|Arial view of the tundra around Kavik|
On day one of our hunt we were greeted by thick clouds, light rain, and low fog. It was difficult to see anything from The Perch, but we ended up trudging through the wet tundra in search of Caribou. We found several herds moving through across the tundra fields. Some planning put me within 150 yards as a herd moved through, but it was outside of bow range.
The second day found us following the Kavik River in search of caribou. I spotted a single cow crossing the river and moving towards us. I tried to position myself for a possible bow shot but she was running, and it was not feasible to get in front off her. Shortly after she passed me I figured out why she was running: there was a black wolf working down the river bank. It was the first wolf I had seen in the wild and it was a majestic sight. I tried to grab my camera for a few pictures of the critter but he disappeared into the willows just a hair before I could get any images of him.
|Wolf track found along the Kavik River|
|Me with my first caribou|
I decided to quarter the caribou on the spot, sending my hunting partner back to camp for help. Knowing that bears were a problem in this area, I kept my eyes on the horizon looking for one that might be coming in for an easy meal; the fast food version of McDonald's on the tundra for them. While one prepares for such a possibility, you never really expect it to occur. Sue Aikens arrived during the quartering processed and yelled for me to look towards the north as she was still approaching the kill sight. When I did I found there was a grizzly bear running towards me, and the pile of coveted meat. I am sure he hear the rifle shot and while a danger sound to some animals, it is the dinner bell to some of the predators. Fortunately the bear decided he was outgunned and moved off as Sue and other hunting helpers arrived at the kill sight. It was a new experience, butchering an animal in a rush, while under armed guard.
|Grizzly Bear tracks found along the Kavik River|
Last thoughts are from the movie, "Dances with Wolves." Being on the Tundra 197 miles north of the arctic circle reminded me of a line from the film: "I've always wanted to see the frontier...before its gone."