Mathews Inc.
Back From Mt Caribou Hunt With Actic Red
Caribou
Contributors to this thread:
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
gobbler 26-Sep-10
Florida Mike 26-Sep-10
kota-man 26-Sep-10
Chris Durando 26-Sep-10
hunterx 26-Sep-10
bow sheep 26-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 26-Sep-10
Kevin Dill 26-Sep-10
BerksArcher 26-Sep-10
Florida Mike 26-Sep-10
Kawabunga 26-Sep-10
BTM 26-Sep-10
Muskrat 27-Sep-10
Stekewood 27-Sep-10
Florida Mike 27-Sep-10
OFFHNTN 27-Sep-10
Chip T. 27-Sep-10
Rackmastr 27-Sep-10
Florida Mike 27-Sep-10
JCK 27-Sep-10
MoCracken 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
greg 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Florida Mike 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
JCK 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 27-Sep-10
Ki-Ke 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Stekewood 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Uncle Jimbo 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Jimbo 28-Sep-10
jcneng 28-Sep-10
steff 28-Sep-10
Matt 28-Sep-10
Hawkeye 28-Sep-10
gobbler 28-Sep-10
Bigpizzaman 28-Sep-10
LCH 28-Sep-10
kota-man 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Carcajou 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 28-Sep-10
Florida Mike 28-Sep-10
Tom inPA 29-Sep-10
bigguy 29-Sep-10
njbuck 29-Sep-10
BerksArcher 29-Sep-10
Stillman 29-Sep-10
Bou'bound 29-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 29-Sep-10
Dwayne 29-Sep-10
TD 29-Sep-10
Jasper 30-Sep-10
Waterfowler 30-Sep-10
Gobblestopper 30-Sep-10
Stan NJ 30-Sep-10
Stan NJ 30-Sep-10
Stan NJ 30-Sep-10
huntmaster 30-Sep-10
Woodman@work 30-Sep-10
Scoot 30-Sep-10
loesshillsarcher 30-Sep-10
Deacon Dave 30-Sep-10
Inspector 30-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 30-Sep-10
Busta'Ribs 30-Sep-10
CPAhunter 30-Sep-10
Stan NJ 30-Sep-10
Arkansaslongbow 30-Sep-10
Earltex 30-Sep-10
Hunts_with_stick 30-Sep-10
sunsignarcher 02-Oct-10
midwest 02-Oct-10
patradhunter 05-Oct-10
Busta'Ribs 07-Oct-10
kota-man 08-Oct-10
Rut-Nut 12-Oct-10
elkwatcher 12-Oct-10
Bowonly 15-Oct-10
medicinemann 15-Oct-10
tthomas 16-Oct-10
Busta'Ribs 18-Oct-10
Mark Watkins 20-Oct-10
kota-man 28-Mar-11
From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
I've just returned from the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories, hunting Mountain Caribou with Tavis Molnar and his crew at Arctic Red River Outfitters.

I did quite a bit of research in deciding which sub-species of Caribou to hunt before choosing Mountain Caribou, and also in selecting Arctic Red as my outfitter.

I also had a hard time deciding when to go; early season finds the bulls high in the mountains and they can be fairly stationary, so once you find a big one you have a good chance of killing him, but later the weather pushes the cows down and towards the valleys and the bulls follow and although it's not a true Caribou migration, the animals can be a bit more concentrated at this time.

Tavis convinced me that the best chance to kill a giant bull with a bow would be during August. And when I say "giant", I mean it, the trophy quality in this area is truly world class. It would not surprise me if they take a new world record P&Y bull up there someday. They kill a lot of bulls with rifles that would exceed the existing record, but not a lot of guys go there specifically to bowhunt Caribou, which is a shame because it is really a tremendous bowhunting opportunity.

Ultimately, I decided to go on the last hunt of the year for a couple reasons. I wanted to be there when it was cold and I was hoping for the chance to hunt in some snow; and I really wanted a hard horned, white maned bull.

After two days of travel and 5 flights from the east coast through Houston-Edmonton-Yellowknife-Norman Wells, I finally arrived in base camp on the bank of the Arctic Red River on Sunday, September 19 (which is my youngest son's birthday).

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
I got my first glimpse of the Mackenzie's on the flight into base camp. And as I had hoped, the mountain tops were already showing signs of the coming winter.

