Solo Alaska Caribou

Poke 'Em

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
421
Location
Belgrade/Bozeman
Sometimes hunting is a fast pursuit and sometimes it’s a waiting game. In this case, the toughest part was being patient. Fly-In Day was gorgeous, but you can’t hunt on Fly-In Day.

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I spotted one bull about 2.5 miles away, and that was it.

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Day 2 started with sightings of four grizzlies, one of which I had to run off. Rain set in, and by noon I was fully immersed in a cloud. For 46 hours visibility never exceeded 100 yards, which meant a lot of tent time with no one to talk to.

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The skies parted at 10 am on Day 4, and I scrambled up a mountain to glass. While the views were amazing, the only wildlife I saw was a flock of Rock Ptarmigan.

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By that evening the clouds set back in and visibility went to 50 yards. Walking around the mountain tundra blind is a recipe for disaster, so the morning of Day 5 I remained confined to the tent. Finally the clouds parted about 4 pm and I scurried up the mountain to have a look. Almost immediately I thought I spotted a caribou back peeking over a small knob a mile or more away. When I looked through the spotting scope, I saw a caribou colored rock on top of a hill. I went back to glassing other areas and saw plenty of sheep but no bous. Looking back the direction of the caribou rock, I was certain I saw the glint of an antler. Pulling the scope back out, I realized there was a caribou colored rock on top of the hill RIGHT NEXT TO the hill with a caribou colored caribou on it. Three bulls and a cow, and one of the bulls was big.

I quickly made a plan to get down the mountain I was on and get closer. I slid around the peak and dropped into the valley below, hidden from sight by the mountain on the other side that the caribou were just behind. I crossed the valley and eased up to the ridge. I found the big bull, but he was 135 yards farther than I had set my limit at. The cow and smallest bull were slowly moving down the drainage which prevented me from sneaking up the creek toward the bull. Ranging another bluff on the mountain led me to think I could cut 100 yards or so off the distance. I backtracked and headed father up the mountain until I found a spot that looked like it offered a good shooting rest. I crept up and found the bull.

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404 yards. 4 yards past my self imposed limit (practice time had been limited), but a shot well within my capabilities. I set up my pack and used my bino harness to steady the butt stock. I waited and waited and waited for him to turn broadside. And when he did, he had his antlers right behind his vitals. I nearly pulled the trigger before I noticed and realized I may put a hole in his rack if I got a pass through. So I waited some more. For what seemed like an eternity until he finally turned his head straight forward and left me a clear shot. I squeezed the trigger and the bullet found it’s mark. A few staggers and the bull was down.

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He was a huge bull, body-wise. 50 lbs more meat than my previous caribou. Four and a half hours later, the bulk of the meat was back to camp and it was 11:30 and dark. Not wanting to stumble around in the dark, I called it a night and made the last trip in the morning. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the final pack out.

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PNWGator

Active member
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
259
Looking at that last pic, I shutter to think what it would feel like to stumble outside the tent at night to take a leak and have the stream hit that fence . . .

But, probably better than a bear chewing on me.
That’s why you go floorless: just unzip your bag or throw back your quilt and roll onto your side…😴

Congratulations on an awesome hunt!
 

neffa3

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
7,430
Location
Wenatchee
holy sheetballs that is a great adventure. Thanks for sharing. How long did you have planned to stay up there? And why alone if you don't mind me asking?
 

okie archer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
365
Solo drop in AK is beyond my skill level I do believe, at least beyond my courage level.
Congrats to you sir.
 

brownbear932008

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
2,474
Location
SWVA
That is a great bull and it has a huge body! Nothing like the tundra and it's wildlife. That fog can be relentless up there.
 

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