Sitka Gear's Live Bowhunting Adventure

Day 2

Join Pat Lefemine in the Northwest Territories

day 1

day 2

day 3

day 4

day 5

day 6

day 7

Discuss this hunt

This is what it looked like in zone 3. You can literally see caribou 2-3 miles away, roaming the hills. For a bowhunter to be successful, everything would have to come together just right. This was going to be fun.

Weather had warmed up considerably for our first mornings' hunt. This brought out black flies by the thousands, no wait - millions! We were prepared with bug netting and deet which we applied liberally and often.

The way the camp operates is quite simple. The lake is carved into 6 zones. Zone 1 through 6. Each guide has 2 hunters and each "team" rotates 1 zone clockwise every day - so nobody gets stuck in a slow zone. At first I did not like the concept because I figured that I would get to know a zone over the week, learning about terrain, funnels, and bedding cover. But after today, I was warming up to the concept.

Bill and I hunted zone 3, and despite hours of glassing, we saw no caribou anywhere within our zone. But we did see a lot of caribou in the zone across the lake, zone 2. Unfortunately, tomorrow we would be moving to zone 4.

We spotted these two bulls in zone 3, not far from shore. The one to the right was a shooter in my book.

We hiked for several miles and I realized how challenging this hunt will be for a bowhunter. This was going to be a fun, but difficult if the rest of the week is like today. The country is so vast and much different than my other caribou hunts in Alaska and Quebec. I guess we both expected to see more caribou, but knowing these tundra nomads - it was likely that weather was a factor.

Three hunters tagged the very first day. From left to right is Robert Witzel (MN), Buzz Mandeville (ID), and Craig Stafford from PA. All three were great bulls.

During today's hunt we had weather extremes from pounding rain, to heat (and bugs) to high winds. Bill and I called it quits at 5:00 PM and headed back to camp. We arrived to some good news. Three guys from camp had all shot some nice bulls. After congratulations and stories, we sat down to a terrific meal of salisbury caribou with homemade gravy. We ate fast then headed to the boats for an evening of fishing.

Bill and I caught several fish this evening - some really nice ones too! That was my first Northern Pike.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I'm the world's worst fisherman. I hold my open face reel up, instead of down, and I have a habit of losing fish almost as fast as I lose my lures. When I am lucky enough to get a fish on the hook, I usually lose it by messing with drag settings or forgetting to set the hook. My kids laugh at me, but I've got better things to focus on and to be truthful, I don't care much for it. But this place can take a jaded fisherman like me and transform me into one angling fool. I was hooked (sorry) because the fishing was just spectacular in this lake. I wanted more of it and could easily see myself fishing here all week. Bill and I thought we had done the camp proud. We caught several nice pike, and lakers. But we were humbled when we saw what Jon and Tom Campo (brothers from NJ) had caught at another section of the lake.

Jon and Tom Campo (NJ) with their guide Charlie hooked some great fish - check out that laker!

After telling stories before bed, we all wondered what tomorrow would bring. The wind was starting to kick hard, and the temps were dropping fast. This could be a good sign.

Dinner Spotlight

Dave is an amazing cook and we are going to eat like kings. So I'll be spotlighting each dinner for that day. Tonight's dinner was Salisbury steak, rice, homemade bread, caesar salad and a slice of homemade lemon pie. The green stuff is some type of juice.

Bowhunting the Tundra

By the looks of the pictures above, I'm sure you're scratching your head and wondering how in the heck you bowhunt an area so barren and open. The simple reality is that I would require the right conditions of cover, wind and quantity of animals to pull this off. But it's not impossible. The perfect setup is high winds, a bedded bull caribou (preferably alone) and in a location within shot distance of bushes or rocks. These are not migrating caribou - these caribou were resident populations - and it was well before the migration started. They are also widely dispersed. Hunting funnels is not the best method for killing your bull, spotting and stalking is the way to go.

How about long distance shooting?

Even though I'm shooting a modern, high-performance bow, 15 years of shooting a stickbow has taught me that it's not about how far you can shoot - but rather how close you can get! I've never been a particularly good shot, but I have been fortunate enough to get within spitting distance of some fine animals. I don't plan on doing anything differently for this hunt now that I'm hunting with a Bowtech. Besides, practicing in 30mph winds humbled me - my shots were going to be close (within 20 yards) or the arrow stayed on the string.



This Bowhunting Adventure is sponsored by these fine companies..






Next - Day 3

Our outfitter for this hunt is Adventure Northwest
Yellowknife Office
P.O. Box 820
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Canada X1A 2N6
Tel: (867) 920-2196
Fax: (867) 920-4263

Email: [email protected]

  • Sitka Gear