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Thread: DC001, Kimber's First Blood

  1. #1
    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Default DC001, Kimber's First Blood

    After a month of playing around the with the work schedule I finally made it out of a hunt in DC001.

    My freind Bob and I took mountain bikes south from Hope 12 miles the first day and stayed at the Fox Creek cabin. The next day we woke up to 2-3 inches of new snow. We took the bikes about another mile down the trail and stashed them in the trees and continue on another 1/2-3/4 miles to the point where we jumped off the main trail, over a steep bank, waded across Resurrection Creek in our socks, and bushwacked our way up the mountain on the other side. It snowed lightly most of the morning. We finally managed to get above the treeline and made our way sidehilling up the Moose Creek valley. The north facing slope of the valley is all rockslide and was covered with snow, so travel was slow and cautious. My trekking poles saved my rear more than once!

    We made camp and started up a fire to dry out our clothes, we were soaked from walking through all the snowcovered trees and brush. Fog and clouds blew threw the valley the rest of the evening making glassing difficult, but we did manage to spot 3 brown bears accross the valley.

    The next morning was clear and cold. Everything that was wet from the day before was now a block of ice, including our boots. Pulled out the binos first thing and started glassing the sunny slope across the valley, when Bob turned around and said "yeah look up there." Right above our camp in a snow bowl we could see around 20 caribou. All cows and young bulls, except for one set of decent looking tops sticking above the snow. I grabbed the day pack, some snacks(no breakfast yet) and headed 1000 feet up a snowcovered rockslid mountain face. I went up myself because my partner's boots were so frozen he couldn't get them on. When I got the the top (an hour later) I worked down the ridgeline just out of site and came up throught some rocks looking down on the caribou.

    There were actually around 65 in the group and I had 4 decent bulls to choose between so I picked the one I liked. I took aim and squeezed the trigger with anticipation of a loud pop and a little kick, but the trigger didn't move. "What the ...?", safety was off. The snow the day before had gotten moisture in the trigger and frozen the trigger, along with my bolt release. After some huffing and puffing and blowing I got everything working, dry fired a couple times to be sure, and got set up again on my bull. Of course now my scope had a layer of frost on the lens caused by the moisture from my breath from blowing into the trigger. "For the love of ...". Cleaned it off enough to at least be able to tell what I was shooting at and let my Kimber 270wsm get its first taste of blood.

    I actually shot the bull from the peak that is above my head in the pictures. The caribou were hanging out at just to the left of the peak at around 3000 feet. The snow has a funny way of moving things downhill at an incredible rate of speed. I almost had a fun trip down with him when I tried to slide him down onto a bench just below us to dress him out. That was one of those Darwin moments where two seconds into what you're doing the lightbulb goes off , that trying to slide a 200+ pound caribou down the side of snowcovered mountain while holding on to the antlers was probably a bad idea and could potentially hurt a little. Of course this is all going through my head as my rear is bouncing off rocks. Suffered some scrapes on the antlers, but I guess I can live with that. As much trouble as I had getting up the mountain I really wasn't looking forward to trying to pack him down all those snowcovered rocks anyway. So he kind of took care of the getting down part for me.

    Nothing left to do now but pack the 160 lbs of caribou and antlers the 15 miles back to the truck. The day after the kill we were able to get back to our bikes and move the meat up to mile 11 of the Resurrection Trail, then we dropped back to the Fox Creek cabin for a good nights sleep. The next day we hiked back up to our bikes and made the 11 mile push back to the trailhead. We loaded our bike racks down with as much weight as possible, left the rest in our packs and actually walked the bikes out the 11 miles. The added weight and icy/muddy trails made the bikes to unstable to ride the out.

    Not a bruiser, but a Kenai Mountain caribou none the less. Sorry for the long story. 2nd post with a couple more pics.
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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Another bou shot and us at the end of the trail. Lost a few pounds on this trip.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Awesome! I've done or helped someone on that hunt 5 times, and have now been successful twice. That is one tough hunt, so finding success on any animal is quite the accomplishment. Even better that you took a fine bull with a great friend along. Thanks for sharing!

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default Awesome dude

    looked like a cool trip. I didn't know the caribou came up that far. Pretty cool to use the mountain bikes. What tent is that in the pic? Good story, nice pics and very nice bull.

