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Advice on caribou hunting tactics
Five other stickbow shooters and I are booked with Jack Hume Adventures for the last week of August. For you folks that have been up there, can you share some wisdom on the best way to hunt these critters? From everything I've seen and read, it looks like you glass to find them and then try to get to where they are going before they do. Is there more to it? Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
When you shoot an arrow that misses you will not find the arrow so put an extra 5 arrows in your backpack:)
I only know this from past experience of lending Arrows from one Hunter to another in Newfoundland.
If you hit a Caribou any where he's yours. For some reason they give up pretty easy compared to other North American animals. Have a great hunt! C
bring a bug net ...everything else you will figure out easy enough. We will be up there a couple weeks later.
Everyone says they give up the ghost really easy. Apparently my caribou never got the memo. Worst shooting of my life and it came down to hand to hand. My advice, if you wanna go mano eh mano, don't have a havalon as your backup.
"If you hit a Caribou any where he's yours. For some reason they give up pretty easy compared to other North American animals."
I wouldn't rely on that! I agree that most high north ungulates are wimps compared to say, elk, when hit. Many years ago, I hit one a bit far back, but definitely fatal. He ran 50 yards into a lake, then swam about 500 yards across it. I was able to pick up the trail when I finally got around there. Tracked it for about another quarter mile to where it bedded. As I was sneaking in to bow range, it got up and trotted out of sight. I never saw him again.
I haven't been with Jack Hume but generally, spot and ambush is pretty typical; it's how both my wife and I scored. But spot and stalk is also possible depending on circumstances, and I've even gotten close still hunting on occasion.
Lake crossings are good ambush points. Whether caribou are walking or swimming if you want to cut them off move quick. They may look like they are moving slow but you can't catch them. Above all enjoy the experience!!!
Speaking of head nets....are bugs usually still a problem in the 2nd half of Sept?
I have been twice, both times the second half of September and never had any issues with bugs. I also wouldn't rely on the "If you hit them anywhere" theory, I hit one slightly high behind the shoulder, he ran about 50 yards and started doing the circle dance only to straighten up and walk away forever. We tracked the rest of the day to no avail, I thought the same thing which is why I didn't grab my buddies rifle to finish him.
Some guys are big on bug nets. Having spent a ton of time on the tundra I just use DEET. 50% or better. I'd much rather sit quiet and play the wind then think I might get away without getting winded (you're not as scent free as you think you are) and be trying my hardest not to swat the hordes of bugs.
Caribou - on the winding thing, sometimes it just makes them curious if they see/smell you. Running away isn't necessarily the reaction. If you use a lot of DEET, just be careful what you touch, or wash it off the palm of your hands. It melts plastic.
Darren, Stay in camp and drink coffee or whatever with the cook and relax. Seriously. If you aren't seeing animals from camp, why go traipsing all over the country. Once the animals are moving, listen to your guide!!! He knows where to go. Get up on a high ridge, glass, and try to cut them off. Got to get an angle on them because you will never catch them. Lots of rocks to use for cover. Have a great time and I will be up there the week after you. 17th trip for me. Love it. Richard and Amanda are the best!!! See you on the tundra. Rory
Like others have said, get high and glass, when you find one worth going after be somewhat aggressive, move out as soon as you see him. Don't get caught but don't wait until you can't cut him off and he gets past you. Shoot straight and have a blast!
As this is my 7th trip this year I can tell you this. Always have your bow with you. You never know when one might pop up. And have fun. 5 days will FLY by! I've spent almost 3 weeks in camp 2 years ago and it flew by.... 5 days is nothing. Find a good lookout, glass, go for a walk when you get bored, take a nap, enjoy some coffee, glass, and if you see something get after it. If you miss the 1st group through chances are there will be another group following. Watch where the first group passed and set up accordingly.
Just breathe the air on the tundra.......everything else is a bonus......
Dave's message pretty much sums it up.
Darren, As you may hive figured out from the last few posts this is a very fun, relaxing hunt. No need to get crazy, running around like a nut and panicing if a bull gets by you. Another one will come. Don't worry about getting out at the crack of dawn since usually the caribou aren't moving till later in the morning. Have fun with it and don't stress out. The shot will come. Don't over look little islands that you think wouldn't hide a rabbit, caribou feel secure on these little hidey spots. Have good boots, best glass you can afford and a very good rainsuit, and have it with you always!!!! For some reason, the blackflies don't bother me but some people get eaten alive. A thermocell works great for me at keeping bugs away. Don't get carried away with fancy electronics, they take up alot of weight and concentrate on clothing that will keep you warm and dry. Also, try not to get too carried away with clothes. Lots of water up there to wash your clothes in. Have fun with it, enjoy the camp comraderie. Will be the best time you've ever had on a hunting and fishing trip. P.S. don't expect to lose any weight, the food is awsome if you are going to have a cook. See you on the tundra. Rory
Get ahead of them and shoot the biggest one that gives you an opportunity. Be in good shape and prepared to cover a lot of ground quickly.
Don't panic - every day is a new opportunity. You might not see much for four days and on the fifth day 30,000 come through. Happened to me.
Take 2 bug nets. You might lose one. Or you might sell one in camp to some sorry SOB covered with itchy welts for 20x what it costs back home.
