Please enjoy the photos and captions below from a ...

Please enjoy the photos and captions below from a recent hunt by KUIU’s own Todd Harney and Ben Britton. ~Jason

When I was a young kid watching hunting shows with my dad, every time a Caribou hunt came on, he would say “We’ve gotta go do that hunt one day.” As of earlier this month that day has come and gone; and the hunt lived up to the years of anticipation.

I traveled with my Dad Mike, and my long-time friend, hunting partner, and coworker Ben Britton.  We flew with Eric Sieh into unit 23 for a DIY drop, and could not have been more happy with his services.

*Note: Eric doesn’t fly many hunt groups out each year, so for the record, from what we saw Jared Cummings’ services were top-notch as well.

Because we were hunting light with a pack each, Eric decided to drop us up on a ridge instead of a river bed. It would be harder to get water and to pack meat back to camp (plenty of climbing), but we would have a huge area to ourselves. Solitude and hard hunting was what we were after, so we were pleased with the location.

Eric’s Cessna 206 loaded and ready.

 

View from the ride in.

 

 

Dropped, Saturday September 6th.

 

 

Camp set up for night 1.

 

 

Getting water on day one. We had storage to pack about 22 liters at a time, which would last two to three days.

 

 

Lounging in camp, waiting for the next day to begin hunting. The NeoAir X-Lite makes a great lounge chair when leaned up against your tripod.

 

 

The first 4 four days were spent with a lot of glassing and hiking with only a few Caribou to be seen. On the first hunt day, we learned what twelve miles of tundra felt like. After that, we used creek bottoms and scree slopes to our advantage. This made for much easier and faster walking.

 

 

Chipping out ice for water close to camp.

 

 

View from camp on evening three.

 

 

The MSR Reactor stove was excellent. With three of us sharing the 1L stove, we burned just two canisters of fuel in eight days.

 

 

On day four, we decided to draw first blood and fill our first tags on cows. This day we also saw a change in the weather, which surely helped get the animals moving. For the first half of the hunt, the biggest group of Caribou we saw were four animals together.

 

My cow

 

Ben’s cow

 

 

Dad’s cow

 

 

Icon Pro 7200s loaded for the first trip back to camp. We packed out all three animals in two trips, with room to spare.

 

 

Ben preparing some citric acid for the meat.

 

 

Pack rain covers were a must. Our packs and contents were never wet after a night of rain. This saved a lot of space inside the tent.

 

 

PowerTraveller Solarmonkey Adventurer- couldn’t be happier with this charger/power storage. Our Sat phone wouldn’t even work unless it was hooked up to the Adventurer.

 

 

Fox fooled by Vias while glassing the next morning.

 

 

The next day we spotted a group of three bulls a couple miles away and decided to make a move. Two hours and four miles later, we caught up with them in a steep box canyon. My dad started off the shooting, then Ben, then myself. We killed all 3 bulls at ranges from 230-375 yards.

 

Dad’s Bull

 

 

 

Ben’s Bull

 

 

My Bull

 

 

We got our first load of meat back to camp around 1:00 AM in the rain. A few hours later we would embark on an additional  sixteen miles’ worth of packing trips.

 

Back at the kill site, mentally preparing for another load.

 

 

We caped and skull capped for the final load out (the first two trips were meat only).

 

 

Resting on trekking poles before the final climb to camp.

 

 

Airing out the clothes the next morning

 

 

Ben and I were each shooting a Weatherby Mark V Ultralight Long Range in .270 WBY Mag. These rifles have proven to be incredibly accurate.

 

 

We had a few days left to tend to meat, lick our wounds, and enjoy tagged-out time in the field. Out of nowhere, Ben pulled a bag of garlic powder, salt, and pepper out of his pack. For the last evening Ben and I headed down the canyon to collect some firewood. We ended up eating 2 tenderloins, a backstrap, and a fair amount of neck meat.

 

 

Last sunset before pickup.

 

 

Here’s the sunset we got to enjoy while eating dinner once we got back to town.

 

 

This article has 24 comment(s)

  1. Jon hill

    Awesome images

  2. Sheeper

    Ben and Todd,

    Congratulations on your trophies and a memorable trip. Well done guys.
    Great photos and good shooting. Sheeper

  3. Paul D. Atkins

    Great pics guys! It’s been tough days here in the arctic. Caribou are getting harder to come by up. Warm temperatures, erratic migrating behaviors and a huge loss in numbers have really thrown this herd off their game. You all did good compared to most.
    Check my article out “Where Have All the Caribou Gone?”, in the next issue of the Alaskan Sporting Journal.
    I’ve hunted in that same area many times!
    Great job guys!
    Paul D. Atkins
    Outdoor Writer

    • Todd Harney

      Thanks Paul, we had heard the same thing going into it- that it isn’t like it once was. There were definitely plenty of slow days. Of course during the two days after tagging out we saw lots of big bulls within striking distance… but that’s the way it goes! Looking forward to your article.

