Moose hunting


When it comes to hunting, women are mostly discreet. They guide, they come along for the ride, they initiate other women, they hunt with their spouse or family, but in general, they share their exploits less than male hunters. However, their modesty notwithstanding, many female hunters have very sharp skills. And some of them are so passionate that they tell their stories with a sparkle in their eyes and provide food for thought about hunting that’s definitely worth sharing.

Through the stories of four enthusiasts, we hereby present the common mistakes to avoid when hunting moose.

Mélanie Dion Émile David | © Sépaq


Véronique Gagnon, a hunter from Stoneham in the Quebec City area, has over 10 years of hunting experience. She hunts most of the time with her spouse, guide David Falardeau. Her story is particularly relevant for those who use the services of a guide or who accompany someone with more experience than they.

"One chilly morning at the end of September, David and I were climbing a hardwood-covered mountain. Suddenly, we heard the languid call of a female, very close at hand. We hurried up and arrived in a clearing: there she was, less than 50 metres away! David started talking to her. As I am used to following his instructions when we’re hunting, I waited, a few steps away, taking in what I saw and heard: the calls of the female in heat and the male who was answering, just a little further on. David made a series of sounds, and I, fascinated, watched the show without moving, waiting for the signal to shoot. I stared at the big male in the distance, who was answering David’s calls. I was so absorbed that I didn't even notice the fine young bull moose approaching in the open, 40 metres in front of us. I clearly relied too much on my guide's signal. At some point, the cow moved away, followed by the young bull. Finally, the larger male also turned his back on David's calls to join her. David then turned to me with a dejected look, begging me to shoot, which I finally did. As soon as the moose hit the ground, my partner said to me: "I was dying for you to fire! What were you up to? He was about to leave. And you let the young bull go by without reacting?”’


"I was waiting for your signal!” I replied.”


“And he concluded, "There are people who dream of just such a sighting. Next time, trust yourself and fire away.”


“One mistake I often make as a hunter is to rely too much on the other person and to let myself be guided without staying on my toes. I wait for a sign from my guide instead of listening and analyzing carefully what’s going on around me. This is a mistake that has often nearly cost me my harvest. Even if it isn’t easy to trust yourself when you’re following someone more experienced, you have to stay alert and contribute by being vigilant, without always waiting to be told what to do. Because it only takes a second too long to miss out on the harvest of your dreams! Having a guide is wonderful, but to be really successful, you have to be part of a team and not just at your guide’s beck and call. In short, you have to trust yourself.”


Corinne Gariépy grew up in a family of hunters. In 2009, she took over her parents' hunting and fishing store located in Prévost, in the Laurentians. A commentator and contributor for the QVO television show since 2015, she hunts moose every year with her spouse.

"One fall morning, we arrived early at a logging camp and soon we heard moose in the distance. My partner was executing the calling techniques, a little way out in the woods. I was with a cameraman and walking down the path. You know how it is: one person in the woods is one too many, so imagine when there are three... We got closer and at a certain point we spotted the bull moose at the edge of the forest, at the bottom of a hill, and behind him, the sun rising just above the trees. The backlighting was pretty impressive!”

“As we always do in these cases, we started to move very slowly to get into position. Each of our moves was carefully calculated, and we still felt in control, especially since the moose was quite receptive. Then, all of a sudden, we realized that not only was it no longer receptive, but that it was leaving! That's when the cameraman and I looked at each other and realized how much we were in the spotlight: the first rays of daylight were shining on our bibs, on the camera lens, and on the rifle barrel. In the woods, my partner was perfectly camouflaged, but we were in high definition on the trail! I had my rifle at the ready, but at no point did I feel comfortable enough to take a shot. So we watched helplessly as the moose lumbered away.”

“In short, what works well in some contexts may be completely ineffective in others. We must always remain in analysis mode and constantly adjust to the context. We often talk about the wind, but here, it was the light that worked against us. The moose found himself in an advantageous position, but we realized this too late. In such a situation, we would have had to move into the shadows or completely into the woods.”

