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Thread: Horses, girl and caribou....a repeat

  1. #1
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    Default Horses, girl and caribou....a repeat

    The girl is on a roll.
    Another caribou hunt success for an up and coming young hunter. This year, we decided to try and get into our area the day before the season opened, so that we could be out looking come opening day. This year, it was just the two of us, as my wife wasn’t able to make it due to commitments at work. We arrived at the trailhead just after noon on the 9th, and took a bit of time to get the horses all loaded up and ready to hit the road. Every year, I learn a little more about how to do this horse pack hunting the right way, and this hunt was no exception. Next time, I pack EVERYTHING in the Manties except for the cloths we’re wearing. It seems all that little “stuff” kept adding up and by the time we were all ready to hit the trail, I had every bag, pocket, and empty space filled up, and felt like we were part of a Gypsy caravan……But, we got out and were on our way.



    The ride in was pretty uneventful, had to stop a couple of times and balance/tighten up the load, but otherwise, no problems. Weather was pretty nice to start off, but eventually it began to rain. Not too heavy, more of an afternoon shower or two. We moved back in about 9 or so miles and found a place with “trees” so that we could tie a highline for the horses. Needed three things for camp, trees, water nearby, and relatively flat ground. Not an easy thing to find up in that country. Anyways, got the camp all set up, set up the highline, and electric fencing, and got the horses fed and watered.



    Next morning, wake up to the sound of rain hitting the tent. Of course, having checked the forecast for the next several days, which said sunny and NOTHING about rain, I just shrugged it off and though to myself, well, that figures……Got my coffee going, and then breakfast ready. Woke up the girl and started out day. As we ate breakfast, we could see about a dozen caribou scattered all over, all cows/young bulls, or calves. One small group we seen were very close to a tent set up about a mile or so from us. Laughed and said, well, that’s goofy caribou for you. Since this was Mal’s second caribou hunt, I told her she was leading the show, and asked where we were going first. She picked a drainage that was to our east to go look into, so we saddled up and were on our way. Got to a point that gave us a good view of the entire drainage and nothing. So, she says that we are now heading to the spot she shot her bull the last year. I couldn’t argue with trying to duplicate success, so off we went. An hour or so later, we were sitting in the “spot”, glassing and eating lunch. The sun was out by then, and I was having a hard time not taking a nap in the tundra.



    After a while, I asked “well, what next?” I already knew our next destination as it was the only valley we could not see into. I’m thinking she was looking for the “valley of bulls” that we all want to find. So, she confirms my guess, and off we go. Had to cross a small valley with some swampy ground. While doing so, my horse sunk in a bit and appeared to be going down, so I bailed off, in a not so graceful way, and got clear. Well, I think me getting off, helped him regain his footing, and he was able to pop right back up. Of course, I was then a little wet and muddy, but that’s way better than broken. We get across the valley floor, and begin going uphill to the saddle between our valley and the next. Got to the top, and no valley of bulls was evident. No big deal to her, she was pretty positive and just shrugged it off to hunting. I’m pretty impressed with her growth as a young hunter in these last couple of years. She has developed patience which I think is the key to being a successful hunter. During the past spring, both my daughters spent many hours in a stand waiting for a bear to come in. I was very impressed with both of their patience in waiting for bears to come in then, and was happy that it paid off in a bear. The patience and good outlook continued on this day, and we moved to the next leg of the plan. We were moving back toward camp, skirting the valley floor (as it was pretty wet), and got within about ¾ of a mile when I see a caribou standing off in the valley floor. I told her “hey, caribou off to our side” I told her it was bigger and probably a bull. A quick look through the bino’s confirmed it, and it was a decent one at that. We get the horses off the trail, tie them up to some brush, and begin making our way to him. We covered about 400 yards and tried to find a place to shoot from. Lots of waist high brush made it difficult to try and get a good stable shot off, so I kept looking for a spot, all the while hoping the bull didn’t move off and disappear in higher brush that was all around him. Our luck held, I found a good open spot to set her up on, and she got the rifle on its bipod, and set the crosshairs on him. Only his back and antlers were visible at that point so I just told her to wait until he gave a shot. He had no idea we were there, and the wind was perfect. He popped out of the brush and gave he a hard quartering on shot. I tell her to take the shot, but she said she didn’t know where to aim at an animal standing like that. The antlers were casting a shadow on his body, and the tip of the shadow was at the right spot, so I tell her “you see where the antlers make a shadow on his body?, shoot right there”. She said ok, and was taking aim. I ranged him and it came up at 213 yards. I thought to myself, you’ve got to be kidding, that’s the exact same range she shot her bull the year before. So I told her “hey, you’re not going to believe it, he’s at 213 yards, just like last year”. She looked back at me and smiled and said “ that’s amazing”. I hear the safety click off, and hear the boom. Through the bino’s I see him throw his head up, and he goes straight down. “GREAT SHOT MAL!!!”. All smiles and she says
    “my hands are all shaky now”. I told her yep, and that should never change. So we got up, gathered our stuff and head over toward him. High brush had me a bit concerned about finding him, but we managed to walk right up to him. Great shot, right where I told her to aim. The girls got talent.




