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Thread: Haul Road Drive 11-4-11

  1. #1

    Default Haul Road Drive 11-4-11

    Made the drive from Fairbanks to Prudhoe yesterday. It snowed nearly the entire way, but all in all the drive was good. The roads were slick, which was proven by an 18 wheeler that launched off a 30-40 foot cliff around MP25 on the Dalton. There were about a dozen cars and some emergency response vehicles there to get him out.

    I snapped a picture of the Yukon River that was still flowing, but real close to freeze up.



    I made it up to Atigun and heading up the south side, the visibility went to uncomfortably low, and this again was proven by a group of hunters stuck in a drift on the side of the road about half way up the pass. A plow was clearning the drifts and was getting ready to pull him out.

    As I crested the top and headed down the north side, the sheep appeared. At first it looked like just ewes and kids, but on the top of the hill looked like a full curl, or very close to it.




    I headed north down Atigun, and about a mile up the road were 4 juvenile rams hanging out less than 20 yards from the road. The smaller ram kept pestering the larger ram until he ticked him off enough that the half curl postured a little and gave the little guy 4 or 5 kicks.



    http://youtu.be/2w-kjaQctm8

    About 2/3rds of the way down Atigun, another 18 wheeler looked to be having a bad day. At least he went off the road on the uphill side!



    On the south side of Atigun, I saw three caribou half way up the moutain on the east side of the road. There were highways everywhere on the mountainside, so it was obvious the caribou were moving through. 3-4 miles up the road I noticed a herd of about 40 caribou with a couple of real nice bulls in there. There was a large pull off on the side of the road, so I parked the truck, and slid down the cliff to the gully, then hiked up the side of the mountain to the caribou. I was able to get within 70 yards but ran out of cover. I noticed two nice bulls in there, the largest having already shed one of his antlers. I set up about 10 feet off a heavily used trail, and waited them out. About 10 minutes later, a cow and calf were moving at a pretty good pace and walked right through the group of bulls. This was enough to get them moving as well, and before I knew it I had 12 caribou 10 feet in front of me, 3 or 4 caribou about 20 feet behind me and one bull about to walk over me at 4 feet. I made a little movement to let the bull know I was there, and he ran out and around me. The big bulls still hadn't made there way over yet, but after the herd ran down the side of the mountain, I peered up over the ledge and they were still coming. The other caribou got spooked, but were out of site from the rest of the herd.

    A decent bull came into view, and I drew back but he caught my movement and ran down the cliff. I held at full draw and the two big boys in the back of the herd finally came into view. I shot the bull with that had both antlers as he passed by and stopped about 20 feet down the cliff. The shot hit him high in the back and broke his spine, and the arrow went through mid body on the opposite side due to the angle. He fell down the cliff and both of his antlers went flying in the air. He stopped rolling a few seconds later on the bottom and drug himself about 30 yards closer to the road where he finally laid down. I went up to him and put another shot to finish the job as my first arrow only got one lung.

    The pack out was brutal trying to get the bull up the cliffs to the truck. It was slippery, rocky, and instead of bringing a pack I only brought a roll up sled. I ended up taking him to the truck one part at a time.

    No pictures of the bull from the field, but I snapped a quick one of the antlers on the ground. Unfortunately it doesn't do the bull any justice as he has a lot of mass and a good spread. He has 30 points total, and his cape was almost pure white except for the bottom of his chest which had a little brown. His face was all white as well.



  2. #2
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    Jerod, that is one of the best "reports" I've read. What a great read, and the photos add to it tremendously. But then I've always been a picture guy. Even if you did not bring a bull home, to see that many animals had to bring a smile to your face. Every corner seemed to bring a new adventure for you.
    That truck sure looked to be in tough shape. Those drivers sure do earn their pay, and they have my respect. I do hope that driver walked away w/ only a bruised ego and a lesson well learned. We can all learn from that picture.
    Thanks again, this will be one that I go back and look at just for the photos.
    Congrats on a successful and safe journey,
    ARR

  3. #3
    Member Matt M's Avatar
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    A picture is worth a 1000 words. Thanks for the pictures and the report. All of the pictures make me think it is getting cold up there.

    Matt M

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    nice story Jerod, wish i could of gone back up there. It does not sould like the roads were very fun to drive.

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  5. #5

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    Not sure if you guys saw the video I hid in there, but here are the rams on Atigun.

    Thanks for the replies, it was a fun drive, but a little hairy at times. This is my 8th round trip this year, so I'm pretty familiar with the road now.

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    I did not have time the first time through to look at the video as my wife was dragging me off to yoga. Wonder how many "yogis" lay there doing chevasen (sp) (deep breathing, relaxing, looking internally, etc) and think about sheep on atigun? Or caribou. I think I enjoyed my yoga experience all the more.
    Good video, and in retrospect, glad I saved it until I got done w/ yoga. Gave me something to look forward to.
    ARR

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    Member letshunt's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing.

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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Way cool. Maybe a stupid question, but did you drive up there specifically to arrow a 'bou?

    Nice mass on those antlers.

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post Jerry! Way cool.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by GD Yankee View Post
    Way cool. Maybe a stupid question, but did you drive up there specifically to arrow a 'bou?

    Nice mass on those antlers.
    I have some work that I do up in Prudhoe, so I need to come up at least once a month on a scheduled basis. I drive from Fairbanks most of the time instead of flying because of the opportunities and scenery along the road. I've still got my return trip to Fairbanks ahead of me, and if I get out of here early enough I might take a hike along that mountain and look for some sheds.

  11. #11
    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Great writeup and pics. Thanks for sharing. I like the video too.

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    That was a good read, great pics as well. That surprises me that they are already dropping their antlers. I was hoping tosee the caribou up towards the pass but they were just getting to Galbraith lake last Monday. Thanks for posting.

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Very cool indeed - thanks for taking time to "take" pictures - a friend of mine shot a big buck deer late in Dec once - cold and snowy. He went to get help and when they found his buck it had run headlong into a tree and knocked off both antlers!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member forgotvirginia's Avatar
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    thanks for the photos and story. Looks like you had quite the adventure. Congrats on a nice bull
    Hunt, Fish and drink beer with friends.........because life is to short to work all day.

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    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
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    Nice!! Good Story! Glad to hear you got a nice one. What are you doing with the rack? Gonna get it shaped back up with a mounting kit or just leave em loose?

  16. #16

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    I'm thinking shoulder mount on this one. I'll have the taxidermist do detachable antlers, which would require them to be removed anyhow. The hard part will be to line them up, which he'll have to use his best judgement on. The bulls capes are awesome that time of year, and I'd really like to put him on the wall to remember this one. The roasts are just fine, and the sausage is almost done.

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