Western Hunter Magazine July/August 2019 #70 - Page 40

Packing two caribou through soggy tundra is a chore you have to experience to appreciate. This hunt and pack out was a full 24-hour day. As I continued working on my bull, the min- utes went by and Jeremy was gone longer and longer! It hadn’t seemed like the main ridgeline was that far away, but I hadn’t heard a shot. After 40 minutes elapsed, I began to wonder what was happening, but I told myself I’d give him a full hour. About that time, I looked up to see him coming down with both hands holding the rifle in the air! I started whooping and fist pumping. It was a wonderful moment of success and ac- complishment for us. Jeremy had started off hiking quickly uphill toward the ridge to intercept them, but they were covering ground so fast he had to up his tempo into an uphill run. Eventually, he poked out of the creek depression and saw the herd working toward him. He was rewarded with a nice 130- yard shot. In the end, his kill site ended up being a mile and a half from my bull. A Second Helping With two bulls down, we knew we had our work cut out for us, but it was a labor of love. We arrived at camp with all of my meat at 8 p.m. Granted, the waterlogged ground full of tussocks made the mile and a half hike back to camp rath- er slow with our 75-lb. loads. Upon walking into our camp, we noticed our friend DJ’s tripod there with a note directing us to read his iPad. We quickly opened it and read a note of suc- cess! This was unbelievable! Just three days be- fore, the report had been that the herd had mi- grated early, meaning our opportunities would be limited. Now, here we were with three bulls down on the second day of the hunt! DJ had started high up on a ridge, a mile and a half in the opposite direction. He was glassing and spotted a herd moving below him by the main river. He took off running, and after work- ing through the thick timber, he was in position. Hunting alone, DJ arrowed this fine bull with a great front end. Since we had the only rifle in camp, he was armed with his bow. After some cat and mouse, he was able to get an arrow into his bull. Follow- ing his first shot, the bull ran closer, allowing a follow-up shot that sealed the deal! In his note, DJ laid out directions to his bull and requested that we head the mile down-river to assist him. Unfortunately, after eating and leaving DJ a note of our success, we had to turn our attention back to a three-mile trek to the ridge top where Jeremy’s caribou lay. We made it to Jeremy’s bull at 11:45 p.m. The Alaska sky was still somewhat lit in a dusky, blue haze marbled with clouds. We finished butcher- ing and made it back to our tents with all his meat by 6 a.m. the following morning, capping a near 24-hour day! Fond Memories Upon arrival in camp, we were greeted by a tired hello from DJ, who had gotten back to camp with his final load just before us. We were all beat, but so blown away by the amazing day! After bad weather that prevented flying, our transport pilot Zach was able to get his Cub in to pull us out of the backcountry three days delayed. Our time in the Alaskan wilderness will always be with us; the adventure forever etched in our lives with fond memories of the majestic land- scapes, amazing animals, and great brotherhood! Josh’s Critical Gear: Rifle: Savage Lightweight Hunter 7mm-.08 Scope: Vortex 3-12x42 Binoculars: Zeiss Conquest HD 15x56 Rangefinder: Sig Sauer Kilo Pack: Stone Glacier Sky Archer Clothing: Kuiu Boots: Scarpa Grand Dru Tent: Tarptent Scarp 1 Sleeping bag: ZPacks 40 WESTERN HUNTER www.westernhunter.net