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.
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.