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Give me some tips on Quebec Caribou
So I booked a hunt with JHA for this September (1x6 outpost, 09/15). I have thought about it for awhile but after I didn't get my MT elk draw I really wanted to do something and this was a great opportunity.
I have gotten some great information from Richard and from some of his references but I figure there are a lot of bowsiters that have done this hunt and have a wealth of information to share. I have never done a guided (semi guided in this case) hunt before and most of my hunting is just day trips a few minutes from my house.
I am hoping to exclusively bow hunt, I am not sure if I am going to take a rifle along (may depend on weight). Any suggestions on how to hunt, gear to take along and any other pearls if wisdom would be appreciated.
Plan on rain, and have good rain gear and layers underneath. Practice shooting at moving targets. Get in good shape so you can cover ground to get in front of them if necessary. Good waterproof boots are a must. Take lots of pictures. Bring fishing gear if you like to fish. Enjoy the whole experience and smell the roses, because a tundra hunt is unique and beautiful.
Don't get discouraged if it's slim pickins, because on the last day of the hunt a whole bunch of them might show up.
I am going on that hunt in 2014. Been up three times before. Best advice I can give you is expect to see nothing in terms of caribou and plan to enjoy great country. That approach will never leave you disappointed I guarantee it. There is a great chance your expectations will be exceeded which always makes for a great trip.
Also more advice............ never take a gun on a bowhunt and expect to get one with the bow. Won't happen.
Bou's two hints are the two best hints there are! And the two I was going to suggest. Making weight with a bow and rifle is a pain in the ass to. I've been over on all my trips because i've done so. Though the 3 dollars a pound over weight charge is no big deal if its something you really want to take or need.
Here's one not on the list. Take a folding chair. For long hours of sitting at a crossing and just to get off the wet ground. At the very least a foam butt pad.
Jaquomo nailed it. Usually turns out to be an incredible experience.
Great stuff guys. Definitely want to keep expectations in check and I am looking to have a great experience first and foremost. I will definitely bring a folding chair.
Any advice on best type of clothing, pack frame, rain suit? I have a Badlands 2200 pack that I got off camofire but I don't think that is going to cut it for packing meat. I have a pair of Muck rubber boots that I thought may work well.
Great sound advice from the guys!
And I spent 17 seasons up there at 5 to 8 weeks per season. That averages out to someone going on about 128 hunts I guess... I also live in the southern part of the caribou's winter range.
Bring good binoculars.
One more thing... forget about the !@#$% "double shovels". Guys get so brain washed for double shovels before going up that they either end up killing mature bulls with no tops and two shovels or immature bulls with two tiny shovels.
When rookies would start talking about "double shovels" and "back scratchers" (a stupid term for rear/back points) as soon as they got off the bushplane, I'd feel like screaming in the wind, LOL!
Ken kinda brought up a good point there! You get 2 tags. Just shoot one for gods sake! Don't think you have to shoot a giant.
Bring the best rainsuit you can afford.
Borrow a rifle on the last day if you don't score with the bow.
Shoot em close to camp! Our group of 4 killed 8 bulls, 12 miles from camp. 2 days hunting, 4 days packing...enjoy the tundra like Bou said, and you'll have an awesome trip! Good luck! X100 on the best rain gear you can afford.
I've been twice in the past. 1st time i saw 1 cow & calf to far to even shoot with a rifle. Great outfitter, just Boos went another direction. Got in some great fishing though. 2nd trip, same outfitter I took my son & we got into Caribou the next to last day. Lots of Bulls. Everyone (6 hunters) filled their tags. I'm guessing wiht all the things recently, your going with the best place at this point. Enjoy the trip. I never gun hunt so only had a Bow but my 16 yr. old son used Guides rifle on the last day... Enjoy it all. Take a camera & video camera as for most it is a trip of a lifetime. Don't be afraid to use the camera cause you will be sorry if you don't..
You will run into bugs, rain, cold, wind, heat, and a terrain that is something to see. You will wonder how the caribou manage. Started hunting there in 1987 with George River (Norpaq). Do not know if still operating. Later worked for the outfitters at US shows. Spent many great days in camps getting ready for hunters. Many bowhunters did bring a rifle; a lot did not. I do not remember any bowhunters not going back w/o their animals....though it did seem they were in camps with good migration numbers. There were hunts....all rifle...when there were few caribou seen and only one was taken back. Go in shape, go with the attitude that it is not a 'turkey shoot' but is a tough terrain to navigate. Was last there in in 2010. When the plane lands on the gravel runway your excitement will just increase! Enjoy! I miss it!
