I drove south from Deadhorse to Fairbanks last Wednesday. Didn't see any caribou north of Atigun, and a small herd of caribou were on the mountain side about 10 miles south of Atigun with some hunters watching from a ways out. Saw one lone bull caribou a little ways south of Coldfoot out by himself. We spent about 5 minutes going through the regs to make sure we were in the right part of 24A and since we were north of Pump 5, we knew we were north of the Kanuti river which is where the limit switches from 5 to 1.
After verifying where we were, I decided to go for the stalk. The bull was about a half mile from the road, but we headed south a ways to get the good cover and better wind. The stalk worked perfect, and soon I was standing 10 yards from him, but I couldn't weave a shot through the few little black spruce. Reluctantly I moved a touch up wind from him and he smelled me and ran. I thought I blew it, but got lucky as he stopped at 50 yards and I let him have it. The shot was perfect and he b-lined for a lake, luckily that had 3-4" of ice on it. He did the bambi stumble on the ice 40 yards from me and crashed hard. I was worried he would break through but the ice held. It popped and cracked as I walked out to get him. I quickly drug him to shore, and had to head back to the truck for the camera and sled.
I wasn't planning on going after a bull, but he was on his own, grazing and barely moving around. He looks to be an old bull that was beat up pretty bad during the rut. He had puncture wounds in his rear that were badly infected. There was a green color all the way through both hind quarters and half way up the backstraps. There were also brown and black spots in the majority of the meat, and his hip bones pushed his hide up about 2". His backstraps were about an inch thick, and his front quarters were twice the size of the rear quarters. He was missing one long, thick point up top, and had seven points that were chipped or broken. His second shovel was busted off about an inch from the base. I've got some decent sized racks at the house, and the mass on this one dwarfs all of them. I'm not sure the pictures do him justice. His beams are 50", shovel is 16" tall, and his back points are between 16-18".