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Thread: My first Haul Road and Caribou hunt!

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    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!






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    Member salmon_bone's Avatar
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    Great report and pics.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    good report and nice bou mossy... next time you head this way make sure chuck has given you my number, we got home on thursday eve from ours and would have been more then happy to put ya up, or what ever it took
    "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."

    meet on face book here

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    Congrats on the bull. Sorry about the vehicle issues, but I'm glad you finally made it home okay. I've learned to look at those trucks from a distance. They can look like a charging bull when they are hauling butt, so I generally slow down to 10mph or so and pull way over. More times than none they'll see that and slow down, but there are some that seem to want to get a message sent to us.

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    Member salmon_bone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerod View Post
    More times than none they'll see that and slow down, but there are some that seem to want to get a message sent to us.
    Isn't that the truth. Seems like Truck Drivers VS. Hunters out there.
    I have seen the truckers blast their horns when they see hunters set up stalk on a herd, though.
    Although there are some ding dong hunters out there that park in the road, in the way of the truckers.

  6. #6
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    I passed him coming around somewhat of a corner and I didn't see him coming for very long. Most the truckers up there were very courteous and would slow down, even when you were pulled over on the side of the road. Generally they were good.

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    Congrats especially a do it yourself trip for a non resident, reading your story and your mishap made me think of packing some JB cold weld and some of that steel or aluminum putty for repairs like that.
    Next time definatley take some numbers along I could of helped at least offered you a place to stay in the banks.
    You get off the road and put time on your feet fortune comes your way either by a successful planned stalk or just a lucky opportunity, thats what I believe anyhow

    Again congrats

  8. #8
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    I had thought about JB weld but the guy at the radiator shop didn't think it would have worked for me in my case. Who knows? In the future I will be packing a bottle of stop leak, JB weld, and a radiator guard!

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    Member salmon_bone's Avatar
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    Also if the hole isn't to bad, and your water is HOT you can put a few eggs in it.
    http://www.ehow.com/how_5660837_use-...ator-leak.html

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    A spoonful of ground pepper frequently will stop a small leak. Sounds like a fun trip. Congrats.

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    Member Emers7mm Magnums's Avatar
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    good job getting one, sounds like most of the ones i saw week before werent around anymore, we didnt get past mile 120 ish and saw bou all the time. Mossy, I tried to write you before you left, but your IM was full and not taking messages.

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    Default Great Pictures

    I love reading stories about guys just having fun. Lots of stalks and looking and then presto, something comes together. Well done. Glad you finally got home safe,
    ARR

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Sorry emmers, I didn't realize my inbox was full. 50 messages isn't enough! Thanks though.

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    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    Way to go, mossyhorn!!!! Very sorry to hear about your truck problems.

    Taylor

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Nice post Mossyhorn, Congrats on that full deal hunt, and welcome to Alaska

    I'll tell ya, Bowhunters have my Utmost Respect. and you wish it could have come harder??

    That's a beauty of a harvest, Nice
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member Kotton's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Nice report,glad to hear you got one!!I bet that it's pretty hard to get close to those bou on the flat tundra,hopefully I will pass the bow test and try it next year.Man the truck problems turned out to be something else,I bet it was a long twenty hour wait huh?I can't belive they didn't have a yota radiator on hand,you sure see alot of them around.Glad to hear it went well for ya,now I bet you can't wait to chase them again

  17. #17

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    Congrats Mossy,
    Learned a lot on both my trips up as well. Biggest things I learned were patience and check your spare tire. Long story. Glad you made back home safe and once again congrats on the bou.

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    I have always wanted to make the trip up the haul road but never brave enough to do so. After seeing these pics I just might try it next year. I miss the bow hunting that I used to do in Illinois for whitetails. How long did it take you from fairbanks to get up there?

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Well on the way up it took me about 7-8 hours to get to the Galbraith area but I wasn't moving real fast, stopped and ate lunch at Coldfoot. But on the way back it took me 2 days LOL!!! So it kinda depends on what happens to you! Go with the idea that ANYTHING can happen. I'm going back next year for sure.

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    what kinda truck has the radiator in front? usually theres transcoolers and ac condensor in front of the radiator then a grill in front of all that?
    Semper Fi!

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