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Thread: a girls first caribou

  1. #1
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    Default a girls first caribou

    First of all, thanks to all those on this forum who provided information on the area that we hunted. It helped to narrow down the places to put my scouting efforts to.

    This hunt actually began last year, at the time that the permits were submitted. I'd told my daughter that we'd apply for a tier 1 permit, and if drawn (or when as it turned out), she would get the tag to try and fill. So, as time went on, a rifle was bought, time was spent on the range, we played with different handloads to try and get the set up all dialed right in there, and we also did the "where would you aim on this" game using pictures of caribou in various positions from my hunting magazines. So, by the time the hunt date rolled around, I was pretty comfortable that she was ready to do this. I gave her a choice on the mode of travel, horses or 4 wheelers, and being a horse nut, she chose to use the horses to get back into the hunting area. So, we drove up onto the Denali highway and parked at our gravel pit "camp" site and got camp set up, electric fencing and high lines up for the horses, and got ready to go early the next morning.

    Next morning came fast and early, with all the chores required when using horses, and soon enough, we were all mounted up and ready to go. The trip in was nice, very little sign of anything for about the first 6-8 miles, and was more of a horse ride with guns than a hunt. I was still pretty confident that we would run into caribou further in the valley, and as we neared the end, we ran into a couple of guys on bikes who had both shot caribou and were working on getting the last load out. They told us that they'd seen few caribou, but there were some around and they were at the end of the valley. So we continued on, and began seeing more and more sign, then started seeing animals. We initially went after about 5 small bulls and cows, but were unable to sneak up on them with the wind the way it was. Went back to the horses and rode on to the very end of the valley, and stopped on a small ridge in the fork of the valley to have lunch. It was beginning to get late, and we decided to get moving, and start back to camp. I was just about to saddle up when my daughter says "dad, moose, I mean caribou.....bull!" I said where? She points and says, behind the bush....of course I have to ask her which of the 10,000 bushes she was referring to. She keeps pointing and eventually I see the bulls antlers moving behind some brush. He was coming down the hillside toward us, but veering slightly up the valley. So I tell her to get off the horse, grab her stuff and handed the lead ropes to our horses to my wife, who stayed with the horses as we moved to get into position. I moved her to a place that I thought would give us the best vantage point, and got her set up and behind the rifle. We waited, the bull kept coming. He got to about 400 yards, and stopped in a small stream. I told her, if he turns left now, he's going to go up the valley, if he crosses, he'll come right to us. Well, he crosses, and walks to a spot just below us on the valley floor. I ranged him at about 250 yards, which is longer than I wanted her to shoot so I told her to wait. As he moves slowly toward us, I asked her how he looked in the scope, and if she was steady. She said, yeah. when he hit the 213 yard mark, he stopped to itch. I asked her if she thought she could make the shot....very calmly she replied "yeah, I think so". So I tell her, shoot when your ready, the safety is off, wait till he turns broadside. Not two seconds later BOOM, the rifle goes off. I initially thought she touched the trigger by accident, but watched the bull go straight down. I gave a big whoohooo and told her that she made one heck of a shot, hugged her, and just really enjoyed the moment. I told her lets go back to get the horses, and she runs back to my wife to tell her about the terrific shot she had just made.

    As I was walking back behind her, I couldnt decide which of us was more excited about her first caribou. In all my hunting, and with all the animals I've killed, I have to say, this was probably the most memorable animal, and has to be, at this point in my life, the pinnacle of my hunting experience.

    So we gather up the horses and head down to get her bull. I walked up to make sure he wasn't going anywhere...


    Not a bad way to start a hunting career



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    Continued......

    Loaded up the horses and begin the long walk back. But smiling still.....



    As we finished loading up the horses, another bull comes trotting down the hill, almost on the same path as the previous one. My wife has her dad's tag (proxied to her) and asks if she should shoot it. I tell her that I think we have our hands full at this point, but if she wants to, its her choice. As he comes closer, the choice seems to get harder. He closed to about 100 yards and gives her a beautiful shot....but she passes. Later, at the end of the "walk" she tells me she made the right decision...I agreed.

