That’s why, when you are getting ready to go, you need to make sure you have the best raingear money can buy. It’s going to be your first line of protection from the elements. The rain is often times combined with wind which is your biggest enemy. A little dampness and wind can literally take the life right out of you and the fun out of the experience.
Caribou are strange creatures. They have no rhyme or reason in the travel. If you took a stick and scrambled an ant hill and watched the ants scurry around, that’s the same look you get when caribou are moving. So a spot and stalk hunt for them can be very trying. I’ve sat on top of a flat top hill and watched a band of caribou bulls work their way down a valley. I hurried to where I thought they might come out only to find they took a right turn and I never could catch up with them. If you can, make sure you layer your clothing because you’re going to do a lot of hiking for your trophy. If you need to, take some layers off and put them in your pack only to put them back on once you get to where you’re going to try and ambush your bull.
When it comes to rifles, choose the lightest one you can. Again, weight is the determining factor not the velocity. I’ve taken five bulls over the years and I’ve used a 300 WinMag, .264 WinMag, 30.06 and a .35 Remington. Caribou bruise easy so if you can get a lung shot, or breakdown a front shoulder he’s yours. I once tried to stalk a band of bulls 10 miles north of Iliamna Lake and they were out in a big bowl with nothing around them. The caribou were all in a group, maybe 10 feet apart, looking down wind. I thought it was strange but I realized they were using their nose to detect anything that might try to sneak up on them upwind. When I first saw them they were out about 600 yards. Not knowing what to do, I mimicked their swaying gate and stuck my rifle above my head to simulate a spike bull.
Closing the gap to just over 175 yards using this method I was able to pick the one I wanted. It took them about 25 minutes to decide to leave and as they stood my bull with double shovels, bit the dust.
Caribou hunting is a challenge but I have to say it was exciting especially when I used the swaying bull stalk. Oh yeah, the weather that day was perfect. It rained, snowed, got foggy, sleeted and the wind blew at a steady 15 mph. I stayed warm and dry and came home successful.
It took me two packs to bring the meat back to camp after I boned it.
This was a DIY camp, so if I can do it…anybody can.