• Caleb Cole

Hunting Caribou

So, what is a caribou? A caribou (Rangifer tarandus) or reindeer are actually the same species. Like many other species, there are multiple subspecies within the caribou species. Males are brown, with whitish or grayish neck, rump patch, and sometimes flanks. During the rut, bulls develop a beautiful mane of whitish hair as well as a pronounced dewlap. Mature males can weigh well over 400 pounds but don’t carry there antlers around all year. Females, however, carry their antlers year round for protection against predators. Females only get about half the size of males. They are both found in Alaska and Canada, where it is fairly easy acquiring a tag or simply admire them from afar.

Now, there are some things to know about hunting caribou before you just get out there. The hunting of caribou isn’t the hard part of the task, it’s getting to the destination of where the caribou are that's the challenge. Trying to get into places where there is food for caribou is one of the most difficult tasks because of the cold weather and rough conditions. At times, these conditions can prove challenging for the most seasoned of hunters. They often eat grasses, sedges, mushrooms, and twigs from birch and willow, But also love lichens. The places rich in food sources are the places where you will most likely find them.

The best tactic to go about hunting caribou is to spot and stalk. You’re pursuing a far-ranging and fast-moving animal on vast tracks of land, so maintaining a level of mobility is key. They typically prefer open spaces where there is not a lot of cover, so getting to close range isn't an ideal option. The caribou do not like hot weather so try not to go during the warm month, but if you do, look for snow patches for your best chances of finding the herd. Last but not least when it comes to shooting just remember take your time and shoot 5 or 6 inches back from the front shoulder so you don’t ruin the meat. Good luck out there and good hunting! As always, check with your local rules and regulations to stay on the right side of the law!

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