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Thread: Mal's 2016 Caribou hunt

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    Default Mal's 2016 Caribou hunt

    So, once again......we hit that time of year where we make the horses earn their pay (hay) for the year. This year's story is a little different than in the past, for several reasons. It seems, as time goes on, it gets harder to set aside time that is not already booked up with other priorities that begin to intrude more and more. Not so much my time, but more so with Mal. She's driving these days, got a job, and has a pretty seriously heavy school schedule, with a couple of AP classes thrown in the mix (one of which gave her a fair amount of homework to do over the summer). And......as any good teenager will do, she procrastinated most of the summer on the homework, and had to cram it in during the last two weeks of summer break, which meant she brought books on the caribou hunt... So, on to the hunt. We packed into our traditional camp the day before the season opener. Ran into a couple of groups of 4 wheelers going in and out, as well as other assorted vehicles which were associated with the mine or some sort of geotechnical survey that was also going on. The weather was pretty nice, with only a couple of showers to break up the sunshine. We set up camp, and the horses eat the large amount of hay and oats that have established themselves at our camp site. Opening morning breaks with a very nice sunrise

    and I make coffee and look around for some caribou while the girl sleeps in a bit. We had some folks set up camp about a mile or so below us, in the same place they set up last year, and it appeared that they chose to sleep in on the opening morning also.....as I watch a cow caribou spend about an hour milling around their camp, at some points, being as close as 60 yards from their tents....caribou......crazy animals. Eventually, the girl gets up and has her coffee. I had seen a couple of cows and small bulls around, but nothing larger. Mal decided she was horn hunting, so the animals seen were safe. After breakfast, the horses were saddled up and we begin roaming around looking for something worth shooting at. Weather was still pretty sunny, with a nice breeze to keep the bugs down. We move up and down the valley for most of the day, had a lot of cows and small bulls try to commit suicide, but they had no takers with Mal. We watched the folks below us shoot a couple of cows and then a young bull, but had seen nothing big. Next morning rolls around, the weather is now much more grey, and it looks like rain is in store. I looked up the hill and seen a few cows and a young bull, but still no takers on those. So, breakfast down, we move up the hill to do some glassing. I ended up spotting 3 bulls about 2 miles up the valley, and she says "lets get em" So, we move their way, keeping an eye on them so we know where they are. We stopped by camp to gather up our rain gear, as its now starting to rain, and then continue on our way. Now, we spent a total of less than 5 minutes in camp for the rain gear, and took our eyes off of them......and could not find them again. We moved to the small draw they were feeding in, and nothing.....open hill side on both sides of the draw...but nothing....they were gone. So, we moved back to camp, and spent the rest of the day moving and looking, covering some really nice country.



    Around Thursday afternoon, it started raining.....and it didn't quite till Saturday morning. I still hate hunting in rain....especially that kind of rain. But, we continued to search, but in the end did not find a bull that she wanted to put her tag on.

    So, as I write this and think back on all the years prior.....as well as this past week, I think of how much Mal has grown. I was amazed at her positive attitude on this hunt, with the lack of bulls seen, as well as the weather. She always remained positive, and smiling. And then it hits me....she has matured as both a hunter.....as well as a young lady....much more than I was really wanting to realize. I got to spend 5 uninterrupted days on this hunt...and know that value of being able to do that, as I know the days of me just taking her out of school and taking off are over....and will only become more difficult as she moves on through high school and then into college....then her own life.

    We will give it another shot, whenever I can catch a break with her either this fall or in the winter hunt, but look back on this hunt with good memories, and maybe a little sadness as I know she's not my little girl anymore..dang it, she grew up on me and turned into a beautiful young woman.

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    Pics of past hunts...and the changes.







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    Good story, thanks for sharing. Yes it is tough/rewarding to watch our girls grow/mature and move on with their own life. While it does feel good, it also brings tears to old men's eyes!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Great story as ever.Any young man that comes courting is also going to have to pass muster for a hundred or so computer dads watching this fine young lady grow up.
    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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    Well done! Mal is one lucky girl!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Wonderful! I look forward to this report every year, and I know that my wife (Mal's former teacher) will love seeing it tonight as well. Thanks for taking us along yet again!

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    Great story and fond memories for you. Glad the two of you got to spend so much time together. As I am a father of three grown daughters, I'm sure you will always value that time.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DAllen View Post




    We will give it another shot, whenever I can catch a break with her either this fall or in the winter hunt, but look back on this hunt with good memories, and maybe a little sadness as I know she's not my little girl anymore..dang it, she grew up on me and turned into a beautiful young woman.
    .....And before you know it you'll blink your eyes and she'll be in her 20s and looking to rent a house with her boyfriend.......like I just found out today...!!! I told her she didn't ask me if she could.......lol.

    Enjoy her while you can my friend...they grow up way too fast. My son just got married in June....my God I'm getting old....!!!