The cold and snow were obviously there waiting for me, and so I hoped, was a big white-maned bull, somewhere down there in those mountains.

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
It really is an awesome and diverse region. Arctic Red River Outfitters is the northern-most guiding concession in the Mackenzie's.

This is a view of a pretty river valley we flew over between Norman Wells and base camp.

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
There were a group of hunters on their way out as we arrived. Although Arctic Red is primarily a sheep hunting outfit, they do kill a fair number of Caribou each season.

Here are a few hunters with their bulls, just before they flew back to town.

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
As luck would have it, I was quickly flown out to my hunting area soon after arriving in base camp. This would be a great bonus as I could start hunting on Monday rather than Tuesday, so my 7 day hunt just became an 8 day hunt.

Here are Tavis and Jeff, getting the super cub loaded for my flight.

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
The view on the way into camp was amazing.

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Arctic Red is very well known for being a leader in outfitting backpack hunting in these far north mountains.

No horses, no helicopters and living out of your backpack is what you can expect and consequently, they typically attract a committed and serious clientele base.

Essentially, they still do it the hard way, as it has been done for years.

Most of the time that is, anyway. I was delighted to find that I'd be hunting in one of the few wall tent camps they have set up for their late season Caribou hunts.

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Camp was complete with a diesel stove and I'm almost ashamed to admit we had such comfort while most of the other hunters were sleeping on the ground in pup tents.

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
My guide for this trip was AL Klassen, he's the senior guide with Arctic Red and referred to by the staff as "Sensai".

Al was Tavis' neighbor in Whitehorse and brought Tavis up to Arctic Red as a packer in the early '90s when he was just 17 years old. Al proudly talked about Tavis' journey, up through the ranks from the bottom to the top, eventually purchasing Arctic Red from Kelly Haugen two years ago.

As we sat in our toasty warm wall tent, eating fresh blueberry pie, Al laughed about how he used to take care of Tavis and now Tavis was taking care of him.

And I, of course, was also benefiting.

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
I'm not so sure Al was all that excited when he saw my bow come out of the plane. I also noticed a sly glance from Tavis to him at that time and I couldn't help but laugh at their silent exchange.

Although Al has been guiding forever and has 113 ram kills and over 60 Caribou kills "under his belt", he has only guided one other bowhunter in his career.

That was on the first sheep hunt of this season and I really wish I could remember the other bowhunters name because he killed a great ram with a perfect 50 yard shot.

Hopefully, Al would finish his season the same way he started it, albeit in an unlikely fashion, with bookend bow kills.

We would start our hunt in the morning and after more than a few Caribou sightings on our flight into camp, I simply could not wait.

From: gobbler
26-Sep-10
Beautiful country!! I almost booked with them in 2003 for sheep, but ended up going to alaska instead. I would love to get back up there again.

From: Florida Mike
26-Sep-10
Awesome! Mike

From: kota-man
26-Sep-10
Been waiting to hear the outcome of this hunt since you announced you were going...WOuld love to work this one in to the schedule some day...

26-Sep-10
Great photo essay, keep it coming!

From: hunterx
26-Sep-10
Just for the record...you should lose a star for starting such a great story and leaving us hanging! Can't wait to see the rest and thanks for sharing!

From: bow sheep
26-Sep-10
cool pic

From: Busta'Ribs
26-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Sorry but I had to take a break to make dinner.

I promise to post some more details asap.

From: Kevin Dill
26-Sep-10
Sucker!....

From: BerksArcher
26-Sep-10
Thanks, very good info!

From: Florida Mike
26-Sep-10
Man I'm glad I just ate but that still looks juicy! Mike

From: Kawabunga
26-Sep-10
Great looking adventure, one day I'll have to do one of those.

That wouldn't happen to be caribou backstrap for dinner? ; )

Can't wait for the rest.

From: BTM
26-Sep-10
No horses, you say? That's a BIG plus in my book!

From: Muskrat
27-Sep-10
Can you pass that steak around? It looks fit for a KING, great job keep it coming.

From: Stekewood
27-Sep-10
Great stuff. Let's see some pictures of the previous owner of that backstrap!

