This was my 30th season as an Outfitter in the Yukon! When I purchased the concession in 1986, Ronald Reagan was the U.S. president, Al Gore hadn’t even invented the internet, and cell phones were just coming on the market at a price tag of 3995.00 (they weighed over 2 pounds).
Over three decades we have hosted almost 900 hunters and 115 employees. Every season bring an influx of diverse personalities and cultures (this fall we had hunters from Spain, Norway, Canada, U.S.A., Germany, Denmark, Mexico, Netherlands and Scotland). Matching hunter to guide is always a major challenge…. but an essential ingredient for successful hunting. Pre hunt questionnaires, intuition and a little luck are required to provide the right match between hunter & guide. Judging from post trip feedback, I know that we almost always get it right!
We experienced another wet fall this season, with lots of rain in August. The first snow arrived on the mountain tops August 25th and was there to stay until we left camp on October 1st. Temperatures sometimes dropped to -20 C in late September.
Overall, hunting was excellent for moose, grizzly and black bear. Dall sheep hunting was decent, but rams became hard to spot after the late August snow. Not a good fall for caribou. Migration patterns were unpredictable. Harvest totals were; 14 moose, 8 dall sheep, 5 caribou, 5 grizzly and 3 black bear.
Season highlights were many and I only have space to list a few. Gene Hennige (guide Phil Smith) fulfilled a fifty year dream, harvesting a 64” moose on a snowy, late September day. He managed this feat after driving two days from Idaho, having a wooden prosthesis leg and various health issues that only a 69 year old senior can know. Dare to dream big!
Chris Epping (guide Chris Widrig) was following in his father’s footsteps when he took a 40” ram after a long, tough stalk on the first sheep hunt.
Winston Churchill (guide Gerald Bahm) from Scotland had the good fortune to shoot a 58 ½” moose and huge caribou on the same day out of our Bonnet Plume Lake camp. Yes, he is related to that other, famous Winston.
George & Janina Schneider (guide Ryan Widrig) shared a true wilderness adventure before taking a beautiful 37 ¼” ram out of a band of seven.
Repeat hunter Chris Twining (guide Dan Morner) harvested a dandy 60” moose and a 7 ft 6” grizzly. His partner Joe Hagedorn (guide Andrew Smith) harvested a moose near Twin lakes and then a 7 ft 2” grizzly that was attempting to plunder our base camp dump!
German hunter Ronald Rauscher (guide Ryan Widrig) endured a two day ride to set up spike camp in a new portion of our area. He harvested a ten year old 37” ram in a glacier filled valley.
Robert Young (guide Ryan Widrig) rode six hours attempting to reach our Nadaleen River spike camp before running into a 64 ½” moose that they could not pass up. The bull scored close to record book.
Mexican hunters Javier Garza (guide Chris Widrig) & Tino Padilla (guide Dan Morner) both took nice dall sheep, 35” & 37” from the northern part of our concession. A little celebrating with exceptional tequila followed back at camp!
Garry Larose (guide Dan Morner) & Jim Wright (guide Andrew Smith) drove all the way from Saskatchewan with empty freezers for a moose. Each returned home with 57” bulls and a full load of meat. They also each harvested a nice black bear.
Returning hunter Stephen Wiles (guide Dan Morner) didn’t take long to connect on a full curl ram. It will look nice on the wall next to his moose & grizzly from the previous fall.
Wolfgang Zorn (guide Gerald Bahm) was successful with a heavy 62 ½” moose in early September. His hunting partner, Martijn Jansen harvested a caribou late in the trip.
Russell Barngrover (guide Ryan Widrig) took the last moose of the season, a 60” bull grossing 218 points. Nasty weather….but moose in the rut just don’t care!
Once again we had many talented guides, Phil Smith, Dan Morner, Gerald Bahm, Ryan Widrig, Andrew Smith, Myles Thorp and Chris Widrig…..a perfect mix of eager youngsters and older veteran guys.
Joanne & I will spend a portion of the winter travelling, looking for sun, beaches, marathons to run and quality red wine to drink. We don’t attend hunting shows so if you are interested in a 2016/2017 timeframe just email or call. I am always eager to talk about the wilderness horseback hunts we offer!