Our 2nd season has come and gone and we are all still here. It was not without its highs and lows, but overall it was a great season. One could say our best season yet!
When our sheep hunter injured their knee and had to cancel 3 weeks out we got a little concerned it might be a sign of things to come like last year, but luckily that was not the case. My dad answered the call and we got to spend some quality time in the mountains together, something we don’t get to do much anymore. We found some legal rams, with the oldest being 9 years old. They were all pig fat so they shouldn’t have a problem making it through the winter. With that in mind, we put our money where our mouth is and decided to leave him on the mountain with hopes to revisit him next year.
Our adventures into new country paid off in a big way as we saw a ton of moose, caribou, and bears. Our widest moose was 65” and our average was 56”. People tend to get hung up on width, but this season supported my argument that you should look at more than that. What I would call our 3 biggest moose were between 55” and 59” wide. We got some great old caribou as well, winning the Yukon Outfitters Association Mountain Caribou Award, with one officially scoring 420 7/8. Only 1 bear got taken this year which isn’t quite what we were hoping for but that’s how it goes. It seemed like the hunters that wanted a bear never got an opportunity, and those that weren’t interested were seeing bears every other day.
We were lucky enough to donate about 2700 lbs of meat to the Teslin Tlingit Council and 1100 lbs to the Ta’an Kwachan Council. The rest of the meat was enjoyed by the hunters, crew, a few Whitehorse locals and our family. None was wasted as usual.
Everyone asks about success rate which is always tricky as most outfitters say 90-95% but their definitions vary significantly and can be misleading. This year we took out 14 hunters and got 9 moose, 4 caribou, and 1 grizzly. We had 1 moose wounded with a bow that was never recovered and a miss on each grizzly, wolf and caribou. Everyone saw a lot of game but we did have 2 hunters that did not pull the trigger. Both enjoyed their experience and plan on coming back out with us. Those are the straight numbers for your interpretation and we would be happy to provide references from our hunters this year.
There was an interesting scenario with a very old, wide, collared moose our guys called in. We told the government about it as it is unlawful to hunt collared game but the regulations summary said there were no collared moose in the Yukon right now. Turns out the moose was collared as an adult in 2008, meaning it was probably 13 years old now, extremely old for a moose. Unfortunately, the collar was defective and when the study concluded in 2011, it couldn’t be recovered so he’s been running around with it on for over a decade. The intent of the law is to prevent people from shooting collared animals involved in ongoing research projects, which this clearly was not. It seemed like a no-brainer win-win-win situation as our hunter would get a great old moose that probably wouldn’t make the winter anyways, the biologist would get their collar back, and the Teslin Tlingit Council would get more moose meat. Despite our efforts and the agreement of some government employees, common sense did not prevail and we were forced to let a mid-60” ancient moose with an extremely tight collar walk.
Looking forward to 2019, we will continue on hunting old camps that haven’t been used in years. This means a lot more of the same; great adventures and essentially un-hunted country. To provide the best overall experience, ensure the highest quality game and maintain our sanity we will continue to take around 15 hunters in a season.
2018 finished out with Walter David Cosco being born on December 6th, so we should be set for wranglers in the 2032 season. Now we are busy doing sleigh rides and getting out trapping to help out all the ungulates. If you’re in Reno for the Sheep Show, come say hi at our booth beside our good friends at Wyoming Backcountry Decor.
We would like to thank our crew for everything they have done and continue to do for us, and the hunters that come along for the ride. As always, none of this would be possible without Tara quarterbacking the whole deal.