    Oh and btw..... Mal is a lucky girl....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Looks like an awesome time in the outdoors.


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    Thank you for sharing such a nice story. Not to proud to admit though; it made my heart heavy, and choked me up, with my baby girl now all grown, married and on her own, living so far away in Upstate NY, and blessing us with our first grandchild this December.

    Sounds like you were both blessed to have each other, and the memories you share will last a lifetime.

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    Great story and pics. Great to see the next generation taking the torch.

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    Member Berto's Avatar
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    Great story and photos, thanks for sharing. I feel the same way about my daughters...Time passes far too quickly.

    My youngest daughter has had 2 successful hunts in Unit 13 over the years, but my oldest daughter, Madison, has hunted bou in Unit 13 two previous years and worked much harder at it than my youngest daughter, but Madison has come home empty handed. This year Madison drew DC485, which was good news. The bad news is she's on her way out of state as a freshman in college as of 31 August, so the pressure is on for her to connect on her first caribou this weekend. She has never been selective or passed up a shot opportunity, so the fact she'll be allowed to take a cow with her DC485 permit this weekend will help her chance of success.

    Please wish her luck because this weekend will be her one and only opportunity to fill her tag.

    Best of luck to all in Unit 13!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berto View Post
    Great story and photos, thanks for sharing. I feel the same way about my daughters...Time passes far too quickly.

    My youngest daughter has had 2 successful hunts in Unit 13 over the years, but my oldest daughter, Madison, has hunted bou in Unit 13 two previous years and worked much harder at it than my youngest daughter, but Madison has come home empty handed. This year Madison drew DC485, which was good news. The bad news is she's on her way out of state as a freshman in college as of 31 August, so the pressure is on for her to connect on her first caribou this weekend. She has never been selective or passed up a shot opportunity, so the fact she'll be allowed to take a cow with her DC485 permit this weekend will help her chance of success.

    Please wish her luck because this weekend will be her one and only opportunity to fill her tag.

    Best of luck to all in Unit 13!
    Good luck Madison!!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berto View Post

    Please wish her luck because this weekend will be her one and only opportunity to fill her tag.

    Best of luck to all in Unit 13!
    Good luck! Make sure to come back and share the stories and pictures if she connects. That's wonderful that you'll share one last hunt before she heads off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Good luck! Make sure to come back and share the stories and pictures if she connects. That's wonderful that you'll share one last hunt before she heads off.
    Thanks DAllen and Brian! I'll certainly post a report here next week.

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    Sorry to highjack this thread, but my report from the weekend is caribou 1, Madison 0. She tried hard, but didn't connect. Despite the fact she'll be leaving for college the day after we return, she decided to hunt for a caribou again next weekend...She's tenacious!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berto View Post
    Sorry to highjack this thread, but my report from the weekend is caribou 1, Madison 0. She tried hard, but didn't connect. Despite the fact she'll be leaving for college the day after we return, she decided to hunt for a caribou again next weekend...She's tenacious!

    Best of luck to her!! That persistence has to pay off eventually!
    Nurse by night, Alaska adventurer by day!

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    Again, DAllen ,sorry to highjack your thread.

    Final report as a result of hunting bou with my daughter, Madison, again over the weekend: caribou 2, Madison 0. Again, she tried hard. The only shot opportunity was 150 yd on a totally unaware cow with a calf who bedded and fed for about 15 minutes on a shelf below our position. Of course, Madison was not willing to leave a calf without a mother, so she did not take the shot, which was in-line with what we had agreed to before the season. I'm very proud of Madison for her effort and tenacity, and I would not trade our priceless father-daughter time for anything! She claims she'll be willing to try again if the winter season remains open when she returns to AK over Christmas break from school despite the subzero temps, deep snow, and short daylight. Thanks for your well wishes everyone, and best of luck this hunting season!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berto View Post
    Again, DAllen ,sorry to highjack your thread.

    Final report as a result of hunting bou with my daughter, Madison, again over the weekend: caribou 2, Madison 0. Again, she tried hard. The only shot opportunity was 150 yd on a totally unaware cow with a calf who bedded and fed for about 15 minutes on a shelf below our position. Of course, Madison was not willing to leave a calf without a mother, so she did not take the shot, which was in-line with what we had agreed to before the season. I'm very proud of Madison for her effort and tenacity, and I would not trade our priceless father-daughter time for anything! She claims she'll be willing to try again if the winter season remains open when she returns to AK over Christmas break from school despite the subzero temps, deep snow, and short daylight. Thanks for your well wishes everyone, and best of luck this hunting season!
    I was just wondering about your hunt this evening. That's too bad on the caribou, but that's great that she stuck to her principles on shooting a barren cow or bull. My daughter passed on several like that. Good that you were able to get that special time together.....i have two years before they go off to college, and know it will fly. Anyways, here's hoping for success on the winter hunt.

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    Whos more lucky, dad or girl? Who knows or cares eh. Great story and pics.


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