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Are you looking for the best caribou hunting tips to become a better hunter? Do you want to take more caribou home after the hunting season? Caribou are not the animal whose pattern can be easily nailed down. However, with these caribou hunting tips, whether you are a beginner caribou hunter or have been hunting caribou for many years, these hunting tips will help take your hunting to another level.
1. All Moving Caribou
Caribou is not the easiest prey to hunt down. They never remain in one place; they are always moving. If you are stalking a herd today, it could be miles away tomorrow. It is almost impossible to establish a pattern with them. If you come across a caribou to your liking, take it down because you really don’t know if you will see it the next day.
2. 360-Degree View
When you glass for caribou and you are sitting in a spot with a 360-degree view of the terrain, remember caribou on all sides will also have a good view of you too. Therefore, hide your silhouette by sitting with a rock, brush, or a stump at your back.
3. Get In Shape
Don’t have the idea that very little physical activity is needed to hunt a caribou. It will always be physical no matter how much effort you put into hunting a caribou a herd. Rough terrain and bad weather are just a few factors that will demand physical fitness to successfully hunt caribou. Always get in shape for hunting, even if it is a caribou.
4. Wet Bullets & a Freezing Cold Rifle
Never put a wet cartridge into your gun. If it drops to the ground, always clean it before putting it back into the gun. It could pick up moisture, causing them to freeze, in the gun’s chamber thereby reducing the rifle to a single-shot firearm.
5. Take Along The Right Optics
The hardest part of hunting caribou is finding the herd. A high-power binocular, with a minimum magnification of 10×42, and a spotting scope should be among the items you take along for hunting. Make sure your optics feature top-quality glass or you will have difficulty seeing clearly through them in the morning and evening hours.
6. Winterize the Gun
Always keep your gun clean, moisture-free, and grease-free. You could also treat it with synthetic lube for freezing temperatures. You don’t want your gun to malfunction when you are firing at a caribou in the freezing weather.
7. Spooking the Herd
Keep track of other caribou when you are sneaking up on a bull. Most of the time others are just around the bull you are getting closer to and they just pop up when you least expect them. When spooked a caribou will run, taking others with them. If you spooked a caribou, you can remain in your position and hope they stop for a second chance of stalking or you can run after them.
8. Caribou & the Cold
You will often find caribou in the coldest and highest spots except in the dead of winter. When you are scouting for caribou, look for them on the windy, exposed mountain heights or standing in the snow patch that remained from the last winter storms.
9. Field-judging a Caribou’s Antlers
Use the caribou’s shoulders to help you determine the length of its antlers. Most of their shoulders are between 48 and 54 inches high. Antlers with curved main beams are the ones to be on the lookout for. They will be longer and wider than the straight ones although they may look shorter from the side.
The shovels of a trophy caribou will be broad with multiple points and extend far out over the muzzle. The spikes that grow off the back of a caribou’s antlers, kicker points, will add to the score as well as palmation and extra points at the tops.
10. Take the Long Shots
If you are heading north on a caribou hunting trip, take along a rangefinder and a pair of shooting sticks. It is common to take long shots up to 400 yards in the tundra. Make sure to practice these shots before your caribou trip and use the rangefinder to confirm all distances before you shoot after you have arrived.
11. Caribou Meat
Caribou do not store most of their fat in muscle tissue thereby resulting in leaner meat than beef. It is considered more healthy than beef and tasty.
12. The Weapon of Choice
For a thin-skinned animal like the caribou, you won’t need more than a .270 to take down one. However, if you are shooting from long ranges, you will need a bigger gun. A great caribou cartridge is the .338 WIn Mag. It is loaded with a 200-grain bullet and will hit three inches at 100 yards.
13. Reading a Caribou’s Body Language
Caribou will walk slowly, extending their head forward and downward when they are not alarmed. However, when alarmed, caribou exhibit a special behavior to warn others of danger. It will trot with its head high and parallel to the ground with its short and floppy tail in the air.
Caribou will behave in this manner when a predator gets too close but isn’t about to catch them or after they figure out that you are an individual sitting on a rock.
The Bottom Line
Caribou are not the easiest of animals to hunt. However, you can get good at hunting caribou and still take some home after the hunting season. With these caribou hunting tips, a beginner or an experienced hunter can sharpen his caribou hunting skills and get rewarded with some healthy and tasty caribou meat.