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    Continued.....


    We take some pictures, then head back to get the horses. We found another way in to him, a way that wasn’t so swampy, and were able to park the horses about 30 yards from the bull. We got him all taken apart, then loaded him up and headed to camp.



    Got the meat put away near the stream, to keep things cool, then went back and got the horses fed and dinner cooking. After dinner, we took our desert up a small hill behind camp and watched the sun going down. Just beyond our camp, I see another caribou moving around, this one is a monster. He’s probably one of the bigger caribou that I’ve ever seen. She just looked at him and said that I should go get him. I just replied that one is enough for me on this hunt, and antlers are just antlers….she agreed and we continued to eat our desert and watch the bull wander.







    Next morning we eat breakfast then break camp. Got everything loaded up and began our gypsy caravan adventure out.



    Pretty long uneventful walk out, and made the trailhead in pretty decent time. Got everything unloaded, then were on our way back home. Another great hunt, and another opportunity for me to watch her evolve as a young girl and hunter.

  3. #3
    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Congratulations to you both!! Sounds like a great hunt! Thanks for the story and the excellent pictures!
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Reminds me of my first elk hunt... my dad has a picture similar to this of me riding out with pack horse in tow at the end of a successful hunt.

    Well done to you Mal and of course you dad!!
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Member Double Shovel's Avatar
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    Outstanding! With two young daughters of my own, I dream of hunts like yours. Congrats!

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    Very Cool!

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    Very nice. Thanks for the write up and congrats to the young hunter. My daughter drew a caribou and moose tag this year, so I hope to have equally successful stories. Her getting an animal will be a bonus to that story.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    What a Great Write-up, and Pics of the Hunt

    Congrats to both of you,
    Looks like, years and years of "good times in the hunting fields" ahead, for you two

    Thanks for the story
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Default Horses, girl and caribou....a repeat

    Awesome write up! That looks a lot like the place I'm biking into on Saturday so very encouraging!
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MNViking View Post
    Awesome write up! That looks a lot like the place I'm biking into on Saturday so very encouraging!
    If your biking in, that would be about right. Good luck!

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    Member joebut1985's Avatar
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    Congrats, I cant wait till my daughter is old enough to take out and enjoy the outdoors.

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    Terrific write up, made my day! Thanks for sharing!

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Congrats, looks like your doing things right.
    Also can't wait till my daughter is old enought to join us like this!
    BK

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    DAllen great job! We were at the rock at about mile 4 when you came out. I'm not sure who was more excited, your girl or the dog!
    See you again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ron e View Post
    DAllen great job! We were at the rock at about mile 4 when you came out. I'm not sure who was more excited, your girl or the dog!
    See you again.
    By that point,....the dog, definately.

  16. #16
    Member AKnook's Avatar
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    Congrats to the both of you. Great photos and write up. Thanks for the share.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Outstanding for sure,thanks
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Outstanding for sure,thanks
    Great pictures and story. Having lived in Ak for many years in the '80's and useing horses it really hits home to me. I'm bringing my son up moose hunting in sept. and a friend is loaning me a couple of horses and pack gear and we are getting pretty pumped up for it. Your pics are great and it looks like youve got a great little hunter there. My son is my favorite client. Thanks, Ron.

  19. #19
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Congrats to you and Mal that is a great hunt! Good job writing that all up you captured everything amazingly well. I love those experiences with my girls.

  20. #20
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    Very cool, love seeing the kids out there! Nice pics, thanks for sharing the adventure.

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