Few outdoor experiences can top an Alaskan bow hunting trip. Bow hunting caribou in Alaska has long been the domain of experienced guides. However, the cost of a guided bow hunt often precludes other interested parties from participating. In recent years, budget-conscious hunters have turned to do-it-yourself (DIY) bow hunting. With the right knowledge, physical preparation, and bow hunting equipment, you can be on your way to tracking and harvesting a caribou in the great wilderness.
Successful hunting trips rarely occur without the proper preparation. The work you do before you head out into the field is critical. This pre-season preparation includes plenty of target practice, including both 3D targets and standard range activities. You need to be familiar with your equipment and able to be accurate with your first shot. Practice with your pack on, as if you were in the field. You need to be able to be mobile and accurate all while fully equipped. Also, be sure to practice with broadheads prior to the season; these are what you use in the field and you need to be sure you can shoot them. Once you are in the field, on your bow hunting trip, there is no time for further practice or warm-up. Your skill level must be high enough to ensure a harvest.
Another aspect of the pre-hunt preparation is field work. Ideally you’d be able to scout the area you choose to hunt, but often this isn’t possible if you need to travel to Alaska. Nonetheless, putting your equipment and your body to the test in terrain similar to what you expect on your bow hunt allows you to see what works and what might need modification before you get into the field. Also, your level of physical fitness is important. Bow hunts in Alaska are demanding and you will be tested. Prepare for lots of hiking in rugged terrain; start a regular exercise routine to prepare. This commitment to preparation helps both your physical and mental stamina once you enter the field.
Your bow hunting equipment is another critical component, especially when engaged in a DIY bow hunt. For example, to effectively kill a caribou, Alaska caribou hunting will require a sixty to seventy pound draw weight bow. The rig you choose needs to able to stand up to some abuse as you will be hauling it all over your chosen territory. A bubble level for your sight is a good idea, especially since most of your bow hunting for caribou will come in steep and rugged country. High-quality binoculars are essential to help you locate the animals. Finally, there is always other equipment to consider, but be sure to have comfortable shoes, suitable to the terrain and season of your hunt. Nothing kills a trip faster than sore or wounded feet.
DIY bow hunting is tough work, but it is both memorable and rewarding. Few other opportunities allow you to test yourself in rugged terrain while trying to scout, shoot, and harvest a caribou or other game animal. The preparatory work provides the foundation for an experience of a lifetime.
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