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Tent was a 3 man Sierra Designs Alpha, 3/4 season convertible. Pretty good tent, but heavy for a trip like this. Weight is around 9.5 pounds.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akrstabout View Post
    I didn't know the caribou came up that far.
    Do you mean up that far as in elevation? If so, all of the caribou I've seen on that hunt have been way above treeline, with many of them cresting right over the peaks on 5,000' mountains. Those Kenai Mts caribou think that they're sheep.

  7. #7
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default no, that far up the kenai peninsula

    I always heard of them by Homer or I see them around Kenai. Never heard of them by Hope before. Also it is kinda wierd they like to hang out in such elevation.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akrstabout View Post
    I always heard of them by Homer or I see them around Kenai. Never heard of them by Hope before.
    There are four distinct herds on the Kenai Peninsula. The animals near Homer are known as the Fox River Herd. I don't think these have been open to hunting in quite some time. The Killey River herd ranges in the hills and mountains behind Tustamena Lake over to the drainages that go into Skilak Lake. They give away drawing permits for this herd every year and trophy potential is excellent, but access is very difficult. The animals near Kenai are...the Kenai Flats herd? (not sure if that is the right name) These are not open to any hunting. Lastly is the Kenai Mountains herd, generally found in the mountains between Cooper Landing and Hope. They give away 250 permits for this herd every year, but success rates are very low and the total harvest rarely exceeds 20.

  9. #9

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    Yeah for you guys!!!! I've been hoping someone would post about DCOO1. I definitely know the work you put in, however I can't imagine doing that in the cold and snow. I guess we were super blessed on our trip in there a couple years ago! I read the story you wrote out loud to my husband. Almost felt like we were venturing out all over again! Thanks for the little walk down memory lane! Fabulous caribou by the way! I know those Kenai Mountain caribou are WAY more work than any other caribou in AK, not to mention they are a good bit bigger! Congrats again!

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    Smile Nice Job

    Great pictures and story. That's a long way to pack a mature bull, for sure. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing.

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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Get trip report, and nice Caribou. I've often wondered if a guy could strap a heavy pack to the bike and easily push it along when faced with similar trips on a bike. But sounds like you guys had a great trip.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    note to self: start putting in for DC001 that looks epic
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Great Job

    A caribou that is worked for is a true trophy and you earned this one. Great job and a beautiful Bou.

    Terry

  14. #14

    Default Sounds fun...congrats

    Sounds like a great trip. Definitely one where you know you have done your work for the prize.

    I have done this hunt a few times, each time using a bike, and had my share of success. One thing I noticed that you might want to consider would be the way you have the rifle mounted. With it on the handlebars, it only takes a little slip to have to grinding in the rocks. I have always carried the rifle strapped to the side of the pack or partially in the pack (depending on what kind of pack I am using). It is easier to control how you body hits than how your bike hits if you are going down.

    Again, nice job on the hunt. That is one I put in for each year as my primary caribou hunt. I just love the area, whether I get one or not.

  15. #15

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    Awesome job guys, you earned that one!

  16. #16

    Default Terry said it!

    You guys earned that animal. Well done...and very impressive!

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    Now that's something you don't see everyday, mountain bikers with guns and a dead animal, that's pretty cool, only in Alaska

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Very Nice

    I can imagine why you would apoligize for the long story. It was a very nice story and i'm sure that everyone enjoyed it. Thats the kind of post that make this forum so enjoyable. I never would have imagined doing something like that on bikes!! I guess anything is possible, all you have to do is try.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Great job!

    Too bad you guys didn't have bike trailers, that may have helped. I did the same hunt in '05 but I'm 0 for 1. That is a tough hunt no matter how you access the hunt area. Glad to see a positive report here, as I haven't seen too many posts about DC001 success. I'll be puttin' in for that one again in '08!

    Congrats,

    Tim

  20. #20
    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Next time I'm definately going to spend alittle more money on some saddlebags and a BOB trailer. That or go the easy route and bring the sat. phone to call in someone with horses to pick up the meat.

    Anchskier, I hear ya on the gun. I had mine strapped on my pack going in, but Bob needed some weight on the front of his bike heading out to counterweight the 70 lbs of meat strapped on the back end. Bike kept trying to flip over backwords without it.

    Man, I can't wait to get back in for a shot at another one. My partner didn't hear me shoot, but said I jumped another group off the the top of the next ridge over that had a definate wall hanger in it.

    Lots and lots of wolf tracks back in their as well.

    Shane

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