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John O’Dell Takes Canadian Caribou


 John Phillips | October 15, 2012

Editor’s Note: For 20 years, John O’Dell has filmed for Mark and Terry Drury’s outdoor TV and video-production company and has been a Mossy Oak pro for as long as he can remember. Today, he’s in charge of J. Crew’s customer-service department.

This past season, my videoing and hunting partner, Dave Reisner, and I flew to Manitoba, Canada, and landed in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We then took a plane to Churchill, and from Churchill we took a floatplane one hour and 30 minutes northwest of Churchill to Chamcook Lake. Our outfitter had a cabin on the lake, and we hunted on foot or by boat from there. On the second afternoon of the hunt, we were dressed in our Mossy Oak camouflage, got on a high point and began glassing for caribou. The full migration that happened at this time of year hadn’t yet begun. We couldn’t locate the caribou and determine the direction they were traveling to move in front of them to set-up an ambush point. So, we looked in different drainages to locate the animals. 

We spotted our caribou a long way off using my Nikon binoculars and attempted to guess which drainage they held in and the lakes where they watered. Luckily for us, we guessed right. When we set-up in a ditch, the caribou I wanted to take looked like he’d read our hunt plan, because we saw him walking toward us at about 200 yards. The 30- to 40-mile-per-hour wind was in our faces, and the caribou stopped at 50 yards, which I knew from using my Nikon range finder. I was very concerned that I wouldn’t get a shot at him, since we don’t take head-on shots. Finally, he turned and presented a quartering-away shot. I knew I had to take the shot when he turned, if I was going to take it at all. I shot into a crosswind at 50 yards. My arrow hit slightly further back on the animal than I would’ve liked but still entered and moved from the backside of the caribou and went straight up into the vitals. The animal went 30-yards before he piled-up. 

The speed of the PSE Dream Season EVO allowed me to hold dead-on, and if the wind affected the flight of the arrow, the arrow was only slightly back from where I’d planned for it to hit. That type of wind made keeping my pin sight steady a major problem. Whatever the cause, the forgiveness in the bow allowed me to place the arrow well enough that the caribou went down 30-yards after he took the arrow. I used the new Rage X-treme broadhead with a 2.5 diameter. 

The easy part of a caribou hunt is taking the animal. The next step isn’t so easy. We field-dressed the caribou, skinned and quartered him. Then we had a 3-mile hike back to our boat. I carried the antlers and some of the meat. Dave Reisner, who was running the camera for me, carried my bow and all the camera equipment. Our guide carried the rest of the meat. We had about a 2-hour hike to get back to the boat. Dave also took a caribou on this hunt with his PSE Dream Season EVO. 

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