Checking In On Barren Groud Caribou


Published: May - 1998

Central Canada barren ground caribou hunts have been one of the best deals in hunting for the past decade. For one thing, prices have been very moderate, especially in light of the fact that most heads have made the Boone and Crockett record book, thanks to a low minimum score for the all-time record book. Also in the recent past, almost every central Canada barren ground caribou hunt has been successful, mainly thanks to a consistent migration pattern. In fact, caribou migrations in the Northwest Territories have been so steady over the past couple of decades that permanent camps on lakes have been highly effective. Outfitters have not needed to move or spike out the way they do in Quebec. Enter the 1997 season.

Not only did Boone and Crockett up the minimum score on these animals (from 345 to 360), but El Niño (or something) interrupted their normal migration pattern. For the first time in about 40 years, the caribou herd simply didn't behave as expected. Much of it wintered in neighboring Saskat-chewan. The upshot is, success rates were down this past year, inspiring some outfitters to consider the need to become more mobile. In fact, one outfitter moved clients this past year to protect his 100 percent hunter success record. Why the change in behavior? Anne Gunn, a biologist with the NWT Renewable Resources Department, says global warming is being studied as a possible cause, but ultimately there is nothing to worry about. Tribal elders from the native bands recall abrupt shifts in the past, she says. Always, the pattern has returned to normal and she expects the same to happen this time.

In the meantime, herd numbers are healthy and stable, if not slightly increasing. Almost certainly, central barren ground caribou hunts are not about to become "problem" hunts the way Quebec-Labrador hunts have. Blips aside, they remain one of the great values in hunting today. To help you find an outfitter for a caribou hunt of your own, I've provided a quick rundown of what several companies say they experienced last season, and what they........(continued)

 
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Facilitators: True North Safaris; Fred A. Webb & Sons; Petersons Point Lake Camp; Rabescas Resources Ltd; Adventures Northwest; Arctic Safaris; Caribou Pass Outfitters, Ltd; Northwest Territories Tourism;

  


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