Gana River Outfitters offers both horseback and backpack hunts for Dall Sheep, Alaska Yukon Moose, Mountain Caribou, Wolf, and Wolverine. We do take a limited number of archery hunters each year. Hunts are normally done 1 on 1 with one of our experienced guides, although we do book 2 on 1 caribou hunts. All of our hunts begin and end from our Palmer Lake Base Camp which is accessed by float plane from the town of Norman Wells. Base camp is very comfortable with many conveniences made possible by our hydro-electric power supply. We have lots of hot water for showers, heated cabins, as well as a walk-in cool room. Our modern kitchen is always well stocked with home baked goodies and the friendly kitchen staff always have the coffee on. We encourage our clients to bring along a family member to share in their experience.
Upon your arrival at base camp your outfitter will provide your licence and tags and go over the standard hunt and safety procedures with you. Prior to heading out on your hunt we will go through your gear with you and ” shake down ” so that you will be packing only the necessary items with you on the trail. If you have booked a backpack hunt we will also go over your food rations with you at this time. Also before heading out to the field, you will have an opportunity to ensure your rifle is sighted in accurately. Depending on the type of hunt you have booked you may be flown out to your hunt area right away, or you may get to relax and enjoy the comforts of base camp until the next morning.
Once any of our hunts are over you will either trail or be flown back to our Palmer Lake Base Camp. Here again, time permitting, you will be able to relax and make yourself at home, perhaps take in a bit of Lake Trout or Grayling fishing, and generally wind down from your hunt. At Gana River we take pride in all we do and trophy care is certainly no exception. Prior to your return to Norman Wells all capes are fully turned, salted and dried – time permitting ( otherwise frozen ). All skulls are cleaned and all antlered game is packaged and prepared for your check-in on commercial airlines. If you wish to take home a sample of meat, please bring along a cooler and we will package and freeze it for you.
Come, let us show you what the Mackenzie Mountains have to offer. We and our experienced crew will do our utmost to ensure your hunt with us will be the ” hunt of a lifetime “.
Our backpack sheep hunts are usually done from remote strips that are serviced by plane. These hunts are 10 days in length, and you should be prepared to do a considerable amount of walking with a pack, not normally exceeding 50-60 lbs.
As in our horse camps, the areas you will be hunting are vast and we do limit the number of hunters we take each year to ensure you an opportunity to harvest a quality ram. Our success rate is consistently near 100%, and we are prepared to move you to a new location should it be necessary. Caribou may be hunted as an ” option ” animal and our area boasts a great population of mountain caribou with many scoring in the high 380 to ” record book ” class. Should you be interested in a caribou be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity if it arises. If it doesn’t we can move you to a caribou specific area once your sheep hunting is concluded. We do have a tailored 2 on 1 late fall caribou hunt, which is conducted from a very successful remote cabin location. In addition, a number of backpack moose/caribou hunts, mostly conducted from tent camps are available. Most of these hunts can be completed successfully from a drop off point with no pack-in normally required. A 12 day mixed bag hunt is also available for those wishing to try for all species. All of these hunts have proven to be very productive with some great trophies being taken.
If a traditional Mountain Horseback hunt is your preference, Gana River is proud to be one of the few outfitters in the Mackenzie Mountains still offering them. A typical horseback hunt will start the morning after your arrival at our base camp with your guide and crew packing up the horses in preparation to head out on the trail.
Depending upon which camp you will be hunting out of you can look forward to a 3 to 8 hour ride, with a short brake in between to stretch your legs and have a bite of lunch. We do also operate one ” remote ” horse camp and if this is your destination then you will be flown over to meet your guide and wrangler and begin your horseback hunt from there.
Though most of these hunts are done by day trips out of established camps, occasionally your guide may decide to ” spike camp “. There are places within our horse country where we are not able to get the horses all the way “back in” so you should expect to do some hunting on foot. As with our backpack hunts, caribou can be added to any horseback hunt as an ” option ” animal. We encourage all of our clients to purchase a wolf tag as well, with opportunities arising from time to time. With our horseback sheep hunts ending in early September, each of our crews prepare for their final respective hunts of the season by trailing over into our moose areas.
One of these hunts is conducted from heated cabins with the other crew working out of an established and comfortable tent camp. These moose hunts have been both successful and popular so if you’re interested in a great opportunity at harvesting one of these incredible animals be sure to book well in advance. Any of our horseback hunts in this remote and spectacular country must be experienced to have an appreciation for all that is involved. From the scenic rides and the jingle of horse bells to the smell of fresh coffee and bacon and eggs over an open fire, there is still something mystical about a traditional horseback hunt.