Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    82
    Post Thanks / Like

    DC590 '17 Caribou Success Recap

    Wow, there are so many words needed to describe our incredible trip but we'll leave it at that for now. This post is going to contain trip story and pics and a thorough gear review. This was my first trip to Alaska and my first time spending more than 3 days living out of a backpack, everything went damn near perfect and I thank my fellow Roksliders for helping get there!

    Story time...

    Travel Day- Alaska Airlines is very gracious with their military travel 5 bags up to 70 lbs so we packed a double bow case, double rifle case, our gear went into two 150qt coolers and we took our packs as carry-ons. Good Bye's to the family. Off to Anchorage. Third hunter Ben our local resident picked us up at 1am and off to his house for a few hours of rest.
    Day 1- Loaded up early we were on our way to pick up locking tags from Alaska Game and Fish. Headed to Alaska Outdoor Gear Rental for our tent and SAT Phone. One last breakfast before heading to Meekin's Air Service. Once we arrived at Meekin's we started our paper work and readied our bags for the flight in.Without much delay and good weather we were headed to our hunt location with Mike and Matt in the 185's! What an incredible flight! As many of you know just cant describe the beauty of those mountains... We landed about 45 mins later down on the Talkeetna river. Without any delay we had our bags out on the runway said our goodbye's and watched our two awesome pilots fly away. We were excited to set up camp and do a little research of our new home for the next 8 days. A bunch of sheep, 2 Sow Grizz with two cubs each, and a stud caribou across the river in unit 13. We were overwhelmed with excitement to say the least. We checked zero on our rifles, made dinner and headed off to bed for our first day of hunting.

  2. Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post
  3. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    82
    Post Thanks / Like
    Day 2- We prepped our bags and headed up the ridge to a glassing point to start our morning. Without much action and loaded with excitement we were off for an all day adventure of exploration! As we benched up and up towards the mountains we were quickly learning the reputation of tundra! We climbed 1k ft and about a mile and a half up. We spotted a beautiful black bear boar and soon after the wind at the back of our necks alerted him of us and off he went. We paralleled the face of the mountains and found a couple cow/calf caribou two of which were hauling ass at us from the direction we were headed. Knowing that they were definitely spooked and not from us we were curious what was ahead! Our curiosity was soon answered as we spotted what could be the most beautiful bear my eyes will ever get to see! It was a sow grizz with two cubs sitting on a kill, she was not a blonde bear, she was white and massive, unfortunately no pictures will do her justice but what an incredible animal to see! We decided to head to the nearest glassing point, have some lunch and video this grizz. About 15 minutes later Ben spotted a caribou about 3/4 mi down hill walking across a ridge, I've never thrown my pack together so quickly. He looked prime for an opportunity with the bow. With a lot of country to cover wind perfectly in our favor we headed down to the next bench. He was no longer following the patch of the ridgeline but had dropped into a thick bowl and started to just mill around. We decided he was going to be there for a little so we headed down to the next bench. Once we spotted him again we ranged him at 400yds it was comforting to know we were likely to have an opportunity at this animal even if it was with the rifle. I decided that I really wanted this caribou and my chances were slim to none with the brush that he was hanging out in. So I set up with the rifle. We watched and filmed him for about 15 mins while he worked on stripping off his velvet. Finally he's moving to a small clearing where I think I'll have a clear shot. I'm ready, camera is rolling and he stops perfectly broadside in the small clearing. BOOM, no hit and no call for where the bullet ended up? What!? So much prep, no wind, so perfectly set up, what the hell happened this is an easy shot for me. By the third shot Tito finally called bullets way high. Two more adjusted shots without a hit frustration and a roller coaster of emotions were clouding my judgment. The caribou was showing no signs of concern, so I jumped up and went for Tito's rifle hoping we could conclude this mess. I set back up and asked Tito for a range and where to aim with his rifle. "440, between the second and third reticle", readied again I just needed him to turn broadside. "Okay, here we go everyone ready?" Boom, "hit, perfect double lung shot", Tito called! A firm believer in shooting until their down I hit him one more time and dropped him in his steps. I sat back as a huge feeling of relief ran through my body. High fives, hugs, laughs and off we went to see our first caribou.
    Packed and knowing there a lot of grizzlies in the area we were ready to get away from the carcass. Not seconds after we all stand up with our packs we notice a large grizz about 400 yds out downwind with his nose in the air. Time to get away from the area! We headed up wind of the kill and then once comfortable headed down towards the river bed for some easier walking. I was so thankful to have 3 guys at that point! We had all the meat, cape and horns out in one trip. Once we hit the river our bodies were hurting, we opted to leave the head and two meat sacks and return later. Later turned into day 3.

