Where to hunt Caribou
We prefer to use the word “caribou” to refer to North American animals, and “reindeer” to Eurasian populations, although for all practical purposes it’s the same animal. Many varieties of caribou are recognized, including Barren Ground, Quebec Labrador, mountain and woodland, but the differences between lie mostly in habitat and behavior, not genetics. Caribou are the creature of the North, and inhabit the tundra, forest tundra and northern forest across North America. Non-resident hunting seasons are open in Alaska, a number of Canadian provinces including Yukon, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, and Greenland (although that’s technically Europe, as Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark).
Caribou habitat is found far away from civilization, and the biggest part of the hunt’s price is travel and camping. Don’t forget that outfitters have to fly in everything from tents to guns and ammo. Hunting opportunities in Greenland start under $5,000. You may find caribou hunts in the USA and Canada at as low as $7,500, but most are in the 10K range. One way to save is to combine the hunt with other big-game animals, such as grizzly and moose - combination hunts are usually better bargains than a caribou-only hunt.
Learn more from our blog story
It’s amazing how creatures can adapt to living in the harshest of environments. You’d never thought that something as unappetizing and unnourishing as lichen can support tens of thousands of robust and hard-going deer. Yet, here they are, all over the Northern Hemisphere: known as reindeer in Eurasia and as caribou in North America, the Arctic deer is the source of life for many indigenous peoples, and an irresistible attraction for hunters from the developed countries.4 Oct 2018 Caribou
When to hunt Caribou?
The caribou season typically starts in August and closes in November-December. However, in order to harvest a bull with antlers in prime shape, the hunter has to schedule the hunt in September or October: after the antlers are out of the velvet stage, but before the bulls shed them, which happens immediately after the rut. This is usually the best time to visit the boreal landscapes anyway, with mosquitos already gone and winter colds, snows and polar night not yet in. Hunting Barren Ground caribou and other tundra populations typically takes place during their autumn migration. In most cases caribou follow the same migration pattern from year to year, but occasionally for no apparent reason they arrive at a different time or take another way. That’s why some caribou outfitters prefer not to schedule hunts in advance, but to call hunters in when the deer arrive.
Hunting methods All hunting methods (7)
First Nations invented many ingenious ways of caribou hunting, but for a modern hunter the primary way to get a caribou is by spot and stalk. Caribou are not very alert, but it may not be easy to approach a large herd with thousands of eyes looking in all directions, ready to flee from any danger. The alternative method is to ambush a herd. This usually works best during migration, but even when not migrating caribou are always on the move, so as not to exhaust their staple food, lichen. The hunter and the guide can predict the motions of the herd, get in front of it, and wait for its arrival in an ambush. The most successful guides combine these methods and switch from one to the other according to circumstances.
Why hunt Caribou?
It’s amazing how creatures like caribou can adapt to harsh environment of the Arctic. One such adaptation is beautiful thick coat that partly consists of semi-hollow hairs. The other is antlers. Both bull and cow caribou carry antlers, with a unique and very individual shape combining a palm and numerous points with well developed eye guards, but the bulls drop their antlers before winter, and cows retain them until springtime (to protect their calving ground). Residents of caribou habitat also pursue them for their delicious meat, but a hunter that wants to get a pair of prime bull antlers would need to hunt during the rut, when caribou bull meat may be unpalatable. But the prime attraction for caribou hunting is probably the chance to see and live in the amazing, out-of-this-planet caribou habitat in the tundra and the boreal forest.
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