Contributors to this thread:
QL caribou- any hope?
I saw this recent study on caribou population cycles.
If someone wants to read it-
Any hope QL will open to hunting in the future?
My take after living in an indigenous arctic community for the past 8 years:
So long as the approach and view of things remain at the status quo, the NR hunt will never come back. Until the indigenous communities that have a stake in the herd get on board with the NR hunt, it's not going to happen in today's political landscape.
It’s a crime. One of the best hunts Out there
With the estimated numbers dropping from a high of 800,000 to a low of 5,000 it wouldn't be the same hunt as before.
My take is the only hope is numbers go up high enough again so everyone is happy. Based on that study historically, may take 40 years for that to happen....
Agree with bou. I’m so glad I got to experience it in 2006 & 2008. One of the most incredible hunting experiences I’ve ever done.
Caribou seems like a situation where harvest for commercial meat sales should off the table.
I hunted them in 88 and 89. First hunt was terrible. I believe eight guys took 4-5 animals. I did not get a shot. Second year, I shot a small one early in hunt, and a medium the last day. Both years I missed the migration.
I hope we can worry about this in 40 years but I feel like it won’t even matter.
Whats the current herd estimate?
The herd was very low in the 1950's and had rebounded enough to support hunting by the late 70s and early 80s. When is (or was) the current nadir? Will 30 years be enough time this time around? Man I hope so I want to do this hunt before I die!
It’ll be forever. Maybe there could be limited hunting, but the math isn’t good. From a population of 5000 two years ago and growing at 10% for 35 years would only be about 140,000 animals.
Wise science and government would be to have some hunting in order to keep harvest relevant in the mind of future generations.
You mean recreational hunting I assume. There is still a lot of caribou hunting happening there.
Ditto, t-roy. I got to experience being in the middle of a 14 hour wave of 30,000 with a longbow.
Thinking of doing a recap-photo essay of that epic hunt even though it's a little dated.
After 5 days of seeing maybe 10 caribou a day, I was lucky enough to have two days of Discovery Channel migration. It was amazing. We saw many thousands. The previous days stalking the few we saw, they were wary. During the giant migration they often acted like they were in a stupor.
Would love to see it, Lou! The spectacle of being in the midst of that many animals was almost surreal. Our guide guesstimated that we saw between 25,000 to 40,000 caribou on the last day of our hunt in 2006.
We were very fortunate on both of our hunts, in that we saw lots of caribou on each trip. I’ve spoken to a lot of guys that weren’t nearly as fortunate, and had experiences similar to Dale06’s.
Not that it matters to me personally, but I'm curious how long QL caribou will remain on the NA29 list for those hunters pursuing the Super Slam?
Can someone clarify this talk about a herd of only 5000 caribou??? As I understand it, the herd we formerly hunted in Quebec is now estimated to hold about 180,000 animals.
Working for almost 20 years now with the folks who hold the decision stick (the Cree of Eeyou Itschee), my opinion is simple: hunting of Caribou for non-aboriginal hunters in Quebec will NOT come back. Politics - not science. Terrible loss of a fantastic game animal...
5000 caribou in quebec and labrador is absolute bull crap. If there was only 5000 they would never see any over that vast area. It would be 5000 needles in 5000 haystacks.
Non residents were only taking 2200 to 2800 a year at the high point on the fall hunts and that assumed everyone filled both tags. Non residents were irrelevant to the herd thinning in those operations and on top of that 85% of non res take was bulls
I regret not going on this hunt when I could have. Sadly I think myself and many others will never be able to experience the migration.
I don’t know what the break down in harvest stats are between Residents and Non residents. But I hunted with Mirage out of LG4 on their fall hunt in 2003. All 4 of us killed 2 bulls and the fishing was world class. The owner told us that the previous year during their winter hunts, they killed 6400 caribou. Of course many of those were killed by Canadians. I don’t know if he was truthful, but I do know from friends that participated in the winter hunts, that it was a road hunting slaughter, bulls and cows.