  4. Jerry

    Good job guys. Good days work, good harvest.

  5. Craig Germond

    Looks like you guys had a great trip! Congrats!

  6. Dustin Hover

    Jason,

    How are you holding your trekking poles together like shooting sticks and when airing out clothes? Also are those new boots you have in development? Thanks for the great pictures.

    • Ben Britton

      Hey Dustin, we crossed the trekking poles and then tapped them together with electrical tape. then used the back poles to tie the clothes line, and the front poles to guy out and pull the clothes line tight. The boots we are wearing are Salewa Raven Combis. You can check out mine and Todd’s whole gear list at the link at the bottom.

  7. David Frisby

    Great story! Who did the kuiu pattern on your weatherbys?

  8. Cory Benge

    Great story Todd! I thoroughly enjoyed your photos and your text it seems like you had a great hunt!

  9. Jeff M. Valunas

    Todd-

    Awesome pictures and detail, on that adventure.
    Seeing those “wide-open” pictures, and imagining being
    there, is quite exhilarating.

    Touching, on how the meat was taken care of- Was something,
    that few do, but shows the respect for the animal. (I really
    enjoyed that!)

    Congrats, on the hunt you had been dreaming of, and making it
    happen! It is another sign, that KUIU is making “Dreams Possible”!!!

    Well Done-
    JMV

  10. Mike Harney

    Todd-

    It was yet another hunting adventure of a lifetime with you and Ben. I’m very proud of the great hunters and young men that both of you have become. Thank you for all the great memories.

    Where Next?

    -Dad

  11. Jerry

    JMV,

    Meat is something a lot of people take for granted and don’t properly take care of. A friend of mine just got 300 pounds of moose meat given to him by some trophy hunters who were after antler more than meat. The meat was at the beginning stages of souring but still had salvageable meat after quite some time trimming. It was a shame to see, but it wasn’t all a waste.

    I kept my sheep this year after much time and effort in taking care of the meat during a warm weather trip, and it all made it back home tasty as when it was first harvested.

    Todd, I especially like the photo of meat by the fire. Some of my most favorite meals have come that way.

  12. Peter

    Great story and photos, thanks. Why did you have to plug in the Sat phone into the Solarmonkey to make it work? I used to have that exact Sat phone and it worked fine until the old batteries were dying. I now have the Iridium Extreme and would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a new phone. I talked over 3 hours on one battery this summer.

    • Todd Harney

      The battery was shot, like you described. Luckily the solar panel provided enough juice to act like an external battery.

  13. Keith

    Thanks for sharing the trip, Great Pictures. What degree bags were used? Have you experienced any deflation of the neo air pads during cold weather conditions?

    • Todd Harney

      Thanks Keith! I use a 30-degree and Ben used a 15-degree. I’ve slept all night on snow without waking up using the 30-degree bag and the X-Lite. My feet get cold when it drops into the low 20s but tossing a down jacket into the bottom solves that. Deflation of the pad has not been an issue in my experience, although they do require a good breath of air once every day or two in order to keep full volume.

      • Jackson Zaharia

        You might check the weights posted for the sleeping bags. Thanks for the article and photos. Excellent.

        • Todd Harney

          Good call Jackson… 11.65 oz, don’t we wish! Thank you.

  14. Steve Faber

    Great to see you guys sharing the trip with your daddy.

    Congrats.

  15. JOAN CATALA

    Incredible trip. How gelous I feel! Thanks for sharing so many photos and advise. Congras!

  16. Dan Roland

    Nice job guys, looks like a great hunt. Did Weatherby do the Vias camo stock or did you do that yourselves and how can I get one?

  17. Wil

    Trying to figure out what optics were used on the rifles… I didn’t see any mention of it in the article (could’ve missed it) I’m curious what Leupold model was used and if it was from the custom shop. What was the weight on it? How about the Weatherby all loaded up with rounds, scope, sling?

    • KUIU Ultralight Hunting

      The scope that was used on the Weatherby MarkV Ultralight was a Leupold VX-3 4.5-14 x 50mm with a M1 turret installed by Leupold. The weight of the scope was 16.5ozand the total set up was around 7lbs 12oz.