CHAMPION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Mike Holmgren has been photographing wildlife for about five years, but moose are his favorite species. He's so fascinated with the species he's actually taken up "moose calling" and finds himself to be pretty good at it.
He's a Negaunee school bus driver by day, but a wildlife photographer and "professional moose caller" during his downtime.
"What I've had most success with is I have an app on my cell phone, it's simply called "Moose Calls" and with it, I hook into my wifi speaker and it gives me a series of options," Mike Holmgren says. He mostly uses the cow moan, moose brush thrashing sound, and the bull call.
So far this year, Holmgren has called in seven moose, five in the past week.
"It's a lot of experimentation. I've been doing this for four years now and you monkey with these things and you find what works and you kinda stick with it," he says.
According to Holmgren, the best time to see a moose is the end of September to the first week in October during the rut. Peak rut was Sept. 23, but the bulls will continue to search for a cow through December.
"The bulls are wandering around looking for receptive cows, so when you use the call, the bull thinks he's found a cow moose," Holmgren explains.
Holmgren reminds us that calling moose is dangerous, though. He makes it clear, you have to respect the animal to maintain your own safety. He says if you are trying to call a moose, you should stay in your car where you have protection.
"I want to place emphasis on this. There is an inherent danger with this so you need to always position yourself for safety," he says. "I also want to place emphasis on respect of the animal. I am drawing them to me, I take a couple photos and then I let them just quietly slip away into the woods."
On Monday, Holmgren went out and saw four moose, but Tuesday he didn't have any success. Typically when he goes out in the woods, he says he has about a 40 percent chance of actually seeing a moose.
"There's no guarantees - it's like hunting. You go out, maybe you'll see one, maybe not," Holmgren states.