Last winter I convinced my girlfriend to put in for the Tier 1 permit so she could shoot a caribou. She had never shot anything besides my 10/22 and was pretty nervous. On our way up Friday we stopped in a gravel pit and let her fire 10 or so shots at some targets at about 100 yards. Then we jumped in the truck and headed up to the Denali Highway to fill her Tier 1. We went in at Paxson, and camped a little passed Tangle Lakes.
We got there Friday night, set up camp, and fell asleep. Saturday morning we woke up at 6am and started some good ol' fashion highway hunting We saw plenty of cows and juveniles, but no decent size bulls. Finally, at about 10am, we see a lone bull on the hillside about 150-200 yards away (about 4 miles east from Tangle Lakes). I got all excited and told my girlfriend to get the gun ready. We went through the brush, quickly and quietly just in time to see him go over the hill. I pushed my girlfriend to hurry up and keep going, but after about a mile or so chase up hills, the caribou kept getting further away. We finally decided to head back to the truck.
We went another couple miles on the highway and saw a group of about 30. My girlfriend was getting antsy and wanted to shoot one. So we hiked ahead of the group and sat and waited. We didn't see any bulls, but there were some decent size cows. Sure enough, one of the cows crosses right in front of us, about 60 yards or so, and stops broadside to look at us. I tell my girlfriend to shoot whenever she is ready, she pulls the trigger, and CLICK. Safety was one. Caribou ran away.
Now my girlfriend is pretty angry, and we head back to the truck. I told her, "maybe this is a sign that we are going to get a bigger one," trying to cheer her up. We drove about 2 more miles, and low and behold, our bull we had chased earlier was about 300 yards off the road heading west. So again we hike ahead of it and wait. We saw on the face of this bald hill and waited, we were not sure where they went. Just when I was losing hope, the bull comes over this hill heading right at us at about 400 yards. He is leading the group of caribou. There is about 100 yards of open terrain between our hill and his. I told her, "as soon as he gets into that open area, you take a shot if he gives you one." He saw us, but kept on meandering down the hill into the open area. Eventually, he stopped at about 150-200 yards, and my girlfriend is aimed and ready. She asks, "should I shoot?" I say, "hell yes!" (in a whisper of course).
She pulls the trigger and he fell straight down. Didn't move an inch, just got hit and fell. I asked where she aimed, and she said right behind the shoulder. We are celebrating as we walk up to it. She is kind of shocked/relieved/happy. Turns out she hit this thing right in the neck, and killed it instantly. Needless to say it was a "lucky shot," but I couldn't have been happier for her. I gutted and quartered it while she picked blueberries
Also, I think this might be the smallest double shovel ever shot. But it was a beautiful velvet with no rub spots or anything. Are there any tricks to preserving the velvet on it? Thanks