Quebec Caribou Tips?

adgunner

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hawkhunts

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I just booked a Quebec caribou trip this Fall through WTA at Leaf River outfitters. Caribou is high on my bucket list & since hunting Quebec caribou closes next year, I squeezed this in between Africa trips. I jumped on it after getting an email about some cancelations (there may still be another opening). This my first caribou hunt, so looking for tips & knowledge from those that have hunted Quebec & maybe with this outfitter. The hunt is late Aug-early Sept. Thanks.

I hunted with Leaf River in 2014. It was one of my favorite hunts. I actually just picked my bull up from the taxidermist last weekend. You didn't say if you were on a guided or semi guided hunt. I was on a semi guided hunt and it was still a 2 bull limit. I shot my first bull day one. He was an average bull, but I had predetermined tha I was only going to mount one, so I wasn't too concerned. The guide that had dropped us off recommended getting a decent bull on the ground and then holding out for a better trophy. Which is what I did. I shot my good, not great bull on the second day.
I kind of wished I had held out on the first bull, because I was in bulls every day I was in the field. That was not everyones experience. I ended up "guiding" one of the hunters on the 4th day- he hadn't even seen a bull until I found one about two miles from the lake. We went after that bull, and he ended up killing that bull and another in about a five minute span. But we worked at it. It's a crapshoot. I'm aggressive and in shape so I put some miles on and glassed a ton of country. Other guys barely left the boat and killed bulls. The best bull hat was killed in camp was shot by a guy that hadn't seen a caribou in four days until he shot his bull a 1/4 mile from the lake. He was just sitting in a big funnel and was in the right place at the right time.
If you're semi guided- make sure you have a good pack frame. A regular daypack is not what you want if you are packing meat. Your guide is there to do that whether it is semi guided or fully guided. I do it because it's a huge part of the hunt/challenge for me.
Shoot what you're comfortable with. I shot a 270, but any medium caliber will do. Someone mentioned a 243. I'd be completely comfortable with that.
I used cabelas mt050 packable rain gear. It worked great. Your going to get rained on, and your going to sweat. I wore layers of sitka/kryptek and a wool pullover. It wasn't cold, but you will be gone from dawn 'til dusk, so you'll get a bit of everything.
There is wifi and phone service- I didn't take my phone, but i was glad other guys did when we had to stay a day because of high winds. I was able to contact my wife and work and keep them posted.
Here's a picture of my bull. I liked the monster shovel and the strong bez. Could have used a little more up top but he's a beautiful bull. It's hard to find a bull that has it all- long tines, double shovels, long beams, big bez, and backscratchers. I'd recommend prioritizing what you like best. They travel way faster than you think, so you could miss an opportunity if you're trying to figure out which trophy you like.
image.png
 

Michael Dean

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I went in the 80's the Caribou herd was at something like 1.5-1.6 million animals, times have changed.
 

gebo824

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Hawk, thanks for the info & nice bull. This was booked through WTA (formerly Cabelas) & guided. It was a cancelation, so lucked out getting a spot. I'm pretty sure it's only one bull now, due to reductions in tags due to reduced numbers. I hear the heard is down to 250-300k now. Since numbers are way down & hunting closed indefinitely after this year, I'll be happy getting any bull & need to make sure I don't come home empty handed.
 

gebo824

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If anyone is interested, I just got an email from Jim McCarthy Adventures mccarthyadventures.com saying the below:
Quebec Caribou – we have 3 or 4 openings. This is the last year to hunt the Caribou – 6-days
 

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I have hunted with Leaf River twice.....in 2013 & 2014. Both hunts were at different camps and both hunts were good, but i wouldnt say stellar. Weather and number of animals were a factor on both trips. Alain and Louis will do what they can to get you on the animals.
I have hunted all 5 species of caribou and can tell you from experience.....bring very good rain gear.
Be happy to talk to you if you want more info.

Good Luck!
 

JES Adventures

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I have hunted with Leaf River twice.....in 2013 & 2014. Both hunts were at different camps and both hunts were good, but i wouldnt say stellar. Weather and number of animals were a factor on both trips. Alain and Louis will do what they can to get you on the animals.
I have hunted all 5 species of caribou and can tell you from experience.....bring very good rain gear.
Be happy to talk to you if you want more info.

Good Luck!
Thanks @Northman56751 for the comments. I'm going mid September. What rain gear do you recommend?

Obviously the caribou are used to the inclement weather and rain so I gather you just have to stay with it regardless of the weather conditions.

Any other words of wisdom for us???

This will be my 2nd subspecies and with the closure I sure want to do everything I can to be successful.
 

gebo824

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Ditto. Since guided, spending a chunk of change, & last year for them, I'll take most any bull to not come home empty handed. I leave in 27 days, so will start going through gear this weekend.
 

