As the Island of Newfoundland is the only jurisdiction in the world that still offers non-resident woodland caribou hunting, it stands to reason it’s your best bet to tag a record-book qualifying animal. And while the Rock’s caribou, like many other populations across North America, have seen a decline in recent years, the prospects for taking a trophy-quality animal are still good for those willing to put in some time. The place to go is the Northern Peninsula. This is rugged, mountainous country, cross-stitched with lakes, streams and rivers that make travel a challenge; access is limited in many areas with- out the assistance of aircraft. But the caribou are spectacular, with antlers typically larger than those found on woodland caribou anywhere else.
Over the last 20 years, 222 Newfoundland caribou have qualified for B&C’s record book, stark evidence that the good times are not long gone. Also during that period, the fourth, sixth and eighth all-time bulls were taken on the island. Deer Lake, at the southern end of the Northern Peninsula, is the jumping off point and good hunting can be found nearby. Farther up the penin- sula, communities that serve as access hubs into quality caribou habitat include Daniel’s Harbour and Parson’s Pond.
When to go: September and October are prime months for woodland cari- bou hunting. Later during this time can be best, but with every passing week, the weather can become more of an issue.
Tactics: Woodland cari- bou hunting is a spot-and- stalk endeavour. Hunters must be prepared to traverse uneven terrain, glassing from the high ground as they go. In some areas, travel by boat allows access into relatively unpressured areas.
Gear: Rifle hunters are well equipped with calibres ranging from .270 up to the .300 class. Waterproof boots that you can walk in all day are a must, as is quality raingear.
Next best bets: East-cen- tral Newfoundland, south and west of Gander, has a well-earned reputation for producing record-book bulls.
More info: Department of Environment and Conser- vation, 1-800-563-6181; www.env.gov.nl.ca • Newfoundland and Lab- rador Outfitters Association, 1-866-470-6562; www.nloa.ca