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Thread: Taking a 10year old caribou hunting?

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    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    Default Taking a 10year old caribou hunting?

    I posted this over on rokslide forums but would love to hear what you guys have to say also.....

    Well my son is almost 8, since he has been old enough to talk he has always wanted to go caribou hunting! We walked around the western hunting expo in SLC today and it was clear to me, with every caribou mount we passed, that I'm going to have to do something about his desire! So his mom and I got to talking about taking him for his 10th birthday since he can hunt in AK at 10. I have so many questions about it, is a caribou hunt(barren ground) too tough for a gritty kid who has grown up following me around wyoming mountains, deserts and everything in between? Would I be crazy to consider taking him on one of the unguided type bou hunts? Any outfitters and/or drop camp services that you guys would recommend? I'd like to take him in august(no school to miss), are there any downsides to going in august(I know BUGS)! Any and all opinions/advice is greatly appreciated!

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    Member polardds's Avatar
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    Caribou are migratory. Depending on where they are when you find them. Also depends on if you are doing a drop off hunt, a raft hunt, or a walk in hunt. Also depends on how picky on size you will be. If your schools are like ours you will be doing the hunt in August. The bulls have good meat and will be in the velvet.

    Sometimes we can wake up and shoot a caribou from the tent, other years we have had to walk a lot further than we want to.

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    I would say take him, for sure. I got my first caribou at 11 years old. I know a lot of others who have gotten their first big game animal that young or younger. It is a great time to teach them about all aspects of hunting and it is so exciting to a kid that age, they really suck up the information. Assuming things aren't a total disaster, it would likely be a major highlight of his life that he will remember for a long time, even if you aren't successful in getting an animal. I know I can still remember the details of that first shot I took at a caribou. I still look at that some spot along the river every time I go by and think about it. Just the trip is usually worth it. Since you seem to have a fair amount of experience with him out hiking around the mountains, I wouldn't see him having any trouble. As you are surely aware, just make sure he is comfortable, good clothing and all, so he has good memories of the trip and not the memories of being miserable if you are wet the whole time kind of thing.

    In addition to the bugs that early in the fall, you really have to consider meat care with the warmer temps. Depending on where you go and how you get there, you could have a need to keep the meat in good shape for a number of days which can be difficult when it gets warm. Read up through the forums here for some great tips and tricks for this. Plan you trip so you have a good way to transport the meat out in a reasonable time if/when you get something.

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    Bugs could be bad but if you do your homework and get the right transporter or guide service to take you to a good spot you should have great time. I have taken both my kids on some pretty grueling hunts and they did awesome. The will power and drive a youngster who is determined to do something is hard to beat. I say take your kids early and take them often. For a fly out hunt as long as you are prepared for most every event that the bush can throw at you (keep them as dry as possible and fed) the hunt should make a memory of a lifetime. Good luck!

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    As you can see I don't post a lot, this will be my second in 7 years, but hunting with the kids is my passion.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Go for it, have an adventure that's what boys love! Adventure with dad!! My boys were 8 when they started shooting caribou, I was 10 my brother was 10, it's a great time!! Just dive it and show that boy of yours that you don't get stuff done without going for it!
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    And I failed miserably at my second post. Hit the enter button by accident. Anyway, I have 5 kids and with each one of them I have started them big game hunting at three. Mind you at that age they are just along for the ride, but they are beginning their hunting experience. I have started all of them on caribou hunting. It is by far the easiest animal to break a youngster in on, as they are very forgiving with noise and the constant motion little ones typically generate.
    I typically harvest 5-7 caribou a year over the course of 3 to 4 hunts and usually on each hunt I take a separate child. The area I hunt usually consists of paddling 2 miles across a lake, lining a canoe another two miles up a river, paddling another two miles across another lake, lining about 1/4 mile up a second river to where we typically camp. Once there we often walk up to 4-5 miles before harvesting a caribou, its around a lake so the farthest pack out I have had has been about a mile. This trip is usually repeated three times a summer. Rest assured thought that it will be more work on you as dad, but is more than worth it. I only say this to emphasize that it is absolutely doable and will generate memories that will last a lifetime. I wish you and your son well.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Go For it..! My oldest son shot his first Caribou at the age of 10. My youngest didn't get a caribou at age 10 and had to settle for a 60" moose.
    My only advice would be to take a good camera and take lots of pictures..

