Story and many photos to follow.
Our group tagged out with some very nice bulls and a huge bear, ptarmigan and great fishing.
I can only start with this photo because I will be driving tomorrow.
Thus far Chris, Dave, Greg, Tony and I were cabin mates for the trip.... But one was missing. I wil get to that later.
The amount of gear was amazing and with us right inside the plane.
We weigh in for the Beaver flight.
We had to wait a bit for another plane as its was delayed for inspection.
Our group never complained and went with the flow. Once you do enough of these hunts, anything can happen, we rolled with it.
Big guys in a small plane! Dave, Tony and I, Gary up front as the co-pilot.
Great thread so far!!
I too was scanning everywhere looking for Caribou, seemed to be a bit high to really locate them.
We had one little pit stop on the way to the outpost camp. We picked up Rory, aka Rtkreaper.
Once at camp, we collectively knew it was too late to hunt, so we opted to get settled and take in the beauty of the Tundra.
He would go between camps and deliver goods and fly meat back to the main camp.
Here is his plane. I believe he said it was built in 1961.
Both Tony and I where off and running with Bobby who would give us the lead.
Our group was semi guided, which I was fine with.
Never hunted Caribou and knowing what the terrain held, It would be an advantage that proved well.
We climbed to our first vantage point to set up an glass, some 4 miles down the lake. As we crested the very first hill... Caribou.
I dropped my pack, Tony and I agreed to split up. If they came one way, I had a shot, the other way, he could have the shot with his rifle.
Here is where I realized we had a great group of guys. No egos, all willing to help each other.
Off I ran, to get some cover in front of me, the 5 bulls approached.
Although a bit surreal, I was ready, but they where not. They flanked me at 73 yards and I could only watch them go over the hill.
Not a bad start for us.
They came down and we planned a intercept. Our approach was more in favor for Tony, so I held back to see if one of the Bulls would offer a bow shot.
We lowered down and the got within 60 yards or so before I heard Tony shoot.... perfect shot and that Bull ran right past us within 25 yards. The rest of the Bulls where curious and did hang around for a few minutes, but out of bow range.
Hi fives and the work began. Even while we broke down the Caribou, we could see them all around us, but no decent bulls.
The suggestion came up that I sit a crossing at the lake, which I did. After about an hour, I spotted a tail flickering on a small island in the middle of the lake.
I kept my eyes on him for a few hours and radioed Bob.
I asked Bob to get me there by boat, which he agreed and the stalk was on. He shut down the motor and we coasted in, is in canoe paddles to get me close.
Stepping out of the boat and into the lake, my feet and boots got soaked but it didn't matter. I immediately saw the Bull at 57 yards and I wanted 40.
Within minutes, the arrow was gone and he almost ran me over before dying at the edge of the island, in the lake.
Sure was great feeling to get a Caribou with the bow!
This photo does zero justice to what we witnessed up there.
I was very fortunate to touch Rory's orange good luck hunting hat. In fact , most of us did.
Oh did I mention BEAR?
Dee had quite a surprise when she turned around.
She yelled and he didn't care, out the front door she went with radio in hand, calling Bob. Bob and Tony abruptly end hunting and head for camp and the bear with rifles in hand! Here is a photo of them speeding by me heading to camp.
The little island in the back ground is where my first Caribou was during this whole thing.
He never budged, boat, float plane noise, nothing moved him.... Until my arrow.
The guys set up near the last sighting and waited.
Then I heard BOOM...... BOOM, BOOM! Got him! I didn't get a photo but let me tell you, he was a 400lb bear easy and had a beautiful white Chevron on his chest. He was tagged and processed.
A true trophy by any standard.
He was one of four bears I laid eyes on during my hunt.
Tony also loved them, everywhere we went, he picked them up and gobbled them down.
Glassing for hours, you need layers.
I'm very glad I wore gaiters to keep my laces protected, otherwise I'd be retying them every five minutes going through the brush.
One day, my rain jacket served as a wind block. It's deciding what the temp are on top of the ridges compared to below after sitting for hours.
I also suggest a but pad, I didn't have one... But I did fold up a small emergency blanket to take some of the pain away.
Never a bad view on the Tundra!
More to come.
If you ever head back up there again, I would like to suggest using the caribou moss to build yourself a comfortable seat...(if you forget a butt pad). I have used the moss several times, and have found it to be quite comfortable.....
Rory, glad you guys had a safe trip and the hat? That thing is priceless!!!!
Makes me want to book one....
Thanks for sharing the story and the photos!
The migration through our area slowed a bit on these days.
Having warmer temps, the Caribou needed to bed during the day.
With all the hide and hair and racks they needed too.
At this point, I honestly was totally ok filling one tag, but I dreamed of having another opportunity while enjoying the scenery and sounds.
Speaking of sounds, it's very quiet on the Tundra.
Certainly a day to remember.
With everyone tagged out, Tony and I still had a tag each. The night before, Bob wanted to get an early start to head way down the lake.
Of course we were ready as instructed and we where on our way.
Oh.... The orange hat... We both asked Rory if we could touch it before we left.
We where seeing Caribou everywhere, this just might be the day.
2 Bulls following each other.... Game time.
We hurried to the waters edge, literally threw our packs on and needed to cut them off.
Again, I'd like to stress how unselfish all the guys where in camp. We beat the ground and tried to stay with Bob, he has mountain goat legs.
He would check to make sure we where keeping up and we where. We crested the first ridge and the 2 Bulls where gaining ground.
It's was now or never.... Run!
He knew he could get a shot with his rifle regardless.
We cut them off and I got to close the distance to 30 yards. They both had thier heads down eating and I kept a small group of trees between us as I staedied for the shot.
In this photo, you can see the first group of trees. The Bulls where just below them.
The arrow was on its way. I turned around and Tony was already in position and took the second bull.
The next series of photos require no caption.
"Today was a good day"
Ptarmigan with a bow is a blast and they taste good also.
From right to left:
Rory, Tony, Dave, Chris, Me and Gary
Its Gary not Greg, but he is from WV so he probably used to being called all sorts of other names! :)
Half way thru processing my meat. Will do the other half tomorrow!
Thx for the heads up in Gary's name, you know where I am, doing this on the phone... lol!
Chris and I would call it a " Cup of Death"
You are a different hunter now after the life changing experience getting to see and hunt the tundra personally.
The terrain so diff...the deep tundra moss...more water than land in a lot of places...sunsets are huge and gorgeous...the tundra quietness is hard to describe...the cold blue lake water is a diff blue...how buoyant caribou are when swimming in the water...and how graceful they look when they tilt their antlers back while trotting away...the camp life w/ a good group of guys is so cool...the neat campfire talks each night...the wonderful northern lights!...(how can one describe the northern lights to someone who has never seen then before??)
Next year a life changing mountain hunt experience...yes life is good...
Just FYI....those are not Beavers you all were flying in, they are DeHavilland DHC-3 Otters that have been upgraded with turbine engines. They were originally powered by Pratt&Whitney Wasp radials, the retro-fit turbo props are likely Pratt&Whitney also. Cool planes, as are the smaller Beavers which is what that white aircraft you snapped a photo of appears to be.
Anyway, good stuff! Thanks for sharing.
Dave, we will keep in touch, maybe that antelope hunt we talked about!
Thx again all, I highly recommend JHA if your considering a caribou hunt.
Thanks for posting!