2017 Blackstone Hunt Report
2017 was our first full year back in the Yukon after selling our cattle ranch in Saskatchewan. We were very busy this year at our Yukon ranch, located 200 miles South of our hunting area. We broke up some hay land to grow oats that we irrigated for winter feed and also put up some beautiful Yukon hay that helps the horses through our harsh winter climate. We decided to build a new house and shop, breaking ground in May and moving into the house (from the little summer/fall cabin) on December 23rd at -30C! Scott Fontaine, long-time friend and outfitter/guide, helped build our house. It was quite the project to take on, but we tried hard to set it aside for the hunting season.
Once at the Blackstone in July, we got our minds wrapped around sheep hunting and had a great season. Here are some highlights; Jay Furney took a terrific Fannin ram with Colin and Haylee to complete his North American Super 20! Dave Bourdages took a tremendous heavy, old Dall on a backpack hunt with Warren Johnson. Dave’s dad, Evangeliste, came along as photographer on this 21-day hunt. Dave also took a nice caribou. A dream came true for young Yukon resident, Line Jensen. Her dad, Peter, and guide Kyla Dolen were with her on a horseback hunt when Line connected with her dream waterfall Dall! Pat Powell was with also us for 21 days. Colin took Pat backpacking and he took the northernmost ram ever taken in our concession…also the biggest of this season! Pat also took a terrific Mountain caribou and a huge moose. Richard Craythorne returned to hunt with us and brought his son, Erik, along on a horseback hunt guided by Tyler and Connor. Erik, here on his first sheep hunt, took a beautiful Fannin ram. Richard, who turned 78 a few days before their hunt, was not to be outdone and took a great Fannin ram as well! Erik departed early, but his dad figured he might as well stay and was fortunate to take a 67″ moose!
Tim Hagen and Tyler Maser were quite efficient, getting an early moose and then a ram. Reid took over and saddled up a few horses, taking Tim on a day-hunt for a great Mountain caribou.
The last ram of the season was taken on October 7th by first-time sheep hunter, Brian Thomas. Reid and Brian backpacked for this beautiful dark Fannin.
As usual, the northern Yukon produced some huge moose. Bob Veitch has hunted with us 7 times and this year floated the Ogilvie River with Larry. They passed up several respectable bulls then decided on one that went over 60″. Warren Fink, Tyler Eggen and Riley Carey guided Tim Moehling and Doug Spencer on the Peel River for 2 great northern bulls. Jim got weathered in with Colin and Rich Crawford for Thanksgiving weekend. They went out moose hunting on a cold, snowy day and Jim helped call in a tremendous bull for Rich.
Shawn Tatom returned for his third trip with us, having all the tags in his pocket, hoping to fill as many as possible. Warren J. and Shawn started out on a backpack/float trip, hiking off the river to some of our best sheep country. Poor weather pushed them back to the river to look for a big moose during the rut. Warren called in a huge-fronted bull that Shawn conveniently took down on a gravel bar so that Jim and John, our other pilot, were able to land right beside it with the planes to haul everything back to camp. Shawn and Warren were moved to good caribou country where Shawn took a massively heavy Mountain Caribou, one of the heaviest ever taken with Blackstone!
Darcy Jenkins and Richard McKenzie, from Fort McMurray, Alberta, booked caribou hunts with us a few years ago. They both lost their homes and more in the horrendous forest fire of 2016, but were bound to follow through with their hunts. They horseback hunted from base camp with outstanding guides and horsemen; Dustin and Riley. Darcy took his bull early in the hunt.
Richard got his a few days later and then they searched the willow flats for a moose, but were evaded. They rebooked for 2019.
We were happy to host Ariel and Daryl Somes on their Honeymoon moose/caribou hunt! Warren J. and Rene Beaudry combined their skills and guided the couple on a traditional horseback trip in early October’s frigid temperatures. Daryl took a 68″ moose and Ariel finished off their hunt with a great double-shoveled caribou. They plan to return for some winter activities, such as Rendezvous, in and around Dawson City in February.
Graham Jensen hunted Barren Ground Caribou with us in 2015. He came back on our late moose hunt this year. With our son, Warren, Graham went into a spot we’d never hunted moose before. After turning down a few bulls, a huge one managed to keep just far enough ahead of them. They’ll have a long year to dream about the biggest moose Warren’s ever seen, surely over 75″!!, after watching it climb over one of the highest peaks in our area. With luck, he’ll survive so they can try again next fall!
Overall, we had a great year and we appreciate our hunters putting their trust in us to fulfill their Yukon adventures, and our guides and crew who put in the extreme effort that it takes to make hunting dreams come true. We’re already looking forward to our 2018 season! It is Christmas Eve as we write this report in our new house!
Jim & Adrienne