You'll have plenty of juice to use it all day. This also allows you to e-scout the area, add a bunch of points you want to check out ahead of time, and then navigate to them when your there. I view this as one of the most valuable tools you can have with you.

Good luck!

I'm 100% going to use the gutless method, the overwhelming number of people who have said they would go that route every time has me convinced it's the best method of extracting the moose. I have bird hunted North of the gate every October for 8-10 years or so. Now I have not camped out or spent numerous days above the gate but I got us into Foggy Mountain's Camp that they are running out of the old Forestry Building a few miles above the Gate on The West side of Seboomook. Meals are included in the price so I think we will be good there. I do plan on bringing plenty of gear to get us unstuck if necessary just as you listed and we usually take most of that gear even when we go bird hunting. You just never know what can happen up there.

We have one other truck of people coming and I was looking into radios and potentially Garmin In Reaches to stay in touch to the best of our ability if we do spread out. I might have 2 more people joining in if they can swing the price of the lodging and gas but my funds will be too thin to pay for everyone going.

Already on the On-X train. I resisted for a few years but I really like it and it has proven to be extremely useful for bird hunting, turkey hunting, deer hunting and fishing so I would imagine it will be great for the Moose Hunt as well. Thanks for the detailed response, this thread has been great!
 

longbow

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One year I shot a bull on Tuesday and it was warm but I butchered the bull myself and put it in the camps freezer until I was ready to leave on Sunday, brought it home frozen in coolers.
 

JDK

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Problem is, with a cow tag, you have to bring the ovaries.
 

Huntermc6

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Problem is, with a cow tag, you have to bring the ovaries.

I saw a video on YouTube that sort of showed how to do this without having to gut much of the moose. It's impossible not to have to gut some of it obviously because of the fact that you have to bring in the ovaries but you can avoid most of it.
 




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