My partner and I headed up Saturday the 8th. We got over the pass late in the evening just in time for a big blow and horizontal rain. Sheets of water covered the road.
We slept in the truck, and woke to snow. Not just a little either. It was still blowing, but clearer. And cold. Did I say that? It was not the hot Fairbanks we just left the day prior. I think I was cold for most of the week up there.
Our plans had been to head to the mountains. That changed to a caribou hunt. Sunday morning we put a stalk on 2 bulls that just crossed the river near the Sag DOT Camp. A bit later a State worker told us we were in the wrong place as he had not seen a bull since April. We pointed out the 2 bulls headed across the tundra. He was surprised. That very well may have been 2 of the first caribou of the season to cross the Sag.
We headed to Deadhorse to see some of our guys there. On one of my trips to the truck, I was surprised from behind by a grizzly woofing at me. He closed the gap to 10'. My buddy had just come out the door and started yelling. I grabbed a 4 way lug wrench and yelled for all I was worth. When the bear turned toward my buddy, who was conveniently and sanely still standing inside the building door, I threw the lug wrench and nailed the bear in the ribs. He decided we were not any fun and departed.
We headed south and hunted near the DOT Camp. I spotted caribou bedded not too far from the road, so we set up another stalk. I was closing the gap, with my partner behind me, when the caribou jumped up and ran at him. He had time to draw and release an arrow. The blood pumped pink and frothy. Lung shot. Nice.
Turned out it was only a one lung hit. The bull headed to a flat area below us with another bull in tow. We sat above them and watched and waited. All of a sudden we spotted 2 guys stalking his bou and the other bull. What the heck? They got close, his bull jumped up, blood all over it's chest and side, and the guy shot. Geez. The other bull ran off, and the now twice hit bull went too. After a short distance it laid down.
My partner headed down to talk. In the meantime I was still watching a bull that was coming up behind us. I watched things unfolding below, and decided the focus had to be the wounded bull.
I headed down, got on the river bank, and snuck past the hunters and the bull. I could not get closer than 80 yards to the bull and as I saw no signs of angst from the guy that shot my buddies bull and my buddy, I held tight.
Short story is that we got his bull. Best part of the story is this. The other hunters thought we could not stalk the caribou without spooking them due to our exposed location and had no idea one was hit, so they decided to give it the old college try. When the bull jumped up, one hunter saw the blood, and made the quick decision to try and help kill the bull asap. When my partner got to him, his first words were that he was not claiming the bull and he knew my buddy had a lethal shot in him. Way cool.
We had a chance to see both of the men and their lovely wives the next day. All 4 were bowhunters, and I don't think the men had anything over the women in terms of sheer desire to be hunting. What a cool bunch of folks.
So to Jake from ANC, and his buddy Joe from WY, thanks for being great, ethical hunters. I know Jake scored 2 times after that. I hope Joe and the ladies all got caribou too.