From 1986 to 2010 some hunting friends and I went many times for QL caribou. A few hunts were tough but bulls were taken. Over the course of twenty two years, I have experienced huge migrations twelve times; decent migrations six times, and tough but successful hunts four times. I have fished for lake trout until one begged the guide to go back to camp as your arm was dead, same thing for brookies. Have fed wolves within one hundred yards of me as I cut firewood for the camp. They were waiting for the caribou; I for clients. Both arrived two days later. Those of you who experienced the Ungava adventure, whether successful or not, at least you got to go. I waded small streams as the brook trout fled the pools...black bear... ptarmigan roasted over coals with pike fillets. And the migrations... God granted me a period of time I will never have again. I used to rail against meat/winter hunts. Do not believe that 5000 figure. My best guide friend was featured in the 1992 issue of Peterson's Hunting. Henri Bovine.
Two herds there, one is around 5000 and one is around 200,000 last I checked. Both way down from their high point.
That particular hunt emphasizes what a difference 1 day can make. Went with Hume in 2013, got delayed a day and a half into camp at Lac Pau. When we finally flew in all the departing guys could say was "Should of been here yesterday" and talked about the migration swimming across the lake in front of camp...went on for 2 days, 10's of 1000's apparently. We still got our bulls, but were just picking off the stragglers, saw a total of maybe 3-400 animals in the 3.5 days we had left. Very glad we went when we did though!
Whochevar... I would say that your experience was much more the normal. I saw the unusual number of very large migrations as I was setting up camps ahead of the migrations. I recall every minute of every day there.
Newfi……who did you guide for up there?
89 No one took or even had a shot, terribe year for all hunters around the area we hunted. 1990 I went back & took my 16 yr old son. 4 days of seeing nothing & then 5th day they started to trickle in. Not huge masses but plenty to keep us happy. I took a nice bull (end of last day I could have taken a 2nd with the guides rifle but declined the offer) . My son took two (this was my high of the trip) plus the first slow days allowed us to catch some great Lake Trout I videoed everything & made a nice DVD that we can look back on. SO glad I took my son (now a veteran bowhunter too).
T-roy, started with George River/Norpaq until around 2004, then Tuttulik until two years before they hosed a huge number of clients. Spent my last years with Explo-Sylva. Norpaq still operates it's George River camp for fishing, I think. They were a good outfit, so was Explo. Tuttulik had beautiful territory, but I do not know what caused them to screw up... I quit them as one camp manager was shorting client's meat. I was just a camp manager for the most part but got to do plenty of "guiding".
just another evening in caribou camp
Another Camp another year another ho-hum Sunset
Another Leaf River sunset
Thanks Kenneth. We went with Mirage and they were top rate in 2006. I believe another outfit had just acquired them right before we went in 2008. Things weren’t quite as good as in ‘06, but were still worlds better than what many guys dealt with in the subsequent years to follow. Our group got the same 2 guides both times. They were a couple of Newfies, and were an absolute blast to hunt with! IMO, Darrel could have made a good living as a standup comedian. They made an incredible couple of trips even more enjoyable.
Meanwhile, back at Lac Pau
Landing spot where I was hiding. Had some shaking off so close they sprayed me with river water.
Landing spot where I was hiding. Had some shaking off so close they sprayed me with river water.
I was hiding in the bushes with a longbow where these caribou were landing. This particular crossing went on for 36 hours, nonstop. The wide one in the bottom left of the top photo had caught my Muzzy 3 blade through the lungs about 15 seconds before this photo was taken, right before he went underwater.
Jaq...I loved Lac Pau...worked for Explo-Sylva there.
I went twice, one trip saw two bulls and we hiked for miles every day and the other trip I saw maybe 15 caribou and was able to take a small bull with my longbow. Still had a great time and glad i went.
