On Tuesday afternoon I stopped by ADF&G and noticed the forty mile hunt fliers on the counter. When I finished with my other business I requested an RC860 permit. I had decided right then and there that I would go up and try for a caribou. By three my chores were done, by five I was on the road all gassed up, and equipment packed.
Three hours, and 130 miles later, I was unloading the ATV. The clouds were hanging a little low, but I came this far. Off I went, about three miles out and sat on a ridge clearing for a couple of hours. Then the clouds settled in around me. This was not looking good. When surrounded by the cloud bank I called it a night.
Back in the staging area there was a travel trailer parked. The occupants arrived as I was eating the goodies from my MRE. I went and spoke to them and explained I was hunting alone and would like to join them in the morning if possible. We talked awhile and agreed we would head out at eight.
I awoke at five to rain and thought not a good omen. Snuggled back into the sleeping bag and woke again at seven to overcast skies, but no rain. We departed at eight on schedule and headed down the trail towards the towers that are about 8 miles out. Rough ride with some knarly hills, but caution and concern for safety got us through the rough spots. After 3 more miles we took a break to enjoy the view from high atop a ridgeline. Through my binos I spotted one lone caribou and announced to my new found friends. We rode another half mile and put a stalk on him. Little did I know that the rough ride had jarred my zero on the scope. Three shots and the caribou was still on the hoof! D***! I got the caribou headed for the lady and she dropped it with one shot from her new 300 WSM. Her first big game kill.
After we quartered and bagged it I resighted my rifle and we decided to spread out on the ridgeline. She said there are caribou on two ridges over. We left her there and drove to get ahead of the twenty odd herd. Climbed a short hill and found we had overshot them. Doubled back a quarter mile and got to the top of the ridge. We laid in the leichen and awaited there inevitable arrival. The boo spotted us from about 130 yards. We nodded to each other and sighted in on the caribou of our choice.
Two shot echoed through the hills. Two caribou dropped in their tracks. Two hunters shook hands and congratulated one another.
The weather was perfect. The view phonomenal, you can't buy scenery like this in the lower 48! Visibility was virtually unlimited, with the Yukon river below us on one side and valleys on the other. Even if no caribou would have been shot by this party of three, it would have been a successful hunt.
OH, one more thing. The backstrap steaks I had for lunch today were perfect. That is icing on the cake so to speak.
And this is just one of the many reasons I love and live in Alaska!