Objectives for this hunt
Our goal was to bowhunt caribou at river crossings, and
film each shot. I wanted Bill to get the first caribou since he had never
experienced this before. I will be filming him, then we'll switch off
and I'll be the shooter.
Gear used on this hunt
For my bow I will be using a 64# Black
Widow TSA-X, Carbon arrows and a Wensel
Bill is using a 62# Assenheimer recurve,
carbon arrows and Muzzy
Seventeen years ago I had swore off Quebec-Lab caribou. Not because
of the hunting, or hit-or-miss nature that is caribou hunting, but because I
had never seen such chaos - logistically. But it was comments (on the Bowsite.com
Caribou forum) which changed my mind and prompted me to contact Richard Hume
Hume Adventures (JHA). There was so much positive discussion about JHA that
I felt perhaps it was time to give Q/L caribou another try.
Day 1 started with our flight out on an Otter floatplane. Our destination was
a lake called 'Wayne's Lake'. On this lake was one of JHA's Outpost Camps -
which consisted of a meat building, a small guide cabin, and the sleeping/eating
cabin. It was here we'd spend most of our time. There were six hunters in camp:
Doug Fettig (NJ) - Rifle
James Fettig (NY) - Rifle
Chris Fettig (CA)- Rifle/Bow
Todd Williams (TN) - Rifle
Bill Gaunt (CT) - Bow
Pat Lefemine (CT) - Bow
As with any camp, the dynamics between the hunters can be positive or negative.
My '87 trip was an example of how personalities can clash and turn a hunt sour:
a fellow in that group kept waking up another hunter in an attempt to get him
to stop snoring. They darn near came to blows at 3:00 AM.
So it's only natural that this time around I was concerned - I'm sure they
were too. But after spending the morning with this great group of guys - there
was no doubt we'd get along just fine. These were well-educated family men with
a great sense of humor. We liked them immediately.
After waving goodbye to the pilot and meeting Jimmy (one of JHA's guides) we
organized our gear and headed out in pairs to three different areas of Wayne's
Lake. Bill and I were last to leave but before long were on the water and heading
to the East end of the lake.
On the way out Jimmy pointed and said "bulls." We motored 50 yards
from 3 swimming caribou, including one real nice bull with double shovels and
good backpoints. We continued on until we were at the end of the lake. It was
a long, narrow finger which formed the perfect caribou crossing. A series of
converging trails was where we decided to look for an ambush spot. While checking
trails, I caught a glimpse of a bull moving above us. Things were looking good
Jimmy headed back while Bill and I scouted for the perfect spot. We thought
we found it and set up for the shot and the video. But the action was light.
We saw a few cows and calves but no bulls. As the afternoon progressed, we moved
a little further into the woods. Before long we caught a glimpse of a 'shooter'
bull walking toward us. Bill and I got in position. As the tell-tale 'click'
of the bull's hooves got louder, Bill and I readied for the shot. But the bull
switched trails and moved out of sight. We saw a few more caribou swimming the
lake but no more 'shooter' bulls.
This was expected. Richard told us back in Schefferville that the first couple
days would likely be slow. They were tracking the herd which should be building
in this area and moving southeast - toward our camp. Tomorrow should be better.
Changes for the better ...
This was a special trip for me. It was seventeen years
ago that I had graduated college and booked my first hunting adventure.
My choice? Quebec-lab caribou out of Schefferville.
While I successfully killed a nice bull on that trip
in 1987, everything else about that trip was a disaster. This included
the logistics from Montreal, getting to and from the field, even the security
of my gear in transit (my camera gear was stolen). I was not hunting with
Jack Hume on that trip. It was another outfitter who is still in business
- but will remain nameless. I had heard enough horror stories in the years
which followed for me to swear off Quebec-Lab caribou - until this year.
Fast Forward to 2004 and here I was at one of Jack
Hume's outpost camps. The logistics, organization, and convenience
getting here was outstanding. Bill and I checked in at the VNQ trailer
at the Montreal Holiday Inn. Our stuff was weighed and we were given a
time to board the bus for airport. Upon our arrival in Schefferville,
our gear was waiting for us in a Jack Hume bus. All we needed to do was
climb in the bus and head to their office. At the office, our paperwork
was laid out for us to quickly complete and we were handed a JHA hat,
box tags and a pen. Once that was complete we were brought for supper
in Schefferville and relaxed until our flight into the bush.
I was very impressed with the organization provided by
JHA and could clearly see that things have improved greatly since those
disorganized days in the '80s.