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    You've got plenty of time to make plans, so.....
    Bag the August hunt & go in September. Bugs will be down (a little), meat will keep better and hard antlers are much easier to care for. Give your son some goals for school between now and his 10th B-day. If he doesn't meet the goals, no hunting trip. As soon as possible, contact his teacher (while he'll be out of school) and get home work assignments for the trip. Let him study while in camp. Books are heavy, but you need to take them for him to keep up with the work.
    Look into a flyout off the haul road (probably the most cost effective caribou hunts available right now). Be aware that some transporters don't like to fly out single hunters, for safety reasons. Be sure to fit a sat phone into your plans.

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    A little older than 10 but same idea. Early August floating north out of the Brooks Range.


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    Member Jeff U's Avatar
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    Or something like this....PM sent

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    A little older than 10 but same idea. Early August floating north out of the Brooks Range.


    I was thinking float hunt. If the animals are few and far the fishing should be awesome.
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

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    Quote Originally Posted by elkmasterwyo View Post
    I posted this over on rokslide forums but would love to hear what you guys have to say also.....

    Well my son is almost 8, since he has been old enough to talk he has always wanted to go caribou hunting! We walked around the western hunting expo in SLC today and it was clear to me, with every caribou mount we passed, that I'm going to have to do something about his desire! So his mom and I got to talking about taking him for his 10th birthday since he can hunt in AK at 10. I have so many questions about it, is a caribou hunt(barren ground) too tough for a gritty kid who has grown up following me around wyoming mountains, deserts and everything in between? Would I be crazy to consider taking him on one of the unguided type bou hunts? Any outfitters and/or drop camp services that you guys would recommend? I'd like to take him in august(no school to miss), are there any downsides to going in august(I know BUGS)! Any and all opinions/advice is greatly appreciated!
    He will never forget his first hunt with you and neither will you. I can still remember my first hunt with my father and the buck I brought back to camp. That memory will be with me until the day I die.

  14. #14
    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the advice/feedback so far! Certainly a lot of good advice to think about! I'm really torn on whether I want to do the guided thing or not, we do all of our hunts here on our own, so I know we could do it. I just wonder if it'd be less stress on me not having to worry 100% about doing all of the packing/meat care etc. good thing I have a while to make all of the decisions! Is there a certain herd that would be better logistically to hunt with a kid?

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elkmasterwyo View Post
    I just wonder if it'd be less stress on me not having to worry 100% about doing all of the packing/meat care etc.
    Packing caribou ain't nothin' really. I wouldn't let that stress you at all. Besides you'll have your son to help pack....lol. My son's first experience with packing meat was from a bull moose and he did fine. It's all a part of it.

    The only thing I would have some concern, like others have stated, if you go in Aug. the bugs might drive a young'n crazy. But chances are it can be windy most the time and that keeps them down quite a bit. Just don't forget your head nets...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    elkmasterwyo I sent you a PM

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    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    I took my grandson at age 4 and he is hooked on hunting. He did not hunt, but was there for the kill, helped gut and pack it out in 12" of snow. He had the biggest smile on his face the whole time. I had the horns mounted and gave them to him, they are on the wall at his house and he is still smiling. His 4 year old brother is going with us this next season. The both of them are all ready making plans. These memories will last for ever.
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

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    A $2 headnet will solve 90% of the bug problems. That item is almost as essential to any outdoor trip up here as TP. You hope u do not need to be surprised by the need for either but always best to be prepared. And like TP they are cheap and effective.

    Arctic siesta


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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Kids love caribou hunting... small one, Age 10 (Dad did the shooting), larger bull... that one was all him, Age 13.
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    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  20. #20
    Member elkmasterwyo's Avatar
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    Birdstrike, I hear you on the head net! Last August we were getting ready to walk in on a dall sheep hunt up there, at the last minute I found a headnet in my duffle bag(left in it from my dad borrowing the bag a couple years before) so I threw it in my pack, BEST decision of my life lol! We've been hunting elk/mule deer/antelope and coyotes since he was 3, I still remember him telling me when he could first talk that he wanted to go to Alaska to hunt a "carrot-horn"(caribou). He's been on quite a few big game harvests and loves to pack meat for/with me. Right now he's deadly with a .22 and pretty handy with a .22-250, I was thinking by the time he's 10 we could have him comfortable with a .243 or .257 bob with sturdy built bullets. Sure is fun having little ones to plan something like this for!

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