Hunting Invades the North West corner of British Columbia
The Caribou is a large North American deer, sometimes known as caribou, that is a graceful, elegant animal with long, varied legs and a thick, bushy hide. The name Caribou comes from the Alaskan term “k Caribou” which means “cavy”. The reindeer, also called caribou in North America, which is a species of goose with sub-arboreal distribution, native only to the Arctic, sub-arctic, tundra, and mountain regions of north and western Canada, Alaska, Russia, and some parts of Mongolia. This includes both migratory and sedentary populations. The winter habitat for the Caribou is usually snow-free tundra.
The Caribou is rarely seen except in the winter months in their migratory herds. However, even then they can be seen in mountainous areas, on ice, or in thick cover. For the benefit of the reader, the Caribou’s winter range tends to overlap with those of the musk deer. During this time, the Caribou feeds upon moose, rabbit, beaver, walrus, porcupine, wolf, hedgehog, and many other small animals and plant-eating animals. They also eat Caribou steaks, middling sized ground beef, ground fish, duck, goose, and many other small game.
In fact, the greatest challenge for hunters of the Caribou is that they are good climbers and jumpers. These qualities make them excellent candidates for snipers, as their quick movements allow them to surprise their prey. Their hearing is also extremely acute, allowing them to hear the slightest sound on the move. Many hunters state that the characteristic odor of the Caribou is that of the musk.
Because of their extreme stealthiness, the Caribou has been known to become victims of hunters and others who try to pursue them. In fact, during a hunting trip in British Columbia in the early 1990s, a group of hunting enthusiast attempted to trap the Caribou by tying an orange fiber piece to their leg and attaching a radio to it. Despite repeated attempts at catching the Caribou, it was unable to escape capture. When the hunter later returned to the area, he found the dead body of the Caribou, indicating that they had been killed by someone else. Although the incident was not considered a criminal case, some speculate that the lack of visible tracks and scent left behind suggested the hunter was trying to catch the elusive creature.
Caribou are elusive and move slowly. This quality makes them difficult to locate by any means other than by using the most accurate tracking methods. Two of the most popular devices used to track these animals are the Global Positioning System or GPS and the Marine GPS System or GPS. Both of these systems are quite effective in pinpointing the location of the Caribou. The Global Positioning System helps to determine the direction they are currently moving while the Marine GPS system helps to determine their current position. Using either system is relatively simple, although the GPS system does require a base station.
Despite the problems encountered when attempting to trap a Caribou, it still remains a popular sport throughout the province. However, with so many hunters going through the same experience, the likelihood of finding one in your area becomes slim. It is important not to become too frustrated should this happen as there is always another hunting season to find the elusive Caribou. For more information on where to find Caribou, check out the Wilderness North American Society website.