Moose and Kariboujagd on horseback in the Yukon
Wilderness hunt in the untouched nature of Canada’s northwest
The Yukon became famous for the gold rush on the Klondike River (1896-1898), which was then hundreds of thousands from California and other regions to Canada to seek their luck in gold. Even today, there are many monuments of the old Goldgräberstimmung such. a museum in Whitehorse the capital and the destination airport of every trip to Yukon. In addition to the gold Yukon but also offers stunning scenery, the second highest mountain in North America and wilderness hunting pure. This is a wild, mountainous and sparsely populated area in northwestern Canada. Anyone who chooses to hunt in Yukon must make some compromises in terms of comfort, as it is almost all wilderness hunting in spike camps, but the hunter will be rewarded with a very pristine nature and exhausting but very nice hunt.
When it comes to big moose, there are only 2 alternatives to the Kamchatka Moose or the Alaskan Yukon Moose. After a long search and comparison of the options of the different countries Kamchatka, Alaska or Yukon I decided to carry out my hunt in the Yukon. In the Yukon, the hunts are almost exclusively carried out by spike camps that can be reached either by horse or quad. My decision to hunt on horseback, even though I had never sat on a horse before, the Outfitter could still convince me that this would be easy to learn. With this certainty, the plan was fixed and everything booked for the first week of September. As caribou are also bargain at this time, I decided to go for a combined hunt.
At the beginning of September we started and via direct flight with Condor from Frankfurt to Whitehorse relaxed in 9 hours to the desired destination. Already on the day of arrival I met more US hunters who will hunt with me in the same area. The first night is always spent in the hotel, where we could put off all our unneeded items such as gun cases or excess luggage during the 10 days hunting. The next morning we went already with the seaplane 4h directly into the main camp for the hunt. The area borders directly on the Northwest Territory and can only be reached by seaplane.
Arriving at the main camp, we were greeted directly by the outfitter and our guides, and after moving into our accommodations, the hunt was discussed during a leisurely dinner. Early in the morning we started, after packing the horses we rode to our spike camps. Each hunter had a guide and 5 horses, one riding horse for guide and hunter, as well as 3 pack horses with boxes for our food for the next 10 days and tents for the night. During our ride of about 3 hours through the wilderness of Yucon we could already see some caribous, as well as a bear, who eyed us suspiciously. The Indiansummer had already hit hard and wrapped the landscape in a variety of colors. Arriving at our spot for our 10-day spike camp, we first prepared the places for our sleeping tents and put all our supplies under a tarp to protect them from possible rain or snow. Even if snow is not expected at the beginning of September, the altitude can still lead to occasional snowfalls. Exhausted from the long riding and setting up the camp, we went to bed early, to start our first day of hunting punctually the next morning. Shortly after sunrise, I suddenly heard little bells ring, surprised by the noise I left my tent and saw that my guide had already collected our horses. In the evenings we had them pulled free so they could eat nearby and he had them tied little bells to find them on the one hand in the morning quickly and on the other hand also to hold bears.
After a sumptuous breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, toast and beans as well as a hot coffee from our fire pit we started with the saddled horses in the direction of promising spots for moose. At this time, the moose like to move to the small and large lakes and streams, which are numerous here. Our area consists of many valleys and canyons in which the moose can stay. To get a better overview of the large area, we rode along the small river that passes our spikecamp to reach a high plateau from where we could overlook a large plain. From a distance it looked like a light ride through low bushes, but far from it, the closer we got to the plateau, the higher the bushes became. After we were close enough to the plateau, we continued on foot through the up to 1.7m high bushes on a hill. From here we could see a large valley and had the small river and two lakes right in front of us. Arrived on our view, we settled in comfortably and glazed at regular intervals from the plane. At first we saw no movement and enjoyed the calm with warm temperatures and a light pleasant breeze. Around 16:00 suddenly came movement in my guide and he had made a group Karibous, which moved to about 800m to the small lake. We watched the group for more than 1h as they approached to about 500m, but as it was just a herd of cows and calves, we did not try to get closer and patiently waited patiently for our elk. However, as it was already getting dark, we decided to finish the first day of riding back to camp. Arriving at the camp, a hearty Chilli concarne was cooked on an open fire and the next day of hunting was discussed. This time it should go to another region of the area, in which several moose were spotted.
The next morning we started again after the obligatory breakfast and the saddling of the horses. After about 2.5h on the horse we had reached our area and slowly rode off various places to cover a larger area. The landscape was a little more open and rocky this time, but Diana had no luck for us, so we rode and rode all day long without seeing a single piece of game. Somewhat disappointed with the zero number we came back to the camp in the evening and decided the next morning to try again on the lake of the previous day, which let us at least schonmal the caribou watch.
