Last year at this time a fantastic experience took place as I stepped onto the tundra in Northern Manitoba. For me this was a trip dreamed about and here I was staring out across the beauty of northern Manitoba. After getting the gear stowed and the paperwork taken care of, the hunt for caribou would take place.
The animals we would be hunting are part of the Qamanirjuaq Caribou herd with over 400,000 migrating animals. Hunting them consists of exploring the hills and areas around Commonwealth Lake by boat. Moving slowly and using high powered binoculars, we studied the terrain. If Caribou were spotted, we would bypass their position and move downwind if possible and put the boat ashore. Then the work started.
Federal Premium Vital-Shok Nosler Partition Centerfire Rifle Cartridges
|I shoot this bullet with fantastic results.|
As we approached the top of the ridge the ground turned from spongy to very firm. We walked on the surface that was gravel and hard rock mixed into the surface. This was great and was more like walking on a sidewalk at home.
After putting the boat ashore, the stalk began as we got to their location. Carrying the gun, the pack, all the clothing, and wearing the knee high boots was a lot of work going up the hill. We reached a point where we could spot the animals, but they did not see us. I shed my pack, and if it had not been so cold and wet, I would have shed all my clothes. Then we began crawling up to a good shooting position that would be about 150 yards. I have not crawled since I was a baby, and it was a lot of work. The guide moved ahead of me. Then he got on his knees to take a better look and stopped. After setting up the shooting sticks, I got on my knees and laid the rifle into the V. The shot was not taken as two hunters from our camp with their guide crested the hill to our left, and we passed on the shot. The boo were spooked and took off like a herd of scalded dogs. It was so beautiful to watch them run with their heads thrown back as they disappeared over a ridge and were gone.
My guide and fellow hunter wanted to check out a ridge about a mile away, but I decided to stay in a valley with a small stream going by. It was recommended that I move around to 3 different spots and wait for traffic to come by. While I waited a couple of hours, caribou moved up and down the valley, but none came within gun range. A group of five came out of the pines opposite my position, started toward me, then moved going upstream away from me. They might have been 400 to 500 yards out, but with the wind, it would be a bad shot and presented the chance of wounding one. That was not wanted.
Soon the guide and my fellow hunter came trudging across the tundra and it was plain to see a really nice caribou was harvested. The antlers were carried on his back behind his head with his hands hanging on to them. My partner had made a 200 yard shot and dropped a really good size animal. As they reached my position, they noticed up on the ridge behind me about six animals. We all got down, binoculars were pulled and their direction was studied. It looked at first like they might be coming directly toward us. Then they moved back over the ridge. The guide said to me, “Drop your pack, hunker down low, and stay right behind me.”
Back at camp, the meat was then removed from the bags and hung outside along the side of the lodge. It was then allowed to drain and start the aging process.
Dinner never tasted better that evening, and a great nights sleep was welcomed. Another boo was shot the next day, then it was two days of fishing and pitching giant northern pike. For me, this was the trip of a lifetime.