Well, I can now say that I have been on a successful jet ski hunt. I figured this may interest some of you so here's the story.
I got to the Maclaren river lodge in the late afternoon Thursday and got a bit of a late start. I packed my entire camp into a large Cabelas dry bag and strapped it all on. After talking with Allen and Sue at the lodge and getting warned about how low the water was, I decided to take off the extra 15 gallons of fuel that I was hauling and go light. This meant that I couldn't go all the way to the Big Sue or Tyone like I had planned but that was okay with me.
I ran about 14 miles down river and the water was getting pretty skinny and I didn't have much light left in the day so I decided to find a camp. I lucked out and found an old moose camp that hadn't been used for years. As I was making camp there were some beautiful caribou that crossed the river just above me. There were three massive bulls in the group but I had my heart set on a moose so I passed on the caribou.
On Friday I hunted my crack off in the rain. I couldn't believe it but I didn't see a single moose. There was moose sign everywhere but I couldn't even find a cow, let alone a legal bull. I tried calling and raking and grunting but there just wasn't anything moving around that looked like a moose. There were plenty of bears though.
It was late afternoon when I arrived back at my camp. While cooking dinner I noticed something moving on the bluffs across the river. There were 3 grizzlies that were roaming around right across the river from my camp. It was a sow with 2 cubs. They were sitting on the bluff looking towards my camp and looked as if they wanted to join me for dinner. I really wasn't in the mood to entertain so I figured I had better scare then off with a shot in the dirt. The bullet hit about 5' below then and she sent the 2 year old cubs rushing into the alders and she followed shortly after. When I shot to scare the 3 bears I must have spooked this bull caribou because he came running out basically right into the scope just below where I had shot at the bears. I figured since he was right across from my camp and I already had the gun ready that this was just meant to be. I dropped him in his tracks. He wasn't the biggest bull I had seen but after a long day of seeing zero moose I think think the stars were just aligned on this guy.
It was getting dark and I was running out of light so I gutted the caribou and finished the job the following day. It's allot of work to take care of an animal all by yourself. It took me awhile because I had promised my taxidermist a full caribou cape. You definitely have to get creative when you don't have someone around to hold a leg for you. At one time I think I had 3 different lines running to different alders to allow me to skin him properly.
I came back out late Saturday afternoon. I was pretty fully loaded. Lets just say I exceeded the jetski weight limit by about 150 pounds. It was pretty sketchy but I made it back with only one mishap. I made one bad choice on the river and ended up going from 40mph to 0mph within about 5 feet on a gravel bar. I think the only thing that got hurt was my pride. I had to walk the jetski to deeper water and then try to hop on while trying to keep the jetski right side up. It's not quite as easy as it sounds, especially when you have a full caribou on there.
Getting back to the lodge was a good feeling. I took some photos and ate a glacier burger. If any of you ever get the chance to visit with Allen or Sue at the lodge and have time to eat some great food, I definitely recommend it. They are a great bunch of people and have always given me great advise.
I guess I should just add a disclaimer to this story. Hunting from your jetski can be very dangerous. I would not recommend this to most people. Running rivers on a waverunner is not really their intended use and a good day can turn bad in a hurry. ~907~