We had another great season at Gana River in 2015. We started the year as alwyas with our winter wolf hunts in April. Two of our clients had to cancel out this year so we only did one hunt but had good luck. Both of our wolf hunt clients took a nice grey male in prime condition. We found other wolves and came close but were not able to get any others in range. We put on lots of miles and managed to get all the way up the Mountain River to Willow Camp for the first time with the snow machines. We found game most of the way but did not have any luck calling in the pack of wolves that was up that way–we will try again this coming season. We always have a great time on the wolf hunt and get to see so much of the country on the snow machines–we are already looking forward to next year’s hunt.
We were once again blessed to be able to host the annual youth camp for the Northern Youth Leadership Society. Laura, the kids and I flew up to camp and opened up for the youth camp while the cowboys shod the horses at Ryan & Mary’s and then headed up the road. This year we hosted 12 young girls from various NWT communities who hiked, fished, canoed and just generally had lots of fun at our Palmer Lake Base Camp in the beautiful Mackenzie Mountains. We also had four staff from Northern Youth and of course Margaret McDonald, our favorite elder from Norman Wells, was here again to share her wisdom with the girls. I would like to extend a big thank you to all of those who contrbite to make this youth camp happen each year including: First Air, the Association of Mackenzie Mountain Outfitters and North Wrigh Airways, and of course the Northern Youth Leadership Society and their partners. We really do hope that we can continue to host this camp for many years to come.
On our first sheep hunt of 2015 we had really good success despite some really wet weather and all 5 sheep hunters took nice rams including one archery ram. The caribou were moving down the valleys early due to the cool wet weather and we were also able to take a couple of nice early season velvet bulls at the end of the first hunt. A couple of the clients on our second horseback hunt had some serious health problems and were unable to take rams but they had a great time trying and did pass up a couple of huge caribou during their hunts. The backpack hunters took 2 nice old rams including another archery ram and a great archery caribou. Things got pretty much back to normal on our third hunt with all clients filling their tags. A couple of the horseback hunters cancelled on short notice but the two who came both took great old rams and book caribou. Also of note on the third horseback hunt, our great old friends Charles & Jeanette Eddy were able to come up to camp and hang out with us for a couple of weeks while a friend of theirs hunted. One of the backpackers took a 40 inch heavy based ram on the Gana and our two caribou hunters both took good bulls in velvet. On the fourth backpack hunt both sheep hunters took great rams and caribou. We also had one hunter that just came for a caribou and he took home a 422 B&C bull. The fourth horseback hunt was a great success with good rams and caribou for all clients. One was also able to take a nice grey wolf. On backpack hunt #5 we took a couple of great old rams and some nice big hard horned caribou, including a 385 archery bull taken at the Fritz cabins. The horseback moose hunts were just great this year with all three hunters taking great bulls from 60 to 65 inches wide and all scoring between 219 and 224. We did have a couple of late season hunters cancel on short notice but our one backpack moose hunter took a huge 67 inch bull that grossed 231 B&C. The late season caribou hunters were able to take nice bulls this year but did not see the number of bulls to chose from that we normally see in September. I think the cool wet summer saw most of the bulls move down out of the higher mountains earlier than normal this year.
All in all it was a great season despite the cool wet weather. We took 18 rams for 21 sheep hunters. The rams averaged 10.5 years old and 36 inches long this year–of course we had quite a few broomed rams as is normal. All of our caribou hunters took home nice bulls this year and of course lots of our sheep hunters added a caribou to their bag. In all we took 21 caribou bulls that averaged 383 B&C gross. All four of our moose hunters took home great bulls this year. They averaged 63.5 inches wide and 224 B&C gross. All in all a very good year. We can hardly wait to do it again in 2016.
Thanks to all of the great clients and crew who make it all possible.
Harold & Laura Grinde and family