I went with Tuttiluk. At the time I was a young guy and it was a lot of money for me. So glad I went. One of the very best hunts ever. We hit the migration perfect. This is my second bull. So sad we will likely never do it again but grateful I experienced it.
First bull died in the lake and I had to get a little wet. You can see the wood arrow and big snuffer in the water.
Wasn’t it Tuttiluk that closed down a couple days into the first hunt and stole millions of dollars from US hunters booked out 2+ years? One of those outfits really screwed a lot of people. I remember a couple friends being there when it happened and a few more that were scheduled to fly out that same week. This was after they racketeered an extra $400 from every hunter that season about a month before departure for a “fuel surcharge”. If you didn’t pay you forfeited your already paid for hunt. Yeah, Quebec was great. That, along with all the lies of moving camps to the caribou that never happened, all the theft in Montreal parking areas and 10 disasters for ever one “National Geographic” experience kept me from pulling the trigger. I do regret it but I’m not much of a chance taker.
I suppose I was lucky too as I went with Safari Nordik in 2002/3ish I think it was. I'm so glad I took vids and pics of our adventure.
On one trip, Leaf River Outfitters owner told us he was adding a fuel surcharge because of a bump in fuel prices. We agreed, because we were already in Montreal. After the hunt he refunded the surcharge, said he didn't feel right about it.
We also had problems with a lying, rude camp manager on that trip, so we wrote letters to Alain after the hunt and he gave all six of us another hunt for 30% off. That hunt was fabulous, all around.
Yes, Tuttiluk was the outfit that closed up shop during season and kept the money. I went a couple years before that with them. Had some logistic issues but the hunt was good. 2 nice bulls from an epic migration.
I didn't like Montreal but I don't like most big cities.
I went to the NWT in the 90s and it was also a good hunt. No big migration but enough caribou around and they were almost all bulls. Killed 2 bulls, a wolverine and had a sleeping wolf at 25 yards with no tag.
I really couldn't afford either hunt at the time but figured it out and don't remember details of how I managed them but made some great hunting memories.
years prior to the crooked move by Tuttulik was the season I quit working for them as a booking agent. I was in camp with my clients and the manager shorted all on their meat. Would you remember your camp's manager name? I was able to hunt NWT in 1992 at Lac de Grasses. Few animals but filled both tags!
QL Caribou was the first adventure hunt for me in 1999. I organized an outfitted trip with a large group of buddies and booked with Silak Adventures for a whopping $2,657 per person. We arrived in Montreal to find that our hunt would now be with Safari Nordik. Flew to Kuujuaq the next morning, after a very foggy night out at Montreal's finest gentlemen's clubs, where we sat around waiting for the camp manager to radio that the weather was good enough to get into camp. Just as we were told that we wouldn't get in that day, and the hangovers were raging in full force, the owner of Safari Nordik happened to fly in from a brook trout fishing trip. He went ballistic that we hadn't been flown in (camp manager apparently just wanted a few days off and the weather was fine). Next thing we knew we were on our way and it turned out to be an epic week filled with caribou kills, fishing, hurricane force winds and great times.
That trip was so great that when talk of a Bowsite group hunt with Tutulik started, I couldn't sign up fast enough. That turned out to be as much fun as the first one. Such a shame that it's no longer available for others to experience. Photo creds go to Pat.
Fortunately, at least for now, we can still hunt other types of caribou in several places....but it has begun to cost more & more to do so.
I turned 45 last month. My guess is I may get to make my 8th trip up around the time I turn 65. And it’ll cost 25k then.
Unless the Inuit choose to allow hunting, there will never be another hunt. Really sad because I haven’t found anything that comes close to the adventure yet. Done some cool stuff since they closed the season including Alberta moose, Alberta muledeer, New Mexico pronghorn and Alaska mountain goat, but nothing compares to the family fun I had. I always describe it as a fishing trip but for big game.
Five pound brookie I caught two hours after killing a B&C class bou with my longbow.
Five pound brookie I caught two hours after killing a B&C class bou with my longbow.