    One of the really neat things that happened on the way out, was pretty unexpected. We stopped by the Mclaren lodge for a late breakfast/early lunch, and was amazed at the amount of people who came over to congratulate her and ask her to tell her story. We even had a van load of tourist from Holland stop and congratulate her, take pictures and just really make a big deal of it all. She absolutely soaked all that in. Just added icing to the cake.

    As it turns out, we eventually see some caribou near the road on the drive out, and after a climb, and some belly crawling, my wife makes a great 254 yard shot on this cow


    We made pretty short work of it and had it down and in the truck in no time.

    Now her parents have some great meat and were pretty tickled to see that her daughter provided it for them.

    A most memorable hunt for me, even though I never pulled a trigger. Things change.

  3. #3
    Member Berto's Avatar
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    i will be introducing my 13 year old daughter to big game hunting with the Unit 13 bou. i hope her experience is even half as fantastic as your and your family's, congrats!

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    AWESOME! Great write up.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    That first picture of your daughter running back to tell the story to her mom is among the best hunting pictures that I have ever seen! The excitement on her face speaks volumes about what an absolutely wonderful experience you all had. Man, I am going to be smiling all morning after reading this. That truly is the best of what hunting is about. Hats off to you, sir - you did well, and it seems that you've got a wonderful family on your hands.

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    Remember to read to salvage requirements for t 1 permits. You MUST destroy mount value of antlers.

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    Great story, and rightly so a very proud dad!!!! Way to go!!

    Drew
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daplumber View Post
    Remember to read to salvage requirements for t 1 permits. You MUST destroy mount value of antlers.
    Not true. They removed that clause from the regulations. The only additional requirements is that the meat of the hind quarters, front quarters, and ribs must remain attached to the bone.

  9. #9

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    Best pictures EVER! Not often you can capture an emotion like that on film. Simply amazing.

  10. #10
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    The first pic says more than I can put to words ! Well done !

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    my hats off to the photographer....she did a wonderful job.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Fantastic! Those pictures really capture the emotion that both you and your daughter are feeling. Well done!
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  13. #13

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    Congrats to you guys. Excellent write up and pictures. I hope my daughter is successful filling her moose tag, but even if she doesn't, we've been having some great times together in the field.

    What gun was she shooting?

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    All I can say is WOW! Very nice write ups this year. Congrats to yoru family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    Congrats to you guys. Excellent write up and pictures. I hope my daughter is successful filling her moose tag, but even if she doesn't, we've been having some great times together in the field.

    What gun was she shooting?
    She was shooting a little youth model Weatherby .243.

  16. #16

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    Congrats to Mom, Dad and the young lady with the best shot in town. Unforgettable moments and smiles that will last a lifetime.

  17. #17
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Good job. I will be taking my daughter up this weekend to try to fill my tag. She does not what to shoot, but wants to see what it is all about.

    So, DAllen, does this mean she is going to be picking up a shotgun this fall in that new boat of yours?

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    Congrats to a proud papa! As one of the guys on bikes, I could sense your daughter's excitement for the hunt that morning. In fact, we were talking the day before about how unfortunate it is that we see so few kids in the field but were soon encouraged when we passed your family heading up the valley. Hopefully this experience has been at an impressionable point in her life and will lead to a lifetime of outdoor adventures. As a side note, how amazing is it to get to experience a hunt like this within the confines of such a pristine valley, especially when you have it all to yourself?! Hope to see you up there next year!

  19. #19
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    Wonderful post DAllen - congrats to the two beautful lady hunters!
    Your words express the wonderful feeling of a parent that has progressed into that next great phase of life - living thru the eyes of their children at times!
    Thx for sharing!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Outstanding in all regards! Congratulations to all three of you!

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