CANADA: Manitoba Moose & Caribou Hunt With Ganglers Sub Arctic Hunting

JES Adventures

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Mar 7, 2015
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Day 1

This hunt takes me to Winnipeg, Manitoba for Central Barren Ground Caribou and Canadian Moose with Ganglers Sub Arctic Hunting. I purchased the Caribou hunt at the Austin SCI Fundraiser and upgraded to the combo hunt to include moose. These are #’s 26 and 27 on my quest for the North American 29 and I am excited that this hunt is finally taking place. After a busy week trying to keep a lid on all of my projects, I discovered that Delta had changed my itinerary which would not make it to Winnipeg on time for my connection to Thompson, so I had to leave a day early.

Luckily my son Parker was visiting me at the ranch this weekend and he is living in Ft. Worth attending Texas Christian University, so he drove me to DFW for my noon departure today.

Travelling with firearms, I always arrive to the airport early and I made it just before 10AM. The Delta counter agent was very pleasant and expedient, she had my bags tagged and boarding passes printed in about 5 minutes. While travelling with my wife and daughters back in July, I had one of the reps from Clear ask me if I had a Platinum American Express and I answered yes. He said that I would receive a complimentary membership with Clear as a perk for being a cardmember, so he signed me up. It took a few minutes to do fingerprints and photographs then I was off to my flight. Well today, I saw the firsthand benefit of Clear. I walked up to the kiosk, a representative asked for my boarding pass, the kiosk photographed my eyes and my identity confirmed. He handed me off to another of his colleagues who walked me straight to a TSA agent who asked for my boarding pass and said, “you are good to go”. It was amazing, I never got out an ID and I was through security in less than 5 minutes.

With more than an hour on my hands I went to the Delta Sky Club and did a bit of work before boarding for Minneapolis. The non-stop flight was twenty minutes early and I have a four-hour layover. So, I had a late lunch then to the Sky Club to relax while waiting to board for Winnipeg.

My flight will get me into Winnipeg about 8 and I overnight at the airport hotel then catch
my flight to Thompson on Monday evening.

The weather should be from the 30’s to the 50’s and there is always a chance of rain. I packed accordingly and believe I have everything necessary for the hunt. We will start with the Caribou and once successful, we will move on to the moose. Ganglers success rate on moose is very high (approaching 100%) so I am optimistic. The caribou are migratory so its all about being in the right place at the right time. I will learn a lot more once I arrive at the camp mid-day on the 13th.
Good luck. Looking forward to hearing more.
@JES Adventures
I just returned last week from a Manitoba bear hunt and fishing trip. I drove from my home in northern Michigan.
I didn't make it up to Thompson, I hunted about 3 hrs south of Thompson, north of The Pas (that is the correct spelling! Pronounced The Pah).
All the moose hunting is closed in the area that I was in. The wolves have diminished the moose population a great deal.
Good luck to you, it's an awesome area up there! I'm already scheduled to go back next year!!
I’ve been receiving Ganglers newsletter for years and they look like a quality outfitter to hunt caribou with. Good luck on the hunt and looking forward to your report.
Day 2

I booked a room at the Grand Hotel in Winnipeg which is literally right across the street from baggage claim and that made it very nice. My flight to Thompson doesn’t leave until tomorrow at 5:15 so luckily I got a 3 PM checks out.
I spent most of the day working and 2 o’clock got here before I knew it. I went to a late lunch then checked in with Calm Air for my short flight this evening.

Everything went smooth, even though Canadian TSA chided me about putting my mask over my nose. Seems the Canadian Government is continuing to burden their citizens and visitors with ineffective mask mandates in airports and while flying.

The Best Western Hotel was about a 10 minute ride from the airport and I was settled in by 8 and caught up on a few messages before hitting the sack.

Day 3

The weather is gorgeous, clear skies and 31 degrees at sunrise with a light frost on the ground. I hope this holds out as this is perfect weather for hunting. There is some rain in the forecast later in the week which I totally expected. I will be hunting 13 days and I know there will be some wet ones!

Once airborne, I won’t have access to the internet for two weeks so there will be a long pause in this report.
Good luck sir, I hope you have an amazing and successful adventure!
The flight to the main camp was about an hour in a King Air. There were 14 of us split between two planes.
Here are a few pictures of the main camp. This is where they lodge a lot of their fisherman. Very comfortable, the last bit of wifi for a while.


The first group has been ferried out on a floatplane. About 10 of us waiting to be ferried to various camps today.

Very interested to hear more about this hunt @JES Adventures! Safe travels and good hunting!
I hope they drop you at the right camp. Good luck.
I met Ken Gangler the outfitter and the news wasn’t totally negative but somewhat disappointing. The caribou haven’t fully moved South into the Province so this will greatly reduce odds of success. He said there was a sizable herd 20 miles to the North about a week ago so we can only pray they start moving towards the hunting area.

The Otter arrived about noon and 9 of us loaded up with all our gear and headed for the outpost camp at No Name Lake. The weather was clear for flying, fairly high cloud ceiling so the trip was nice and smooth. Lots of water and tundra below, exactly what I expected. Reminds me of Quebec and Newfoundland.
A typical outpost camp comprised of plywood cabins for sleeping and a main kitchen/dining room.
The Cook Dave had soup and sandwich makings set out for us, so everyone sat down to lunch. Once we finished, we helped bring all the gear up from the beach and had a meeting with Fred the Camp manager. He got everyone sorted out with the hunters and at the end he said Well John you’ve got bad luck you’re stuck with me.
Most everyone checked zero on their rifles and changed into hunting clothes and headed out. We’ll go to the far Northern end of the concession right on the border with Nunavut and glass for Caribou.

A light rain started to fall just as we left camp, and it rained of and on most of the afternoon. We rode for about 45 minutes on the boat and then got out and hiked approximately 3/4 of a mile to a little hill where we spent the balance of the day glassing. As the day progressed, I watched hundreds of geese land on the tundra to feed, it was quite a sight. It is dead quiet here, only the sound of the wind and the occasional honk of the geese as they fly over. We stayed until about 5:30 and then headed back to camp, no sign of Caribou today.
Day 4

My two cabin mates snored off and on throughout the night. I managed to get some sleep as I woke to the sound of the generator and looked up and they were both gone. It was about 6:40 so I figured everyone was drinking coffee. I made my way to the kitchen and breakfast was being served. The cook was making bacon and sausage with toast, so I had a nice hot breakfast and a cup of coffee. We visited for a while and Fred told me he had passed me off to another guide named Dave. A pleasant guy, retired from being a Mountie 20 years ago hasbeen guiding ever since. An experienced woodsman having guided Caribou in this area for many years, we would set out and check some of his favorite spots today.

We were on the water by 7:30 and about 40 minutes into the morning while putting along at a slow pace and we hit a rock in the lake. We paddled off of the shallow reef we had come upon. Once we got to deeper water, he cranked the motor. When he put it in gear – nothing. We had broken the driveshaft! Fortunately, we spotted a boat with some other hunters about a quarter mile away, so Dave took his orange vest and put it on the shooting stick and started waving it like a flag. They made their way to us and towed us back to camp to swap boats. That took about an hour then we were back at it. We went to a high place and glassed for a few hours and then moved down the lake.

We would stop periodically to glass the hills in the distance as we made our way to another vantage point. After several hours of glassing, we called it a day and headed back to camp. Tomorrow we will head to the North end, right on the border and find a good comfortable spot from a high vantage point and spend the next five days watching for Caribou to migrate into the area.

Day 5
Woke to heavy fog this morning, so we sat and visited for quite a while waiting for it to lift. Several of the younger guides took out and had to move across the lake slowly to avoid anyaccidents. Dave knew I understood the situation, so we sat it out until we had reasonably good visibility.

The fog started to break about 9:45 and we slowly set out for our glassing spot. We had to move cautiously as the fog was still rolling through. We got to our vantage point about 10:45 and put down in a comfortable spot and started glassing. By noon the sky had cleared, and the temperatures were rising. It was like a Spring Day, seemed almost too nice for caribou hunting. I reminisced on how the last two caribou I hunted were in a cold rain.
We spent the day glassing and about 6 Dave said let’s motorback real slow glassing the North shore. A little after 7, we arrived camp and were the last ones for dinner. Spaghetti with salad and garlic toast tonight. After dinner we sat and visited until 9 then called it a day.
Day 6

This morning we a replay of yesterday with a heavy fog laying in the ground. It seemed a little less dense today so we’re being out by 9. The going was slow, but Dave used his gps to get us to our glassing spot.
We tied off the boat and walked about a half mile to a small hill and set up for the day. The wind was steady out of the South, but the blackflies found us regardless. They tormented us for a bit as the day warmed up but weren’t horrendous. It got quite warm today, temperature hit 72 by 3 o’clock. We spent the day glassing, and I caught the occasional nap in the near perfect weather. I keep thinking that I have never had a caribou hunt with such nice weather so something’s going to have to change.
Dave called it a day a bit before 6 and we headed for camp. When we arrived, word was out that 5 caribou had been taken today. One by my cabin mate Steve. I saw the bulls when I passed by the skinning shed and they were what is typically classified as meat bulls 2–3-year old’s. The other two that were shot were cows for meat. This is a positive sign that the caribou are moving, I remain hopeful the migration will kick into full swing.

Day 7

I woke to clear sky’s today and a beautiful sunrise. After a hearty breakfast of sausage and eggs we got our gear together and headed out we got to our glassing spot by 9 and the blackflies were already out! Those little buggers are annoying but that’s just part of the experience. Dave told me stories of hunts past from this location and the caribou they shot here. It heated up again to the low 70’s but the South wind helped us out by keeping the blackflies at bay.
The day drug on, no sign of anything alive other than the occasional sparrow and a Bald Eagle perched high atop a spruce tree overlooking the lake. We moved to a new spot with a long view of a sandy bay and glassed until almost dark. The bugs we’re getting annoying. I wish I would have brought a head net.
Day 8
This morning started off as the last, clear day so we were on the lake by 7:40. We were going to go back to the same spot as yesterday, but Dave wanted to go glass the West End first. We spent a couple of hours and then he decided we would head to our original spot. Not a 20-minute boat ride and we came into the bay and saw another boat tied off ahead of us, some other hunters have gone to the spot we were going to spend the day. We’re headed to a long ridge back to the West and stayed until about 230. Dave told me that we would be moving to moose camp tomorrow since things are slow here, giving us an extra day going after the moose.

Temperatures rose again to the low 70s, just not the right weather for the Caribou to migrate South. We got back to camp about an hour before sunset most everyone was in, it was a beautiful evening. So, I spent the last 45 minutes of the day watching the sunset enjoying a cigar and whiskey thinking about what’s coming up next.
Fred told me to be ready for an early morning departure I asked him if he had a time yet and he said no just need to be ready, they’ll message us when the plane is headed our way.

Day 9

The weather changed last night, the wind is blustery out of the North and somewhat foggy over the lake. This weather is more reminiscent of my last two Caribou Hunt‘s. The hunters going out had a heightend level optimism that the weather change would help them, I wished them luck and hope they get a big bull.

After breakfast, I organized all my luggage and waited for the plane to arrive at 10:30. About 11, Dave got a message that the main lodge is fogged in, and they’ll report every hour on the conditions. The winds are steady out of the North 10-15mph, but the clouds ceiling is opening up.

Dave the cook made some lunch and about 1:30 I went for a siesta. Sometimes around 4 I went back over to the kitchen and asked if we had an update. The plane is due here in the next half hour, so I took my gear down to the shore.

Myles and Christina will be hunting with Ray out of the same lodge as me and Dave. I hope the North wind keeps blowing and temperatures drop to get the moose rut started. Dave has hunted this area for many years and knows it well, so I am in good hands. We just need the moose to cooperate.

About 5 the plane came in and the guides started loading the gear. We were airborne by half past five headed for moose camp. We arrived a little after 6 to a pleasant surprise. A nice, pier and beam cabin with generators and indoor plumbing! I had a hot shower then headed over to the main cabin for dinner.

The cook wasn’t sure we were coming due to the weather so he whipped up some burgers and hash browns. By 9 I was down, sleeping on a real bed. This is one of the nicest moose camps I have ever seen.
Day 10
I set my alarm for 6 and slept right to it. Breakfast at 6:30 and on the water by 7:15 as the sun broke out. Dave had a circuit in mind, he wants to check shorelines for sign of tracks.
Not a half hour into the morning we found tracks along a sandy beach, so we headed the direction the bull was waking and got onto a high point to class for a couple of hours. No sign of any moose so we continued up the lake checking shorelines. We worked our way back to camp for lunch and went out again about 3.

Sometimes midafternoon we picked up a set of bull tracks with a cow and calf. We hunted the area for a while, but the wind was bad and we backed out. We carried on up the lake, glassing shorelines for moose up until about a half hour before sunset and started working our way back.

We got to the dock about 7:35 and I was looking forward to a hot shower. Miles and Jessica showed up while I was showering, and they were by the wood stove warming up. After I was dressed, I headed to dinner which was grilled pork chops, potatoes and salad. Once again, I said my good nights and hit the sack just after 9.

Day 11

I woke this morning a little before the alarm and relaxed in bed saying my prayers. After breakfast we were on our way by 7:10 and Dave packed us a lunch as he plans to stay out all day. We glassed shorelines and checked for tracks most of the morning. We walked into some areas and when Dave found sign, he would call.
The weather is nice, in the 40’s and overcast but I would sure like to see it cooler. Moose seem to rut stronger the colder it is. I recall my hunt in the Yukon, the weather was mild the first few days then it dropped into the high 20’s overnight and I shot my bull the next morning.

Late in the day, we hiked into a small lake and called periodically for a couple of hours to no avail. About a half hour before sunset we started a slow chug back glassing shorelines for a bull moose in search of cows.
Day 12
It was a blustery day today, winds out of the west 15 miles an hour and greater. The lake was rough, so we took it slow glassing along the way. We hiked into a secluded lake and called for the first time around 11 o’clock. No response so we moved further down the lake to a high vantage point where we could glass for a while. We are hoping to spot a bull moose moving along the shore in search of a hot cow. We have found a few sets of tracks where bulls have already joined with cows so they’re obviously getting ready for the rut. Just minutes before sunset while cruising along and glassing the shoreline I spotted a moose. I showed Dave the direction and we headed towards them Once within a couple hundred yards we glassed the brush line and could see it was two cows and a calf. We stayed with them, glassing behind in search of a bull but there just wasn’t one there.

Day 13
I woke to the sound of the door closing to the cabin. Myles and Jessica headed for breakfast, I overslept. I guess it was the satisfaction of seeing an animal after 8 long days afield.
We were on the lake by 7:40 and glassed along the way to Dean Lake. This lake is not part of the Stevens Nikle chain but about a half mile portage. There was a boat and motor there but the last person who put the motor ashore laid the motor on the wrong side and there was oil in the cylinders. Dave brought tools and he pulled the plugs and flushed the cylinders with gasoline. We got the boat in the water and the motor mounted and Davepulled the starter rope and she fired up! He ran it a bit and worked the oil out and the motor functioned just fine.
We set out along the West shore and found fresh bull tracks at the first sandy shore we checked. The bulls are cruising looking for cows as the rut is imminent. The forecast is for temperatures to drop into the 30’s tonight and that should greatly improve things. We motored along glassing the shore and made our way to a glassing place about noon. Dave called a few times, but the wind was steadily increasing so a bull would have to be close to hear us.

The winds really started to howl, and the lake was white capping when we crossed it. It’s blowing hard out of the West so holding hopes that the weather change will come. All the clouds haveblown out and the sky is crystal clear. Hopefully the temperatures will drop tonight as forecasted.

We made our way to the East End of the lake and hiked up on to the highest point, the place we glassed the first morning and spent the balance of the day glassing the area for a wondering bull. As the sun started to set, we headed for camp glassing all along the way.
Day 14
The wind direction changed overnight and was howling out of the North so at last we are getting some colder weather. The lake was rough, but we made our way carefully and went to one of Dave’s proven spots. Calling was futile with the wind, so we basically moved around the area to secluded bays or inland lakes that had some shelter from the wind.
We cut some tracks from the day before, so the moose are moving some, but the rut does not appear to have started. The wind persisted most of the day and finally calmed down the last hour of the day. Back to camp for a hot shower and dinner, I was beat by the weather so called it a night early.
Day 15
I woke to the perfect hunting morning, a nice frost on the ground, calm and in the high 20’s. This is the best day we have had in the last week, so I was optimistic. Dave motored slowly, glassing the shorelines and calling in several bays. I was absolutely shocked, by nine we have called a dozen times in what appeared to be perfect moose habitat with no responses.
Around noon we made our way to an area of the lake we had called at a few times earlier in the week and spent a few hours there. It warmed up to the mid 40’s so I caught a nap in between calling sessions. It is obvious the rut has not started so we would have to be lucky enough to stumble onto a bull walking the edges.
Dave persisted in his efforts but in the end it proved futile. The weather just hadn’t cooperated, and the moose rut hasn’t started. It has been a hard week, seven 12-hour days of glassing. In retrospect, this has been one of the least productive hunts I have been on in years. Thirteen days of hunting to only spot two cows and one calf, pretty disheartening to say the least.
I had to remind myself to stay confident and upbeat right to the end of last light. As we approached camp for the final time, the Northern Lights started to dance across the sky and it was a breathtaking sight. The past two weeks have been a challenge, but I reminded myself that I am on HIS time and not mine. As much as I wanted to have a successful hunt and put these two species behind me, that just didn’t happen. Now I have to move on and make plans for next year. I enjoyed my time in serene Northern Canada and look forward to returning to this wild place again someday.
The cook grilled steak for the final meal and I toasted the hunt with a sip of whiskey and called it a night.
I have often said, hunting North America is unlike any other place as the weather plays a significant role in your success. When we arrived back at the main lodge the next morning, word was that 5 out of 11 hunters shot moose. Not bad I guess but we didn’t have the luck that they did.
As I continue my quest for the North American 29, another Fall is halfway finished for me. I am off to Utah next month for Bighorn and Shiras Moose as I whittle away at the list.
Thanks for sharing even if your hunt turned out to be dissapointing you gave me an insight on something I will probarbly never see.

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