    Day 3- After a sleepless night dreaming a bear dragged the rest of my caribou away, we headed back to the drop location. Thrilled to see it untouched we loaded up and headed back to camp. Here we are working on the meat getting it prepped to hang and dry. We decided to spend the rest of the day sitting on the river glassing the surrounding hillsides. I worked on removing the skull from the cape and we enjoyed the beautiful 55 degree Alaskan weather for the rest of the evening.

  4. Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post
  5. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    82
    Post Thanks / Like
    Day 4- We headed back up to a new glassing point, it was drizzly so we set up our tarp and hunkered down for a lazy day of glassing. We spotted a young caribou bull who we soon named Dingus, he provided us with hours of entertainment! These animals amaze me, they seem to move with no sense of direction and then in a blink of an eye you see them 3 miles away running as if they were attached to a straight line. The day concluded with our typical bear and sheep sightings. When we returned to camp I was concerned to see that my cape already was covered in fly blow... Thinking it was cold enough temps to preserve the cape at least for a few days until Meekin's could retrieve it. I was now dreading not bringing salt along. So I made the decision to pay for the retrieval trip and have Meekin's come in the next day to pickup my cape and meat.

    Day 5- Unsure of when the airplane would be showing up we found ourselves back on the riverbed glassing the hillsides. All I could think about was wether or not my cape would be ruined. I knew the meat was good. 3pm was met with the sound of an airplane flying through the valley, a few minutes later Matt was landing the Supercub and we were loading the meat, cape and antlers onto the plane. A signature on the transfer papers and away Matt went with my caribou. There was not enough time to make it to the glassing point so once again a lazy day close to camp glassing up the hill sides. That night we were discouraged with the lack of movement down low. No caribou for days anywhere near the river. Matt had told us that a neighboring group had also harvested their caribou up near the mountains as well. So we decided a repeat of day 1 was in order.

    Day 6- We are ready to go! We decided to head straight up to the point where we spotted my caribou. Once we hit that upper bench we immediately started spotting caribous moving across the hillside. We found a small ridge that was a nice wind break and set up the tripods. 10 minutes late we spotted a bull way up on the mountain feeding in a saddle. Tito was digiscoping and narrating, he stated that the caribou was too far and we were going to just watch and see what moved around us. In my head I was thinking that this was only the second decent bull we had seen in 6 days and I did not bust my ass for 6 months to not give it 100% until the last day. So I asked him if he could go home having not even tried for this bull satisfied. Minutes later we left our packs with Ben and running our happy butt's across the hillside towards this bull before he crested the saddle. About 3/4 of the way there I noticed my brand new Vortex Razor 10x50's were no longer in my bino bivy. My heart sank, I knew I did not attach the bungee cords to them when we took off from our glassing point I just lashed them up in my S4 gear bino bivy and ran. A very hard lesson learned, as I just donated my binoculars to the Alaskan wilderness. "Press" I told Tito as we stood there looking for my bino's. So away we went back on the stock for his caribou. Fortunately he had bedded up on our way there, we made it to 400 yds and set up. With no shot at a bedded caribou that was 400 yds up hill, Tito made the decision to continue closing the distance. Moving up the ridge towards the bedded bulls we could feel the afternoon winds shifting. We had moved to the side to stay out of their sight. We knew we were close and decided to start rounding the spine and get eyes back on the bulls. To our surprise the wind wrapped around into the saddle and had alerted the bulls of our presence. They were trotting across the other hillside about 200yds out. Tito lunged to the ground and set up, in a blink of an eye we had bull #2 on the ground. Looking back to where we started we knew there was a long day in store for us. We took our pictures and knew we had to get to work! We started back to Ben and our gear trying to walk back on the path our looking for my bino's. We made it to Ben and decided to make lunch and relax for a minute before heading right back up the hill. Back at the caribou the GPS was showing we had 2k ft and just under 4 miles back to camp.... So we loaded packs and once again left with an entire caribou on our backs headed back to camp. We did not stop getting back to camp this time.