Said done early in the morning we went back to our plateau from which we could overlook the plain. After about 1h of riding the weather changed and beautiful sunshine became steady rain which did not detract from our motivation as we had a good feeling today that we will see something. After 2 hours of continuous rain, we were glad that we had waterproof clothing with Sitka and Deerhunter and that after the clearing of the sky again quickly dry. With the first rays of sunshine after the rain came movement in the plane. Far in the distance we could see a black bear passing, then we saw another group of Karibous, probably the same as on the first day. After a short nap, my guide and I almost simultaneously discovered a large body approaching the lake from the other side of the valley. Immediately we were wide awake and tried to identify the unknown being with the binoculars. But since he was still hidden in the high bush we could only see shadows and did not make out whether it was bear, elk or Karibou. A short time later he disappeared behind a small range of hills that goes around the lake. Since the distance was far too far we decided to wait here, if he would show himself at the lake instead of riding in the plain. After about 20 minutes, we spotted him again when he had turned the hill chain and straightforward marched on the small lake. This time we could clearly see that it is a moose bull. However, since he was still at 750m it was not yet possible to speak to him and we wanted to give him some more time to approach. The wind was perfect for us as it blew straight from the lake into our face so there was no hurry. We watched the cops for 1h moving more and more in our direction. When he approached us at about 500m in the high bush in the plain we decided that he was suitable for the shooting and we made a plan how we wanted to tackle him. Since he was in the plane and we were still on the high plateau there were only 2 options either we ride back and try to stalk him in the plane or we have to kill him from the plateau, which would result in another shot. After a short consideration, we decided to take the long shot option, since the 8x68s has enough energy and also an extended trajectory for long shots, this should be the best option not to lose the moose. From our observation point, we now carefully creep through the bushes to the edge of the plateau, which then drops almost perpendicular to the river. We always kept eye contact with the elk so as not to lose it in the high bushes. Arrived at the edge we could still see the moose which had moved into a more open area. According to my Leica Geovid, the distance was still 450m, but as the bull still trotted pointedly in our direction, we still wanted to wait for the right moment. We set up the tripod and I went to stop to finish when the cop has reached the appropriate distance. When the elk was about 370m away from us, he turned wide and even before he could reach the high bushes I read the 8x68s CDP fly out of my R93 and caught the moose on 370m high sheet, the cop drew, but remained as in Shock stood and went only after my second shot on the sheet down. Overjoyed with my first Yukonelch we packed up and rode with the horses to the moose for the obligatory pictures and to provide him. For the next day the plan was clear now we have to knock the moose completely out of the blanket and transport all meat to the camp, because according to Canadian law no meat may remain in the wild. After the supply of the moose it was back to the camp, but the day was not over yet.
On the way back, we suddenly spotted a group of caribous, who had collapsed at the end of a rocky climb on the mountain. From the bottom of the mountain we could see with our glasses that there were 3 good bulls in the group, including one with 2 front shovels, as I would prefer it. After a short while, we decided to take the steep climb and we cautiously stalked through the scree and rocks step by step towards the caribous. The rock formations gave us very good natural cover so we could stalk very close to the caribous. After about 30 minutes of ascent, we were probably about 200m away from the Karibous, but they could not see through the rocks. At the last ascent point we had made a small rock formation from where we should get the Karibous in sight, and then to kill the right one. What we did not know, however, was that it was already the last rock before the Karibous and when we went out of cover to the rock the Karibous stood suddenly at 180m free in front of us and all eyes fixed on us. Now it had to go fast, the matching Karibou was fortunately quickly made and even before the herd could jump off, I had already set up on the backpack and the shot fell. The Karibou was hit at 180m directly leaf and was immediately in the fire while the rest of the herd pulled over the mountain. On this day Diana was very nice, so we could kill not only the moose but the same day a strong Karibou. After we had cared for the Karibou we took the 2 loins with us and rode satisfied back to our base camp with the certainty the next day to be able to sleep. In the evening, the loins were prepared in the pan as well-roasted and well spiced and we had an eventful day by the fire review.
The next day we were busy from morning to evening to knock the moose and Karibou out of the blanket and transport all the meat back to the camp with the help of the packhorses. Since I had already killed my two game species after 3 of the planned 10 days, I decided on the 7th day together with all the meat, which we had saved to fly to the main camp to fish for a few more days. In the main camp I also met the American hunters who already had their trophies, or the older of the two jumped out of the main camp every morning instead of the Spikezeltcamp.
After 10 days we went via floatplane back to Whitehorse, which I used then in Whitehorse various monuments and exhibitions of the Goldrushzeit and the indigenous people to look at me, before it went the next day with very many beautiful memories and experiences back to Germany , If you are looking for strong elks and are not afraid of an original hunt, you are definitely in good hands in the Yukon. Thanks to the hunting on horseback, it is also possible for hunters who are not quite as good on foot, even if it is the first time on a horse, like me. Personally, I do not want to miss the experience anymore and will surely return in the future to dedicate myself to the Dall Sheep, who can also be hunted here.