A Hunter’s Tale

At the cusp of fall, I sit wondering how the 2012 hunting season will play out for my family, friends and me after last year’s adventures.

On our 2011 caribou hunt we ended up sideways on a beaver damn wondering if we were going for a swim. During our moose hunt we found our binoculars we lost the previous year. I also spent considerable time with a few good friends.

Even all three of my girls came out hunting last year. The 2011 season definitely had some adventures—starting with our second annual caribou hunt.

My friend Chris and I travelled more miles than one would like to fill a tag. The seven-hour truck ride to the spot where we set up camp would be enough to turn most hunters off. However, this is quite typical for a Yukon expedition.

We had four days to try to fill our tags with hopes of a moose at the same time. After days of driving and glassing hills and valleys, we were lucky enough to run into a small group of caribou.

It took almost half an hour to get close enough to confirm there was a male in the group and we were lucky enough to fill my tag and head home. Unfortunately, Chris was unable to harvest his first animal on that trip.

The only time we could get off in September for moose hunting ended up being a little early. The weather was very favourable but definitely not the weather to hunt or get the rut started.

On the first two days we saw temperatures all the way up to 20 degrees. So we decided to move up the mountains in hopes of cooler weather and more moose. At that point one moose would be more than we had seen all season.

A few cool mornings and decent afternoons did not help our success. After days of looking for a sign, we saw a cow and calf but that was it for action on that trip.

When mid-October panic started to set in because I still didn’t have a moose for the season, we decided to go for one last blast.

The lake was great with plus five-degree weather, while the rest of the Yukon started to slip into winter. At the mouth of the river the grayling hit my wife Heather’s hook like they hadn’t eaten in weeks.

On shore my daughter Janessa was more than entertaining, frolicking in the warm fall sun. Still, with all that fun and beauty the moose hid from us. So, we decided to take the South Canol Road home.

However, the road was covered in snow. Our diesel turned out to be a great fall purchase as we pulled our boat and camper through the deep snowy corners and steep hills of the Canol.

Just as we thought winter must be waiting in the southern Yukon, we hit drifts up to a foot deep, with pure white everywhere.

Through the summit area there were a few brave groups with hopes of that last hunting try for the season. We must have looked funny pulling a boat, though the snow passed them.

When we finally drove out, the entrance to the road was barricaded, stating it was closed from the south side.

So what do we have in store for us this season?

Will we end up in blizzards at the top of mountains late in the season? Or will we have a great year where we harvest our game and fill the freezer for the long cold Yukon winter?

We have dates planned and time booked off. I can’t help thinking of what adventures we all have in store.

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