From: Florida Mike
27-Sep-10
We are waiting!!!!!! Mike

From: OFFHNTN
27-Sep-10

From: Chip T.
27-Sep-10
That tenderloin with the bottle of red wine is one of the prettiest photos I have seen. Now hurry up with the story!!!

From: Rackmastr
27-Sep-10
Cant wait to see some more pics of what looks like an amazing hunt in the making!!!

From: Florida Mike
27-Sep-10
I'm thinkin we Blackball "Busta" burn his dog and sell his bow, Mike

From: JCK
27-Sep-10
60, 11 and 2 remember that?

From: MoCracken
27-Sep-10
I do!

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Day one dawned clear and cold but our cozy tent provided a restful sleep, after I popped an Ambien that is. I was just to pumped to fall asleep without a little help.

We climbed out of our camp based creek bottom and started to see Caribou on the far ridgelines almost immediately. Anxiously, we had gotten an early start and we had to hang out a bit, waiting for good light so we didn't miss anything.

Here's Al checking on a group of 5 bulls we spotted on a ridge about three miles east of camp. None were big enough to go after so we decided to head up onto a big knob above camp to get higher and a better vantage of the area.

From: greg
27-Sep-10
Thats great Chris. JCK what the hell is 60,11 and 2 about?

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
As we climbed higher, gaining elevation, we spotted this on the mountainside.

I was hoping it would prove to be a good omen.

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Our higher glassing point proved to be worthwhile. On the same ridge where we had located the group of smaller bulls earlier, we could now see another group and despite the fact that we were over three miles from them, one stood out and looked huge, even from this distance.

Al had a couple questions for me, first he asked how far my effective range was. I told him I was deadly out to twenty. He said he was going back to camp to make a pot of coffee.

Then he asked me if I really wanted to hike all the way over to the mountain that these bulls were on, he said that it was "a pretty long way" over there to them.

I said that I had just spent 2 1/2 days and 6 flights and had come all the way from New Jersey, and to me, these things didn't seem very far away at all.

We were off.

From: Florida Mike
27-Sep-10
Ok cancel burning the dog, we seem to be back on track! Mike

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
This country really is just beautiful. We had a couple stream crossings to make on the way to Big Bull Ridge.

Although there were plenty of smaller bulls hanging around with the cows, most of the mature bulls were either loners, or still together in small bachelor groups, waiting for the true rut to begin.

Hopefully, this would make things a bit easier since there wouldn't be too many sets of eyes/ears/noses to try to fool.

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Finally, we were nearing the base of the ridge. A good cross wind was blowing from right to left. The first group of smaller bulls was out near the point of the further of the two ridges in this photo.

The bull we were after had huge beams and heavy, palmated tops, and he was with 4 other bulls just below the top of the same ridge, a couple hundred yards to the left of the point.

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Not sure if you can see them but there are 5 bulls in this photo. They are just white dots from here but it gives you an idea of where on this ridge they were hanging out.

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
There were a series of smaller ravines bisecting the main ridge. The bulls were scattered directly above and a bit to the left of the deepest one.

As soon as we entered the chute and started our steep ascent I realized the wind was now blowing stiffly, straight up the ravine, right towards the bulls.

I stopped Al and expressed my concerns. He had a pretty good feeling that we would find that the wind would be back to a strong crosswind once we got up on top. I trusted his mountain wisdom, admittedly with a bit of scepticism.

Here is Al, blazing to the base of the ridge.

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
I felt like I was on a Sheep hunt instead of a Caribou hunt after clawing up that chute, the entire time silently cursing the strong wind blowing up the back of my neck and thinking that we were totally wasting a lot of time and effort, not to mention blowing out a huge bull Caribou.

But as we neared the top, sure enough, the wind swung back around, a hard crosswind again, and now I was really getting excited. The Sensai was right and we were getting close.

The view from the top of the deep ravine was spectacular. You can't see it in this photo but our camp is along the small ribbon of creek in the bottom of the valley, about where it peters out at the base of the mountains. We first spotted the big bull from the high rounded knob above and to the left of camp.

From: JCK
27-Sep-10
Greg, Does this ring a bell....... A hot night in a small Mexican village outside of Nuevo Laredo with an Old Bass, no wait a minute maybe it was the New Bass! Keep em comin Busta!