Fishing trip for big game. Yep. Wearing my arm guard and my longbow is right behind me. Caught Atlantic salmon, giant brookies, and lakers on flies I tied. Great adventure!
I don't recall the manager. I was a last minute addition to a group from the The Wild Outdoors hunting show. Luckily I filmed during the first part of the hunt and had 2 unused tags when the migration hit. We had some issues back in Montreal with meat, capes and horns being mixed up and some sort of transportation screw-up. I gathered there were some issues between staff but our hunt was fine and I'm pretty easy going and just focused on solving whatever issues we had without worrying too much about who, or what, was to blame for them.
I have 2 buddies that went on a Yukon hunt. One is easy going and solves problems all day on pipeline jobs. The other is hot head and would spend $100 in gas and drive 2 hours to resolve a $5.00 issue to get satisfaction. When they arrived all sorts of things weren't as promised. Staff, area, food, accommodations, schedule, etc. The hot head blew up and flew home. My other buddy pitched in, sorted out some of the issues and adapted to the new reality. At the end of the hunt he had a huge moose, a grizzly and a wolf.
Nobody is giving me any hope :(
What other species to do you see on the brink of lost hunting opportunity?
Nobody is giving me any hope :(
You could marry into a local Innu family.
"What other species to do you see on the brink of lost hunting opportunity?"
Mountain lions in any referendum state.
Glunt, I tried to marry into a Wyoming ranching family that owned/controlled 200,000 acres northwest of Laramie. Alas, my girlfriend, the only daughter, wanted to get the hell off the ranch after college and go to New York to be a fashion model and designer. There went my dream..
Who woulda thought you could go wrong with credentials like “model” and “200,000 acres”?!
Matt, I don't know whatever happened to her. She went East to follow her dream and I stayed in CO and became a Park Ranger. Boy did they have some awesome hunting and fishing on that place, and she was a babe, way out of my league...
She probably married some guy who dreaded having to visit the ranch at Thanksgiving. A week of pure hell snowmobiling, hunting & riding horses while looking at the Absarokas.
Some great photos of bull caribou in this thread...and it brings back lots of memories of bowhunting Quebec before they closed it down. I'm so glad I did this hunt...especially since no one saw this hunt coming to an end so abruptly. I hunted with Mirage in October of 2007...we goofed around in camp along the Nastapoka River for a few days...70 miles from the migration...then we got to do a fly out in a Beaver to intercept the herd. Thousands of animals migrating was the most spectacular thing I've ever seen...from the air and on the ground...it went on for miles. After getting in position in some brush along a lake shoreline where an artery of caribou were entering the water to cross, I watched as hundreds and hundreds of animals walked past me for more than an hour. Listening to their hooves snap with each step and watching the swagger of the bigger bull's antlers was a rush. Then the bull I was waiting for materialized from around the hill leading to the lake. I shot him at 18 yards while walking past me toward the lake...a pass through...and he fell before entering the water. Was thankful for that...but what an experience. I only wish others could do it now...it was a National Geographic hunt for me...and wouldn't trade it for any other hunt I've ever done! Kevin
Can someone explain to me who makes the decision to close the season? Is the decision made annually? How does the process work? Is there a way to oppose the ruling through Canadain courts?
I went in 1997 and we saw two caribou the whole week. Went back in 2000 and I took a small bull and a friend shot a cow. Probably saw less than 20 caribou that trip. Probably walked ten miles each day of those hunts, just not a lot of animals around. Was really hot with black flys everywhere.
Like others have said.
I was extremely fortunate to have gone on this hunt.
It would be fantastic if it ever came back.
The current state of caribou basically everywhere in NA is concerning. To add to it, they are being hunted for profit in Canada and the meat sold with zero restrictions or regulations.
In 89 I went & like DaleC it was a bust. Our camp saw 4 Caribou & no shots. That entire year for majority was extremely bad. I took my son back with me the next year 1990 & again nothing until our LAST DAY. It broke loose & we were extremely lucky it did. Today, the video I made is a treasure for sure. My son with his 2nd & best of the two.
