"Outfitter Erik Mikkelson tells me his area is something of a summer hangout for these animals. Apparently, the caribou hole up in the high basins, where it's cool and the flies don't harass them. Because it's their summer range, Mikkleson says they stop migrating and stay in the general area, so spotting and stalking a big bull is not a problem. Most of Mikkelson's clients on this hunt have been bowhunters, although rifle and muzzleloader hunters are welcome too.
"The average bull Mikkelson's clients shoot measures 330 points (well above the P & Y minimum of 265), and is taken within 30 to 50 yards. Boone & Crockett bulls are possible, though not as abundant. Mikkelson points out that a large number of the bulls listed in the Pope & Young Record Book are from his hunt area. Last year, he says all but one of seven hunters took Pope & Young bulls. The one who didn't missed several shots and went home empty-handed.
"Success here is almost guaranteed, Mikkelson says, throwing in the word 'almost' because this is a mountain hunt, and all of the challenges and demands of that apply. Mikkleson describes the hunting as being almost as tough as sheep hunting, requiring daily climbs of 1,000 to 1,500 feet and lots of walking.
"Mikkleson helicopters his caribou hunters into a spike camp at elevations of 2,500 to 5,000 feet. Guided 2 x 1, they work the surrounding ridges to glass the bowls on the north-facing slopes where they know the caribou lay-up. Once a good bull is spotted, they plan a stalk. Because Mikkelson choppers his caribou hunters in and out with his sheep hunters, caribou hunters have up to 11 days to find, stalk and shoot the largest caribou they can. Mikkleson admits this is a bit long for........(continued)