Caribou hunting has continually grown in popularity over the past few decades. The excitement of harvesting an animal with a rack so large that it appears to dwarf the animal, is something that excites all trophy hunters.
The ability to hunt a beast that travels in groups so large they look like a trail of cattle heading back to the barn, is also of great interest to big-game hunters. Of the five Caribou sub-species found in North America, the famous Quebec-Labrador caribou are the most abundant and carry one of the largest sets of antlers of all caribou.
With an estimated population of over 1 million, the Quebec caribou are continually expanding every year. The largest caribou herd in Northern Quebec is the George River herd, and several dozen outfitters set up camps in strategic locations along this herd's cyclical migration route. The better camps remain mobile so as to keep in contact with the brunt of the herd. With the migration patterns of the George River herd greatly changing in recent years, the use of temporary, 'spike' camps has became a necessity for these outfitters to keep their hunters in contact with the migration.
Field Judging Caribou
For hunter Serge Danis of Maniwaki, Quebec, this feat became a reality when a caribou he harvested gross scored 402 7/8 inches B&C, netting 392 2/8 inches. Danis had made two previous trips to "Nouveau Quebec" and had taken some nice bulls on those outings, but nothing that compared to the one he harvested on Aug. 23, 1998.
After several months of preparation and anticipation for his trip north, the day had finally arrived. Being the owner and operator of an outfitter himself, The Domaine Shannon, Danis looked forward to the prospect of being taken hunting for a change. His mind was filled with thoughts of a barren, tundra landscape crawling with caribou, as he fidgeted in his seat on his flight to Kujuaak.
Danis had chosen the outfitter Safari Nordic, for this trip because they had a great reputation for success, and would relocate camp free of charge if the caribou herd did not cooperate. Upon arrival at the "airport" in Northern Quebec, Danis was transferred to a Twin-otter float plane, where he would ride out the last leg of his journey to the outpost camp called Camp Henri, named for the owner and operator of Safari Nordic, Henri Poupart.
As the plane touched down at Camp Henri, Danis was first greeted by a group of successful hunters, ready to depart after their enjoyable five-day experience.
"The line-up of giant caribou racks on the dock, and smiling faces on the hunters was a great start to my trip," Danis recalls. Then as if things couldn't look better, his guide for the trip greeted Danis. "No problem boys," the guide stated bluntly. "You'll all have your caribou within 20 minutes out!"
Caribou Near Camp!
After a well-deserved night's sleep, Danis was awoken early the next morning by a knock on the door from his guide. "If anyone is interested, there are about 50 caribou out in front of the camp," the guide blurted. Two of the other hunters jumped up out of their bunks, and hastily pulled on their hunting clothes. They were tearing out of the camp so fast, you would think a fire had broken out. By the time breakfast was served, the two excited hunters had harvested their limit of two caribou apiece. Their hunt was now over in one quick flurry of excitement. Danis and his hunting partner chose to savor the northern experience a bit longer, and be choosier with their second caribou.
After Danis and his partner Alain finished breakfast and helped the others field-dress and pack the four caribou back to camp, it was their turn to hunt again. The two hunters made their way out onto the northern terrain once again and continued on their quest for a trophy caribou. As they slowly stalked their way along the tundra, the dry, mossy ground sounded like cardboard crunching under their feet. Off in the distance, a covey of ptarmigan could be seen picking at some small berries, growing on a stunted, northern shrub. Becoming almost mesmerized by the harsh beauty of this northern scene, the two hunters almost did not see the tips of antlers peaking over the next rise.
"Alain, look," Danis whispered. "There's a group of caribou over the next hill."
The two decided to flip a coin to see who would shoot first. Alain won the toss, and would get first choice at the caribou. The men slowly made their way around the base of the small hill, and got into shooting position. Alain picked out a good-sized bull, and slowly squeezed the trigger. Bang! The bull was down, and the two hunters hurried over to where the caribou had fallen.
Three More Appear
He scrambled his way over to the awesome beast, and stared in awe at the incredible antlers. The guide put a tape to Danis' monster for a rough score, and came up with approximately 396 B&C net. The guide advised him not to cut his antlers in half for the ride home, as they would be disqualified for the record book.
Upon arriving home, Danis brought his trophy Quebec caribou rack to official record book scorer, Richard Poulin. Poulin arrived at a gross score of 402-7/8 inches and an awesome net score of 392-2/8 inches B&C.
For more information on booking your trophy caribou hunt in Northern Quebec with Safari Nordik, contact Kathy Nolan at 1-800-361-3748.
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