Have you ever had something happen and look back at it and think, “It was meant to be”? That is how I feel about the hunt my son and I were able to go on in October 2017.
A Happy Coincidence
Let me start from the beginning, my name is Julie and my husband Mike and son Joey are co-hosts of the hunting show Prime Revolution that airs on The Sportsman Channel.
Back in August of 2017 we were at a SAAM Precision Training Course at FTW Ranch in Texas when we got to meet the fabulous Amy, who was there honing her skills as well.
Mike and I kept in touch via social media with Amy, and it was through that I saw she had posted she had some Caribou tags available due to a scheduling conflict.
I immediately messaged her and told her I was interested, I then asked Mike if he wanted to go and due to his own scheduling conflict, he was going to be in Tajikistan hunting Marco Polo Sheep, he was unable to go with me.
This is when I decided to take along our son, Joey.
48-Hours of Travel
Joey and I made our plans, flights and we begged his school for the time off — we got the greenlight and set off.
It took us two full days of travel but we were both so excited it didn’t matter. We made it to Lac Pau where we were to board a float plane to take us to Leaf River Lodge.
“This was the first time we both realized how far North we were.”
We are standing in a small trailer looking at the map of Quebec, Canada and they had marked out where each lodge was, and we were shocked to discover we were going to the furthermost hunting lodge.
Leaf River Lodges’ Locations After an additional two-hour float plane flight we had arrived to our camp.
A Place for Hunters
The accommodations were great. We had our very own cabin with beds, heater and a place to put our clothes and gear.
There was also a communal lodge for the hunters to gather and share their stories and get to know one another. This is where Joey and I met the most interesting, funny and nicest people on the planet!
There were hunters from all over the world, Denmark and Spain, just to name a few. We absolutely enjoyed getting to know such a diverse group of people with one thing in common, hunting.
One of our most favorite people was our guide Sheldon, his knowledge of the area mixed with his humor and easy going ways made for a fun and memorable hunting trip.
Now, I must say this was some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. They have Larch trees that change color with the seasons and when we were there they were an incredible yellow color.
We also got to experience the Northern Lights on the only clear night we had. That along with the beauty of the river and the wildlife itself were nothing short of amazing.
The Last Caribou
I called the episode “The Last Caribou” because Joey and I were the last non-native hunters to harvest the Quebec Labrador Caribou at Leaf River Lodge.
It was determined by a survey that there was a diminished number of these Caribou left and therefore they needed to close the hunt indefinitely to non-native hunters.
This affects not only people from other countries that want the chance at these beautiful, tasty creatures but to the people that are employed by this industry as well.
I can tell you in the time we were there, we saw thousands of Caribou. Healthy, mature and young bulls and cows. They seemed to be everywhere.
I hope they bring it back soon for others to enjoy and for the livelihood of the outfitters and employees.
The Once-In-A-Lifetime Hunt
Hunting the caribou was a little more challenging due to the weather. At Leaf River, there are places you can walk from the lodge or take the 6×6 out and go hunt, but mostly you take the skiff’s out to get across the river to reach farther areas.
We were only able to go out on the skiff two days out of our stay because of the extreme wind and rain, even snow at times.
The wind was constant and I have never in my life been rained on so much. The rain and wind made for freezing, miserable conditions, but Joey and I were determined and having the time of our lives.
We had on multiple layers and unwavering rain gear from Kryptek Outdoor Group, so we managed to stayed dry and warm (except for our faces which was unavoidable in this weather).
If you watch the episode trailer you know both Joey and I were successful harvesting our Caribou. I am always in awe of Joey and his shooting skills.
We are fortunate that we get to take him to places like FTW Ranch to practice his shooting and overall rifle knowledge, but he puts in the work and that’s the main reason he is growing his skills as a hunter.
He made a great one-shot kill and I followed suit that same day with mine. Bringing the meat home was no easy task, but with the help of the lodge we managed to get it home and are still enjoying this wonderful and healthy meat.
The Hunt Is About So Much More
The reason I am being so brief about the actual hunt, is that it’s not the biggest part of the experience. The travel, weather, scenery, bonding, meeting new people and creating memories are what I look back on as the most important.
It is now May 2018 and I can honestly say it is my most favorite hunt I have been on to date. I am exceptionally blessed to have gone on this trip with my son, he is growing up so fast.
I will cherish that time with him as I know, time truly does fly and who knows when another opportunity like this one will happen again. That is why I feel it was meant to be. We created memories, had quality time together and a shared love of hunting and conservation.
As I said on the show, “I am one proud Mom.”