Most hunters I know dream about hunting big game animals like Bull Moose, Caribou, Bears on Kodak Island and Big Horn Sheep in state of Alaska but for most of us the cost of doing these hunts keep us from going. This summer when I was talking to Larry Bauer, the hunt organizer for Hunt’n Biz, he told me about this island in the Aleutians on the Alaska Peninsula called Adak. In 1959 the military planted caribou calves for a food source and for recreation hunting. Over the years the herd was small but when the military base on the island was shout down in 1996 the herd went from about 700 Caribou to 3000, as of the last count in August of 2005. The state of Alaska also had no limit on the Caribou as long as you have permits for each one. This sounds like a dream come true.
Larry told me to take a look at the Hunt’n and Fish’n biz website, and check out some of the big bulls taken in the past. The Bulls were very impressive, some bulls were over 400 B&C points. So I just had to find a way to make this hunt. I decided to put off most of my hunting that I do in my home state of Utah and make the hunt to Adak.
After a long flight from Las Vegas, Nevada to Anchorage I met Lindsay and Nate Parker in the airport. We were to spend the night at a bed and breakfast and leave the next morning for a 1300 mile flight to the Island. When the pilot announced that it was time to land, I wasn’t sure he was right. All I could see was fog, but just before we hit the ground the mountains of Adak came into view and my first impression was that I was going to Jurassic Park. I have been to many places around the world and I have not found a place more remote and beautiful than this island. The mountains are volcanic and go from sea level to 3200 feet, straight up and down with no flat valleys, green grass covered all of the ground and there were no trees. In the rivers drainages the grass was 3 to 4 feet high. There was nothing like hunting Barren Ground Caribou where the tundra is mostly flat.
This was a self guided hunt with Hunt’n Biz providing the camping gear and a boat transport to your chosen drop off sight. My plan was to hunt the first three days with Lindsay and Nate at Finger Bay. On the first morning the rain was coming down so hard that we did not go out until 2 p.m. Lindsay and I headed south out of camp leaving Nate behind because he had taken a nice bull a few days earlier. We were hiking the higher peaks and I could not keep up with Lindsay. We split up with me heading around the side of a peak to check out a large valley. Occasionally the fog would clear and I could see for about a mile. I spotted a small bull to my right walking away from me. He gave me hope of good things to come.
I like to do a lot of glassing when I hunt. I think binoculars are one of the most important tools you have in your bag when hunting and this time it pad off. About 800 yards and up a draw to my left I found two bulls laying down. All I could see at this point was their horns sticking out of the high grass. One was a good bull and the other was very wide. I knew at this point the wide bull would be a shooter. I was out in the open and had to find a place to cover myself so I started walking to a small draw to my left. That is when I saw Lindsay. I held up my arms to let him know that I had seen a bull. We decided to walk over to a small peak and take another look. That put us about 500 yards away with the wind was blowing briskly. I have made long shots before but this was not going to happen in the wind.
Lindsay had a plan to walk around the peak we were on and climb above the bulls. This would put us in front of them with about a 125-yard shot. When we got close to the rocky cliff just in front and above the bulls we took off our packs. There was a misty rain and the fog was all around us. We couldn’t see more than twenty yards in any direction. At times the fog would clear and we could see the hillside where we had seen the bulls were laying but they were gone. About ten minutes later the fog lifted once more and I was able to see the big bull walking away. He was above us and to the left about 120 yards away and just about to go over the top of the pass.
I whispered to Lindsay, “There he is!” Lindsay had my Canon video camera on his tripod and was on the bull in seconds as I was taking aim. He said, “I’m on him. Go ahead and take the shot.” I would have but all I could see was his hind end. The bull took a few steps to his left and gave me a quartering away shot so I aimed my 338 Magnum on his shoulder and pulled the trigger. When the 160 grain Barnes bullet hit his shoulder the rain on his hide blew like a mist in the air. The big bull turned around a few times and I took a 2nd shot that dropped him. The bull green scored 371 2/8 and 15 points on the right and 11 points on the left. I was thrilled to take this trophy of a lifetime!
I just wanted to thank Lindsay and Nate Parker and also Hunt’n and Fish’n Biz for all their help on one of the best hunts I have been on.