Mélanie Dion Émile David | © Sépaq
Réserve faunique de Matane
Réserve faunique de Matane Beside | © Sépaq


Sophie Boisvert harvested her first moose in her twenties, after several years spent accompanying her grandmother on hunting expeditions. She has been a guide at an outfitter establishment for four years now. Sophie always goes all out. As she describes it, when she hunts moose, she does not imitate the moose: she becomes a moose. A stance that makes sense when you listen to her story.

"It was an incredible morning. At dawn, our calls were being answered from all sides. There seemed to be two pairs of moose. My client and I had climbed up on a stump that was on top of a log. We had seen some movement, but for a while, nothing was happening. Then a female came out of the woods. We had a permit to harvest her in our pockets, but a hunch held me back and I asked my client to wait. Within minutes, a splendid male came out and was harvested.”

“This event made a big impression on me because it shows how our rhythms differ from those of the animal. When you're hunting, you're in a hurry for things to happen; you want everything to transpire quickly, at a human pace. But the animals are on a different schedule. They aren’t there for us. When you're out hunting, you have to take on the role of the animal you're tracking and stay in that role. For moose, that often means slowing down and waiting, over and over again. There are always moose; you just have to find them and be constantly at the ready, because you never know when things will happen. The other lesson this story teaches is that it's important to follow your gut reaction!"


Mélanie Dion has participated in the last few seasons of the web series Chasse Québec. Her autonomy as a hunter and her general skills in the forest have taken a giant leap forward. She’s been involved with moose and interested in hunting for almost 20 years. Last year, she was hair’s breadth away from achieving a first: harvesting a moose that answered her very own call.

"I was with my dad; he with his crossbow and I with my bow and arrow. We just arrived at a hunting site where I had spotted signs the day before. My calls were quickly answered. The moose was near us and I knelt down in the brush. I could see that he was on the other side of the branches, about 40 metres away. It was a little out of reach, both for me and my dad, who was right behind in the middle of the pathway.”


“At this point, I began to hesitate between preparing my bow and trying to lure the moose the last few yards into the line of fire, to allow my father to take the shot. It was as I looked at my father in the pathway that I realized we didn't have a plan. He seemed as hesitant as I was. I guess it was taken for granted that the first one to get a shot would be the shooter. My moose paddle was on the ground; I was on my knees and didn't dare move. This moment of indecision was fateful. The moose headed back to cover and we lost contact.”


“Looking back, I'm sure my moose paddle would have been the key to creating a visible ruse so as to confront animal. He was so close that he had to look for the form of his rival, but there was no rival, only two hunters who were not sure of the next step...”

“I'm sure if my dad and I had been prepared for every eventuality, we would have been able to harvest that moose. The importance of having a clear plan, playing defined roles, and communicating with your hunting partners is the best advice I can give in the wake of this experience."

Réserve faunique de Matane
Réserve faunique de Matane Beside | © Sépaq
Véronique Gagnon © Sépaq
Sophie Boisvert © Sépaq
Réserve faunique de Matane
Réserve faunique de Matane Beside | © Sépaq

5. In summary

  • If you’re with a guide, stay proactive, watch for signs, and remain focused on your goal. Keep in mind that your guide can't see everything. In short, stay on your toes, avoid being on automatic pilot, and above all, trust yourself at all times.
  • Always be aware of the context in which you’re operating. This includes wind, light, terrain topography, vegetation, and time of day... This data can completely change your behavior on the ground.
  • Stay in the role of a moose, act like a moose, think like a moose: slow down and be patient. Your instincts will be all the sharper for it.
  • Make plans and discuss them with your partners. Hunting is unpredictable and requires constant adaptation, but by considering different scenarios beforehand, you’ll have the right reflexes and a range of strategies to react quickly in a particular context.

In conclusion, try stuff, take risks, and make mistakes. No matter our level of expertise, there are always new things to experience and learn from in the woods. That's the beauty of hunting, and that's what makes it so enjoyable. Then, remember that you become a good hunter by analyzing what you’ve done well or not so well, in success or in failure.

Happy hunting to one and all!

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