Contributors to this thread:
A Woodland Caribou bowhunt is something that has been on my radar for awhile. After my last moose hunt in Newfoundland with my dad in 2016 we decide to rebook the first open spot we could get, with one caveat, I wanted woodland caribou tag. Fast forward to 2019, we were heading back to to the Rock. This would be my dads second big game hunt, he had a moose tag and I both a Caribou and moose tag. With Caribou in Newfoundland being an uncertainty for the future my plan was to make the most of the tag. I was going to hold off on moose till my caribou tag was filled. Even if that ment taking two unpunched tags home. Dad was going to rifle hunt moose and considering he killed big bull last time he said he would hunt a few days for another big one then shoot any bull for meat. He was flying into NY from north Texas and we would then drive to Nova Scotia and take the ferry to Newfoundland. We would then drive to float plan base and be flown into camp. For this trip there would end up being two other hunters from PA with us in camp. Both great guys in every respect. The ride to the ferry and boarder crossing was smooth. The colors wernt quite peaked yet in Maine and New Brunswick. Last trip up near the ferry terminal there was a restaurant that I wanted to try however we couldnt get a reservation. This time Dad called up in the spring when I booked the ferry ....good thing because they were booked up 6 months out on Friday and Saturday nights. While it isnt cheap, if you can swing it "lobster pound and more" is worth the stop.
The ferry was uneventful except for them having to return to port for an emergency which added about an hour to the trip. It got a bit rough however we slept through it as I reserved rooms.
While we were waiting to disembark the ferry we happened to strike up a conversation with two other moose hunters, as luck would have it they tuned out to be our camp mates for the week! Dave and Jason, both great guys, they made the hunt even more enjoyable. We Both received a message from out outfitter to drive right to the float plane base vs going to the hotel. He planned on flying us into camp a day early as the previous group taged out.
The flight into this camp is worth the price of admission.
We got into camp late Saturday afternoon, we would have full day to rest up on Sunday as there is no Sunday hunting in September in Newfoundland. Turns out berry picking is huge pastime in the province. I also got to shoot my bow a bit to make sure everything was still on.
My last trip up my guide was Ivan. They usually draw name out of the hat for who was going to go with who, however because Ivan guided me last time and because I was bowhunting he jumped on board again with me. We where hoping to have similar success as the last time. I was thrilled as Ivan is not only a great guide he is super nice guy. I came say enough about the crew of guides at this camp. They are all top shelf people. My dads guide was Hector. Hector been guiding out of this camp for 25 seasons. That should tell you relationships and quality of the people.
First day found us covering some ground. We headed south east from camp into an area that a lot of open tundra high on the ridge tops. We started working out way into an area that they seen good stag ( what the Nefees call a caribou bull). Alas it it was not to happen, we covered about 10-12 miles in a loop and didnt have caribou sighted all day. We did see 8 moose though the day, three bulls, one fair to good one and the other small. I elected not to make a play on any of the bulls, sticking to game plan of no moose till I killed a caribou.
When we got into the camp later i found out my Dad took a quick shot at Really big bull but missed! He seems disappointed however with it being the first day it wasnt a deal breaker.
I LOVE Newfoundland...Carry on...
Moose valley is the best. Top notch. This will be a great story.
Tuesday morning brought more of the same, high winds overcast, snow showers on and off. We set out in the boat with another guide Jason driving. We were being dropped off at the Meat Poles. Its low spot off the lake that opens up into wide valley with bogs and swamps. I killed a hell of nice bull there in 2016. The northern ridge goes up and opens up to miles of open tundra on the top. We would make our way up and hunt the day looking for caribou. We were still in the boat about a half a mile away from our landing when I spotted some caribou on the northern ridge. Looked to be a decent stag with three cows. Jason skillfully managed to bring the boat to shore avoiding the rocks. Ivan I quicky jumped out. Jason bumped his fist on his chest and mouthed good luck!. Ivan I quickly covered about 500 yards and we got into a good postion to look at that caribou. The bull had a good frame, excellent tops and back scratches and ...really weak bottoms. Even so I thought we should make a play at them.
I told him I wanted to angle away from them and come up on step section to their east. The wind would be in our favor. At the top of the ridge we would either be close to in range or we can drop back below the ridge and reposition.
We shed cloths and started the climb. The wind and snow would cover our sound so we moved as quick as lungs and legs would take us.
With in 45 minutes we were about a mile and half from where we landed the boat. No small feat through Newfoundland tuckamore( scrub brush)
We created the ridge into the strip of tundra only to find no caribou. After a short while glassing a cow materialized through a gap that we walked through and headed off to the east. We were at all loss where they went to. I suggested we move about 150 yards to a slightly high spot and keep glassing. After about another 30 minutes we still didnt relocate them. Then all of sudden I spotted a bull coming up through the gap we just came through. A quick look showed him to be a different bull and a shooter for sure. He moved around the base of knoll and at that point he could go north or south. North would bring him right past me shortly and south would move him to an open tundra section where I can get a stalk on him. He turned north a started coming towards us. At this point there was no doubt he would be in bow range shortly. I got into shooting postion quickly with ivan beside me on my left. I slipped my pack from my shoulders, knocked an arrow, attached my release to my loop...grabbed my range finder and .....
