Crisis Over Central Barren Ground Caribou


Published: December - 2006

Several years ago we ran a series of reports regarding problem hunts for Quebec/Labrador caribou in Quebec. For various reasons, you'll recall, once-predictable migrations became very erratic. Scores if not hundreds - of hunters found themselves sitting in camps waiting for caribou that never arrived.

Well, recently we have received some Hunt Reports that suggest similar, albeit less serious, problems may be developing in the Northwest Territories with central Canada barren ground caribou. Seems several subscribers who hunted NWT this past season report delayed migrations and unusually warm weather that wreaked havoc in some caribou camps. Owen Muramatsu says his outfitter, Adventures Northwest, for example, had to go to great lengths to move him and some friends from Pellat Lake to another camp 60 miles north of where they were originally hunting, going so far as flying a quad out to them so they could trailer a boat between lakes. Rob Cullen says his group did well, but that the hunting was definitely slowing down when he left. Afterward, he met hunters in Yellowknife who had been skunked. Even John Andre of Courageous Lake Caribou Camps (featured elsewhere in this issue) says one of his camps saw a slowdown this year.

Apparently, the same situation occurred at Rabesca's Resources Humpy Lake camp, as subscriber Peter Spear reports seeing only about 12 bulls during a five-day hunt there. Indeed, when we called Joyce Rabesca at Rabesca's Resources, she said this past season was the most difficult she has ever seen. She says the caribou simply did not move. We were dumb-struck, she told The Hunting Report. This has never happened to us before.

A check of our database confirmed what Rabesca said. In all, we have 72 reports on this outfitter going as far back as 1998. Almost all of the hunters filing reports in the past have raved about the number and quality of animals seen.

So, what is the problem? Was it warm temperatures, up in the 60s, that kept caribou bedded........(continued)

 
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