  6. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    82
    Post Thanks / Like
    Day 7- We spent the majority of this day taking care of Tito's meat and relaxing from the previous big day. Ben still had a sheep, moose, grizz and black bear tags so now he was making the decisions. So we headed up river to discover new territory and see if we could score on a bear moving down the river. Ben decided that we had a full trip and that it would be more beneficial to get out early and have some extra time processing meat and sight seeing some of anchorage. So we made the call to Meekin's to come get us the next day.

    Day 8- We had a good part of the day before we would be picked up so we slept in and took our time cleaning up camp. Once all bags and camp were packed up we decided there was one more thing to see before we left. Nearby there was a little house that had been built some time ago! Meekin's calls it the dome, which is a very appropriate name since that's exactly what it is. We started getting close and checked out all the old dog sleds and leftovers from years and years of people using this structure. Once at "The Dome" we wish we had checked it out sooner because it sure looked comfy inside! There were caribou and moose heads all over, we spent about 30 mins taking pictures and admiring the work and effort it took to build this camp! Then back to the runway we headed. Shortly after Mike and Matt were loading out gear into the 185's and we were saying goodbye to our camp! Another breath taking flight out! We were now anxious to get back and ready ourselves to get home to Utah. We said our good bye's to Mike and Matt and thanked them for being great guys and pilots! Off to Anchorage we headed.

    The remainder of our time in Alaska Ben and his family took us to a few brewery's and showed us around town. What a great time! This whole trip was planned and thrown together two days before the applications were due. We were no where near ready for this adventure but we worked hard and it all came together!

    Wow!!! What an incredible adventure for a couple of Utah boys who just made a split, last minute decision to take a chance at a tag and ended up with this story to tell.

    Soon to be followed with our video and a gear review for those who are as clueless as we were 6 months ago.

  7. Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post
  8. #5
    Senior Member Nick Muche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    2,449
    Post Thanks / Like
    Congrats on a great trip!

  9. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    374
    Post Thanks / Like
    Awesome !
    Everybody wants to be a gangster until it's time to do gangster shit !

  10. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Vandalia IL
    Posts
    35
    Post Thanks / Like
    Thank you for taking the time to share your adventure with us! Awesome story and congrats!

  11. #8
    Senior Member SLDMTN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Great write up and pics! That sucks about your binos for sure!

    Thanks for taking the time to share.

  12. #9
    Senior Member Fjelljeger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    205
    Post Thanks / Like
    Congrats on a great hunt and two nice caribou.

  13. #10
    Senior Member realunlucky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Eastern Utah
    Posts
    5,982
    Post Thanks / Like
    Excellent write up. Looks like a truly epic adventure. Brought back a bunch of memories from my own caribou hunt. Alaska is definitely a very special place

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

  14. #11
    Senior Member adventure907's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    AK
    Posts
    363
    Post Thanks / Like
    Congrats on a great trip!! I am glad to see your planning and preparations paid off and hope you'll come back to visit us in Alaska again sometime soon.

  15. Thanks 1 Member(s) thanked for this post
  16. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    79
    Post Thanks / Like
    Nice trip on the fly! Thanks for giving us a complete report.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •