Our horses are now back on the farm, our hard working guides have gone home and our hunters are probably sitting in offices, day dreaming about their incredible Yukon adventure. It is time for me to write a 29th season newsletter!
Overall we had a very successful fall, harvesting 10 dall sheep, 10 caribou, 12 moose, 3 grizzly and a wolf. All hunters had shooting opportunities at primary animals, either dall sheep or moose.
Fall weather was diverse, wet in August and warm through most of September (although snow and cold temperatures arrived on the last week of the hunt). Very few hunting days were lost to bad weather conditions.
One challenge facing guides & hunters in the field is wounded game. A long stalk through thick willow, careful placement of shooting sticks, rangefinder reads 225 yards, the huge trophy moose is broadside…..and finally a shot is taken. The bull flinches, hit high in the hump above the spine. Then he is gone, never to be seen again, even after an extensive search and small blood trail. What now? In the past we would look for a day or so and if the wounded bull could not be located, another one would be hunted. This practice is about to change next season. A wounded animal will now be considered a kill and no further hunting of that species allowed. This policy is long overdue and fits in with our “fair chase” view of sustainable hunting.
Here are only a few of the highlights from our 2014 season. Father/son team Terry & Troy Rodakowski (guide Ryan Widrig) had an incredible adventure, taking a full curl ram early in the hunt, being chased back to base camp by a meat thieving grizzly and finally harvesting a huge caribou on the last day.
Dennis Wolter (guide Dan Morner) was back for his fifth hunt and harvested a great moose, a massive palmed, 60” bull. He hunted out of the same spike camp where he took a moose & grizzly in 2001!!
Norwegian Tore Helberg (guide Chris Widrig) loves to ride through rugged wilderness! We rode the 80 mile circle route up the Snake River and then back through Corn Creek, harvesting a beautiful 39” ram on the way. Tore also shot a nice grizzly within sight of base camp.
Returning hunter Steve Reisner (guide Jon Oleshak) scored on three trophies, a 59” moose, good caribou and a big white wolf. Steve has ridden through a major portion of our area over the years!
Another returning hunter, James Obloza (guide Jon Oleshak) harvested a 36 ½” ten year old ram and caribou on the same day. James is one tough “hombre”, as he was later diagnosed with five cracked ribs from a horse mishap.
Steven Wiles (guide Dan Morner) was on his first horseback hunt and did very well taking a fine 58” moose and 7 ft grizzly from a Snake River camp that has not been hunted for many years.
Grant Hansen (guide Chris Widrig) had a relatively easy/lucky hunt, harvesting a 39 6/8” ram the first day. He later took a decent caribou.
Spanish hunter Antonio Blazquez (guide Ryan Widrig) spent several sleepless nights when a nocturnal grizzly harassed their spike camp. He still managed to harvest a moose and a fantastic caribou.
After an unsuccessful hunt with a neighbouring outfitter the previous fall, David Nielsen (guide Ryan Widrig) had a fun trip near the headwaters of the Bonnet Plume River. Their pack train returned with a nice 36 ¼” ram and good looking caribou.
Randy Sandberg (guide Phil Smith) has been on numerous trips with us, but none easier than this one. He harvested a 7 ft grizzly and caribou without even going to spike camp.
Mark Gregson (guide Dan Morner) harvested a 12 year old, broomed, 36” ram in the rugged mountains near Mt. Macdonald. His guide Dan went beyond the call of duty in tracking down the wounded ram in serious cliffs.
Guillermo Morales (guide Phil Smith) brought his wife Theresa to camp this season and they shared an adventure scoring on both moose & caribou.
This was the hardest working, most skilled group of guides and staff we have ever assembled Everyone did an exceptional job; from our expediters, to our base camp cook Lea Ann Dorval, to our chief guides, Ryan Widrig, Dan Morner, Phil Smith, Jon Oleshak, and Gerald Bahm, to our assistant guides/wranglers, Cyim Boucher & Andrew Smith. Also can’t forget my hard working wife Joanne Van Bibber-Widrig…….who really ran the whole show from Whitehorse!!
So now we start planning for next season. There are only a few spots left for 2015 and we will be filling our 2016 hunts this winter. If you are interested in a “genuine” Yukon wilderness hunt, give us shout!