I got on the airplane the last Monday in September at KCI. Friday morning we were finally ready to hunt. That, in a nutshell, is the Yukon. It’s unbelievably big, inaccessible, and wild. Of course that was why we went.
After the all day trip to Whitehorse we had a layover day. We did a bit of exploring the area around Whitehorse, saw the usual sights, I guess. Then we spent most of the next day driving to the floatplane base, and flying into base camp. Base camp wasn’t much to look at, yet:
The next day was an all day ride up a drainage, over a saddle, and then up another drainage. By the time we got camp set up we had enough time to spot a nice bull on the opposite mountain, and call a little bull right into camp. This would be the start of a trend:
We agreed that The Old Man would have the first crack at the good bull on the opposite mountain. I glassed for different moose while they got in position, then I watch the show. It turned out that they got close, but not close enough to get a clean shot. That also would be an emerging pattern. If you’ve never been into the willow choked drainages of the Yukon, I’m not sure how to explain it. Imagine a swamp covered in the densest Texas scrub you’ve ever seen, then put it on a slope that starts at about 5,000 feet, then add snow. That still doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s the best I can do. It was a very regular occurrence for us to be within 40 yards of bull will a kill zone the size of coffee table, and not have any hope of getting an arrow to cover that distance. Most places it would be difficult to shoot 20 yards, or even 10 with a bow. That made calling the bull to you your only hope. You had to find a clearish spot and try and bring him into it. Anyway, The Old Man got close but no shot. We saw other bulls that day, but nothing we could get to in time.
I did manage to close the distance on a small bachelor group of caribou bulls, including this guy:
We chose to hunt later in the season so that we could take advantage of the peak of the moose rut. Unfortunately, it also meant that the caribou season was closed.
The next day I rode up over a saddle, and into completely different drainage. It looked fantastic, but we saw only one cow, and she was way off. We would ride for an hour then stop and glass and/or call, then after 30 minutes or an hour we’d mount up and ride on. I wish I had a picture of the view I had for the lunch break. It was beautiful and wild. We agreed it was what the Yukon would look like on a postcard. Still, no moose.
When we got back The Old Man had a big smile on his face. Apparently they’d pulled a bull out of the timber by blind calling. They quickly ditched the horses, closed some distance, and found an openish area. The Old Man had objects ranged at 50, 40, 30, and 20 yards. The bull came into the opening, and just kept right on towards the calling. At 20 yards the bull was still coming right at him, so he drew, and that was enough motion to get the bull to turn slightly and offer a quartering towards shot. He didn’t go far:
We would later green score him at 218 P&Y!