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Thread: 2010 Brooks Range caribou hunt

  1. #1

    Default 2010 Brooks Range caribou hunt

    Dates Hunted: August 12-20, 2010

    Flights: To Alaska: Continental from Lafayette, LA to Anchorage, AK and ERA Aviation from Anchorage to Fairbanks; American Airlines from Baton Rouge, LA to Fairbanks, AK. From Alaska: Alaska Airlines from Fairbanks to Anchorage, Continental from Anchorage to Lafayette and, American Airlines from Anchorage to Baton Rouge.

    Rifles: Browning .300WSM using 180 grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw; .300 Win Mag using 180 grain Trophy Bonded Tip

    Species Hunted: Central Arctic Herd

    This hunt started with me departing from Lafayette, LA at 7:00 a.m. CST and going to Houston, TX then Seattle, WA, then Anchorage, AK on Continental then switching to ERA in Anchorage to Fairbanks arriving at 7:00 p.m. Alaska time; and, with my nephew and brother-in-law departing from Baton Rouge, LA at 11:00 a.m. CST and going to Dallas, TX then Seattle, WA and arriving in Fairbanks at 9:40 p.m. Alaska time.

    The next morning we drove from Fairbanks up the Dalton Hwy arriving at Coldfoot at 11:00 a.m. to meet our transporter, Coyote Air. We were running a little late due to fog and we would not leave for the bush until 4:00 p.m. so after arranging all of our gear that was shipped up in advance we drove over to Camp Coldfoot for a burger and a beer. At 4:00 p.m., we left for the bush and upon arrival set up camp to begin our hunt the next morning.

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    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  2. #2

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    The next morning, we woke up and hiked/climbed to the top of a knob at 6:00 a.m. to start glassing. We spotted a dandy bull on the opposite side but he went up a drainage never to be spotted again. We also spotted some ‘bou on the north end of the valley approximately 4-5 miles away and watched as they moved their way south towards us. As they continued to move towards us, we spotted 2 bulls that were worth dropping down from the knob into the valley to get a closer look at and position ourselves to shoot. Because this was my nephew’s high school graduation present, he would get the 1st opportunity. At about 1:30 p.m. we were able to get ahead of the ‘bou and even though the wind wasn’t in our favor we were able to get in position and look them over and, after ranging them at 93 yards, my nephew shot his .300 Win Mag at the bigger of the 2 bulls (on the other side of one of the river braids). He connected but his shot was a little far back and he was required to shoot again. This time he dispatched the bull and had his 1st Alaskan big game animal...quite an awesome event because he was shaking from the whole experience. My brother-in-law had stayed on the top of the knob and videoed the whole stalk and kill. After downing the bull, we crossed the river braid to get a good look at his bull and this is what we found. We spent the next few hours caping, quartering and hauling his bull back to camp.

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    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  3. #3

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    The next morning we repeated the same thing. This time we saw 1 bull on the north end of the valley and 1 bull on the south end of the valley. It was a rather uneventful day.

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    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  4. #4

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    On the 3rd morning, we got to the top of the knob again at 6ish and within an hour we spotted a group of 6 caribou on the north end of the valley. We watched them as they crossed the valley floor and then proceeded to rest on an island in between the river braids. There were 3 bulls in the group and within a few hours they started making their way south towards us. We decided to drop down to cut them off. They went up the opposite side where we saw the dandy bull the first day so we started moving north to try and get in position to make a long shot. As we moved to position ourselves, we noticed they were no longer on the opposite hill side but when we spotted them again they had come down and crossed the river to our side. Again, the wind was not in our favor so we tried to get into a position to get a better look. We saw them working their way along the river and then into brush. We were able to see that the lead bull was a good bull so we ranged him for good measure and I took an offhand shot with the .300WSM at 86 yards and put him down. The other ‘bou didn’t go too far but they started moving back north. I told my nephew that there was another decent bull with longer tops and if he wanted to shoot he needed to do so now. We worked our way to get into position and he made a quartering shot at 89 yards breaking the shoulder. A follow up shot at 58 yards dispatched his 2nd ‘bou. My brother-in-law got the whole stalk and harvest on video from the knob again. We spent the rest of the afternoon quartering, caping and hauling the 2 bulls.

