2015 Alaska Caribou Hunt

mdhunter61

Active member
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
351
I was up in Alaska at the end of August for a flyout caribou hunt. It was considerably colder than typical late August temps in Alaska…as I was driving to Tok on the day before we flew out, we saw snow on mountains a little earlier than usual.

DSCN1159.jpg


As we flew into the bush on Sunday August 30, there was quite a bit of snow on some of the high ridges. Guess we won’t be landing on these!

DSCN1174.jpg


DSCN1179.jpg


As we reached our hunting area, we located a ridge where the landing strip was free of snow. Here’s the second Super Cub coming in with my gear load.

DSCN1186.jpg


DSCN1188.jpg


After we got the tents set up and camp squared away, we went in search of a water source. As we were searching for the nearest water in a snow squall, we came on these big bulls, and watched them from about 100 yards away (you can’t hunt on the same day you fly in).

DSCN1190.jpg


DSCN1194.jpg


The cold weather really affected the caribou movement; it seemed like they left the country after our fly-in day. On the second hunting day, my hunt partner Jason connected with one of only two good bulls we saw. At the shot, the bull staggered over to the edge of the ridge and started tumbling down the side. Luckily for us, his antler caught in the loose rocks after 200 – 300 yards, or he would have tumbled another ¼ mile downhill.

DSCN1212.jpg


DSCN1215.jpg


Over the next two days, we saw a total of 4 caribou (it’s much more typical to see several dozen to a hundred in a day). I’m a meat hunter, and I told Jason I would try to harvest any bull we saw; just before dark on the 4th day, I shot this young one a couple hundred yards from the airstrip. It seemed like it took longer to confirm he was a male before shooting, than it did to field dress him! But, he would be good, tender meat for my family in Alaska to enjoy.

DSCN1244.jpg


That night we had an amazing light show, as the northern lights stretched for several miles and came right over us – it seemed like we could touch them. This picture doesn’t do them justice, the actual display was much larger and more colorful, but my pocket camera wasn’t set up for night shots.

2015%20AK%20Camp%20Northern%20Lights.jpg
 

mdhunter61

Active member
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
351
Pics of camp and the surrounding area.

2015%20Alaska%20Camp.jpg


DSCN1198.jpg


DSCN1240.jpg


DSCN1206.jpg


DSCN1210.jpg


As we flew back to Tok, the weather started to turn sour in the mountains, and I was reminded why I choose my bush pilots carefully – not a lot of second chances when flying in bad weather.

DSCN1265.jpg


DSCN1273.jpg


DSCN1281.jpg


Finally we got through the low clouds, and made it safely back to Tok. Another Alaskan adventure in the books, and another great hunting partner for future Alaska hunts! I've found 4 great partners to hunt Alaska on Hunttalk, and would hunt AK again with any of them in a heartbeat! Might have to chase moose next time…
 

gozz21

New member
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
25
Great pictures Michael and I had a fantastic time hunting, even though the caribou did not cooperate. After seeing that moose though, I can't stop thinking about those big critters
 

the nikster

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
1,474
Location
Idaho
Michael,
I really like the thickness on your buddy's bull. Maybe I missed it, did you guys fly back in on your scheduled date or did you head back early since you were done hunting?
Did you save some bones for the family or just meat? Do you still have a locker in town or does family store your gear for you?
Moose next year? Hmmmm,mmmm. Another great report on another great hunt.
 

mdhunter61

Active member
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
351
Michael,
I really like the thickness on your buddy's bull. Maybe I missed it, did you guys fly back in on your scheduled date or did you head back early since you were done hunting?
Did you save some bones for the family or just meat? Do you still have a locker in town or does family store your gear for you?
Moose next year? Hmmmm,mmmm. Another great report on another great hunt.

Hey Nick!

We flew out one day early since we tagged out on caribou. We both had black bear tags, but this was the first Alaska hunt I can recall (out of about a dozen) where we didn't see a bear of any kind, and we were glassing for them.

I forgot to save any leg bones this time, but did remember to get hearts and tongues. I still have a storage locker in Anchorage, some of the best money I've spent!

I'm taking my GF back to Alaska in 2016 to see my family again, so moose will probably move to 2017. Heck, you'll probably have your AK cabin built by then!

Great to see you on here,

Michael
 

mdhunter61

Active member
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
351
Great pictures Michael and I had a fantastic time hunting, even though the caribou did not cooperate. After seeing that moose though, I can't stop thinking about those big critters

Hey Jason,

Yeah, that was a nice bull moose. If they were in season, we'd have been calling that on tho, he was about 2 miles away and not the type of pack we want to do if we can help it. :)

Michael
 

elkantlers

Well-known member
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
1,294
Location
UT
Nice write up. I love the supporting pictures. Congrats on the fine animals.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,116
Location
Indiana
Congrats! I really need to get the logistics of a hunt like this worked out and just go. Well done!
 

Randy11

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
6,109
Beautiful country, and pictures.

It amazed me when I was up there to see the differences between the different herds of caribou. The size/coloration/antler configuration of the caribou we were hunting on the tundra look like a completely different species than those on the mountain interior.

Lots of good eats for you this winter!
 

knute78

New member
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
16
Congrats on another successful AK hunt, Michael. Caribou and their where-a-bouts is sure unpredictable. Glad you were able to tag out and get some meat for the family, which is more important than head gear. Looking forward to my next trip north, next May, and then another moose/caribou float hunt in 2017. Knute
 

mixedbag

New member
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
2,178
Nice mike!I just got flow out today before a big storm hits.Had to come out 4 days early,but better safe then sorry out there.I was fortunate to take a 54" moose.Glad you guys had a good trip.Your the most prepared partner I've hunted with,and always use your pack list
Great pics and congrats on the bulls and meat
 
Top