I caught “Caribou Fever” in quebec last year and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake it—not that I want to.
The grand adventure to the tundra region of Quebec began more than a year ago when a friend and I were talking about caribou hunting. He decided to put together a hunt and immediately started making contacts. Within a few weeks, we had 10 people committed to go on the hunt that would span 6 days on the tundra.
Pickups And Planes
The day of departure finally arrived and five of us loaded our gear into a pickup and trailer and headed off for a 9-hour drive from our home in Michigan to Montreal. Upon arrival, we checked in with our outfitter, Safari Nordik, and they were ready with our hunting licenses and all other information that we would need to depart for camp the following morning.
After boarding a plane in Montreal, we began the 21/2-hour flight to Kuujjuaq. Upon landing in Kuujjuaq, we met with Safari Nordik representatives and boarded another small plane and flew the “bumpy” 112 miles to Camp Real, our base camp. It was an interesting flight. The 25-30 mph winds that jostled our plane for the 1 hour flight had us all looking a little pale when we finally landed.
Once on the ground, we met guides Ralph and Kenny McDonald and Russ Fequet, along with cook Annie McDonald. We were soon ready to begin the week-long adventure of caribou hunting in the Arctic tundra of northern Quebec.
Crawling For Caribou
Within minutes of landing at Camp Real, we were preparing for the first day’s hunt. We quickly changed our clothes, checked our gear and headed across the lake in search of caribou. That first day was a success for five hunters as they bagged their first bulls. I was able to stalk within 6 yards of a feeding caribou, but decided to pass on the animal.
We headed to the same area the next day and four more hunters tagged-out for the trip with their second caribou. I filled my first tag late in the afternoon when a lone bull was spotted while glassing from a ridgetop. A quick 100-yard sprint, followed by a slow 60-yard belly crawl, got me into position for a lethal shot on the big bull.
That evening we were treated to an amazing sight when one of our hunters took off on foot after a herd of caribou was spotted on a ridge about 2 miles away. He was able to get close enough to harvest an animal, and we were able to watch the entire hunt through our binoculars and spotting scopes from the comfort of camp.
Everyone in the group filled their remaining tags on day No. 3. I harvested the bigger of my two bulls with a 212-yard shot from my Remington .30-06 using a Federal 180-grain bullet. To get within shooting distance, I had to crawl on all fours from about 300 yards away and then hide behind a rock for cover to make the shot.
As we approached the downed caribou, two more big bulls came over the ridge. We watched as they ran past, and then suddenly noticed something that was simply amazing. On the back side of the ridge and on the adjacent ridge, there were caribou everywhere. Our guide estimated that there were between 1,500 and 2,000 caribou milling about on the ridges and in the valley.
After seeing about 200 caribou the first day and then only 25 the second day, the sight of that many caribou was simply awe inspiring.