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Thread: First AK big game success

  1. #1
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    Default First AK big game success

    Well after a disappointing fall last year(my first fall up here to hunt) due to a number of different circumstances, I began planning for this fall 2012 and was determined to put in more time in preparation and have a backup partner in case one backed out at last minute, you know what they say if you have more than enough you wont need it. So with all that set I had my tier 1 tag in hand, truck packed and hunting partner riding shotgun headed up to the denali hwy for a hunt from August 31-September 3. My hunting partner has lived in AK his whole life but had never hunted, it was something he had always wanted to do, but just had no one to go with to help teach him, so I agreed. The whole way up there we talked about hunting, what to do, and discussed our plans for the next couple days. We got up the highway fairly late, so we decided to grab some sleep in the truck and begin hiking early the next morning.

    We woke up to clouds and rain, we got dressed threw the packs on our backs and began our hike in to set up base camp. We had an area in mind we wanted to camp but no specifics so we took our time, stopped at some berry patches on the hills and glassed for a bit while we grabbed a snack. After a few hours we were at our camp, got little tarp shelter set up to put gear under and for us to sit under to glass. During a quick break in the rain we got the tent set up, changed layers and headed up to check out the area. We saw tons of caribou sign but no animals this first day, so we headed to bed with better hopes for the next day.

    The next morning brought heavy fog allowing visibility of less than 75yds at times, but we sat and glassed while having a bite to eat. Wouldnt you know it in the fog looked like a perfect set of big antlers, but the quickly got socked in by fog, so I grabbed my rifle and decided to try and head in the direction I saw the "antlers" to see if I could see anything, and of course if it was there, I could not find anything that resembled antlers once out there. Dang eyes always playing tricks! After the fog lifted a bit we grabbed our stuff and headed out walking and glassing, we kicked up a cow and calf while out, and saw two other hunters butchering off in the distance. After a few hours we stopped back at camp grabbed a quick lunch, and headed out in the other direction, we saw another cow with 2 calves while stopping for some water, but just couldnt find a dry cow or a bull, but we were excited as we were seeing a lot of animals. We noticed a large rain curtain coming across the hills behind us so we decided to head to camp and try and wait out this rain storm in an attempt to stay dry today. Rain passed and we agreed we needed to get out to a place where we could watch a shallow draw which had a great trail running through it, but still see the high ground as well. We found what we decided would be our spot for a while and we set up and began glassing. After about 30 minutes my partner spots a few caribou on his side coming up the draw, we had talked about not moving if he saw something but just to tell me quietly which direction and how far out they were, since I had the caribou tag. Well his excitement got the best of him and he turned to me quickly and they spotted him, luckily it was a cow with 2 calves, we watched them pass by, and after I reminded him to not move if he saw something again, he laughed and said "yeah, that was exciting". He turned back around and about 30 seconds passed and he says "there are a bunch more coming" this time he did not move and directed me to them. They were cutting up another draw to our right and going to be passing behind us, which was perfect because that was where the wind had switched to. Due to the bushes and my position I could not see this group, so I got low and ran to higher ground where I could see the group. As I scoped the group of about 8 it was all cows and calves, I kept scanning and about 30yds in front of the group was a bull with a cow. I got settled waited for him to clear a bush where he stopped and I squeezed one off, I got the scope back on him and saw the hole and blood, and all looked good, but he was still fighting to stay standing, he turned away from me a step so I had no shot, and then started eating again. I was in absolute awe, I saw the hole and knew it hit lung, luckily he turned back broadside and I was able to shoot again, one shot to the neck and the work began.
    Caribou hunt 2012 082.jpgCaribou hunt 2012 087.jpg
    While cleaning it we found a bullet hole and bullet stuck in one of his hind quarters that was pretty fresh (and was not mine, had entered from other side, and I only shot twice and we found both exits), but had hit the guts so made for a frustrating clean out, and had lost some meat due to it. After getting it all cleaned and bagged we decided to push it a bit and try and get it all in our 2 packs and take it straight to the truck that night, and sleep there, and come back in AM for camp. It was a heavy mile and a half to the truck, but we made it just before dark. Went back in AM and packed up camp and headed home to finish processing our meat.

    It was a great hunt and definitely great first alaskan harvest, I think I have a hunting partner now for many years, and so many memories. It is by no means the biggest bull, but it is a trophy for me for sure, and I hunt I will never forget. Thanks to so many on here for your help, and for all the info on the site, I looked on here all the time to help me make some plans and gain some knowledge. Sorry so long, first write up, and a bit excited about the whole hunt!

    thanks for reading, I will add a few more pic.

  2. #2
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    Attachment 63726Attachment 63727
    Our good luck charm we found near camp, and our camp.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing a great story and your are to be congradulated! It's always nice to hear about someone willing to show another the ropes.

    Your other attachments aren't showing and would love to see them.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Member winibezold's Avatar
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    well done, great start to many years of enjoyment and awe in this great wilderness we call home!

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    Great write up. Success isn't always measured in the size of the antlers. Enjoy every hunt and the big antlers will come.

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    Partner glassing, and a cow with 2 calves that we saw.
    Caribou hunt 2012 005.jpgCaribou hunt 2012 060.jpg

  10. #10
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    Thanks guys, it truly was an experience I will never forget, and cant wait to do again!

  11. #11
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Good job out there! Looks like you and your friend had a fine hunt and learned a bit about what it is all about as well as how to do it.

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