The Caribou is a large species of reindeer, with circumpolar geographical distribution, originally from the tundra, sub-arctic, and mountain regions of north America, Siberia, and northern Europe. This includes both migratory and sedentary populations. There are around 5 million caribou hunters across Canada, Alaska, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland. The subspecies of the Caribou is the Black Caribou, which is genetically diverse and is only found in the Black Caribou habitat in Baffin and Labrador. Though it is considered endangered in some parts of its territory, it is still vulnerable in others.
The life of a Caribou is solitary, with the females moving in flocks. They hunt by smell and taste rather than sight, so can easily blend into the surroundings. Their long tailed bodies allow them to walk over snow and ice in sub zero temperatures, but they are more alert to changes in the weather than most other animals. Because they spend less time on land than most wild animals, they have adapted well to living in an arctic environment, where their winter ranges consist of rocky tundras and open fields. Caribou activity depends largely on the availability of prey, which depends largely on the size of the animal. Caribou calves are born in the spring and gain independence after one year, while older adults may live for up to five years.
Caribou hunting requires a combination of tactics, including camouflage, quick movements, a high-pitched whooshing sound, and loud calls. The animals are elusive, making it hard to follow tracks or even mark them using scat. When hunting in thick cover, the hunter must use his hearing and nose to locate a caribou. He does this by “dooing” –that is, making a low, soft growl that will bring a creature’s attention. During late evening and night hours, the whooshing sound is especially effective because it is very quiet. During this time, the caribou’s natural instinct of caution is strengthened.
Another important factor in Caribou hunting is preparation. A hunter must practice in concealment as much as possible. Hunting during the day with lights on is difficult, because these animals are nocturnal. At night, they become active naturally and become elusive. When tracking or stalking a Caribou, the light source is important because it will keep the animal hidden from the hunter.
Caribou are solitary animals that don’t stay in one location for a long period of time. They usually move in pairs or in large family groups called bachelor herds. They often mate for life and produce young that are weaned at a very young age. Mother will bring her young up until they are weaned, but she will take over feeding the young until they are able to fend for themselves. Caribou usually stay in a single area for many years.
Caribou hunting is definitely one of North America’s greatest contributions to wildlife conservation. Without these animals, there would be less of the species left in the state. It is estimated that there are over 22 million caribou across the continent. This increase has led to an increase in hunting opportunities. If you want to hunt these majestic animals in the most effective way, hire a licensed guide.