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Obviously, this is pretty open country. After his wind prediction, I trusted Al completely, despite his lack of bowhunting experience, but I had some concern over how I was going to get the final 100 yards or so to within bow range.

What I learned once we reached the bulls was shocking to me. The height of their antlers is really a tremendous disadvantage to them. In this mountainous terrain, the lack of cover was not an issue. All I had to do was get close enough to see the tops of their antlers, but not to close so that I could see their heads, and I was safe.

It was an awesome discovery and my confidence soared. I now knew 100% that I was going to kill one of these big bulls.

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10
We soon spotted a big set of antlers bobbing on the horizon, about 75 yards above us. It was a nice bull but not the one we were after. He was pacing back and forth and looking in our direction.

We soon spotted another bull, slightly bigger, but still not the one, bedded just 40 yards directly to our left, almost downwind but luckily still at enough of a crosswind that he didn't bust.

The big bull was not in sight and we were pinned down.

Ultimately, the smaller bull above us started moving out towards the point of the ridge and the slightly bigger bull to our left got out of his bed and followed. He went by me at 30 yards and looking up at him, he just looked huge. His big white mane was blowing in the wind and I was just staring up , mesmerized by those big antlers and thinking, I could kill this thing so easy, I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me.

But behind him was the palmated giant we had come so far to reach.

Al whispered "it's him, kill him"!

I came to full draw and realized a stick had somehow gotten jammed in my sight during our crawl/climb up the mountain and was now blocking some of my pins. Undaunted, (actually, pretty effing daunted to tell the truth), I did my best to ensure a perfect shot. The distance was a bit farther than I would have wanted, but still a very make-able shot.

The bull was locked in on us, moving from left to right and the x-wind was blowing the opposite way, from right to left. I waited for him to stop, settled in and released the arrow.

But the bull bolted as the bow went off and the x-wind blew the arrow harmlessly behind him.

They ran around the ridge as I watched in disbelief.

The Sensai simply looked at me, smiled and said "shake it off".

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
When Al Klassen gives you advice, you'd do well to take it.

This guy is a living legend and at the time, I really had no idea who I was hunting with.

Last year alone, after he was done guiding for Arctic Red, he went out on his own in his home province (the Yukon) and killed a net Boone & Crockett Dall Sheep. I hadn't realized it but that may well be the most difficult animal in North America to put in the big book.

Here's Al's big ram and although this isn't the best photo, it will give you an idea of how big a Dall Sheep has to be to make B&C. And this one barely makes it.

From: Busta'Ribs
27-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Oh yea, in addition to that huge ram, Al also killed a pretty nice elk last year. Some of you may recognize this thing, it's been all over the 'net.

So needless to say, I tried to follow Al's advice and shake it off.

From: Ki-Ke
28-Sep-10
Great story!

Waiting for the traditional sun bathing pic with the "enhanced" speedos..........

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
We waited a bit for the Caribou to settle down. Then we gathered our packs and started in the direction they were headed, towards the other group of smaller bulls out on the point of the ridge.

Al reassured me that we were hunting Caribou, not Sheep and that they were probably already calmed down, feeding nearby.

Sure enough, we spotted antler tips as soon as we rounded the point, below us one bench and about 250 yards away. As the bulls went over the bench they were on, we raced toward their location. We quickly closed the gap and were within bow range of the bulls but once again, we could not see the big bull and could get no closer because of smaller bulls in the way.

Here's a photo of the area where this all took place (near the top of the ridge, well above the treeline). It seems pretty open but if you look close you can see that there are many terrain breaks that we were able to use to our advantage and slide right in on these bulls.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10
Unfortunately, the bull we were after appeared well below us and moving out. We really didn't have much of an option but we finally decided to try and circle around the smaller bulls and as we backed off and dropped below them I spotted another new group of bulls directly below us and feeding straight up towards us.

And one of the bulls looked really good.

We glasssed him carefully, with Al confirming that he was not quite as big as the one we'd been chasing all day, but telling me that I should seriously consider taking him.

He had heavy tops, heavy beams, long bez and a snow white mane. When he turned to face us I could also see a wide spread with his two longest points curving in, towards each other.

Hell yes, I should seriously consider him.

I tossed Al my video camera and slipped towards the edge, peering over the next bench just as the big bull stepped into range. My rangefinder read 40 yds on the broadside bull, who was calmly munching away.

