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Knocked down a wall hanger!

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Knocked down a wall hanger!

Old 10-30-2009, 02:02 PM
  #1  
Nontypical Buck
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Default Knocked down a wall hanger!

I went for a little 500 mile drive on the now famous "Ice Road Truckers" route from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks. I had to take my work truck into town for service and haul some supplies, so obviously I had to take advantage of the situation and have my bow along. I've done the drive several times before, and I thought I was way out of caribou country when this guy was spotted hanging out about a half mile from the road. I had to double check the regs to make sure I was still good to go after arrowing a bull in late September. I was several miles north of the area where the limit switches from 5 caribou to 1, so I was good to go. I headed south about a half mile to get the good cover and better wind, parked the truck and set out to make the stalk.



The bull was hanging out next to the frozen lake and was grazing in and out of the small spruce on the edge. There was a 6-10 foot ledge before it dropped down into the lake, and the bull was working along on the edge sometimes on top and sometimes dipping out of sight on the bottom. Once I got down to the edge of the spruce before the flat, open section to the lake, the wind changed direction and was headed from the right to left in the above photo. My plan was to get across to the ledge and work my way in on the bull. I had to change it up and quickly work through the spruce to get the wind right, but it left me with 180 yards of mostly flat, treeless ground to cover in which I would have to go straight at the bull. Time for the patience to kick in and move slowly, watching the bull to make sure he doesn't spot me moving in on him. There were enough dips and knolls to duck out of sight when he came up to the top. Here is the open terrain I had to cover to get over by the lake where he was...



Soon the bull worked down the ledge and I was able to sneak to within 10 yards, but I couldn't weave a shot through the few little black spruce. I was pretty close to the ledge, and reluctantly moved a touch up wind from him to try and get a quick shot. I knew it was a mistake since he quickly raised his head, sniffed the air and began running towards the lake. I was already at full draw and got lucky as he stopped at 50 yards to look back at me. I already had the pin on him and touched off the shot. The arrow sailed perfect and he b-lined for the lake.



The ice looked very thin, and I was certain he was going to bust through. The arrow came out about 30 feet onto the ice, and the caribou started stepping hard and clapping his hooves on the ice. About 15 yards from the far shore, he started stumbling like bambi playing with thumper on the ice, and fell over hard. I was amazed that he didn't break through. When I got to the edge of the ice, I noticed it was 3-4" thick, and you could see through it like glass. No need for a blood trail, but it was pretty easy to spot on the ice...



I started walking out to get the arrow and while looking down and the bottom disappeared into blackness, I thought, "hmmm, this lake is deep!" It popped and cracked as I walked out to get it, so I got down on all 4's and made quick work to grab it and get back. I headed to the other side and walked out the 15 or so yards onto the ice, grabbed an antler and quickly drug him to shore. I had to head back to the truck for the camera and sled, so the picture shows him on the edge. His body heat had already started melting some of the ice.


Last edited by ArcticBowMan; 10-30-2009 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:05 PM
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He looks to be an old bull that was beat up pretty bad during the rut. He had puncture wounds in his rear that were badly infected. There was a green color all the way through both hind quarters and half way up the backstraps. There were also brown and black spots in the majority of the meat, and his hip bones pushed his hide up about 2". His backstraps were about an inch thick, and his front quarters were twice the size of the rear quarters. This old boy was sick and I doubt he would have made it through the winter.

He was missing one long, thick point up top, one of his shovels was broken off at the hide, and he had seven smaller points that were chipped or broken. I've got some decent sized racks at the house, and the mass on this one dwarfs all of them. I'm not sure the pictures do him justice. His beams are over 50", shovel is 16" tall, and his back points are a little over 20". I green scored him around 360 P&Y, and figure he easily lost 20" due to broken points and the missing shovel. The camera was acting goofy, so I had to do some lightening up on the pictures and a few came out pretty grainy.





I salvaged what meat I could, but upon closer inspection at home, it was badly tainted throughout. All of the tendons and silver skin between the muscles was greenish yellow, and had a bad odor to it.

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Old 10-30-2009, 02:06 PM
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Cool pics and story. Congratulations, looks like fun.
Chris
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:09 PM
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Time to test the dead sled on open tundra. It wasn't too bad, but didn't help that it was uphill and there was a lot of deadfall in the spruce on the way back to the road. I caught a root somewhere and tore a big hole in the front of the sled, but luckily the part that is up off the ground, so it didn't ruin the sled. Had to burn off some of those calories from all the chips I was snacking on during the drive.



From this last picture, you can see the ledge that the caribou was working up and down. I shot him on the far left of the picture next to those 5 gangly looking black spruce trees.
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:57 PM
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You the man Jerry, congratulations.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:02 PM
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Congrats!!

I'd Love to go Caribou hunting!

Dan
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:09 PM
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Another successful adventure! That's an awesome trophy. Congrats. I'd love to have one of those hides tanned, they're beautiful.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:33 PM
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That's good stuff there ABM, congrats!
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:53 PM
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Way to go! Congrats to you! It sure looks like some nice country out there..
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:33 PM
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Thanks guys. This was my first caribou hunt with trees, so I really enjoyed this stalk. Most of the time I'm setting up ambushes and waiting for them to come to me, but this guy I got to put the sneak on. Definately had the nerves worked up when I got in close and all I could see was his below the ditch. I hate the fact that the meat was bad, but I'm not upset that I took him because I think he was done for anyhow. I've got two hunts left on the year. A one week local moose season during Thanksgiving and my dad drew a bison tag for Delta so we'll be working on getting him a buff this winter. We should have full freezers soon!
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