Bring two bug headnets in case one disappears or gets ripped. Also bring some 100% DEET. Ben's worked for me. You may not need either, but if you do, you'll be REALLY happy you have them.
A little folding stool will be most helpful.
Bugs possible Rain a lock Lots of big rocks to hide behind and answer nature's call. Be sure and take a light fishing rod with some 7-spot spoons and a medium jerk bait or two. Stool great idea. Comfortable walking boots. Rubber boots if you can walk in them all day. Ear plugs-you will need them in the plane and probably in the sack. Lots of arrows for the ptarmigans. Minimum of two cameras.
No bous, usually great fishing anyway and lots of relic stuff to find laying around. been a bunch of times, always enjoyed it.
2014 will be my 4th Caribou hunt - the 3rd with Jack Hume. Enjoying the experience is spot on. My brother in law came with me last September and I told him getting a caribou was 2nd to just being there. Yes - I know the argument that $6000+ is a lot to pay for a camping trip if you end up not taking any animals. But if thats the only reason your going - spend the money on something else. Northern Quebec is breathtaking. The weather will be sunny and warm - grey and cold - WINDY and rainy / snow and did I mention windy? Get ready for a bit of windburn. Bring 2 pair of sunglasses as well the 2 headnets. Good waterproof boots that you can put some miles on - if you can do that with knee high rubber boots then use those. A GOOD rainsuit that you will also use for blocking the wind. A good vest. A spinning rod / reel & some small spoons. A good backpack and something that I invested in this past trip - a GPS unit. You still need to use your compas - but it was a nice addition. The best part was simply being out there - each hour of each day. That is why I go. I would guess thats why your heading up there too. Have a safe and great hunt.
One other thing that Bowriter mentioned that I forgot to mention - but are an absolute must have - earplugs for the float plane. There may not be enough earmuffs to go around and a 2 hour trip on a floatplane without ear protection is not fun. And - you can use them when your cabinmates snore.........
Great tips guys. Earplugs, extra headnets and sunglasses, stools, etc are things that I would have never thought of but could make a big difference.
Any advice on the best way to bow hunt the area? Just find a crossing and wait? Glass and try to intercept? Spot and stalk? I am going up solo and on the outpost package so I am guessing I will be on my own for the vast majority of time. Is there any better time of day or does it all just depend on the migration and how you hit it?
I would think everyone here will tell you pretty much the same thing - yes to find a crossing and wait / yes to glass and intercept and yes to spot and stalk. I've put a stalk and intercept on caribou that showed up when I was glassing caribou that were bedded down. The best time of day would be whenever they're moving and you happen to be there. If your bowhunting obviously a choke point offers the best opportunity. Your outfitter should be able to put you in or near areas that have caribou moving. Get familiar with the area though. You wouldn't think getting turned around up there is possible - but the weather can change that fast and then your looking at 1/5 mile visibility and 3 miles from camp. Compas & GPS and hunt with a buddy and everyones knows where everyone is hunting. Have a a couple of emergency space blankets, candy bars, whatever you usually take for emergencies - to include a COMPLETE first aid kit. Something goes wrong out there, cut your hand field dressing or whatever - your a long way from the ER. Also - get a filtered water bottle that blocks 99% of the bad stuff. The water is that clear up there - but, you still need to use the filtered water bottle.
Great advice about the water filter - I forgot that one. First trip I didn't thinkj of it and they told us the water in the river was "99% pure". Ok, except for geese and caribou crapping in it, the rotting caribou carcass in the river a few hundred yards upstream, and the float plane pilot standing on the dock taking a leak upstream from the camp water intake.
Next time I took a filtered bottle, and on all trips everywhere now I take a prescription for Flagyl, just in case. The $5 co-pay is cheap insurance. I've had giardia, and there's no better way to ruin a trip than that. I can't imagine getting from James Bay back to CO with that awful bug.
