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Thread: My first Haul Road and Caribou hunt!

  1. #1
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Default My first Haul Road and Caribou hunt!

    Well, I learned a lot on this trip. I just moved here in May and planned this trip and tried to do my best to prepare myself for it. A lot of people told me this would be a fairly easy hunt and caribou are stupid and easy to kill. Boy I have some words for those folks! This was a really tough hunt, physically and mentally.

    I left last Wednesday and enjoyed the drive up, it was beautiful. I drove all the way to Deadhorse that evening to explore and to call my wife, as I knew she'd be worried if I didn't call. I saw a few caribou and some nice bulls and was pumped for the morning to come. I woke up and got ready and headed down the road. I spotted some small caribou but nothing I wanted to chase. I'd driven a long way without seeing any caribou and decided to pull over at an overlook and glass across the river. They were everywhere over there, but that did me little good as there was no way accross the river. So lesson one, take some sort of raft or canoe (seems like everyone else did).

    I hiked up over the hill on my side of the river and saw a couple caribou a long way out. I didn't pursue them as I thought I'd be unable to get a bull out myself before it spoiled (it was hot). I ended up finally finding a bull I could put a stalk on and it was going good until I ran out of cover.

    The next morning I found two bulls on a ridge line and put a stalk on them. I was getting close but got a little hasty and moved too quick and the younger bull spotted me. Lot's of stalks went the same way, I ran out of cover.

    The other problem I had was the bugs, they'd irritate the caribou so bad that they would run all over and were completely random in their direction. I had a bull bedded and made a long stalk on him just to have him take off at the last minute cause he couldn't handle the bugs anymore. He ran all over the valley shaking his head.

    On Saturday I got close to an awesome bull twice but couldn't close the distance enough. I spent several hours belly crawling across the frozen tundra but could only get 96 yards before one of his cows spotted me.

    I was unsure of what to do as I wasn't seeing hardly any caribou. I decided to go get gas in Deadhorse and spend the rest of my time down at Toolik as I hadn't been there yet. I didn't see a single thing all the way out from Pump 2 to Deadhorse and same with on the way back. I was almost to Pump 2 when I glance to my left and see a small bull trotting towards the road. I pull off and jump out and grab my gear, put on my release and run as fast as I can to the only hump of dirt out there. There just happened to be a mound between me and the caribou. I peek around and he's down over a bank and I start moving towards him. I lose sight of him and looking more to my right, since that's the direction he was heading. All the sudded he comes up over the bank on my left. I was caught off guard and was exposed. But he kept coming and walked over to my right and I drew back and settled my 40 yard pin on him. I released and split second later he's on the ground. Distance is deceptive ou there, he was only 35 yards and I spined him.

    I was pretty excited to get my first caribou but wished it could have been on a stalk that I worked a lot harder on.

    Now for the crappy part of the trip. On the way home, a big rig, who was going way too fast, through rocks all over me as he passed me. One of those rocks put a hole in my radiator. I was stuck! A lot of nice folks stopped to see if there was anything they could do. One guy tried to help me fix it by crimping the tube that had the hole in it. It didn't work and he left, saying that he would call me a tow truck when he got to Fairbanks. Well that was at 5 pm and no one ever came. I spent the night and finally some state highway workers got on their sat phone and called a tow truck. So 20 hours later I get on my way and get to Fairbanks and to a radiator shop. Well, more bad luck, no one had a radiator! So then I had to spend the night in Fairbanks. 3 days later I finally get home!

    I can't wait to do it next year!






  2. #2

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    Well...I'd like to say a huge WAY TO GO! Beautiful caribou and gorgeous pictures. The colors of the tundra against the deep blue sky. Very nice job. Sometimes an animal just seems to offer itself to a bowhunter...and we just have to be appreciative of that. I can tell that you are definitely happy. The radiator had to be a pita...but will make for a great story down the road.

    What's next on your list?

  3. #3
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Some times it just comes together and it sounds like you earned the "easy" victory. I think that I will invest in some metal mesh to cover my grill when I finally make the trip up there. Most other stuff that can be broken by flying gravel is not a show stopper but with a busted radiator you certainly aren't going far! Congrats on the bou!

  4. #4
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Sounds like you put it all together and made it work, congrats. Does stink about the radiator, sounds like LuJon has a good idea about the wire. Live and learn I guess.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Oh boy this bou taste good too. Riley is my neighbor. I got a nice chunk of backstrap last night. It went right on the grill. Man that was some good eating last night. Congrats Riley. For just being up here a few months, taking this trip on, let alone bagging a bou. You earned it my friend
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Well done Riley. I was hoping to see you connect, and glad you had a memorable first hunt in Alaska. The radiator part of the story is certainly the pits. You'll likely find that every Alaskan hunt you go on has some crazy or unfortunate portion that is a pain at the time, but becomes a great part of the retelling. That just seems to be part of the deal. . . . . . I'm sure you've got some cyberbuddies "back home" that are going to be quite jealous that you are already connecting up here. Congratulations again.

  7. #7
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    Oh boy this bou taste good too. Riley is my neighbor. I got a nice chunk of backstrap last night. It went right on the grill. Man that was some good eating last night. Congrats Riley. For just being up here a few months, taking this trip on, let alone bagging a bou. You earned it my friend

    next time you send him up. make sure he has my number we could have helped out some....


    good job Riley. looks like a nice critter hard work and perseverance is the only option at times!
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member ksaye's Avatar
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    Nice caribou and it sounded like an overall great experience (minus the radiator). Congrats.

  9. #9
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Yes, besides the radiator, it was a great experience. It was a very fun trip.

  10. #10
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    A lot of people told me this would be a fairly easy hunt and caribou are stupid and easy to kill.
    Those folks might not have bow hunted the Haul Road. I am sure you have spent a great deal of time reviewing the bow hunting the Haul Road thread and very little of those posts show caribou being easy and stupid.

  11. #11
    Sponsor Hoytguy's Avatar
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    Default Congrat's

    Way to go.. good story, great bou.. sucks that you had issues with the trucks/ radiators..

  12. #12
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    congrats great story ezcept the part about your truck

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    Well done sir. A good first trip even though the radiator fiasco developed. You've got good intel for next year.

  14. #14
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    next time you send him up. make sure he has my number we could have helped out some....


    good job Riley. looks like a nice critter hard work and perseverance is the only option at times!

    **** Vince. You are right. We never actually talked about you being up there and I never knew he had a vehicle problem untill he got home last night. Otherwise if he had called and asked where or what you would have been the person I hooked him up with
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  15. #15
    Member moses42ak's Avatar
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    Great story! Congratulations on the bou!!

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    Very nice hunt . I did that hunt in 01 I think ,I'm getting old.Had a rig come my me going 60 ,70 I don't know but it showered me with #2b gravel and broke the window on the rental.Why would they do that?

  17. #17

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    next time you come through holler if you get stuck! Could have saved ya a hotel bill, even have a couple cold beers in the fridge . Nice bull congrats!

  18. #18
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Congrats! Nice story and pics!
    My first bou with a bow went very similar - worked hard for 3 days then had one literally walk up to me when I was turned around - turned back and presto - 10feet away and wondering what the heck I was!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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