The bull was heading right into the slot we were in. There was pond on one side and we were on the other. He would have to go right past me. I ranged him at 48 and dropped the range finder on my lanyard to get ready for the shot. I drew the bow and settled my 45 yard pin bit low as he was still walking towards me ( caribou never seem to not stop walking ). At the shot he seemed to turn on a little bit of angle but it still looked good, in that he tuned and ran about 30 feet before falling. It all happened quicker then I could type it. ( Couple of side bars. First my guide, without me knowing took a video of the bull and me shooting him, he did it on his iPhone so it amateurish however it shows the bull very well pre shot. I was thrilled he did this. Second. My outfitter had lined up a plane for the following day to move me about 20 miles to a different area for a day or two. I didnt know that till the night before at camp. I was also very happy hear this as it added options and would increase my chances. Thankfully it wasnt needed. )
Looking forward to the whole story Jim!
After some back slapping and pictures we made quick of breaking down the bull. We decided to try to pack him out in one trip, this was going to be close considering he was an easy 325 ish and I planned on taking the Cape with me as well. When it was all said and done I had about 115 pounds in my pack and I bet ivan was pushing 130 or 140. We packed him out to landing at lake and got there about noon and ate lunch. We decided to forgo getting picked up early and we would head up the drainage and moose hunt till dark. We left our packs and meat and continued to moose hunt the remainder of the afternoon
I had another three and half days to moose hunt. The moose hunting was very slow. Everyone was seeing some small bulls and cows however the good ones werent showing themselves. In fact it's been that way the whole season with only small bulls being killed. I had elected to hold off for a decent bull on this trip, and when my father killed a small on I knew between it and the caribou we would have bunch of meat to pack home. I am not sure how many bull moose I seen for the week but i would guess it was around 10-12 ish. Nothing I was interested in. I felt that any minute I would see a good one and get a crack at however it was not to be on this trip. We finished out the week for the four of us with two small bulls, a cow and my bull caribou. All in all dispite the slow hunting and terrible weather we had wonderful trip. I cant say enough good about our guides and cook at camp, and quite frankly all the people I have met in Newfoundland over the years. Just friendly nice people. Dad, who isnt even really a big hunter ...he goes to keep me company couldnt stop talking about how much enjoyed our time together. We werent back and a day and he was asking about trip number three...... I had mentioned it to my buddy Ernie that maybe I'd plan something different but I wasnt sure what my dad would be up for and he told me if my father says he wanted to do it again " just say yes. Even if its hunting lizards, say yes. I would give anything to see my father again. " So when he asked I said yes. I booked us two spots for the first opening they had ....2022. Hopeing for more of the same in trip number three.
Thanks for reading Jimmy
some more random pictures
That’s a great Caribou well done and congrats to your dad
Congrats Jimmy,that's a nice 'bou. And congrats to your Dad as well!
Looks like an amazing place!
Congrats on a great caribou! I agree spend as much quality time with your dad you won't regret it!
Nice Stag and write up. I miss the Rock so much and this made me think about it again! Thx for the write up.
Super cool adventure! Congrats on the bou. I would have had a hard time not shooting one of those little bulls. They look delicious!
Congrats on an awesome hunt, especially one with your dad.
Those fly in Moose hunts sure do look intriguing.
Thanks for sharing. Looks like good times.
So awesome to spend quality time with your Dad!
Congratulations to both you and your Dad on two great animals!
That is certainly a pile of great eats!!!!
Good hunt, good story, good pictures. Fun time with dad. Nicely done. my best, Paul
Awesome hunt! Thanks for sharing.
Great story... Nice bou! Congrats
Great stuff, thanks for sharing your adventure with us.
Congrats on your success! Sounds like a great trip.
Thanks guys, it was great time. Can’t wait to get back up there again
if you have any more random picture and any time please share them
You got a beautiful caribou, had the choice to turn down moose, hunted with your dad who did kill a moose and all in a very unique landscape with great company. I'd say you went 99% on that adventure!!
Nice bou! Good write up. Sounds like a great trip.
Thanks for taking the time to write it up, Trial. Congrats to you and your dad!
I've got a huge itching to head up to "The Rock". I'm a young guy and really can't justify the price, however I have a weird feeling that before long, we won't be able to chase these critters anymore.
Awesome story, I really enjoyed the pictures. Time to start badgering my wife into letting me put a deposit down!
Great write up, congrats, awesome hunt.
Thanks guys, we had a blast
Congrats to you on your trip, James! Even more that you got to do it with your Dad. Good luck on trip #3 as well!
tried to post few more pictures...not sure why they didnt come though. Wanda the cook, and one of the guides wife does a great job keeping the crew fed, including baking fresh break though the week. She is nice as could be.
look close....there is a bear 30 yards away in the picture
Dad stayed the whole next week to visit with the grandkids. we loved having him. I sent him home with plenty of sausage. And he helped me butcher both the Moose and Caribou
Trial congrats on a great Woodland they are beautiful and sharing with your dad “priceless”