Been three times. jHA will take good care of you. Agree with bou bound, don't take the gun or you will use it, I have toted both 3x. Took 1 nice one with a bow. Take good weather weather gear and layers, it will be warm but have the layers just in case. Take leather goretex boots and 1 set of mucks, etc. I have posted complete list of things to bring in past posts. Thermacell and two head nets as thermacell does not work on black flies and thermacell looses effectiveness in the wind. Good binocs is key, the more powerful the better. My 10x42s were a bit short, the tundra is more mountainous than you think. Take a sat phone and an ePrb, you are way the heck away from civilization. It will get cold at night, good sleeping bag. When hunting there are plenty of rocks to sit on, a butt pad is all you need, nix the stool.you will not keep up with a moving bou, so setup on active crossings and trails. Have a blast, and take advantage of the great fishing. Take 5 of diamonds, daredevils for lake trout , char and pike.
I also had a water filter, guides all said drink from lake no problem . Well, to play it safe, I had iodine pills and Canadian club and would minx that with water and it seemed to do the trick, had no problems, all the cooking and table water will be lake water. Take along a metal water bottle or use and empty plastic one and u will be set.
take powder TANG.....always a treat for the water drinking! I'd find caribou crossing at a river crossing and set up CLOSE.....more will soon follow! I've shot them at 30" and 3 yards out to 18 yards....Enjoy and have FUN!....shooting them close to water way makes it a easy 'bring back to camp' with NO PACKING! Boats are a wonderful thing!
BTW, I took 4 caribou on 2 trips with my longbow. distances from 3 to 30 yards. I got laughed at when I pulled out my longbow, but that stopped quickly when I pulled in a 47" spread caribou on the first day. JHA was my outfitter both times, and I wouldn't even consider going with anyone else.
If you need a gun there will be guns available, either from other hunters, or the guides.
That's funny, TradbowBob. I had much the same experience the first trip. The camp wasn't familiar with trad guys, esp. longbow, and my guide not at all. He looked at it curiously like it was some sort of toy, and asked if I could really kill something with it.
First morning out he asked why I only had four arrows, and I told him I only had two tags, so I had two extra for ptarmigan. He said the compound guys bring a tube of arrows and shoot them all, and we weren't going back to camp to get more. I just smiled at him.
Second morning I nuked a great bull that fell over 30 feet from where I shot him. The guide's eyes were big and round, and he never questioned anything again. For the rest of that trip and on subsequent trips, he was an enjoyable hunting buddy, glassing partner, meat packer and boat driver, and we got along great. Whenever there was an opportunity at a bull I wanted, he'd just smile at me and say, "Go kill it".
Hey Drop tine,
Before my October 2007 trip with Mirage Outfitters along the Nastapoka River near Hudson Bay, I was concerned about shooting moving (migrating, right?) animals and making a good kill shot at various distances. Here's what I did to make it a bit easier for me.
I bought the video "Monster Bull III," which has a ton of "over the shoulder" kill shots on moving caribou...by some top celebrities you will recognize. What I did was freeze (pause) the video at the point the arrow just entered the caribou's body, and mark that spot on my TV screen with a small piece of blue masking tape. Then, with the video still paused, I would rewind the video one frame at a time until the arrow was back on the shooter's bow at the moment of launch. You will be amazed at the "imaginary" point these guys were aiming at in order to make perfect kill shots on these bulls while they were walking by at fairly close range. Sometimes, they were actually aiming in front of and completely off the animals chest. It may not seem like these caribou are covering that much ground as they walk, but believe me it can be deceiving.
This technique helped me practice for and close the deal on my bull...as mine was in a pretty big hurry to get to the water to take a swim with his pals, but my arrow changed his mind and he never made it to the water's edge.
Best of luck on your hunt...and hope this helps!
Good advice, axle. Swing through the shot and follow-through, just like you would with a shotgun. Most people stop at the release on a moving targets, which can result in a shot too far back.
Only time I've seen this not work was when my partner snuck up on a lone bull. He swung ahead and released, but the bull heard the string and stopped, resulting in a neck shot. We got the bull with a follow-up. But when 'bou are in a group they make so much noise that they'll keep right on walking.
Enjoy the adventure - you'll have a blast as long as you keep your expectations realistic.
Lots of great advice here. Even though I've been several times, it's been a while and it's good to be reminded of all the details. If you're flying, if at all possible, try to get a direct flight to Montreal. This greatly lessons the chance that the airline will misplace your baggage. If you have to have a connecting flight, go for at least a 2 hour layover to give the airline every chance to get the baggage on your 2nd flight. I also recommend packing two redundant bags that you can do the trip on. Each roll around duffel has a bow, arrows, release, etc, and enough supplies so that I could do the trip on one bag if I had to. I fly a fair amount, and have had the airlines deliver a bag days late, which won't work up in the tundra. I have done this several times and been able to make weight fine. Another obvious trick is to wear all your heavy clothing & boots when your luggage is being weighed.
