California Gals Spent a Night On An Island in an August Blizzard

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ce on Mackay Lake can be six to seven feet thick by mid-February then the aurora / Northern Lights are dancing the night skies.


The ice breaks up by the end of June when we have the midnight sun. The great caribou herds return from the calving grounds up on the arctic coast to Mackay Lake around mid-July. They stay in this, their summer range near the tree line until freeze-up begins around mid-October and the rut gets serious. Another great migration takes place to their winter grounds below the tree line.


In August, when we begin our hunts, the caribou are in velvet and the great bulls are scattered in small bachelor herds, sometimes with a few cows and calves, but often alone.

When Karen Mehal and the California gals asked what the hunting conditions would be like at the end of August, I told them that the weather would be good, 50 to 60 degree daytime temperatures… you need good rain gear and good warm clothes for the boat rides.
Hunting, we normally are able to give clients several stalking and shooting opportunities at trophy animals each day and the bachelor bulls, in August, are stalkable as they are not in large groups with too many eyes and they are not migrating or leaving their summer range.


I had told approximately the same story to Dr. Grosslight at Mackay Lake Lodge and also to Henry Trottier III who hunted with a group of eight bow hunters at our Warburton Bay camp that same week.
Call me a liar, we had near gale force winds for most of the week with snow, rain and sleet. Bad weather, some bad luck, some missed shots and a third of the hunters didn’t get caribou. Our near-perfect success rate over seventeen years was shattered.
Back to reality, how do you measure success? The deep Human emotions and the testing of the guides and the hunters’ strengths and skills, the camaraderie that grew between people of different walks of life that week had little to do with killing caribou.
Dr Grosslight has booked a return trip for 2001. The California gals are also planning a return trip.


Gary Jaeb