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Caribou Question- scoring
This coming Sept is my first time to go caribou hunting. Can some one help a first timer know what to look for when shooting a caribou? I know the good tops and double shovel but what constitutes a good double shovel or good tops? What is it that the veterans look for to know they have a good or great bou in front of them? I'm not going thinking I'm shooting a monster or even a book animal, I simply want a good representative of the species but would like to know what I'm looking at if I get lucky and get a big one.
Also, has anyone used the montana decoys? How did they work?
I have shot a bunch of caribou. Big and small, book and no book. I don't mean to be a smart ass but here is my personal opinion: If he looks big shoot him, especially on your first tag assuming you have two. Don't worry about score. They are hard to judge and there are so many variables on a bou that you may pass up a huge bou just because it doesn't have a shovel.
I also assume you are interested in BC/PY. The SCI book is much friendlier to caribou since they score everything without deductions. But here are a few things to look at for a PY bull:
Tops - need to be present with decent tine length. but you only score the two longest points anyway.
Spread - this will buy you up a lot of points. Wider the better.
Beam length - look for long sweeping beems that go way back and then come all the way forward again. A big spread will also help on beam length.
Wide shovels and bez. Don't get hung up on double shovel as they are not as common as you think. I hunted with a guy that passed up a 350 because it didnt have two shovels. He killed a double shovel that scored high 200's.
Lots of points, even little ones will help.
You will know him when you see him. Just shoot him and the score will come along. Good luck.
Get ahold of some caribou hunting videos and do some comparisons. Check the JHA website as he has some nice kills there. Also check out all his pics and compare the biggies from the others.
As Pat said, if he looks big then SHOOT! Be picky after you bag your first one!
Pat I don't want to sound like I'm willing to shoot an embryo but I'm far from willing to pass up the first one. I have read too many posts talking about them being there one day then just drying up completely, as well as, the article on here about caribou hunting not being as easy as it sounds. I'll take the first quality shot at a bou even if it has broom handles. I can look for bigger on number 2. Plus we have a group of 11 so others will need to shoot too. While I love big animals, most of the time I try to get a decent representative of the species then move on to the next species. Learning about the scoring is part of the experience, just as learning about the animals habits and tendencies and also the culture of the land your visiting. It make the experience great and stories to be told more vibrant.
If it looks big shoot your first one and be picky on your second. Good rule of thumb.
One difference in scoring Caribou points is that they only have to be 1/2" long to score as a point. Every little sticker helps. Your top circumference is measured between the 2 longest points so some palmation helps. I have seen some aweful big Caribou that would not score well but I would shoot in a heartbeat as well as some that would score quite well that did not interest me. Take the ones that look good to you and worry about the score later.
Here is an example. I took this monster bull a couple years ago. In SCI, he is #6 overall. In PY he doesn't even make the top 1000. I never entered him.
If you add all the bone up + the spread he is 466" yet his net score for the BC/PY is 357. According to the BC system he is only 32" bigger than my second bou below which to anyone is a nice bull, but nothing like this one.
Would you shoot him if he walked by?
This bull scored 324. Only 32" less than the one above. The BC/PY system can be tough on caribou.
Pat I would shoot that top bull if he had already shed one side. That's a monster and beyond impressive. I like the second bull but he's kind of what p&y looks for, no character just symmetrical. That's not a bad thing, I just really like the animals with unusual antler configs.
Thanks for the help.
I agree Jim!
Pat, you got a GREAT "Non-Typical" Caribou there! ;-)
Wow, the bulls look a million inches apart!!!
I am heading north in August. Would really like a book bull, but would like just a representable animal.
Scoring on the hoof sounds tough. If it's big, you'll know it.
The biggest mistake I find hunters making is that they shoot something that is too short. Lots of antlers have "everything".....but it's not a large animal. They are similar to an elk in that when they throw their heads back....the antlers should be all over the rear haunches.
I'm a tops guy.....but the front end sure runs up the score. I would suggest finding one that you think looks "cool" and take that one.
I wouldn't get hung up on the double shovel thing as stated earlier. If it's got a big shovel and you like the look of the rest.....down he goes.
Biggest bonus about bou hunts is the "nice" one goes down.....and then ya can sit on your other tag till ya find a monster!!!!
If you go to the Caribou Forum page the P&Y Club Scoring sheet can be printed off from the upper right hand corner. This will help as to what to look for and what matters. You should also read about characteristics of the particular species of caribou you are hunting. There are 5 different species and each has slightly different characteristics to look for. Have a ball! C