I completely agree with the folks that recommend leaving your rifle at home, taking advantage of the fishing, and keeping your expectations in check. Northern Quebec is amazing country. It's one of my favorite hunts.
Check the fishing season with your trip dates. I don't think the season covers all the hunt date possibilities. Practice shooting with your head net on. And do that in the shade and in direct sunlight. Direct sun can cause some of them to "shine" really bad and you basically can't see out of them. I used a black magic marker to paint the netting and that cut down on the glare off the material. And get the head net with straps that go under your arms to keep the critters out. Check with your pilot to see if you can load any extra supplies on the plane before departing to your camp. We had extra room and weight available and bought a couple cases of beer and other snacks at a local store. Having a beer or three after a long day hunting when it's been chilling in the lake was a nice end of each day. If your outfitter has ptarmigan in the area, think about bringing a wrist rocket with ammo. Very light weight and saves on arrows trying to get a few of them to add to dinner. And a lot of fun.
Thanks for all the advice, great stuff. Will have to pick up a bunch of gear and a few caribou videos. I was wondering about the moving shots, I think I will have trouble finding a place to practice that very well.
Definitely going to leave the gun at home, I am sure I will be able to borrow one if needed. Looking forward to doing more research (and shopping) on layered clothing, packframes, caribou videos and bow cases.
"You get 2 tags. Just shoot one for gods sake! Don't think you have to shoot a giant."
Make sure this is true..............the ministry has recently announced a change for 2014 and you very well may not be getting a second tag.
There was talk among some of the guides for caribou that I know that there might be a change from 2 to 1 coming.
From the Hunting Report:
Quebec Sets Caribou Hunting Rules for Next Two Seasons
(posted April 29, 2013) The wait for an official ruling is over; Quebec has set its caribou rules for the next two years. In a press release issued on Friday, April 26, Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks Yves-François Blanchet announced the new framework and the reasoning behind it. Basically, the two-caribou per hunter limit will remain in place for the 2013/14 season, but for 2014/15, the limit will be reduced to only one caribou per hunter.
In Zone 23 West, which is the zone hunted by outfitters based in Kuujjuaq and Lac Pau, (see map) the season will begin on August 17 and end on October 7, in both 2013 and 2014. A total of 804 two-caribou licenses will be available through outfitters for the 2013 season. Zone 23 West is the main area of interest for visiting hunters targeting animals in the Leaf River Herd. "In light of new biological analyses, including those conducted in 2012, the [Leaf River] herd appears to be fairly stable," states the press release.
The two-caribou limit will also remain in place for the winter meat hunts in Zone 22A (where 500 permits are issued to Quebec residents by lottery), and Zone 22B (where 1,722 licenses are available through outfitters). The 2013/14 and 14/15 season in these zones is December 1 - January 30, long after most trophy animals have shed their antlers.
Starting in August, 2014, all hunters will be allowed only one caribou in any open caribou zones.
All hunting for the George River herd remains closed. The press release states: "Biological data collected in 2012 indicate that the [George River] herd has continued to decrease and now appears to number roughly 25,000 animals, compared with 74,000 in 2010. This situation leads the Ministry to maintain the closure of sport hunting over the next two years in zones 23 east, 23 south and 24. These zones will remain closed to hunting as long as the biological data collected and indicators do not show that the herd is recovering."
For those interested, we have placed the entire press release on our homepage under web uploads.
Our takeaway advice for hunters remains the same. If you are looking to put a Quebec/Labrador caribou trophy on your wall, 2013 is your best bet, as you have two chances to find your dream bull on one hunt. We now know 2014 will be restricted to one caribou. Whether that change will have any impact on the remaining outfitters, only time will tell. - Tim Jones, Managing Editor
good info there Bou. Thats sad news to! Glad I'm going back this year.
Richard had said on his last email that it looked like this is the last year for 2 caribou. Glad I booked when I did, though I would be more than happy with one decent caribou.
yeah I'm booked for 14. 1 or 2 it's no big deal. it's not like we are used to going on big game hunts and taking multiple animals of the same species. heck, with a bow getting one is reason for celebration.
