Happy guides and tired horses galloped out of the mountains last week, completing our 27th season here in the Yukon. It was an exciting fall, with hunters arriving from many countries and different cultures; Belgium, Croatia, Spain, New Zealand, Germany, U.S.A, Mexico, Norway, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Ukraine. Most came to hunt because of the unique wilderness found within our outfitting concession.
The Snake and Bonnet Plume River drainages are truly a wild place, where man is only a visitor and does not remain. This is part of the famous Peel Watershed region of the Yukon. It is an enormous area of intact wildlife habitat, where natural processes predominate. There are no roads or industrial infrastructure within a hundred miles. One can drink the water from any stream or lake. Few places in the world offer such outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive forms of recreation (hunting). We ride through a dreamlike world, much as it was when the first humans set foot here. All who hunt with us appreciate the intrinsic value of this “wilderness experience”.
For the most part we had decent weather this fall. August was warm with lots of rain showers. We did experience a substantial snowfall in mid September, but it soon melted and the month ended with clear skies, sunshine and northern lights.
Harvest figures were; 14 moose, 13 caribou, 7 dall sheep, 5 grizzly and one wolf. As usual, all 27 fall hunters harvested at least one animal.
Gary Nelson bagged the largest sheep of the season at 39 ½”. This ram was taken within sight of our main base camp at Goz Lake. Gary also harvested a nice grizzly.
Marc Persyn and Filip Bultinck from Belgium, harvested 62” and 65 ½” moose in early September, when the fall colors were at their finest. Filip also scored on a grizzly.
Craig Monroe and Craig Jones took typical Mackenzie Mountain rams, 38 ½” and 38 ¼”, as well as one good caribou. Both sheep had a lot of flare.
Trampus Corder harvested a heavy, 63” moose on the 2nd day of his hunt. He was later successful on caribou.
Mexican hunter, Guillermo Morales killed a 38 ¼” dall sheep that had 14 ½” bases. Guillermo also harvested a caribou and had several unsuccessful stalks on grizzly.
The largest moose of the season was shot by Australian hunter Daryl Ehrlich, 67 ½”. He also took a white wolf on his hunt.
Father/daughter team, Randy & Tierani Brusett enjoyed a 95 mile horseback trip with five different spike camps before harvesting a ten year old 36 ½” ram. Along the way they saw some incredible scenery as well as a large number of grizzlies.
Randy Sandberg was back for another hunt and scored on an old, 61 ¾” moose with wrinkled palms. He also shot a very good eating caribou!
German hunter, Bernd Sammann made three serious climbs in the White Mountains before connecting on a broomed 38 ½” sheep.
John Coll from New Zealand booked the fall grizzly hunt and was rewarded with a fine 7 ft male bear. John and his guide hunted very hard for this bear, basically
tracking him for about three days in several different valleys.
Jarrod Wallace took a huge, 7 ft 10” grizzly. He also scored on a decent, 55 ½” moose.
Norwegian hunters, Ivar & Leif Grondahl and Bjarne Breivold all connected on late season moose and enjoyed some terrific fishing for Lake Trout at Bonnet Plume Lake.
So “hats off to the guides” for a great effort; Adam Van Bibber (6th season), Peter Jules (5th season), Ben Stourac (3rd season), Andrew Robinson (3rd season), Lorne Stourac (1st season), Phil Smith (1st season), and Chris Widrig (27th season). Lea Ann Dorval won high marks for her cooking at base camp. Given the remoteness of our operation, a happy camp largely depends on good logistical support in Whitehorse. My wife Joanne Van Bibber-Widrig did a superb job running the show from there.
In the modern digital age of instant communication, our hunts fill up very quickly. We limit the number of bookings each year to a level that is sustainable with wildlife populations. Hunters planning a future trip must contact us early to reserve space or to get on the cancellation list. We are now fully booked for all 2013 timeframes. Over the winter we are taking bookings for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Be sure and check out our web site for new material, especially the extensive collection of video clips.