I seemed to have the opposite experience when I went in 2015. In a bunch of ‘bou the first three days of the hunt. Everywhere you looked there was a group. Our group filled 11/12 tags in the first 48 hours. Then it slowed down. Finally arrowed my second bull the last day. To this day one of my favorite hunts ever.
I had an interesting experience. I had read an article from Chuck Adams about his hunt up there. So I booked the exact same hunt. But I couldn’t get in the same camp. When I arrived there were some pretty sad stories coming from the tundra. No bou. My outfitter told me that they were sending me to a different camp than the one I booked. I ended up in the same one as Chuck.
When we got to camp all of the previous hunters were there. They weren’t flying out until the following morning. But they had given up. Zero sightings. One guy from Spokane that showed up the same day I did was a non stop jokester. Hilarious. He was telling those hunters to smile. They all had faces like their dog just died. One of them said…. Yeah wise guy, in a few days you’ll look just like us. It wasn’t looking good.
All of the sudden a hunter comes flying in the door. A guy who hadn’t given up. A bow hunter! His eyes were as big as silver dollars I swear and he said two words: They’re here!
He said he took the boat to the far end of the lake and saw 4 caribou and killed one. When he was quartering it he looked on the horizon and all he saw were antlers. Hundreds of them.
All of the hunters grabbed their guns and flew out the door. They did pretty well too. Killed a couple half decent bulls and several cows. They were bloodthirsty after a gameless hunt.
The next morning the funny dude laughed at the hunter who said we’d go home empty handed and off we went. It was a great hunt. Groups of 8-30 caribou were coming by very regularly. Everyone killed 2 bulls. They kept flying more hunters into that camp. Most guys left as soon as they tagged out. They asked me if I wanted to leave. I said maybe next year. I went out on the tundra for 3 days with just a camera. A guy well into his 80s flew in one day. He was a really nice guy. Probably not covering too much ground but as happy as could be. I told him I’d been scouting all over and there was a spot within sight of camp where bou had been coming through. Most hunters were further from camp. I told him I’d take him up there and he’d make it no problem. We weren’t there a half hour when here came about a dozen animals. The old timer shot the biggest bull of the week. It made my hunt.
But I learned that caribou were like salmon. Feast or famine. I watched things go from really bad to a textbook hunt in literally the blink of an eye. Anytime you hunt migrations anything can happen. At least salmon have to use the same streams eventually. Caribou change their routes and their timing. It’s even more unpredictable.
But the most unpredictable things is the politics of the natives. They don’t even have to justify what they do. Lots of them don’t really care for us. I get it. Our Native Americans watched their buffalo get decimated. If I were them I might feel the same way about the caribou. I’m thankful for the one hunt I did up there. My outfitter was Sammy Cantafio. Ungava Adventures. They were nothing special really. But Quebec was! I’d go again in a heartbeat but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think we’ll ever hunt it again in my lifetime.
I got lucky and booked a trip for 2017, which ended up being the last year. Our hunt was tough, mostly stragglers coming through here and there and no big groups. Sightings were picking up by the last 2 days of the trip. I had a few opportunities that I failed to seal the deal on. It was awesome to experience the tundra, and I would go again in a minute if they ever re-open the season.
As some have mentioned in previous posts, to witness the animals in 2006 was just an awesome experience. We hit it perfectly and I was able to take 2 bulls under 10 yards with my recurve. Our whole camp tagged out (11 hunters, 2 bow & 9 rifle) in 3 days. We went with Club Chambeaux. My buddy and I got our first bull on the first day. The 2nd day we didn't even draw back, we just watched and enjoyed the migration as thousands of caribou went past us. Then we both finished up on the 3rd day and enjoyed the next couple days as the other hunters filled their tags. So sad that many will never get to experience this hunt, it was just incredible.