I have been trying for the last two years to find a caribou. Last year I simply did not see any. I am told that the herd crossed the mountains further to the west. When I first came to this area I was told that herds would be visible form the school.
This is the first year that that has been true. Over the last week or two I have seen several small groups crossing 2-5 miles away well within view of the back porch of the school, even from my classroom window. Most of these groups were sizes between 5-20, but once there was a group that was in the hundreds.
I never seemed to time it right. Either I am otherwise occupied and cannot get away or they move too fast and by the time I am in position they are already past me. Last Saturday I saw a small group (4) that was within a mile of town. I went out hiking and got quite close. I was within 100 yards and got a good look at them. They were unconcerned with me and gave me a good broad side.
The regulations prohibit taking a calf or a cow with a calf. I have no idea the legal definition of calf. These had very small antlers. It was my guess that they were young and though I have seen skulls around the tundra to guess that others might have taken the shot, I decided to hold off due to uncertainty. But I did get some pictures. Sorry they are not better they were all the way zoomed in on my phone.
On returning I had several people told me that they were in fact legal but I am not disappointed. I would like meat but am not in such desperate need to take an unsure shot. I also only really need one. If I’m gonna get one I’d like a big bull rather than a cow. Bulls close on today (Friday). After school or possibly some time during, I will be leaving to chaperone a high school wrestling tournament today and Saturday. A friend wants to go this weekend again but I can only get a cow. I will probably have to wait until next year for that big bull. Maybe longer if they don’t migrate this way again.
An interesting aside;
The image to the left is tracking data for caribou collars. The image to the left is zoomed in on our area. Notice there is only on line going through. P.S. I am guessing that this is only one years worth of data but I don’t know which year.