Do not know if this will help but one thing you will run into is the blowfly. If your animal is down the scent brings in those flies and it is best that you do everything to keep them off your meat. In the past when I was up there most had cheese cloth in camp but some of it was not good quality. I always took the game bags that kept the flies from laying eggs until you could get the meat hung in the meat shack.
As published in the Hunting Report, the Quebec Minister Blanchard has sent out a notice to all outfitters stating that the new regulations for 2014 would be set back to 1 caribou/hunter. With that being said the new regulation isn't justified by any means as the Leaf River herd is not only proven to be in a very stable and healthy condition but it also numbers over 430 000 caribou. these results came in just this past year by Quebec's own biologist! The Quebec minister wants to actually issue twice as many licenses to the existing outfitters and in return limit those licenses to 1 caribou rather than the 2 caribou limit. A regulation that would in fact do nothing to help our herd even if it was in danger as we would still be allowed to take just as many caribou from the herd. The Quebec outfitter's federation has already taken a firm stand against Minister Blanchard. One caribou or two caribou there has still never been a better time to join us on a Quebec caribou hunt. With fewer outfitters in operation today than there has been for nearly 30 years, better bulls being taken each and every year, less hunting pressure and success rates that are quite frankly higher than anywhere else in the world all combined with options to fish out of crystal clear lakes and rivers filled with trophy lake trout, brook trout, landlocked arctic char, huge northern pike or the added opportunity to hunt ptarmigan, snow geese or black bear at absolutely no extra cost, why pass up on what can easily turn into a "trip of a lifetime"? What we offer is an extremely remote wilderness adventure. It would be a shame if we are regulated to a 1 caribou limit as this new regulation really does absolutely nothing to help conserve our caribou herds but none the less if we are limited to 1 caribou, I can assure you that your actual trip with us will be just as enjoyable. We will make sure it is! You can look at it what ever way you want but I myself would rather hunt an area with truly nice bulls that offers a 95% or better chance of taking 1 caribou (in a 1 caribou area) than to have a 70% chance to take a mediocre caribou in a (2 caribou area)! It's all just a matter of opinion I guess. See the link bellow to see what our Federation had to say about the new regulation. It is written in English on the right hand side of page 6 (blue writing)....
The opportunity to experience northern Quebec in Caribou camp is why I'm going back for my fourth time. Would I like 2 tags? Sure. But just being there with the opportunity to hunt caribou is why I'm going back. See you in 2014 Richard.
One thing I would add is to make sure you have plenty of arrows with you. I took a 4 arrow quiver and after getting miles from camp with two tags and many bulls I realized that if anything went wrong I didn't have much back up.
The last night in camp I spent two hours sitting on a rock glassing over 100 caribou behind camp and judging them with one of the guides. It was a real learning experience . Take good glass, and a great camera, take tons of pics as you will relive it the rest of your life. Take a good first aid kit and to it add some duct tape, superglue, and quick clot.
Finally something my group last year absolutely loved was two way radios! We each had one so we could talk to each other if we were sitting on different crossings, and we could also talk to the other guide and the cook at camp to get updates on how everyone else was doing. Nothing like getting play by play from the other hunters.
James, you are correct there. Our 2 way radios were pry the most exciting thing ever. I loved hunting on my own but I loved being able to hear from you guys and your success as well. The shear number of one liners we pulled outta that trip will stick out in my mind forever.
if you overnight in schefferville stay out of the indian bar next to the float plane base, me and a buddy almost did not get out of there alive.
Theres an Indian bar? All we got to enjoy was the Caribou Bar at the sea plane base.
Good rain gear,rubber boots,dress in layers. The weather can go from 65 to 30 sun to sleet a few times a day. If the bugs are bad hunt high in the wind. Bring your fishing gear and ask the guides where the brook trout are. If you tag out you will have the best fishing of your life.
Great tips and I have had some great PM's and phone calls too. Look forward to putting the tips to good use.
I never did see a bar in Lac Pau. I did enjoy a couple of shots of Johnny Walker Top Shelf after the day's work for an outfitter out of there. Sitting on a ridge with the setting sun and snow showers makes for relaxation. I was alone in a camp spotting for c.
The best tips are here in these posts. Make careful use of them and when that plane lands on the gravel runway..........! Started hunting in '87 and went 20 times....seems crazy just for one species but...
