April Caribou?



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  • April Caribou?

    I've been invited to participate in a April Caribou hunt. Never heard of it before now. What is there to know about hunting these animals in the spring? Worth going? Good meat? Females/Males?


  • #2

    I assume its a haul road hunt..... Spring hunting on the slope can be a mix of extreme beauty and horrible conditions... all within a day or two.. April is nice up that way as the temps are coming up, the sun is out and super bright (bring good shades and sunscreen!!) but it can turn in a hurry and big storms can blow in from various directions...

    An april hunt is truely a meat hunt.. the bou will likely be lean from a winter of scraping for food, especially the pregnant cows.... the hides have warble flies in them... it doesn't affect the meat but can be a little nasty when working with the hides....

    the ground is usually in good shape for hiking around, you'll have some drifts that you may be able to use for ambush sites... you'll want to take cover whites as the bou are really skidish...

    good luck



    • #3
      Haul Road

      Brooks Range area about 20 miles off the road. Do not know any more than that. Mush in the 20 miles to base camp and then go out looking for them.

      What the heck are warble flies? And what fly lives in those negative temps? I can only assume they jump in under cover in the fall and hide out until spring. Do they ruin the hide? Is the hide worth taking for a wall-hung rug?

      Meat is my main concern, that and the experience of the hunt.

      Sounds like a beautiful time of the year to be out up there!


      • #4

        mush in 20 miles?? base camp then hunt.... oh man what an awesome hunt.... if ya'll need an extra hand lemmie know.. hehehehe.. just kidding. sounds like a fun plan. with a rifle and an any bou hunt your chances are going to be decent if there are bou in the area.... that's the big question of course....

        Your right, Warble flies lay their eggs under the skin in summer/fall.. then they incubate over winter... depending on the amount of larva sacks in the hide it can be really tough to salvage the hide... there can easily be 50 100 larva sacks in a single bou hide... its time consuming to get through them... the trick is to make a single cut down the larva sack and pop it out like a pimple... if your really into the spirit of things you can do the old Inupiaq trick and eat the sack :-) they aren't that bad actually...

        the hide can be thinned out in the areas of the sacks so you can lots of cut through or sliced places in your hide... it can also create thin spots or weak points once the hide is tanned...

        have a great time :-) be prepared for heavy weather extremes... its really easy to frostbite and not know it... (trust me) the sun feels warm/hot but open areas of skin can frostbite at the same time you feel hot...



        • #5
          the fly is actually a larva that is laid in the fall and incubated under the hide all winter.. it lays directly next to the skin and if caught soon enough you can have a good hide.. they hatch and come through the skin in the srping... at that point is is not good for much.. if it is still cold out i have found the larva may migrate into the meat to keep warm as they fully develop so it is in your interest to remove the hide asap... however strangerinastrangland would have more input on that end as he sees it more. the larva/eggs DO Not effect the meat and can be trimmed off if they do push in a little bit..
          "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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          • #6
            True hunters keep the larva and eat them too!!!!
            If you can find a barren female, she will be somewhat fat. Most females will be pregnant. Bulls are beginning to get back some fat. If you have time to look the animal/animals over before you choose to shoot, you can sometimes tell which ones are fatter.
            I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
            I have less friends now!!


            • #7
              Yes, I cant help but help....

              we dont use April hides for anything more than Tent floors in the summer.
              The Warbles larva can be eaten or squirted in your partners face,for a good laugh and if they dont punch you, they migh barf. (Where the "hystericly laughing" smily?) they leave the hide full of pinholes from where they breathe. Some have alot, some barely at all.
              The warbles stay on the hide when you peel it off, and they scrape off easily. The hairs are long, brittle and can be yanked hard and taken off in clumps.
              The Meat on an Early April Female should have a fair ammount of fat on it and the meat is VERY tatsy, , though I find March the ideal Female Hunting time, as the meat IS perfect then, better than Fall time Bull maet.
              The Baby inside the Female is excellerating in growth in April, and are starting to get the fat off the momma.

              Bulls are always skinny by April.

              Look for a "Chubby butt", a nice round even back side as opposed to butt thats sloping away from the backbone.

              Females antlers are formed up into a nice "C", with alot of little points .
              Young bulls that have kept their antlers will have thin long open"L" looking antlers with few points.

              Might add that if theres a hill in sight, and you spook those caribou, they will most likely head to and up it...LOL! Caribou love hills
              If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.:topjob:

              "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....


              • #8
                Thanks Stranger!

                I do remember reading about the warble flies now with all of this talk. So I guess, it's a no-go on taking the hide.

                Okay, so taking the meat. Are you saying that I should take a female? I am usually very careful not to take even mothers of young, I can't imagine killing one that is carrying??? If the meat is good for taking on the bulls, young or old, I'll consider taking a male animal first.



                • #9
                  Hey, take what you want.

                  Shoot the Femal, eat the baby if you find it nessarry.....its the size of a small cat in April.

                  Bull meat is great for drying into jerky this timma year, but its lack of fats makes it dry. No flys out to ruin that.

                  Spring time (april) people here take the Marrow bones and boil them with the meats, and crack 'em for the Juicy stuff..MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!

                  I only shoot females when possible this timma year. Thats just the way it is.
                  The yearlings can do without the mamma now, and theres only one way to find out if a Caribou is pregnant....:rolleyes:
                  If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.:topjob:

                  "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....


                  • #10
                    I'm gonna shoot anything I'm lucky enough to put a arrow through, male female it don't matter to me


                    • #11
                      Spring Bou

                      In NW Alaska we can take 15 a day all year long! Butttt… After a certain point I choose not to hunt except for grinding the whole critter. I find after about Febuary there is so little fat on all but the best cows that the meat is very dry and thus I choose not to take spring bou.


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