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    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  5. #5

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    That night, we ate fresh caribou using the 10 lb. bag of charcoal we had brought with us and decided to sleep in. Even though I had another tag, I decided I wouldn’t shoot another bull unless it was decidedly bigger than any of the 3 we had already bagged. The next day we spent hauling the meat from our cache near a small creek near our kitchen up to the bench on the level our camp was located.
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    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  6. #6

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    We saw quite a few cows over the next couple of days and saw 1 bull that was worthy of taking about 30 minutes before being extracted but I had a representative Alaskan caribou and everyone was well satisfied with our hunt and harvests. We were picked up in rainy and somewhat foggy conditions and got back to Coldfoot between 6-7 p.m. We packed our equipment and made the drive back to Fairbanks that evening. We stopped at the Hot Spot Café about 5 miles north of the Yukon River to eat a “Boo-Boo” Burger and continued on our way to Fairbanks, getting their around 1 a.m. the following morning. Because we arrived way before check in time and all other hotels were booked, we slept in the truck for about 5-6 hours. We then woke up and drove to Everts to transport some of the meat, capes and antlers to Anchorage for pick up by Indian Valley and D&C Expediters. The people at Everts were 1st class because they allowed us to store the meat that we were taking home in their sub-zero freezer.

    Afterwards, we checking into the hotel and each took hot showers before going to the Silver Gulch Brewhouse for a meal and a few beers. The next morning we woke up and went to the post office to mail our gear back to Louisiana and pick up our meat at Everts. Upon our return to the hotel, we were greeted by my cousin who lives and Kenai and 2 of his friends who had just returned from a sheep hunt in the Brooks Range via Bettles. After they left, we went to wash the truck before returning it to the rental company and drove to the airport to check-in with Alaska Airlines. I would be remiss without saying that Alaska Airlines treats hunters 1st class. They were completely accommodating in helping us to check our baggage through to our final destination, which included antlers, 3 ice chests of meat, 2 gun cases and 3 backpacks.

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    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  7. #7

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    Great pictures and story - thatnks for sharing and congratulations!

  8. #8
    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    Very cool story, congrats on your success. If seeing pictures like yours doesn't get a person pumped up for caribou season nothing will!! Good job

  9. #9
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Excellent thread!!

  10. #10
    Member Knute78's Avatar
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    Nice write up, Romo. Looks like you had a fun and successful hunt, and with family, no less. It doesn't get any better than that. Congrats. Knute

  11. #11
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Sounds like you had a great hunt congrat to all

  12. #12
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Congrats! Great write up.

    Now I am bummed big time I'm going to miss Bou this year.
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

  13. #13
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great trip. We flew out the day before you, awesome report thanks for sharing. Wish I had a uncle that would fly me into the Brooks. Your Nephew is a lucky fellow.

    Well done Sir.

    Steve

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Sounds like a great trip. We flew out the day before you, awesome report thanks for sharing. Wish I had a uncle that would fly me into the Brooks. Your Nephew is a lucky fellow.

    Well done Sir.

    Steve
    Yeah Steve, Danielle and my cousin from Kenai, Roy (trapak), who hooked up with us in Fairbanks after the hunt also told him how lucky he was to have an uncle foot his bill into the Brooks. That lucky dog got his 1st Alaskan adventure at the age of 20 and I didn't get my 1st Alaskan adventure until 34...to boot, I had to pay for my sheep ('05), moose ('06) and 'bou ('10) hunt. Nonetheless, he's a good kid and the money was well worth it to see the enjoyment he got out of it...seeing Alaska via the Haul Rd, on the flight out with Dirk, once we were dropped off in the Brooks, his 1st climb with a loaded pack to go glassing, the stalk, the shot, his shaking after the shot, his crossing the river with a full pack, eating fresh caribou, seeing sheep on the flights in and out -- he enjoyed every minute of it and is already begging to go back.

    Thanks to everyone else too for the kind comments.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  15. #15
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    way to go there swamp boy..... Is that Hot sauce on them there steaks?

  16. #16
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Great report. Looks like you guys had some fantastic weather for most of the trip which is better than we had a couple of weeks ago. How were the temps?

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildone View Post
    way to go there swamp boy..... Is that Hot sauce on them there steaks?
    Hot sauce? You know it. Some southwest seasoning, some schezwan seasoning and some Zataran's creole seasoning. Let marinate for 30 minutes and cook to medium rare. GOOD!

    Dean, on a separate note, you'll be glad to know that we used the sat phone quite a few times and it never got off of full charge on the 1st battery. We never had to dip into the 2nd battery. You should be good to go. I'll get in touch with you this week so I can get your shipping info to send it to you for your upcoming Bullwinkle trip.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    Great report. Looks like you guys had some fantastic weather for most of the trip which is better than we had a couple of weeks ago. How were the temps?
    Raining on the day we went in. 40's the next day. 60's with a 40 mph south wind the 2nd day. 50's then upper 60's the third day. 50's and rainy the 4th day. 50's and foggy the 5th day.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  19. #19

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    A few more pics...

    Glassing to the north and camp from up on "Mohawk Hill"

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    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  20. #20

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    Getting ready for the caribou bar-b-que and a heavy pack up to the bench for pick-up.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

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