Camp came alive at 6am and after a hearty breakfast of Crepes and sausage,
we grabbed our gear and headed for the 18 foot boat that would be our
mode of transportation during the week. Float planes are available, and
part of an affordable package, but Dionn, who was to be our guide all
week, wanted to use his boat for the maneuverability it afforded. It turned
out to be a good decision.
Foreword: This hunt began with an 8 hour drive from Lansing Michigan
to Montreal Canada. Our car was politely, but professionally searched
at the border. I had no problem with that. Nor would anyone who has seen
my driver's license picture!
We spent the night at a hotel in Montreal, and the following morning
flew (3 hour flight) via Dash-8 turbo prop charter to the Inuit town of
Kuujjuarapik. There we boarded a Twin-Otter for the short 45 minute flight
to the Nunami outpost camp on the shores of magnificent Lac Mollet. Upon
arrival at Nunami all the hunters were assembled for a short briefing.
Cozy wood stove cabins were assigned, gear unpacked and at 6pm EST. dinner
was served in the mess hall. Needless to say, that first night was all
about Caribou dreams.
The morning was cool, crisp and clear, and it wasn't long before I and
hunting partner, Dan Bertalan were seeing rafts of Caribou swimming the
many channels and narrows that abound in Mollet lake. This was my first
caribou hunt. For Dan, it was his 16th time to hunt the nomadic Tuk-Tuk.
Having an award winning outdoor writer and cinematographer who loved to
hunt Caribou as a companion made this excursion extra special, as Dan
would be filming my efforts to upend a big 'bou. And as it turned out,
it wouldn't be long before the film was rolling
Our guide, Newfoundlander Dionn Skiffington, (half mariner, and half African
tracker) was intimately familiar with the caribou and their migration
routes. So after scouting the edge of a high hogsback, we decided to make
our first set up in a low spot -- tamarack swamp -- where many of the
caribou trails that paralleled the lake shore came together in a classic
funnel. It was here I heard my first, "click-click" telltale
sound of approaching caribou. Before long cows and calves were trotting
by, and at least one huge P&Y class bull, that I managed to halt with
a cow call. He pulled up right behind a spruce tree -- no shot. A few
more cows and small bulls later, Dionn returned from a reconnoiter and
said we should pack up and hurry to a different spot, higher up on the
[Note: I must confess here, that I saw many bull caribou that I would
have had no problem taking. Even after weeks of preparation watching videos,
etc...they all looked huge to me. But Dan and Dionn were adamant that
I exercise some patience.]
We tried a couple more setups before opting to climb to the top of huge
granite hogsback hill. Once on top we were treated to a breathtaking panorama
of Mollet lake and the many cuts, bays, islands and peninsulas that made
our view a picture post card. The top of the hill flattened into a lush
lichen pasture dotted with boulders and spruce trees. And within a few
moments we caught the movement of two huge bulls, feeding their way up
the hill and into the lichen covered top.
We all flattened. Then I got up and stalked within 40 yards of the best
bull, picking an ambush setup that had me hugging the offside of a spruce
tree as tightly as I could. It barely afforded enough space to pull my
bow. But it was the best I was going to get in this situation. The big
bull fed his way in my direction. Sweet torture. Finally I could
hear his giant antlers hitting brush, and his teeth pulling lichen from
it's bed, and his his back molars crunching this boreal cotton candy.
All the while his ankle joints clicked syncopations that rode the favorable
wind direction to my one good ear. Just as the bull and I were reaching
break point, a cow and calf came straight up the hill and passed by my
off side within a couple yards. Being a whitetail hunter, I expected her
to blow out of there. She didn't. I could smell the bull, and she should
have certainly smelled me. I am now a firm believer that Scent-Lok technology
Three more steps; two more; one more step and the bull would be broadside
at 5 yards. What a gorgeous day; what an incredibly beautiful hunting
environment -- candy land -- could it get any better? Yup. The sight of
my Muzzy tipped arrow buried to the fletch right behind the front shoulder
was like dotting the "i" in a written prayer.
The bull exploded in a blur of antlers and hooves, and headed on a downhill
death run towards the lake shore.
That evening, after being ceremoniously Knighted, I was
given a Memento of my first caribou kill.
This pin will remain on my HW Wool Vest as a reminder of a special hunt.
Downloadable video: 5yd_shot
You'll need Windows Media Player
to view this file.
Past Live Hunts