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Thread: My Girlfriends first Caribou

  1. #1
    Member J2theD's Avatar
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    Default My Girlfriends first Caribou

    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



    -J.D.
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  2. #2
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Great job! Thank-you for your contribution!
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

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    Member PPR's Avatar
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    That's pretty cool, wish I could get wife to do something like that, she's not to keen on hinting large game

  4. #4
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    You didn't make her take a big bite out of the heart!!! Really, nice picture. For the velvet you shoot it up with formaldihyde. Taxi can do it for you but dont wait. I heard that there is a procedure that recovers the antler with some type of synthetic that look good as well and then you never have to worry about it comming off.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

  5. #5
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    Meat in the freezer, humane harvest, good weather - life is as it should be. Congrats.

  6. #6
    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Congrates too both of you! You just created another hunter!

  7. #7

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    Congradulations.......

  8. #8

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    That was an awesome write up and an excellent pic. She looks like about as happy as a woman can get without a credit card in hand! I was going to change my avatar to the AKgrown logo, but now I see you got it first. Love to see locals getting hot chix into the woods. We need more of em' out there!

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Congrats! Thanks for sharing the story with us. I remember being with my wife for her first caribou, and I can't recall a sweeter hunting moment ever. I imagine this is going to become one of your more treasured memories. Nicely done!

    As for the velvet, taxidermists don't use formaldehyde any longer due to it being a carcinogen. I think Knight's taxidermy offers a dip process where they soak the antlers in some sort of alcohol-based liquid to preserve the velvet. You can also freeze the antlers for a year and let them dry that way. I've been told you can also inject all of the tips with acetone, but I've never tried that. Lastly, I have one small set that I just left in a shed for a couple of years. It might have stunk for a while, but they dried up nicely. I can't promise that they won't rot, but mine turned out fine.

  10. #10
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Lucky man great girl,congrats to both of you
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  11. #11
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Congrats to Cassie. And kudos to you for getting her involved in the hunt and harvest.

  12. #12

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    Great job to the both of you. Looks like ya gotta keeper there, and I ain't talking about the 'bou.

  13. #13
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Very nice - thx for sharing!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  14. #14
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    I hate to say this... but the "trick" to preserving the velvet is take it to a ruputable taxidermist. Pay him a couple hundred dollars, and it will look great in 12 or 14 monthes when you get it back. Normally, we all say "talk to the taxidermist before the hunt, and get everything to him as soon as posible, no waiting or wasting time." Hopefully the antlers were kept cool enough that blood didn't pool, (not sure if that is the right phrase), and the flies didn't get at them.

    Thanks for the story and good luck in the future hunting alone...

    Chris

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    Its always good to introduce someone to the sport. Looks like a positive outcome all around and you probably have a new hunting partner. Congrats to both of you.

  16. #16
    Member J2theD's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the awesome comments! She likes reading them. We are going to call a couple taxidermists and see what they say about the antlers. Right now we just have them in the garage kind of up on a shelf away from everything.

    I can honestly say that her shooting it felt better than anything I have shot. It was really cool. I figured I would contribute a story to this site since I have ready so many and learned so much over the last couple years

    @ tboehm, she refused to eat the heart "Dances with wolves" style, but she did eat hit that night when I cooked some over the fire. It was delicious.

  17. #17
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    Great story, JD! The hunt, the stalk, the kill, working up the meat, and picking berries all in one day. You both did it all. A nice eater bull with a double shovel and a nice summer hide if you kept that too. Safe, practical, nicely done!

  18. #18
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Good goin'! My wife got her first this year also!

    Hit up hoytguy on here. He can walk you through the process for the velvet (or do it for ya if you hurry!)...

  19. #19
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Good thing your GF was wearing her Abercrombie and Fitch hunting tog!

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