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Caribou Hunting January 2013

Posted by on January 6, 2013

New Year’s Day and I figured it was time to see if I could harvest some meat for the freezer to get us through the year, at least until next September when Moose season opens again.

On Monday, the 31st Dec I stopped by the Fish and Game office and got my winter Moose tag for the Minto Flats hunt, but of course they closed it two days later, before I even got a chance to go out and try to fill my tag. So it looks like it’s going to be our Year of the Caribou. The first tag we filled was Trish’s and it was a small Bou, but still 80 pounds or so of meat for the freezer when it’s all done and said.

The first three pictures below are from New Years Day. The rest are from the trip in with Jake and Scott on the 5th.

Caribou Hunt, Jan 1st and 5th, 2013

Caribou hunt on the trail to Rosebud, about 7 miles in.

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A short video of the Jan 5th hunt.

I figured being New Years Day there wouldn’t be too many folks out and about and I was right on that account. So I was well prepared to spend the day out in the woods, brought along extra water and some Mountain House for a hot lunch and coffee on the trail. Well shoot, 6 miles in and the Bou are just standing alongside the trail, so it’s a quick shot and field dressing and on our way home by 10:30 AM, a short morning and sort of a disappointment as I was figuring on a full day of riding and hunting. Oh well I’ll just have to figure on coming back and filling my tag next.

Saturday, Jan 5th, Jake, Scott and I went out to see about filling our tags. They didn’t want to go on New Year’s Day, but after I told them about all the Bou I saw and how quick I was in getting Trish’s tag filled they decided I needed to show them where they were.

The ride in was fairly easy with the exception of all the overflow ice on the trail. We’ve had a cold winter with little to no snow until the first half of Dec, so all that ground water flowed out of the hill sides and froze up on the trail. Most of it wasn’t bad to cross, but a couples spots got a bit hairy with a nice 20 degree slope you got to slide down and into the trees, but heck, it’s a hunting trip and a few hazards and adventurous riding should just naturally be a part of that.

My Bearcat and the Cougar (Trish’s Sled) that I let Scott borrow are both studded up on the track, but Jake’s Pantera isn’t and I know he had some exciting moments going over the overflow Once we got in about 6 or 7 miles from the road I slowed down and started looking for some Bou, we saw lots of tracks and gut piles but no Bou.

We ended up riding all the way to Rosebud, about 16 miles in from the road and saw a couple guys working on field dressing their Bou. This one gentleman looked at us and pointed up the hill to the top of Rosebud. There must have been 100 more Bou on the hill. I took one look at where they were, pointed the Bearcat up, and hit the throttle. Scott said later that when he saw all those critters up there he was wondering just how we were going to get them, then I just took off, so he followed me up.

When we saw them on the hill side we were sitting at around 1400 feet elevation and the top of Rosebud is 3600. The GPS showed that we shot our Bou at 3350 feet, so it was a short ½ mile run from 1400 to 3350 elevation, a lot of fun actually. Once I got within 200 yards I stopped and set up for my shot and took down my Bou. While I’m doing this Scott and Jake are just hanging out and I’m beginning to wonder if they were to stunned from the ride up or just enjoyed looking at all those critters. Well I forgot Scott didn’t have a scope on his rifle, so he asked if he could borrow mine, sure, why not, and Jake was even less ready to shoot, so mine was used again to get third Bou. Glad I brought along extra ammo for them

By 11:00 AM the Bou are down, field dressed and ready for the ride home, so we stopped and took a short break and just enjoyed the view way up on top. The ride back to the rigs was pretty uneventful , but enjoyed.

What we did see were lots of hunters heading towards Rosebud. Now I can appreciate being slow in the morning and taking your time to enjoy the day, but come on folks, if you’re going hunting noon is not the time to get started. By then all the Bou have been shot at and are moving to new country, so maybe next year you all should be on the trail at 7:00 AM or so, well on second thought, forget that, just keep waiting until after lunch to go hunting, that way I can get my tag filled before the crowds show up.

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