Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall Fat Hunt hard water...

Agnes cruzing the ice free river...

Took a bit of a campout this last week to tie up our Fall.
besides the Caribou we caught a couple weeks ago, we put out an 'extra speciall Kiss Kiss' hunt to kick off the new Hunting Seasson, you know ,the one that followed Yesterday...

A Cousin, Alex, the Broinlaw Joe, a friend and camera man, Mike Z and myself started the day as normal, getting into a loaded boat.....

So, upriver we went, merrily cruizing witha load or gas, tenting and guys, up for the first night while the wife and daughters brought up the rear, a day behind us, overnighting at her sister Nita's in Kiana and visiting around.

We waited for Caribou to come down the hills to their Doom while crossing the river, but they were having none of it. Temps have plunged the river into solidifycation, one piece of ice at a time, and growing.
With Bino's and scopes, people at Kiana village watched a herd of maby 500 decend to the river valley , only to turn and go right back up again, and to join up with another group, all awaiting 'Something"....

We waited two days, and with the arrival of the girls, who enlarged and normalized the camp as a Butchering sight for a good ammount of Meats,we still waited... but the meats refused to decend....... and no new sucess's anywhere below the hovering Caribou, we told the ladies "Later!!" and burned our way further up, tward Kobuk sand Dunes and Caribou Bulls.
For two days we had seen Caribou closely, but all were dead and in boats headed down, So we made a plan to not return untill we were done in one form or the other.....

We gassed and went, while promising that everything would be OK if we didnt return that night , and after a spell of winding driving, we had crossing Bull Caribou shot by boats infront of us, hundred's of heads lining the river, lungs floating by and with two hours of light left ........and a group of 50 headed out to swim.......

We drove very slowly, as they meanderd about 500 yards ahead, the lead Cow splashing, HUGE Bulls flowing, all Prime, Fat, unrutted prizes of taste and nutrition, walkin out when all hell broke loose, the band reversed as one and like water spilling over a table went up and dissapered into the bushes a few yards North.

Around the corner came two boats adrift, who had seen the Caribou and only later, Us. Actually turned out to be the next door neighbor and crew, and when we talked it over, they kindly apologized a bit and we told 'em "You couldnt know" and we all we had not seen each other untill the Caribou were gone anyway.

Then we decided to build a fire and stay the night.
We shot a crossing Bull and ate to our fill with meat over the fire and heart-tounge soup and broth to drink.
Slept out in the open , in the lower twentys as the river grew louder and louder through the night, when ever growing pans of ice crashed and heaved into each other in the rivers flow......
After a night of sleeping on bare frozen, rockhard sand we awoke to a foggy solidily frozen river, about 1/2 an inch thick....several inches where it had plied and frozen.....

We were lucky in having a tin boat and a powerfull motor and we wasted no time getting ready to leave after coffee and a meaty breakfast.
We watched several Caribou , in small and large groups approach to cross, but all turned back after testing the ice with their hooves.
We crossed the river and made our meat with the MosinNagant. Not the way we wanted, but the way we had too. Coulda' piled up the body's all right, but not this time, with any certainty of returning for more loads.....
We were under Caribou supervision constantly as group after group approached and skirted us as we made quick work of the meats.
We limited our catch to two Fat bulls, which were in the boat and busting ice within the hour. We knew we were gonna be busting ice and a wasting gas by the bucket, and since nature delt the hand, we played it safe and folded.
We spent the next 5 hours crashing, smashin', busting ice untill were were free about 5 miles upriver from the ladies.
We pulled up, hoping they had been lucky, but they were packed and loading, Caribou less and a note on a Steak telling us to get the Hell outta Dodge, as the wife "knows".....

We busted Ice to Kiana, burning burning, burning gas as we barged on down, hardly finding a gap to make plane with.
Left one boat and took a big load down, our plan was to avoid any further 12$ a gallon purchase's and return with gas, but the next morning the wife was given ten and she, with a load of Girls and the bro, Joe, came on down them selfs, and we met them not quite 1/2 ways....all was well.

The ****ed up part is that Mike Z , with 70+ excellent pictures of this small hunt cannot find his camera......**** **** PISS!!!! ya, those astricts cant even describe how we collectivly felt...

"But" the oldest Daughter did snap some from her cell.......and I in my UNJ Tee shirt..~~LOL!!~~ You can see some of the ice behind me, around the boat.....

Got some good ones of the girls, round the fire and in the leanto.

Some artifacts I found.
The top one is a net making gauge, so you can tie uniform mesh's and a little Marlin spike on the tip to slip and loosen any knots.
The bottom antler spear tip is missing its tip that would have held a small point. These were loaded into an antled socket'd end of a shaft and speared into swimming Caribou , just behind the ribs, through the liver, and the shaft was reloaded to dispatch more Caribou.This was done as a stone lance can snap its blade and be worthless. Steel changed that.
The spear tip has small lines of ownership 'marks" so every one knew who's Caribou it belonged to when they were floated to the shore during community hunts at these crossing spots, every fall for thousands of years.
My camera has a bad shade that is sometimes 1/2 the picture.......sorry bout that, I took it when I got home, that's why I left it behind anyhoo....~~LOL!!~~


  1. Well done. Great find with the mesh gauge. Wish I could have tagged along.

  2. Someday, again, Matt, and blood spilt will be the mess of sucsess :D

  3. Great stories! Love to see the artifacts you find along the way!

  4. Hey Chip, I love you and your family x