I woke up because of cold feet; I got out of my sleeping bag because I was filled with anticipation. Once I knocked the frost off of my sleeping bag and crawled out of the back of my truck the first thing I saw was the pipeline illuminated by the moon. The slope provides a a truly unique landscape this time of the year.
I started seeing caribou less than a mile off of the road. I was never alone after I spotted this little group; there was always a small herd within eye shot somewhere.
The moon was still visible at 10:00 A.M. This is a fairly representative picture of the area...wind blown exposed rock and fields of wind packed snow.
Once I got past the invisible "five mile marker", which makes it legal to harvest caribou with a rifle, I started reading some sign. Above are some caribou tracks, and below are some....
I made several unsuccessful stalks throughout the middle of the day but I was having a blast...the sun was shining, the temperature hovered slightly below zero and there was a light 8-10 mph breeze.
After dropping down into an expanse of lakes and moraines called "The Fog Lakes" I was able to make a successful stalk on a herd of about twenty caribou. One clean shot dispatched this young cow and it was time to get to work field dressing her. The wind picked up to 25-30 mph and made cutting her up a fairly painful experience.
Once I had the animal quartered out and loaded into my sled I made my way back to the Haul Rd. It took about three and a half hours of post holing and cussing to get back to the truck, but after I enjoyed my first steak last night it all was well worth the effort.