Before I knew it, he was flying down the mountain with my bright green fletching nearly buried, perfectly behind his shoulder.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
My hunt was over before it had even begun, literally, as tomorrow was actually my first scheduled hunting day, but I couldn't have been happier.

I've wanted a big Caribou for so long, and now, here he was, finally.

You can probably tell I was a pretty happy guy at this point.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Another angle.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

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Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Spread was 43".

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
One more with the Sensai. These animals are huge and Al estimated his live weight at 600 or better.

From: Stekewood
28-Sep-10
Beautiful bull. Congratulations!

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
I know that self glorification is a sin but here's one more, showing the beautiful snow capped mountains in the background and the entrance side (I was using an expandable, for the first time in my life, and didn't get an exit).

From: Uncle Jimbo
28-Sep-10
Very nice! Congratulations on the hunt and thanks for sharing the story with us.

-Uncle Jimbo

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
The weather started to close in as soon as we finished taking photos.

We caped, quartered and deboned the bull and started our long trek back to camp, hoping to beat the impending snow.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
About half way back, Holy-Eff, this is hard!

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

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Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
After three long hours, we finally made it back to camp. I'm sure Al could have gone another 3 miles but I was near or at my limit.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
We needed a hearty meal to replace all the calories we just burned.

After 13 hours and 12 long miles, I really needed this!

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
And Al really needed to be back in his nest.

From: Jimbo
28-Sep-10
Outstanding hunt, story and photos. Thanks for sharing!

From: jcneng
28-Sep-10
That is a great story, congrats on your success and thanks for sharing!

From: steff
28-Sep-10
Great story and gorgeous bull! Congrats!!!

From: Matt
28-Sep-10
Great job, congrats.

From: Hawkeye
28-Sep-10
Incredible story and bull. Well done! Thanks for sharing.

From: gobbler
28-Sep-10
Congrats, great bull and great story

From: Bigpizzaman
28-Sep-10
Great Bull and story, Congrats!!

From: LCH
28-Sep-10
Thanks for sharing. What a blast.

From: kota-man
28-Sep-10
Fantastic...COngrats on a great hunt.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
We were running a bit low on fuel due to a problem with the stove so we slept without heat the night after we killed our bull.

We woke up to a thick skim of ice on the water bucket inside the tent...

From: Carcajou
28-Sep-10
Great story, and it felt like I was there! Congrats on a hard earned trophy, and the pictures are worth 1000 words...thanks for sharing!

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

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Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
And a winter wonderland outside the tent.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

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Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
And a bear had knocked on the door of the tent as well.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
The snow continued throughout the day as we hung out at camp, working on fleshing on the cape, cleaning the skull and just recuperating from our big hike the day before.

I never get a chance to spend a day with nothing to do and this was a welcome opportunity to relax and reflect on what a great hunt Al and I had experienced together.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
The next day the weather broke just enough to get flown out and we took advantage of the opportunity.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Although I had 5 days to go, it was fully understood that my hunt was over as soon as I killed a bull. Winter comes fast this far north and Tavis makes sure he gets his hunters out of the bush and back to town asap on this, the last hunt of the season.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
As we flew out of camp and down the valley I got a final look at "Big Bull Ridge".

My bull actually piled up on the flat bench that's shown here, slightly above and to the right of the center of this photo.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Here's a shot of Jeff back at base camp taking care of the fresh groceries.

Yum-yum.

From: Busta'Ribs
28-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Tavis arranged for me and another hunter who had also filled his Caribou tag to get flown out early in this 206, chartered with North Wright Air.

When I learned that the pilot was Travis Wright, the flight service owners son, I immediately recalled a story Al had told me in camp one night about Travis.

A few years back, when Travis had just started his guiding career with Arctic Red, he and a couple other guys walked a short distance from their tent to do some glassing.

A Grizzly suddenly appeared out of nowhere, in full charge, and sent all the boys scrambling back to the tent where the guns were waiting.

There was a small stream to cross and when Travis hurdled it he came down hard on his leg, causing a compound fracture which left the jagged end of his bone protruding through his pants. He went down in a heap along side of the stream and as the Grizzly jumped off the bank he actually flew directly over Travis, sprawled out in the stream bed.

