Alaska Haul Road Caribou - flub

ThunderNocked

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Aug 3, 2020
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North Pole, Alaska
Buddy and I went up as we had heard the Caribou were along the road north of the Brooks Range. The Caribou were off the highway North of Atigun so after a night in a snow storm and no sign of clearing up we headed south. Started looking for Caribou once we got south of the pass and saw signs at the first place we stopped.
Spent time there and had several opportunities as we tried to pattern what was happening in this drainage. Finally put it together and got positioned. Had Caribou filter off the ridge and through a creek bottom where I was positioned but I didn't think my spot out quite right as they were walking dead away from me as soon as they cleared the trees. I thought they would walk out more but the angle was off. Finally had a shot and took the opportunity at 30 yards.
Saw blood and the bull ran to 85 yards where he stood. I saw blood so decided I'd try to harvest another. He joined the line and continued walking. A second came out and I shot - this one was off. He jumped and I knew I had messed up. Wearing gloves, kneeling in the snow, I was getting cold and it was hard to keep holding the bow as my fingers burned.
peaked slowly over the ridge and saw a big bull coming down and decided to try to get one more. More caribou came out to my right at 7 yards so I froze and let them walk by as that was the wrong way for how I was sitting.
Waited for that big bull but the string dried up. Looked and there were no 'bou above me. Stood up and saw another trail about 50-60 yards up the bed he came out on. Ran up about 30 yards towards some brush but they herd me and took off. Retrieved my arrows - the second cut hair only but the first was covered in material. Looked over and saw more blood. Let him sit for a bit when my hunting partner showed up. We discussed how it went and then started to track my harvest.
Unfortunately after 50-75 yards the blood stopped. The line went up a 100' bench so we climbed that and found the herd above us.
We stopped and glassed, but they were nervous. After several minutes of trying to spot him they started to climb the mountain up into sheep country. I was starting to panic and looking all over the grounds for a floundering animal. Finally started looking higher and found him climbing 1000' above us with the herd with blood on one of his legs as the sun hit him.
I'm still not sure what I did wrong - if it was the extra glove because of the near 0 temps, if it was the slightly awkward position on my knees in the snow, the cold, or if I just flinched on my first real true Archery hunt like this.

Pretty bummed and looking to maybe take some more time to try and get up there again and bring some more gear so I don't have to sleep in a truck seat.
Overall - good experience and I learned a lot about Caribou and Archery hunting. And having 75-100 Caribou filter through the trees and onto a creek within 20 yards was a great experience I wont soon forget.
 
Sounds fun.Gotta get up there for ‘bou.

Pretty ballsy to arrow a 2nd caribou right after the first before knowing if the first was dead. Would you try that again if the situation were repeated? I would be afraid to have two potentially tough blood trails on my hands.

I have found different, thicker, gloves than what I practice usually hunt with alter my anchor point/shooting form so I usually yank off the glove for the hand I draw the string with. Tough with zero degree temps you had.
 
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I would definitely do some things different.
I really thought he was dead, but going back no I would have done a lot differently.
And I would have made sure he was down and then returned hoping for another group.
At the time, I had never been in that situation- so I believed he was going to be dead within 100 yards of the hit. But I wish you could do it all different.

I have practiced in cold conditions, kneeling and all that but after hiking I bundled up as I was cold.
Then the cold bow.
Will definitely practice more bundled up.
 
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