Following Up On That Aleutian Caribou Hunt


Published: August - 2003

Adak Island in the Aleutians is a whopping 1,300 miles west of Anchorage. Home to the navy's North Pacific operations during World War II, the island remained an important military outpost all through the Cold War. In fact, the 35 x 20-mile island opened to civilians for the first time since WW II only in 1999.

The island's claim to fame these days is its herd of caribou. Transplanted there from the Nelchina herd in 1959, they are said to be the largest-bodied caribou in the world. The secret to their huge size is abundant food sources and a total absence of predators. Mature bulls here weigh in excess of 600 pounds, and their headgear is just as impressive.

The outfitter who has opened this herd to international hunting is Tim Booch of Aleutian Islands Guide Service. In operation now several years, he has had hunters take caribou that gross-scored as high as 449, netting out unofficially at 438 3/8 B & C. That behemoth, taken by subscriber Heber Simmons, has already been submitted to B & C and should place around 66 in the all-time book. Last season, another client, Jim Fahy, took a bull that grossed 406; and Foster Yancey killed two 400-class bulls. Six hunters last year took seven bulls. Four of those grossed over 400 points. Those are noteworthy statistics when you consider that the B & C minimum on these caribou is only 400 points.

At press time, I spoke with both Simmons and Fahy, and they reported seeing an abundance of big, healthy caribou on their Adak hunts. They say hunters here should not have a problem taking good trophies if they take the time to look over lots of animals and put in the effort required to stalk a big one.

Make no mistake, however. Despite the number and quality of animals here, this is not an easy hunt. Adak is open, wind-swept terrain with no trees or shrubs for cover. Hunters must use the rolling hills, shallow valleys and other........(continued)

 
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