Thankfully, the bear soon realized he was in the wrong spot and chose flight over fight.

But Travis spent a long cold night huddled around a fire the boys kept going until it was light enough for a medivac chopper to pick him up the next day.

He recovered but sadly, his guiding career was finished as he can no longer carry a heavy backpack in the mountains.

So he does the next best thing and is a bush pilot.

I really wish I had a better photo of Travis, but here he is anyway, loading the plane for our flight back to Norman Wells.

From: Florida Mike
28-Sep-10
Chris you are one fantastic story teller! Thank you for taking us along. It was almost as good as being there, oh man now I want a Mountain bou worse than ever! Mike

From: Tom inPA
29-Sep-10
Great story. Congrats on a great bull.

From: bigguy
29-Sep-10
Congrats on a great bull and the fantastic memories.

From: njbuck
29-Sep-10
Congrats on an outstanding trophy and a great story.

From: BerksArcher
29-Sep-10
Chris, congrats what an adventure, or should I say expedition....

From: Stillman
29-Sep-10
WOW!!!

I think this has my vote for "Story of the Year" so far. Great adventure, great photo essay, GREAT trophy, and I really appreciate the time and effort you give to your guides, outfitters, and everyone else that had a hand in your success. Fantastic!

From: Bou'bound
29-Sep-10
great job and so well presented!

From: Busta'Ribs
29-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Thanks for the kind words boys, I take a lot of photos and love reliving the details of my hunts when I write these reports.

And it's easy to put together a good report when you have such a great trip.

I really can't say enough about Arctic Red River Outfitters and the fantastic area they hunt. I owe a huge thanks to Tavis, Al and all of the staff.

As I've mentioned, I believe this is really a tremendous bowhunting opportunity for giant Mountain Caribou. It's a long way to go and it's not cheap to get there, but a 2x1 hunt with ARRO this year was $6500.00 (I did a one on one which was slightly higher). With the escalating prices of Quebec hunts, along with the recent instability of the bowhunting success on Caribou almost everywhere, I felt it was well worth the extra effort and money it took to get there.

The added adventure of hunting in such a remote, pristine mountainous area was another huge reason why I chose to do this trip over other Caribou options.

I'm thrilled with my bull but realize that there are much, much bigger bulls still up there. I truly hope someone out there gets the inspiration to do this trip someday as a result of my experience and I also hope that I get a chance to return someday and try for a real giant.

If you ever get the chance to go, make sure you ask Tavis for AL to guide you, he's now 100% on bowhunts!

From: Dwayne
29-Sep-10
Simply awesome, both the story and the photos. Thanks much for taking us along!

From: TD
29-Sep-10
What a hunt, what an adventure!

Thanks much for the story and pics. Great job.

And congrats on a fine trophy. He's a beauty.

From: Jasper
30-Sep-10
Wow, sure enjoyed that read..........Great job all around!

From: Waterfowler
30-Sep-10
Very nice bull Chris. This hunt is on my short list for sure. Thanks for taking the time to post details and great pics.

30-Sep-10
The pic of you sucking air with the caption: "About half way back, Holy-Eff, this is hard!" is absolute CLASSIC! Nobody ever gets a pick of that. Awesome hunt and great great job with the pictorial. CONGRATS!!!!!

From: Stan NJ
30-Sep-10
That was a great adventure you took us on!! My hat is off to you my fellow New Jerseyite. A huge congratulations to you and thanks for posting... great read!

From: Stan NJ
30-Sep-10
My bad Chris...(must have flown out of Newark) didn't see that you were from Pa.

"We caped, quartered and deboned the bull and started our long trek back to camp, hoping to beat the impending snow."

I can't believe you 2 packed out all that meat and antlers in one trip...how much do you think your packs weighed?

From: Stan NJ
30-Sep-10
sorry for the double post

From: huntmaster
30-Sep-10
Congrats on a great animal and an even better story. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

From: Woodman@work
30-Sep-10
Congratulations on your success and thanks for the wonderful contribution to our enjoyment.

From: Scoot
30-Sep-10
Congrats on an awesome experience, Busta! Thanks very much for sharing with us.

30-Sep-10
Congrats! Cool hunt! THanks for sharing.

From: Deacon Dave
30-Sep-10
Awesome! Congratulations. Thanks for sharing.

