LTWL Hunter Online LTWL Hunter Online 2016 - Page 22

Hunting Traditions: The Learning Years Part 2 getting advice on rafts best suited for our hunt, I landed on the Soar Levitator which seemed perfect for the river we hunt. The river is low, it’s slow, and if the wind comes howling in out of the North, you’ll spend more time walking and pulling then paddling. All of the benefits of a true white water raft are outweighed by this flat raft’s 22-inch tubes and 8-inch inflatable floor’s ability to virtually float a house in extremely low water. I still own and use this raft today. It has more than paid for itself and it’s been a great rig for this type of a hunt. On our first hunt together Jeff and I encountered unusually warm weather. We were hunting during the right time of year, but Mother Nature had decided to throw a little monsoon our way. In this country, warm weather means black flies and white socks. Those little buggers about tore us up, but boy howdy did they have those caribou moving. That season, we experienced the best caribou hunting out of all of the seasons I had hunted 22 before or have hunted since. Caribou were pouring through camp and with ridges running on either side of the river. We were able to sit up high away from the bugs and watch small groups of them filtering down through our valley, crossing the river just below us. Interestingly enough, it seemed that 7 out of 10 small groups traveling through would follow almost the exact same trails making them fairly easy to pattern. We just sat there until a group came along with a bull in it that we wanted to take, and then one of us would slip down to the river and attempt to intercept them. Jeff was the first one up and after spotting a group with several nice bulls in it, he slipped down to the river with his bow hoping for a shot opportunity. It was pretty cool to sit up high and watch Jeff’s stalk unfold. Once he reached the river, the caribou winded and busted him, turning back on the tundra and crossing about 300 yards upriver. Then a funny thing occurred just after they crossed. These caribou seem to be bound and determined to follow a specific path and I’ll be doggone if that group of bulls didn’t turn back and re-cross the river ending up directly across the river from Jeff. Something just told those knuckleheads that they had to cross right there and no place else. This time when they winded Jeff and bunched, one of the bulls stood just off from the group presenting Jeff with a clear shot. At 45 yards on the range finder Jeff pulled to full draw, held center between his 40 and 50 yard pins and made a perfect shot. That caribou only took about five steps, and piled up on the gravel bar. A day or two, or even three days later, I can’t remember, I put my spotting scope on a beautiful caribou bull. He was CLICK AND LIKE