P.S. On the bogs there is this pale gold large raspberry-looking berry...just a tip! Enjoy it if you find it.....other blueberries, etc. If you cook knows how to make sugar pie...top off with the berries!
A buddy and I are going up with JHA 9/9-15 on the outpost and have some questions as well. Is it worth taking a rigid packframe or can a guy get by with a hunting pack like a Badlands 2800 for hauling to save weight? It seems with baggage cost, it is probably easier to just have racks and hides prepped and shipped rather than dealing with baggage fees and handling. Also, I'm thinking of just bringing one box of meat home (on the Plane) loaded with backstraps, tenders and maybe a hind qtr. Any thoughts on getting it all back? Thanks Kip
A 2800 will work fine. I believe you will be able to take out 60 lbs. of meat plus horns per caribou.
try to bring out all of your meat deboned....it is that good. Know baggage is expensive but if it might be your only trip it might be worth it.
So is it better to ship antlers and capes home thru a taxidermist or bring them back on your commercial flight from Montreal? I know I'll have to do the cost comparison, but just looking to see what others do. Thx
I wish Richard could take over booking hunts in the old Tutulick camps...I'd be booked in a heart beat.
Does anyone know what has become of the Tuttulik camps?
Only step on grass when crossing bogs.
Went to Mirage outfitters in 2004,and had an awesome hunt.Took the bow and the rifle. The weather turned bad, so the rifles came out.This was the winter hunt, and by the second day we pulled 8 bulls off a frozen lake. All hunters tagged two bulls in our group. What many hunters don't understand is how good this meat is! I had planned to go back but many things have changed since 2004. Good hunting to all .
Tadpole, Although I am well aware that Tutulik's camps offered some of the best caribou hunting available a number of years back, the fact of the matter is that during the last three to four years their camps would not have had hardly any caribou passing through. Actually all of the outfitters operating west of Lac Pau were having to fly their clients over 100 miles east as the caribou migrated south of the 57th on both sides of the Delay River. Fortunately for us this is where the bulk of my camps are located. I consider myself very fortunate for having had the opportunity of taking over Luco/Caribou Adventure's camps and for being the only one with permission to use Arctic Adventure's camps as they were right in line of the migration throughout the 2012 season. There was very little movement of any kind West of the camps we were operating from during the 2011 and/or 2012 season. Who knows maybe if the caribou eventually start migrating further west into Tutulik territory (which I am sure they will eventually) I will try to strike up a deal for their camps but it is certainly not in the cards for now. I've taken on as many camps and territory as I can handle and I think it is fair to say that the territory we are now hunting has offered us the "cream of the crop"! I wouldn't change a thing...
Heading up to hunt with Richard in a few weeks. Was going to take a pair of Muck boots, but am contemplating taking my Lowa's as well. Just got back from a mountain hunt and the Lowa's were very kind to my feet. Also, was contemplating taking my spotting scope with me as well. Not sure that it is worth the extra weight and hassle though. Plan to take my Kuiu 5000 internal frame pack. Thoughts/suggestions welcomed.
MT leave the spotting scope at home. Not useful enough for the extra weight. Not sure about your boots but do make sure you have high quality footwear that will support your feet and keep you dry. If you are in decent shape, you will want to do lots of hiking. There is usually a couple pack frames in the camps but your internal frame pack should suffice fine. You likely won't take that hunting with you anyways, but do take a smaller day pack.
Good luck and enjoy your trip. Richard and Amanda will ensure you have a great time.
Mad Trapper - go back and look through the responses written May 6th / May 7th or so in this thread. That should help you out some. I agree with CPAhunter - Richard & Amanda will take good care of you. Have a safe and great hunt.
Bring lots of money. 20, 50and 100 dollar bills get you a long ways, even up on the tundra. Rory
I thought I would update this thread since I got so much use out of it and I know some folks are getting ready to head to JHA over the next few weeks. Richards pictures on FB are making want to be up there in the worst way.
The tips on reasonable expectations were the most important ones. I went up expecting to have a great adventure, see some amazing country,have terrible weather and not see any caribou and it basically came true. And it was fantastic. I had a 35 yard alert quartering to shot on a good bull the first afternoon and that was the only mature bull I saw until the last 10 minutes of an extra hunting day (got fogged in an extra day). We just happened to miss the migration by a bit and while we almost all tagged out mature bulls were rare. One other bowhunter in camp did not see a live mature bull the whole week. I still had a fantastic time but if you go in expecting an easy hunt with loads of animals you may be disappointed. We had lots of rain, constant wind, snow and cold temperatures.