From: Inspector
30-Sep-10
I agree this is the story of the year, between the story and pictures I felt like I was with you. Thanks for shareing.

From: Busta'Ribs
30-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
I don't even want to know how much weight we had in our packs, too damn much for me, that's for sure.

Al initially figured that we would need two trips for sure. But after we got all the meat boned, he just kept dumping it in our packs. Once he was satisfied that we had enough weight he stopped and when we both looked at what was left we agreed that it wasn't worth 6+ more miles of packing so we decided to just throw it all in and try it.

I started out that morning with my Mystery Ranch pack nearly empty (just my raingear, h20, a few energy bars and my cameras) and I can tell you that this was by far the most weight I've ever packed. Al had an old external frame pack and I'm sure he was suffering almost as much as I was. I noticed him lifting the bottom of his pack with his hands to take the weight off his shoulders as much as he could most of the way back to camp.

I very nearly couldn't get up shortly after this photo was taken. I was trying to roll off the tussock I was sitting on and get to my knees so I could pull myself up with the help of my hiking pole but the antlers kept snagging in the brush and I must have looked like a turtle flipped over on his shell. It was ridiculous.

When I finally got up I expected to see Al standing there laughing at me but he was already 100 yards away, trucking towards camp.

From: Busta'Ribs
30-Sep-10

Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
Busta'Ribs's embedded Photo
BTW, I am from PA but I currently live in NJ.

But please don't hold that against me.

Speaking of NJ, check out the bumper sticker that was hanging on the wall of the NWT Fish/Game office in Norman Wells. I had to stop in here on the way out of town to secure an export permit for my bull.

From: CPAhunter
30-Sep-10
Awesome!

From: Stan NJ
30-Sep-10
You are an animal!!! lol. Again, thanks for sharing...Awesome!!

30-Sep-10
Truly what dreams are made of; if you don't mind, how many pounds of meat were you able to bring home and how much does it cost someone to bring it home? thanks for the wonderful story.

From: Earltex
30-Sep-10
Thanks for the hunt report and photos. Earlier this year I booked this same hunt with a friend for August 2011. I can hardly wait.

30-Sep-10
I live in PA and work in NJ - so I know what ya mean;)

What an awesome hunt, congrats, I am very jealous!

02-Oct-10
Man, what a great story. Thanks for taking the time to share that.

From: midwest
02-Oct-10
Outstanding story and pics! Had me glued to the 'puter!

From: patradhunter
05-Oct-10
Thanks for sharing!!

From: Busta'Ribs
07-Oct-10
I've received pm's from two bowsiter's that are going to do this trip.

I think it's great for Tavis and Arctic Red but even better for the two guys that are going to get to experience this adventure.

I cant wait for their post trip reports and hope they each kill a monster Mountain Caribou!

From: kota-man
08-Oct-10
My deposit was sent to Tavis today! Been looking at Arctic Red for over a year. This hunt sealed the deal for me.

From: Rut-Nut
12-Oct-10
Gotta agree.................STORY OF THE YEAR!!!!! You are one fine story-teller, Busta! THanks for sharing!

From: elkwatcher
12-Oct-10
Well done Chris.

From: Bowonly
15-Oct-10
Awesome hunt and story. I know exactly what it was like for you with you those packs. I'm sure they were well over 100 lbs. Another hunter (70 years old) myself and our guide shot three caribou 4.5 miles from camp. We got them to about 3/4 mile from camp and hung them in a tree til the next morning. Every step was a chore and we had to stop and bend at the waist every hundred yards or so, just as you showed in one the pictures above. I surprised my self by doing this but could not believe the older guy with us. Your're are not kidding about how hard it is, but it is worth it. Well again awesome job, congrats!!

From: medicinemann
15-Oct-10
Memories to last a lifetime.....congrats on a great animal and for documenting such a great adventure.

From: tthomas
16-Oct-10
Great story, great hunt and wonderful bull. Thanks for sharing and good luck in Canmore.

From: Busta'Ribs
18-Oct-10
Thanks Tom. Any chance you'll be in Canmore the last two weeks in Nov?

From: Mark Watkins
20-Oct-10
Busta, congrats and thanks for the great adventure!!!

From: kota-man
28-Mar-11
ttt for Africa arrow

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