Northman56751

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Sorry for the delay. I'm at Wisconsin Dells with my wife and children.

I would recommend Goretex or something like Sitka or Kuiu with layers. Don't bother with the Helly Hansen and Grundens type (PVC) as you will be doing a lot of walking and sweat to death.
I like Sitka myself as it tends to fit better. Have to be the tall, skinny, athletic type to wear Kuiu.

Other items to bring. Couple pairs of warm gloves, good warm boots, a facemask and even a spotting scope if you can manage it with your weight limit. There are areas around both camps where one can glass a very long ways and the spotting scope can come in very handy.

Don't be surprised if you get delayed on your way in or way out on this trip. It happened to me on both trips. First trip was late August/early Sept. and my second trip was later September. Had rain, sleet, snow, you name it!

The charter from Montreal to Lac Pau and back is used by other outfitters as well as Leaf River. May have hunters from 2-3 outfitters on board. The plane will only leave Lac Pau (back to Montreal) once everyone is there. If there is a certain camp with very bad weather and the hunters can't get out, everyone else is forced to wait for them in Lac Pau. It's just the way it is....

I believe that right now they are only hunting the two different camps. Leaf River and Des Bergais. Iwould say the Leaf River camp is the easier of two as far as hiking/walking goes, but neither is what I would call very difficult.
 

JES Adventures

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Thanks for the info, did you use insulated ankle fit rubber boots or waterproof (goretex) insulated boots? Was there a lot of walking through water?

Also thanks for the tip on spotting scope, it never crossed my mind.

@gebo824 is a month ahead of me so I expect to get some "real time" feedback from him.
 

gebo824

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Sure, I'll give feedback, maybe a trip report. I've bought about all I want to get, so hopefully it all works. I'm just hoping for a decent bull!
 

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On the boots. I wore my insulated/Goretex Cabela's Meindl boots and they were fine. They can almost always land the boat in a good spot.

Black bear tag. I would probably buy one if you have the chance. Especially if you are hunting out of the Leaf river camp. Not to say Des Bergais camp doesn't have bear, but they are more plentiful up on the Leaf. I think they are $150-160.00 (?).

I'll try here to post my bulls from 2014 and see if this works.


20140916_151445(0)-1.jpg
20140912_130636-1.jpg
 

cagkt3

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Beautiful bull there @Northman56751, were you able to keep the velvet on the antlers? Looks like he had a good chunk rubbed off on the one side.
 

Northman56751

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Unfortunately no, I was not able to keep the velvet. You just touched the antlers and it came off!
 

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Good kit (rain gear) is your best friend in the bush. The bush is almost all ways wet, from frost , dew, snow or rain. Being wet and cold is a fast way to ruin a hunt.

best advice ever!!!! best rain gear made is #1 priority, right ahead of your rifle and ammo! good luck, savor ever moment in the tundra, even the wet, cold, windy days.
 

fourfive8

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The only thing I can add is that caribou, IMO, "ground shrink" more than just about any other big game.
 

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Interesting thread. I'm booked with Leaf River the last week of September. This hunt will be for my 4th species of caribou. I'm taking my Cabela's raingear which has served me well on many hunts and the monsoons of New Zealand. For boots, Louis of Leaf River suggested that I bring my Muck boots, but I'm thinking that they may be too warm. For a rifle, I'm taking my SS/plastic stocked Rem 700 in 7mm Rem mag, shooting 160 grain Accubonds. It has a Nikon 4-12x with their BDC reticle. I'm comfortable with it out to 400 yds.
 

Northman56751

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On the muck boots, it depends on which ones you have.......insulated or not. I personally don't really care for the Muck boots.......seem to take forever to dry out if they get wet. My Meindl's are 400 gram Thinsulate and my feet were fine. Still wore some heavier socks at times though.....

You have to remember that you are going to be about 800 miles north of Montreal. Can get pretty damn cold, even in Sept. Heck, they've even had a little snow already from what I've heard.

Quebec Map.JPG
 

fourfive8

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In a previous life, miles and miles doing this for moose and caribou DIY in AK. Most of the time the best footwear for me was ankle fit waders that fit correctly along with good socks. In this photo- camp was over 2 miles away with one large, swift stream crossing and a bunch of beaver/alder swamp. This was the only dry ground around- a low rocky ridge.

Caribou haul Bndry Lk.jpg
Bndry Caribou .jpg
 
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gebo824

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I leave in a little over two weeks. So far the weather forecasts have shown 40-50F temp & a little scattered rain. If it's stays about this temp, will the mosquitoes be bad? Thanks to all for the excellent recommendations & experiences!
 

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