Finger Mountain caribou finally on the wall
On one of my drives back from Prudhoe I finally saw a caribou in the Finger Mountain area. Luck would have it that I hadn't tagged a bou up north yet since the limit in this area is 1. He was half mile or so from the road and I put the stalk on him through a grove of black spruce. He was in a small revene, but coming in and out of it. I had about 150 yards of open flat ground to close in on him for a shot. As I crawled closer, he would occasionally pop up into view, but because I worked the wind into my favor, and stayed low and still while he was in eyesite of me, I was able to close the gap.
After 15 minutes or so of working in to him, he ducked below the revene. All I could see were antlers, so I moved even closer to get a shot in. Once I peeked over the edge, he was less than 15 yards away, but a small bunch of spruce blocked any kind of shot. He was hanging in that spot and wouldn't move, so I rolled a couple times to my right which put the wind closer to his direction. He either heard or smelled me, and he ran out about 15 yards and stopped to look back. I raised up at full draw, and put an arrow right behind his leg. He ran out onto a small frozen lake and started stomping with his last several steps. I was certain he would break through the ice, especially when he fell, but the ice held strong. I was jacked that I'd taken such a nice bull, and in a different area as well, but the realization came that I had to get him from the middle of this lake that had roughly 1-2" thick ice on it.
I slowly started to work out to him on the ice, and it was popping and cracking all around me. After one large crack appeared right at my feet, I backed out, and went in from another angle. I crawled the last several feet to get to him, and once I had an antler I pulled, but his blood had frozen him to the ice. I had to stand to get a better pull on him, and finally he came loose. I quickly worked him to the edge, and had a nice clean surface to clean him up.
As I started skinning, I noticed a large wound in his hind leg. It appeared as if another bull had speared him, and his wound was badly infected. All of the meat from the hind quarters to the front of the ribs had a green tint to the silver skin. His hip bones were clearly visible as well. He was in bad shape and I'm sure he wouldn't have made it through winter. Several tines were broken on him, so I quickly named him Scrapper.
I've had his hide wet tanned for quite some time now, and finally decided to mount him up. I hit up Dahlberg's taxidermy, and the timing was perfect, so the mount was done in about a month. Jesse had been doing caribou, and had a form already on hand that fit the hide. I picked him up this weekend and got him on the wall last night. Jesse put a nice touch to him with the eyes. He is looking left, and you can see the whites of his eyes on both sides indicating he is looking further left. I have a few nice quality mounts in my house, but this one is the most life like. I dropped off my ox hide with him that has been salted for over three years now. He is sending it to the tannery, and if it comes back mountable, I'll bring the horns down to him in May.
Here are a few before and after pictures.
I'm glad it made the trip up north ok thru the snowstorm, as for completion time.. I think I had it closer to 3 months. Timing worked out perfectly.. (3 months isn't the norm) so no one get any crazy ideas.. Not many people bring a tanned cape and antlers ready to go.. Definately speeded up the process and didnt hurt that I was mounting caribou at the time and had extra forms and such as you mentioned.... Your ox is headed to the tannery this week.. See what happens.
Here is another pic of your caribou..
Was it three months? Seemed like a lot less than that. Probably because you kept sending pics my way. I enjoyed watching him be put together.
Very nice caribou and mount.
Jerry, that's way cool you got one that far south. The mount turned out great!