I am starting from scratch with planning a '16 or '17 Caribou hunt. My goal is to book something for 2016 possibly 2017. I am ok with a partially guided / drop camp style hunts given the right area. Fully Guided is not my first choice, but I would consider a 2-3 hunter per guide situation.
Barren Ground? Quebec? AK? Newfoundland?
Right now I am a party of one, but would consider joining another group, or putting together a group. I live and hunt in CO and I am comfortable living out of a pup tent for a week or more, but a remote cabin wouldn't be out of the budget.
The good news is, that the wife has given the green light and I have a pretty flexible budget. This has been a life long dream, and its time to start putting a few things into motion.
Take a look at Manitoba for Central Barren Ground Caribou.... 400,000 plus caribou and they only give out 250 resident and 250 non-resident tags. You can shoot two there and there are some really big bulls and a lot of them.
My suggestion would be a fly in do it yourself hunt in Alaska. This type of hunt can be put together for $3500 or less if you're frugal. You should plan to hunt the northern part of the state. Think Kotzebue or Prudhoe bay as good starting points. The key to making this trip affordable is to apply for and begin to use the Alaska airlines credit card. Their mileage plan is fantastic. Anyone considering an Alaskan hunt should enroll ASAP.
Newfoundland was an absolute blast. I was able to kill a giant "stag" and a moose on the first day using my rifle.The prices for this trip are going up… That's for sure. However, the outfitter I used is still priced less than $6000. I had a great time in camp with Craig. I was the only Hunter he hosted during my week. I recommend his operation.
The picture on his "Caribou page" is actually of me with my stag.
I am booked for this September with Jack Hume adventures for my Quebec /Labrador Caribou. I am hoping to be successful there and then fly across the country to British Columbia for a mountain caribou hunt with Cassiar Stone outfitters. I chose Richard based on feedback from this site, and I chose Cassiar Stone because they hired a friend of mine from Idaho to guide for them. Those hunts are priced at $6200 and $9500 respectively. I would consider Quebec for my first caribou, but not a mountain caribou anywhere, as they seem to be flirting with 10K pretty regularly. You could hunt Alaska almost 3 times for that.
CCBG caribou are in flux right now because of the closure of a giant part of the range to hunting. As a result, the price has gone up considerably. The only reasonably priced operation I have found is booked up for the next two years! The Manitoba hunts seem to be overpriced in my opinion. I certainly would not recommend one of these hunts for a first Caribou.
So now my "3 things":
1.) buy multiple tags 2.) shoot the first bull you want to take home that gives you a chance 3) bring and wear comfortable knee high rubber boots with "lugs" on the soles (not slick). I usually wear mine the whole hunt.
There are plenty of guys here that have hunted caribou more than I have. They can amend my advice as they see fit.
I have good friends who have a daughter that is a bush pilot in Alaska. They go up every year to hunt and fish. They've struck out on Caribou 2 of the last 3 years.
Alaska, of course, is really the only option for someone from the U.S. who wants to do a DIY hunt.. If that's what a person wants to do, go for it!
To each his own, I guess. Manitoba was my first caribou hunt and I'd recommend it to anyone. Was it overpriced? I didn't think so, but every situation is different.. I was within driving distance, so my travel costs were pretty minimal, I didn't have to have antlers and meat shipped back, etc.
We primarily looked at success rates on trophy animals and raving references in our research. No matter what you choose, it is a hunting trip and there is a possibility you may not get an animal.
I am mostly a DIY type, but I look to sponsor's on bowsite first when considering such hunts. I've never used them but BSC or Link's are reputable consultants to talk to as well.
Jack Hume was atop our list and more reasonably priced than Nunavut or Manitoba (same thing), and having talked to him at the shows seemed a very good choice.
There are all kinds of communities where someone can be a "bush pilot". Many of those communities have a really crappy caribou migration/population.
Hunts in Manitoba seem to be running about $8500. Just a few years ago, you could hunt that same subspecies for $5000. When the Northwest territories reopens, the price will go back down again. That is what I meant when I suggested it was overpriced.
Wherever you decide to hunt caribou, good luck! May the migration find you…
A plane and they struck out? That's quite funny... Fly more.
Area is in caribou wintering grounds, Porcupine heard. You need to sign up for their "on call" list, if the caribou don't get there you won't get the call. Once the caribou show up you have 10 days to get there. Don't know how big the list is. I would rather wait for the call rather than take my chances. Last year they notified all hunters it wasn't going to happen. $1000 deposit to get on the list if accepting new people. Hunt cost is around $6000 if I recall. Good luck wherever you go.
A person can only cover so many miles on foot... That's what was nice about my Manitoba hunt. Traveling by boat allows a hunter to cover miles and miles of country compared to hunting on foot.
Maybe I need to hunt Alaska so I'll have first hand experience on what it is like!!!!
I have been operating in Quebec my entire life and quite frankly I've hunted the George River herd from the Caniapiscau all the way into Labrador while it was open (following the changing migration from year to year) and had near 100% success in doing so even when the herd was down to 70 000 caribou. Since it was closed to hunting in 2009-2010 I was forced to move my base of operation from Schefferville to Lac Pau to gain closer access to the Leaf River Herd and at the same time took over all 30 of Luco and Caribou Adventure's former hunt camps/territory and have also since gained access to all of Arctic Adventures, Delay River and Explo Sylva's former hunting camps. In doing so allows me to cover a huge portion of Nunavik (northern Quebec) and although not a perfect science as caribou do have a mind of their own.., I can potentially move with the migration from camp to camp and from week to week. That is not saying that the caribou can't hold north of our camps or can't go west or east of our camps and that is not saying that the weather always allows me to get out and scout as often as I would like but none the less we have access to more territory, with more outpost camps scattered throughout the tundra than anyone has ever had access to in the past.
I could have easily saved myself a pile of money by doing what so many other outfitters have done in the past and operated from the camps I had taken over from my father (Jack Hume) rather than invest further to purchase, rent and maintain so many camps other camps. I actually used every possible means available to be able to ensure that my clients would have access to the herds and more importantly in a legal and ethical manner while hunting from the safety and comforts of a fully equipped outpost camp.
I also personally fly around this enormous territory and choose our best camps from week to week and reposition hunters and staff accordingly. Had I not taken over all these camps and had I not been flying my own float plane to ensure that our clients are positioned in the best camps from week to week the only thing I could guarantee is that you probably would not see a caribou as your chances would drop from over 90% average to bellow 30%.
Ollie for your information I would not be afraid to compare my statistics with those of any other caribou outfitter in North America and yes I am from Quebec. The herds will continue to move no matter where you go to hunt. The important part is whether your outfitter has proven that he will do what it takes to move with the caribou when ever possible. With that being said our camps enjoyed near 100% success in 2014. Heck they have enjoyed near 100% success for the past two decades! The proof is in the pudding...is that the saying I've heard before. I don't mean to brag but nobody that hunted with JHA last year can say they went home without seeing a caribou! That is the truth.
That said, if guides and outfitters are able to get clients on animals the only reason a resident with a plane isn't able to do it is poor planning.
I don't know about other places, just that I've come home with 4 caribou all taken with my longbow from 3 to 35 yards.
Triple 3's Link
No offence Richard But come on guys wake up!
Sorry guys just had to GMHP!!
Go to Alaska for gods sake!! with a proven operation How many hunts you got left in your life??
Who do you use in Alaska? Or did I miss it above/
Im in you same boat and will be following the comments too. This will most likely be a trip of a lifetime for me so research will be everything.