Meat - - finally - Graybeard Outdoors
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Default Meat - - finally

I haven't shot any big meat in 3 years. Finally we have enough snow and I was able to join a group to snowmachine to the caribou herd on a refuge that is very close to home. This herd lives in a limit size area and the refuge biologists have been concerned about overpopulation. Limits are 5 per hunter - but you have to live in communities close to the refuge. WE got out pretty early and after about 45 miles of rough trail we were in the area of the herd. There has been a lot of hunting so the animals are really skittish. This is wide open tundra country with willow and alder thickets in the hilly parts. Finding huntable animals requires slowly driving around - peeking over hills and scanning long distances. After making a few failed attempts to get close to animals, 1 other guy and I ended up on a hillside to scan around. I refueled, ate a bit and was planning to just sit and wait, hope some animals came by.

The other 2 in our party had split off to follow a small herd to the east of us. Those animals disappeared and as we sat, we could see the 2 snogo's slowly working our way around alder patches.
Out of somewhere - a small group of 'bou appeared between our far away buddies and us. As our friends maneuvered closer, trying to get lined up so they wouldn't shoot us or we them, the herd decided to trot right up to me. At that point I had not been able to see the animals for several minuted and was surprised to see antlers coming up the hill within 30 yds of me. But the 'bou spotted me, disappeared downhill. My friend and I scampered across the hill to the other side where there was a gully we expected the animals to go. Sure enough they appeared there walking briskly about 150 yds out. I aimed at the lead animal and fired. I could tell I hit farther back than planned but it staggered the animal and the rest 7-8 animals milled around. A bull still with antlers presented to me so I fired again and he staggered out of sight. My partner was firing away just out of my sight. A couple more animals staggered into view and I fired few more times until animals were down - 5 or 6 times total as did my buddy. By then the other 2 guys had got close and I think they took some shots. With all the animals running around and we in heavy winter clothes, our shooting wasn't the best but we had 5 animals down. By the way season is either sex as it is very hard to tell cows from bulls. And the biologists just want to reduce the herd by about 400 animals and by this time of year most bulls have dropped their antlers while pregnant cows keep them. Most of our animals were bulls including the first antlerless animal I shot thinking it was a lead cow. And it was surprising that the other bull I shot still had it medium smallish rack. But we are happy campers. We quartered the animals without much skinning to save time. A pair of foxes were circling closer and closer as we finished. We started working our way home and saw a lot of small herds too far to hunt - they run off from the sounds of our snogos at 900+ yards. Atone point we rounded a willow patch and our lead guy was about 300 yds from a small group. He took and shot and a small animal quickly circled away from the herd as they took off.One more small bull to put on the sleds. Then it was about a 3.5 hour drive back to home - mostly in the dark - tho we now have about 12 hrs of daylight. One river crossing in the dark was a bit hairy and the tide was way out and this leaves a lot of steep ice ridges that are hard to cross and there were places the is opened up to big watery holes. Most of the ice is probably over 4 feet thick but one must always be super careful. We tried crossing one place but were blocked and our lead sled got stuck trying to turn around. Took all 4 of us to muscle it into a position it could get out. I was a bit stuck too. Then found a good crossing and more driving. The trail was pretty rough and one of our group has a tiny Yamha Bravo - durable good machine but slow and no suspension - so we were only going 15 mph or so. Finally got home at 11:30. Great day 110 mile trip and fresh meat hanging. Looking forward to tongue, heart and such. My buddy and I carry 300 win mags. I was shooting 165 and 180 gr Nosler Balistic Tips and a few 180 Sierra boat tails. The animal I hit too far back turned out I hit the pelvis then followed the far femur down - what a mess! But I didn't get the paunch like I feared. The other antlered bull I hit behind the shoulder where I wanted BUT with the steep do

wn angle I was shooting and he really wasn't totally broadside, THAT shot got the paunch and another mess. The snow was too hard and crusty to rinse off the mess. Thinking about it now - if I had taken more time I could have dug up snow to clean the meat more. But so far my taste tests tell me the meat is fine anyway. What I will do next time: got with non lead bullets or heavier built bullets to reduce the mess I got with these light jacket bullets. Only other ammo I had this time were 200 gr Swift A Frames that would have had too much drop at the ranges expected - tho final range they would have been fine. Go earlier and take more time cleaning the kill on site. Still it was a ton of fun - I haven't got a moose in 3 yrs and haven't shot caribou since about 2000!!!.






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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 11:16 PM
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Good for you! Lots of good eating there.

~WH~

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 11:22 AM
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Congrats on a successful hunt and thanks for sharing the story!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 03:41 PM
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What sort of a hunt was this with multiple animals shot by one hunter and the use of snowmobiles?

aka BBF
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 04:50 AM Thread Starter
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This particular hunt is on a small transplanted herd that is outgrowing its limited range. Bag limit under Federal regs is 5 per hunter. I shot 2 my partner shot 1 or 2, possibly 3 - but the other guys drove over when it was clear we weren't shooting their way and may have. Snowmobiles are really the only way we can get to the herd. We drive along until we spot a group, try to figure out how to sneak on the animals. In this case we had seen a large herd, tried to flank it by going out of sight behind some hills and then trying to get ahead of where we thought the animals were walking. But we missed, came back around to find they had moved farther than expected. We were up on a narrow ridge figuring to just wait for more animals to show up. I'm not sure where this little group came from but our other 2 partners were working slowly toward us. This little group of animals walked right into our range - possibly as they moved to avoid our buddies. I couldn't see much of what was going on part of the time but there was no chasing or running and gunning - tho that is an issue in our area.

Its legal to land and shoot from an airplane too but conditions aren't good for landing where the animals are. The goal is to reduce the herd by about 400 by the season end of March 31. Last I heard the harvest was about 150 - pretty sure its closer to 200 now.

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liberal Justice Hugo Black said, and I quote: "There are 'absolutes' in our Bill of Rights, and they were put there on purpose by men who knew what words meant and meant their prohibitions to be 'absolutes.'" End quote. From a recent article by Wayne LaPierre NRA
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Finished processing the meat last night. Freezer is quite full - these animals were pretty good size. I have about 30 lbs breakfast sausage, 20 lbs burger, lots of ribs, roasts and some steaks - sure a bummer to mangle that one ham. Thinking of going to mono metal bullets that don't blow all apart at close range.

Already ate the tongue, heart kidneys. Gave away about 1/2 an animal to some friends who have been very generous to us for years but don't get out hunting much any more.

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liberal Justice Hugo Black said, and I quote: "There are 'absolutes' in our Bill of Rights, and they were put there on purpose by men who knew what words meant and meant their prohibitions to be 'absolutes.'" End quote. From a recent article by Wayne LaPierre NRA
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 06:14 AM
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caribou back strap on the grill. Doesn't get any better then that!!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 07:41 AM
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Good for you ! An organized, conservation oriented and controlled kill...can't get any better than that..

“The difference between genius and stupidity is: genius has its limits.”
― Alexandre Dumas-fils
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