Practice shooting at moving targets. Unless you are lucky enough to find one feeding or bedded, QL caribou are on the move and rarely stop.
The real wide one swimming away in the left quarter of the frame is the one I double-lunged about 20 seconds before with a longbow. He's just about to go under.
Caribou hunting is often feast or famine. If it isn't too late you may want to set up your hunt so they move you if you aren't into the caribou. It would definitely be worth paying a little more to do this. Some outfitters may say they will move you but may not do it. I would also ask your outfitter how many camps he has. I went to Quebec quite a few years ago. Every hunter in our camp harvested 2 caribou. The other guys that got dropped off at a different camp shot 0...but they didn't move anyone. Your hunt is fairly short so it may be tough to move camps. The more country you can hunt from a camp the better chance for success. As an example, camps on a river or large lakes with boats offer hunters a lot more country than a dry land camp. Some caribou herds tend to be totally migratory while others may be relatively stationary at certain times of year. Lots of things you can ask your outfitter that may up your odds for success!
If they are not migrating, you should try and hunt where they are going, not where they are at that moment. Anything with and edge will attract them.
They are weenies until jumped after they lay down, but one I hit just kept feeding and moving with his buddies. I guess antler isn't a fatal hit????
In response to jims comment about being moved, With JHA in 4 trips we only had to be moved once. And to be honest When we got moved (midday day 4) Everyone in camp had shot a caribou. We had 2 good bulls down, 1 small one and 3 cows. Even then we were moved 90 miles north. If the weather permits and caribou are not in the area Richard does a great job of moving people. The thing everyone needs to remember is the weather where you are maybe perfect and it could be terrible 100 miles away where he is flying from. So a move is not always possible. In the end remember its hunting, not shooting.
What do you take for food on a 10 day hunt when you have to keep the pounds down ?
This if for 50# limit trips. 1 freeze dried per day plus 2. I think I've only been picked up on time once. After that, I take a lot of nuts, some chocolate and granola mixed in, dried fruit, hard salami, small container of oil, rice, salt, pepper. Crackers and peanut butter if possible.
I don't go cheap on the nuts. I like the variety, but mostly almonds, cashews and pecans.
You will lose weight on most fly-in trips.
If you are going the unguided, no cook route with JHA, they still provide you with a food order. Don't know why someone would go that route but it is an option. See you on the tundra. Rory
Take lots of "TANG" (powder mix) ....light weight and mixes well with Lake / River Water! If you see some using a crossing, get set up on that same crossing ..... others soon may follow. I've shot them at 3 feet away doing this while hiding in brush or behind boulders. But I prefer them at 15 to 20 yards! ..... patience is a must .... Have Fun & Enjoy!
I would guess that people would choose an unguided option for a couple reasons, mostly being what they don't need a guide to kill a caribou, they enjoy maybe get added satisfaction out of accomplishing something by themselves. There is also the cost difference, about 1500 to 2000.. a person. Which is substantial to many bowhunters.
Trial153, even on the guided hunts with JHA you are pretty much on your own if thats the way you want it. Nice to have someone to fall back on if you get into trouble if your an old fart like me, and good to get help getting the meat out. Of course, I usually go there alone so the guide and cook is a good option for me. Can't always rely on another guy helping you out. If I went with a group, the unguided would certainly be an option. Have run into people up there that are real dickheads and wouldn't help you if you were dying. See you on the tundra. Rory
We booked the unguided option with no cook. We'll all help pack each other's meat out. I'm a pretty fair hand with a skillet and stove so I will cook them fellers a feast every day once I put a tag on something. That will give them an incentive to have me tag out first!
Jimmy will probably be your camp hand, listen to what he tells you. He will want you to be successful as much as you do.
Darren what week did you book that package. Three of us booked the same package and will be there from the 9th to the 15th
Hunting Woodland Caribou in Newfoundland and we will set aside 2 to 3 weeks from late october to mid November.
Turkey hunter, You may find the meat inedible. I've eaten a bunch of bou and we never hunted them from about mid- Oct on. Ended up trashing several that had been confiscated from poacher who killed them in mid-oct. Even my black lab wouldn't touch the meat.
I shot two in late August in AK while still in velvet. They tasted like average quality deer, not even good deer, and nowhere near as good as elk. So Sept and Oct rutting bull bou must taste really bad. Id go again in early Sept, just out of velvet because I don't care for velvet antlers. If I want meat Ill go elk hunting. Id be more of trophy hunting for caribou than for meat. I thought they tasted like lichen, not that great at all. They are easy to hunt if you are into them. Good drop camp outfitters know where they are and will put you into them. Check several sources for herd locations before you choose an outfitter.
I'm going to be up with JHA September 15 -22nd. This will be my third trip for Quebec Caribou and I have yet to take one with a bow. On my last trip with a different outfitter in QBC even the gun hunters didn't fill out all their tags. Tried the famine ;...ready for the feast... !! I took my CC Barren ground Caribou at 67 yards so I think the biggest change I'm making for this trip is to make sure I've got pins out at 60+ yard just in case we miss the migration .
I've eaten a decent bit of caribou in different animals and have to say it has been outstanding!