Caribou, Caribou Everywhere!
In late July I got the call from Ralph and Vicki to join Joe Rush on the tundra of Quebec. Of course I accepted and the wait was on. I knew it would be a demanding hunt so I trained hard to prepare for the hunt. I was in luck because we were going to Colorado two weeks prior to this hunt. So I was in great shape for both hunts. After I killed my first elk ever and on film with my Hoyt Buffalo, I was very ready to head to the tundra. Tourism Quebec invited Joe and I up there and worked very hard to make sure our trip was great. I boarded my flight in St. Louis and was on my way to Montreal. That evening I met up with Joe and we got all our gear weighed and ready with Club Chaembaux. The next day we flew into our first caribou camp and my anticipation grew as we landed on the water. They fed us like kings that night and after a hot shower in our remote camp we settled in to bed.
We woke the next morning and our guide Yvon told us that today would be a relaxing day. He told us the caribou had not quite mad it our camp yet and we would spend the day scouting above camp. Joe told me I would be the first shooter because I had never killed a caribou before. I didn’t argue with him at all. That evening Yvon told us that they had located the heard and tomorrow we would fly out to them, right after the Quiver of dream winners flew out. Chris Walker and Rick Goza had won the quiver of dreams contest and chose to hunt with Club Cheambaux because of their great track record. So that evening was full of excitement and great stories from our new friends from North Carolina. I honestly have never laughed so hard in my life with those two guys. We woke the next morning and flew out to the heard as promised. Before we left Yvon told us to bring extra food and sleeping bags in case we got stranded in the float plane due to bad weather. Our plane circled the heard a few times to get a direction they were heading and we found a lake to land on. The stalk was on and I was ready to kill my first caribou. The landscape was very bare and had absolutely no cover. After a few unsuccessful stalks with the recurve, it was obvious this was a job for the Thompson Center 270. We saw a lone bull beaded on a hillside and got within range. I got my Nikon’s crosshairs settled behind his shoulder and let him have it. After a short run he was done. I didn’t realize till later in the week how good of a caribou he really was until I started to see the other bulls in the area. We got him quartered up and back to the float plane. The pilot told us that we would have to stay at a different camp tonight due to the weather that had already reached our original camp. Joe and I had no idea what we were in for at the new camp until we got there that night. We had to stay at an abandon camp for the night and had no idea how long we would be there. We were soaked to the bone from the rain and had to get warm. So after gathering every bit of fuel we had in the camp. We all stayed in one cabin that was the best insulated and had some fuel left over for the heaters. Yvon and our pilot Claude did everything in their power to make that camp comfortable including cleaning the kitchen, cooking any meal we could scrounge together, and lite candles on our homemade placemats. We knew we were going to be stuck in this camp for awhile so we made the best of it and went out to hunt. Joe was up and fortunately the bad weather kept the caribou on their feet and they moved right into our camp. After one unsuccessful day Joe doubled up the following day on two great bulls. We were approaching the end of our hunt and I had one tag left. We had worked hard all week to get these caribou and we knew to kill one more would be icing on the caribou cake. On Friday morning we were informed that we would be flying out that morning back to our main camp and we had a short window to kill our last bull. Joe and I came up with a plan to sit in a pinch point on a river crossing. We had a bad wind but we really had no other option. I had recurve in hand and really hoped I could get it done with my Hoyt Buffalo. We had not showered in 4 days and no amount of Scent IQ from Rocky or Scent Away was going to cover our stench, but we had no other option than to sit on the upwind side of the river. Joe spotted a heard through his Nikons and said they were headed our way. They crossed the river and just started up the hill into our pinch. At the last second the wind swirled and they ran up the opposite side of the pinch putting them out of range of my bemans. I knew this was the end of our hunt so I grabbed the TC one more time and picked out the biggest bull I could. I waited for him to clear a bush and squeezed of my final shot. He fell in his tracks and my caribou adventure was over. I killed two great bulls and was very happy with everything. It was a great adventure and even in times of adversity Yvon and Claude made our trip amazing.
I would like to thank Tourism Quebec and Club Cheambaux for an amazing trip. They were both amazing and work hard to make sure everyone who goes to Quebec, have amazing trips. Nearly everyone we hunted with killed two Caribou and all were very exceptional bulls. Thank you Joe for sticking with me and I hope we never have to sleep in the same bed again. Also thank you Ralph and Vicki to allow me to cross another one off my bucket list! And last the Big Man upstairs. Without God none of this is possible