We are all back home after another very successful season in the Mackenzie Mountains. Our 2019 season was highlighted with good weather and good hunting and many happy clients taking home great memories and treasured trophies. The one downside to our season is that we had to cancel our spring wolf hunts due to some unseasonalbly warm weather in mid March. It got so warm that most of the snow melted, the ice went out of the rivers and they were wide open running water. Definately not the conditions needed to do a snowmobile hunt. We wiill hope for more of a normal spring next year and try again. On the upside the conditions were great for the game which wintered very well.
We once again hosted our annual youth camp before the crew arrived at camp. Jasmine Bailes, Laura the kids and I opened up our camp to host 13 young teenage girls, 4 youth workers and 1 Elder from Ft. Good Hope. We all arrived in camp safe and sound on June 26th but when the North Wright Airways Twin Otter went to take off to go back to Norman Wells he had some mechanical problems and was forced to spend the night. We found the pilots some supper, a toothbrush and a bunk and all was good. The North Wright mechancis were there early the next morning and had the Otter going in good time. I was thankful that the pilots were there to help me go and get the hydro up and running while the mechanics worked on the plane. Youth camp is always lot of fun: making new friends, fishing, canoeing, hiking, swimming and learning some survival skills. Of course there are chores to do each day and lots of time for just having fun. We look forward to doing the camp again next year.
The weather was dryer than normal in our area in 2019. We had record low water levels at times but were blessed with very timely showers that kept things green and growing throughout the summer. We did have a big dump of snow up on the Gana in mid August but we did not have anyone up there at the time so no harm done. Most of the area only had a dusting of snow. We had another tremendous crop of big healthy lambs and anlter growth on the caribou and moose was great. The bears had a bit of a tough summer as there were not many berries due to the dry conditions and some early frosts. The cowboys had a good trail in with nice weather and low water. Projects around camp this summer included: getting metal siding and roofing on the “Wolf Den”, finising the rebuild of our dock, moving the “Ram Cabin” to make room for a new hunter cabin to be constructed next year, adding a much need addition onto our cabin, and setting up a new fire pit complete with log benches.
The hunts all went very well in 2019. We had several ladies that enjoyed successful hunts with us in 2019. Once again we also had quite a few non hunting wives and famijly members that tagged along on hunts or just hung out at base camp. We took some tremendous rams and had pretty good luck with archery hunters. One archery ram was taken and five archery caribou. We did have one archery hunter that went home without a ram, even though he saw lots of rams, and a couple that opted to use a rifle to take their rams. The early season caribou hunting was as good as I have ever seen it–late season a bit tougher as the bulls seemed to move out of the area early in 2019. We saw lots of great moose and took a several really good bulls but September was just too warm for good moose hunting. One of our repeat moose hunters held out trying for a giant bull that they tried calling across the river and ended up going home empty handed. He even stayed a few extra days to try for a big bull that was hanging out just below base camp on the Mountain River. When all was said and done we took 21 rams that averaged 10.75 years of age and 36.5 inches in length. We harvested 25 mountain caribou with an average gross B&C score of 390–the best average that I can remember. The 5 bull moose that were taken averaged 60 inches in width, and we were able to harvest 5 wolves. All in all just another great year hunting at Gana River. Thanks to all of the clients and crew who made it all possible!