Other tips that come to mind: -I took a small folding chair (one of those "I saw it on TV" Smallest chair in the world) and it was a life saver. Allowed you to sit comfortably all day.
-Good rain gear is essential. I had Core4Element and it was great.
-I took a spotting scope but didn't use it and wouldn't bring it back, especially with the weight restrictions.
-earplugs for the plane were great and for night. We had some heavy duty snorers in the cabin and even good earplugs were not enough. Next time I would bring some sleeping aids, I found it difficult to sleep.
-I didn't bring enough handwarmers. I would also bring another set up insoles for my rubber boots, it was hard to dry them out at night.
-I like the savour the hunting experience so I had planned on hunting the whole week unless two crankers walked out in front of me. Some of the guys shot the first two bulls that showed up because the guides said the bou were slow. They were then a bit choked when a few thousand showed up the two days. In my ideal world I would try to get one on the ground and then hold off for a really nice one, but I would not have been disappointed if I had not gotten one at all.
-I used the taxidermist that Richard has at the hotel and he did a good job. I was flying so it was much simpler and cheaper for me to do it that way.
-I used the meat processor at the hotel and he did a good job, was fast and reasonable rates. The meat was fantastic.
Have a great hunt everyone. If you do into it with a good attitude it can't be anything but a fantastic trip.
Forgot, I would also think about taking a light tarp to set up and block the wind. One guy in the group did that a couple of days and it would make a huge difference when it is howling. Along those same lines, I would pack a thermos next time for something hot to drink during the day. I don't do coffee but even some hot water would hit the spot after sitting still for 6 hours in the wind and show.
Some teaser pics for the guys going over the next few weeks.
Drop tine PM sent........
Figured I'd use this thread to keep the info centralized. A couple of questions as a first timer with JHA: - rubber boots or leather assuming they are both comfortable to walk in? Should I take two pair (guessing the weight restrictions make that prohibitive)? - assuming the weight requirements include your weapon and case? What do you recommend to keep that weight low? - concerning logistics, if I schedule a hunt that ends September 3rd, am I playing with fire booking a return flight home on the morning of the 4th? - how do you recommend transporting meat home? I know airlines require a hard cooler, will there be a place to get one up there or keep one there? - if I have excess gear, is there a place to store that?
Curious to hear from those that have been! Thanks!! Jason
I like leather boots and Gators, I walk A LOT! You'll only wear on set of clothes to hunt so don't pack all the gear you own. If you fly out the next day it will hard if not Impossible to bring your meat home with you.
I prefer leather boots too. The boats can usually get right on shore so you won't have to walk through much water. I like the badlands terra glide duffel for this hunt. You will be over weight with a bowcase and a duffel. I think you can still pay extra if your overweight. When I went I made weight, 60 lbs, with a terra glide and a daypack.
Thanks for the answers...I've got a Tera glide and have used it on a few hunts so that's good to hear. I prefer the leather boots as well so looks like my Kennetreks and gaiters will work well.
Jason, send me a PM. This year will be my 15th hunt with JHA so I can probably give you some decent info. Between me and Dwitt2n we should be able to get you fixed up pretty good. Definitely do not schedule to fly out the next day!!!! Been weathered in 3 years in a row. See you on the tundra. Rory
I wore rubber boots and they worked great but they are very comfortable and I did more sitting than some of the other guys here. Bring what is comfortable, I wouldn't bring two pairs, weight is a bit of an issue.
Don't bring a spotting scope, limit your clothes and wear your boots to the weigh in.
Our flight was delayed a day but it was 2 weeks later than yours. Definitely was a pain to change, I called my wife with the satellite phone and had her change the flight, book a hotel room and let the airport parking know.
They have a meat cutting service that will take your meat and cut and wrap it. They do a really good job and it is reasonable (was $90 per animal then). They do it that night and have the meat back to the shack by 2-3 AM so it was ready for my flight that was at 8. They put it in the JHA hard boxes and that is what I put it on the plane with, worked great.
I packed a bunch of clothes in my hard bowcase and put the rest in my back pack. Terra glider would be good if you can get everything in it.
fly and blackflies can be deadly, bring dope and bug suit