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Thread: 2018 Caribou hunt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    60

    2018 Caribou hunt

    So after years of dreaming and nine months of research and planning, I flew into a lake in northern BC with fellow member PG83 to hunt for caribou.
    I’d been on a hike in hunt in the same general area (about 75km away) last year, well below the alpine looking for moose and hoping maybe for a rogue caribou but came up empty handed. Though I enjoyed that trip, I wanted to get further in than hiking allowed me so settled on booking a fly in.
    After getting some good advice on the forum, we settled on a few lakes that looked like good potential spots then I called to see about booking. The final choice of spot was more or less based on availability which suited us fine.
    PG83 made it to my house on August 26 and over a few draft beers we made some final plans and checked our gear. We were on the road at 5:00 the next morning driving north. By 4:00 that afternoon we were in the air.



    We set up camp in a nice spot above the lake, had some chili for supper to warm the tent up (no fire because of ban), and got to sleep pretty early.


    We slept in a bit the next morning, not really in a rush as we figured we’d just wander a bit that day getting the lay of the land and seeing what there was to see. So after breakfast and coffee, we packed a few snacks and headed out of camp in the drizzle at about 8:30.
    There were some nice moose trails along the lake, nothing too fresh but still enough to get us feeling happy. Also began seeing caribou tracks, sharing the same trails which definitely made me feel happy. As we wandered around, we found ourselves leaving the lake behind and headed up the shoulder of one of the nearby mountains which gave us a nice view of a fair bit of country.

    As we were looking around, PG83 noticed some sheep – ewes and lambs on an outcrop above us looking down at us. Because he’s into sheep, PG83 gave them all his attention, filming them and watching them through the spotter. They even followed us as we leapfrogged over a slide to another rocky hill. I thought it was pretty cool too, seeing some animals our first day there was a good sign.

    A better sign happened while casually glassing out over the valley. PG83 was still watching the sheep when I noticed some movement about 1500 yards away. Through the bino’s I spotted a bull caribou. We got him in the spotting scope, but couldn`t make a count on his points. After a bit of talk we figured we should head out and see if we could cut him off and get a better look.

    Leaving our packs, we set off at an angle ahead of where we had seen the caribou. The wind was not on our side but we figured it would be nice if we could see him again, so off we went. We didn’t see him for about 15 minutes, when suddenly I spotted him maybe 500 yards away, still slowly headed in the same direction. We lost him again in the rolling country for another quarter hour and were wondering if we should give up when he crested a little hill about 300 yards away. He was staring at us so we decided to head down a small hillside and circle him, hopefully coming up the other side of the hill closer and in front of him.
    Down we went, knowing that he would be out of sight until we came back up the hill, hoping that when we saw him again, he’d be close. It took us about ten minutes to circle the hill and carefully head back up and I was starting to get excited. PG83 was ahead of me when he slowly crested the hill. I saw him looking and could tell he didn’t see anything. I came up the hill beside him, looking over the valley and saw nothing. Ah well, I didn’t think we’d see much that day anyway so to see sheep and a bull caribou was already an accomplishment.
    I was thinking this as I turned around, giving the area a quick scan…and there he was, standing level with us on another small hill about 70 yards away, facing us and staring right at us. I dropped to one knee and got him in the scope also seeing PG83 at the bino’s trying to count points. The caribou turned broadside and as he did I counted at least 6 points on top. A second later I heard PG83 say “he’s legal, shoot”.
    It took me a second to realize I was actually, finally doing this…then I squeezed the trigger. He lurched about 50 feet into a little dip where I put another one in him to be sure. A few long minutes later and it was all done. Aside from the 2000 yard round trip to get our packs that we probably shouldn’t have left behind…lesson learned.
    The caribou dropped where I hit him the second time, at the bottom of a little gully with no visibility once we went down in it. I’m sure we looked like gophers, popping up every now and then to scan around the valley for bears…a quick look, then back down to work.
    An hour or so later we were all packed up and got out of there.



    We had brought a small inflatable boat which we had left in camp. However, we knew there was a network of lakes which connected the area where we were with our camp area, so we stashed the caribou by one of the small lakes and hurried back to camp.
    About two hours later we were back, having paddled and portaged a few times from camp. We loaded the meat and headed back to camp. A few long paddles and 5 portages later, with darkness coming on we got the meat hung, tarped and got to camp for a couple of beers, supper and some scotch.


    That was the only animal we shot on the trip. We saw several bull moose, all too far to hump back to the lake though and put a great stalk on a huge bull caribou, but after a 3km pursuit, he zigged when we zagged and we missed him in the brush. When we saw him again, he was 500 yards away and heading in the wrong direction.
    We saw several grizzlies, but had no issues; however our camp was literally attacked two nights in a row by porcupines of all things. It was a laugh when they were pushing on PG83’s side of the tent and when they licked out his coffee cup…not so funny when they were tripping against the canvas on my side and eating my homemade butter, dish and all.
    All in all it was a great experience in an amazing setting. The country was huge and amazingly peaceful, no sign of other people and only the distant drone of a plane once or twice to remind us of the outside world. I’m planning a similar trip for this year but can’t pull the trigger yet due to impending (but not booked) knee replacements.
    Thanks for reading.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    EK BC
    Posts
    3,345

    Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Those pictures bring back fun memories of hunting that country, congrats on a nice bull.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Port Alberni
    Posts
    5,735

    Thumbs up Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Pleasant read and fine pictures!
    Congrats on a fine Caribou!
    And best of luck with the knees!!

    Cheers,
    Nog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNNhzkJ-UU&feature=related

    Egotistical, Self Centered, Son of a Bitch Killer that Doesn't Play Well With Others.

    Guess he got to Know me

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    60

    Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Some more pics






  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    60

    Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Thanks, your pictures were a major influence on the decision on the lake.
    Quote Originally Posted by Everett View Post
    Those pictures bring back fun memories of hunting that country, congrats on a nice bull.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Smithers
    Posts
    60

    Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Thanks Nog, I figure I'll be either missing spring bear, or fall moose/caribou, but hopefully not both. Either way though, I'll be happy for new ones...then maybe I'll give goats a more serious try
    Quote Originally Posted by IronNoggin View Post
    Pleasant read and fine pictures!
    Congrats on a fine Caribou!
    And best of luck with the knees!!

    Cheers,
    Nog

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fort St. John
    Posts
    730

    Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Enjoyed the read and nice photos. Good job!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Squamish
    Posts
    4,513

    Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Very cool. I'm heading up that way this summer for a fly-in too. Your story and photos really get my imagination going.
    Raise your children and spoil your grandchildren or spoil your children and raise your grandchildren.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    3,516

    Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Thanks for the read and all those pics (Congrats by the way)
    So much beauty in this province that many of us will never see.
    Pictures of the prize/reward are great.
    But I really enjoy the "Landscape" and people photos the most.
    Great Job.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pitt Meadows
    Posts
    25

    Re: 2018 Caribou hunt

    Awesome work and congrats on a beauty bull Caribou!!

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